New High for South Martyrs Hill

By Dave Fratello | June 5th, 2014

A little pocket of the MB Tree Section near downtown does not feel like the suburbs at all – it feels like the beach.

Smaller lots and dense development rules put the homes close together. Some get an ocean view, and downtown is close by for all. This area, basically 12th and 13th Streets from Ardmore east to Laurel, is informally the South Martyrs Hill, given that it's south of the American Martyrs Church.

There have been 4 sales in the area this year already on the public market – each seemingly pricier than the last. (An off-market lot sale is pending.)

Blowing away all records for the area is the most recent sale: 632 12th St. (3br/3ba, 3000 sq. ft.), an 80s build with mostly cosmetic updates, up near the top of the hill with some views.

They came out asking $2.295M, which was already a markup over the extremely recent sale just a few doors up at comparable 648 12th (4br/3ba, 3065 sq. ft., with roof deck) at $2.160M. (See "Roof Deck Takes Price Higher.")

But then that "must have" thing happened again, and the numbers started climbing.

So 632 12th didn't sell for $2.3M, or $2.4M, or even $2.5M.

Closed sale: $2.550M. Wow.

Our search finds only 3 homes in history in the South Martyrs Hill area, with its typical 3000 sq. ft. lots, to have sold for more. And each one of those was new or new-er and well over 4500 sq. ft. inside, compared to the 3000 sq. ft. of the 80s house here at 632 12th.

There are only 3 sales in the South Martyrs Hill in history over $2M for homes of comparable size to this one – all this year.

Tucked in close behind 632 12th for the record high for the area is 512 12th, which you already know about from our post earlier this week. (See "Up Nearly 50%.") That one closed for $2.357M. And right behind that is the aforementioned roof-deck home at 648 12th at $2.1+.

The next highest sale is at $1.825M from 2011. (Gorgeous newer Spanish at 1305 Church.)

As big as these numbers are getting on older homes, you have to watch out for another trend.

Several years ago, the city changed the development rules in this pocket. Unlike anyplace else in the Tree Section, in this area you can build 3 stories and max out the space more like a Sand Section lot than a Tree Section lot.

This change spurred a few big development projects in the last cycle, and seems to have kicked off a couple more now.

Especially on the ocean-view side of the hill, builders are thinking big big big again, and the 2-story houses of prior generations can start to count their days as numbered.

Unless, with a nice coat of paint and inspired staging, they're worth $2.550M, in which case they may hang around a while.

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