The Batterymarch Insider

“The Batterymarch Insider” is a brief snapshot of our current market thinking and some highlights of what we see going on in the downtown Boston market. As always, our “terms of use” apply. We encourage you to subscribe.

In this issue:

  • 445 Marlborough Street – The Forgotten Corner of the Back Bay
  • New and Noteworthy – Penthouse Madness, Three $13 Million+ Units Get Snapped Up.
  • 8 West Hill Place, unit 4 – Private Streets and Assigned Parking, Buckle Up  – Well Sold
  • 341 Marlborough Street, unit 4 – A Rare Loss in the Heart of the Back Bay – Well Bought  

What’s Catching Our Eye

445 Marlborough – The Forgotten Corner of the Back Bay

445 Marlborough

445 Marlborough Street, a 6,202 square foot 4 bedroom single family home hit the market this week with an asking price of $7.749 million. If they get anything close to that price, it will set the high water mark for a single family on the last block of the Back Bay that sits to the west side of Mass Ave.

Some serious money was spent renovating this house and the finishes look spot on. The house features an elevator, two roof decks, two offices, a gym and parking for four cars. Not to worry if 6,200 square feet isn’t sufficient, an additional 781 square feet of living space in the neighboring building, which is currently connected to the home, is available for purchase. 

This corner of the Back Bay is a bit of a hodgepodge of apartment houses, student housing, a few single families, and condominiums. We think it’s an appealing place to live, albeit off the beaten path and not for everyone. We’ll be interested to see the verdict from the high end single family home buyer pool.

New and Noteworthy

Boston has an insatiable appetite for ultra high end penthouses. Is it endless?

35 Commonwealth Ave.

35 Commonwealth Ave, unit PH – That was quick – the 5,320 square foot triplex penthouse at 35 Commonwealth reports an accepted offer after just three days on the market off an asking price of $15.5 million ($2,914/sf). The last sale was in the fall of 2019 for $14.0 million. We’ll report back with the sale price.

300 Pier 4, PHC  – After 144 days on the market, penthouse C at Pier 4 has a contract in hand, the asking price was $16.5 million ($4,528/sf). This will be the second time in as many years that this unit trades, the last sale was $15,231,920 (someone worked hard for that last $20).

(Editor’s note: just as we went to press we got the sale price of penthouse C at 300 Pier 4 – $14.8 million or $4,061/sf. No need to take your brain out of the holster on this one, this was obviously well sold. $4,000+/sf, really people?)

122 Commonwealth Ave, unit PH –  The penthouse at 122 Commonwealth is under contract. The asking price was $13.2 million ($3,185/sf). Beyond just a great location, the secret sauce here is a building that is nearly 35 feet wide. This is the last of the three units to sell in this high end redevelopment.

Well Bought/Well Sold

8 West Hill Place, unit 4 – Bidding War – Well Sold.

West Hill Place

A Beacon Hill bidding war led to the sale of unit 4 at 8 West Hill Place, a 1,279 square foot three bedroom. This unit was offered for sale last September for $2.135 million. After one small price reduction the seller called it quits after 90 days and re-listed the unit in March for $1.975 million. Seven days later they got this deal done at $2.054 million ($1,617/sf).

This unit gets a ton of sunlight from large south west facing windows looking out on the Annie Fields Garden. The Annie Fields Garden is the largest private garden on Beacon Hill. It sits between West Hill Place and Charles River Square. The direct abutters have access to and finance the upkeep of the garden.

Having lived at West Hill Place, I’ve developed a love hate relationship with it, so this bidding war got my attention. West Hill Place is a private street made up of predominantly single family homes, with number 8 being a condominium building. Something very strange happens to people when they collectively manage a private street, especially when it involves parking. It’s shocking what they can bicker about.

Assuming you learn to ignore your neighbors, which isn’t easy in this goldfish bowl configuration, this is a great location, and the foundation pilings have been repaired, which is a big plus. I can’t resist pointing out that one of the main reasons the piling work happened was that one homeowner decided to install a swimming pool in the basement of his house, creating a domino effect of piling repairs.

Readers of our work know that there are no winners in a bidding war. The last sale here was back in 2014 at $1.4 million, so the seller hit a home run on this one. We’re less concerned about the premium the buyer paid, and more concerned about their psychological welfare after they sit through endless meetings about snow removal. This was very – Well Sold.

341 Marlborough Street, unit 4 –  A Rare Loss on Marlborough – Well Bought

341 Marlborough Street

Unit 4 at 341 Marlborough Street, a 1,618 square foot, three bedroom, with two car parking changed hands this week for $3.0 million ($1,854/sf). Located on the sunny side of the street, this is part of a five unit 2014 condominium conversion that combined 341 and 343 Marlborough Street. On the surface this looks like a run of the mill deal, but a closer look tells a bit of a different story.

The last sale here was back in 2016 when the unit sold “new” for $3.005 million. The unit was put on the market last September for $3.15 million and didn’t find a buyer. It reappeared on the market in March for $3.099 and this deal was put together in 20 days. 

Factoring in standard fees, the seller lost about $155,000 over their five years of ownership. While the loss isn’t earth shattering, a loss is a loss and we don’t often see losses in these sought after units in the heart of the Back Bay. One knock on the unit could be that squeezing three bedrooms into 1,618 square feet doesn’t lend itself to a feeling of spaciousness.

Our conclusion is that the seller simply paid too much for the unit back in 2016. We don’t hide the fact that we pay attention to valuation, the simple fact is that value matters. We tip our hat to the seller for moving on and we think this is a market correct price for a nice unit in an elevator building with two car parking. This was – Well Bought.

Sign up to receive updates from Batterymarch Group.

Subscribers agree to the “Terms of Use”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *