Swamplot Price Adjuster: Boulevard Oaks by the Square Foot

Why hasn’t this cute little cottage on South Blvd. in Boulevard Oaks been snapped up yet?

Location: 1930 South Blvd., Boulevard Oaks
Details: 5 bedrooms, 6 full and 4 half-baths; 7,863 sq. ft. on a 10,140-sq.-ft. lot
Price: $2,450,000
History: Original home on property torn down in fall of 2007. Listed for $2.6 million during construction; price cut $150K last Halloween.

Our nominator writes in:

I’ve walked through this home. It’s a vacuous monument to the “price per square foot” itch that’s infected so many builders trying to make a buck in fancier neighborhoods. If you can get $300 a square foot for a 3,000 square foot house, why not build a 6,000 square foot house and double the take? And think of the bonus you could get for 7,863!

So the design becomes a ridiculous exercise in racking up square footage for no useful reason. Most of the experience of this house consists of walking down long, built-to-impress but useless hallways. The master bedroom is big enough to skate in.

This place only looks like a great deal on paper. I hope studying this home will make realtors and builders and buyers and appraisers think twice about applying mindless per-square foot pricing formulas.
Because this is what you end up with.

So . . . how should you price it?


If you’re going to apply a per-square foot formula, you’ve got to account for the quality of construction and the usability of the space. I’d guess there’s “only” about 4,500 useful square feet here, which means in a non-deluded market, the place really should go for about $1.35 million.

Your thoughts, price adjusters?

Found a property you think is mispriced? Email your nominations to Swamplot, and be sure to include a link to the listing or photos. Tell us about the property, and explain why you think it deserves a price adjustment. Then tell us what you think a better price would be. Unless requested otherwise, all submissions to the Swamplot Price Adjuster will be kept anonymous.

23 Comment

  • When I clicked on the HAR listing (and before I read the rest of the posting), I thought $1.45 million would be appropriate.

    After reading the rest of the posting, and the nominator’s suggested price of $1.35 million, I’m thinking that dropping the price to $1.25 million would be appropriate.

    Of course, if I were simply interested in getting the house sold and off my hands as soon as possible, I’d tell the listing agent that any offer above $1 million would be accepted.

  • They should cut at least another $100K for those tiny kitchen sinks and the lack of a pot filler over the range. (Giant counters alone do not a gourmet kitchen make.) And another $25K for those ugly windows, particularly the floor to ceiling ones that have an up close view of the 8 ft. privacy fence. I don’t know enough about home pricing to weigh in with a better asking price, but this home does seem to just be large but lacking attention to detail.

  • My grandparents only paid a few thousand bucks each to be interred in a place just like this. If I had the money I’d buy it for $1.5 mil (love the neighborhood), tear it to the ground, and build something with charm and a place which I wouldn’t find myself screaming at my guests, “Don’t touch the walls! Don’t touch the f**king walls!”

  • Jessica1,

    I think that there is a pot filler in the kitchen. See picture #5 in the gallery of photos in the HAR link, where there appears to be something shiny and horizontal emanating from the tiled wall where a stove top would be located.

  • Based on my $250k per bathroom pricing formula (half or full), I’d say it’s quite a steal.

  • You could be right, random poster, I didn’t look closely, assumed that was just the gas hookup. But I still think that kitchen is lame. I had those same cabinets in my 500 sqft garage apartment.

  • From Kevin:

    Based on my $250k per bathroom pricing formula (half or full), I’d say it’s quite a steal.
    Shouldn’t there at some point be a declining marginal value to bathrooms? In fact, it seems a little more logical that the price function for bathrooms is non-linear, increasing rapidly from 0 to 3, then the rate of increase dropping as we round 4 through 6, becoming flatter and flatter above 7.

  • I’ve walked through it as well and the nominator is right – this house is all hallway. The layout makes no sense. The master bedroom is a strange maze. It is very close to Poe Elementary and the entire house seems to be built to overlook the next door neighbor. Plus, the materials look like they belong in a $250K townhouse. Are those the in stock kitchen sinks and faucets from Home Depot? I’ve seen nicer apartments. Plus, when we were looking at it (with someone who is seriously looking in this price range) the person showing it (I believe a realtor’s assistant) was a complete b*tch. Um, with a house this ugly that has been on the market this long I wouldn’t insult the potential buyers.

  • For the price, I’d have expected the elevator to have been installed. Otherwise, why not just call it a glorified closet?

  • Why does a single-family house need 10 toilets!?!?

  • Too bad this house is not kid-friendly (way too many hard surfaces) as it is close to Poe Elementary.

    Also, let’s hope whoever buys this house is not the “naked neighbor” type. Anyone else hate the trend of huge windows and “see through” homes in new construction? Imagine trying to cool this house or trying to buy curtains in this house.

    Another theory why this hasn’t sold…..basic supply & demand. There are tons of homes on the market in the $1-3 MM range in nice inside the loop locations. How many buyers can there actually be??

  • Comps, People. Show me some comps. That’s how you value real estate. If you’re going to make a ridiculous claim that this house should only be worth $1.3 million, please show me a similar house that has sold or is available for sale at that price.

    Are you guys aware that South Blvd. is arguably one of the top ten most prestigious street to live on in Houston? The dirt alone is bound to be worth $750k.

    Perhaps they crammed too many SF onto the lot. Perhaps there are too many hallways. No house is perfect. To me it looks like a damn nice house with a pool and THREE car garage (something I would LOVE).

  • I have not seen this house in person, so I’m judging this solely on the pictures – but perhaps it hasn’t sold because is’t so UGLY? South BLVD is such a beautiful street – I would love to live in any of the houses……except for this one. It looks like Home Depot on crack, which is not, in my amateur opinion, what most prospective home owners in that area want.

  • Price should be lot value minus the cost to demolish and haul off this pile of crap.

  • I think that the seller compared it with another, already finished house in the nearest neighborhood – located on 1911 North Blvd – MLS (5212767). Both real estates are about the same house/lot size. The unfinished house appraised value will rise when is finished.
    The seller of the finished house set the price below the value. If the price is right and reflect the demand, is another question.

  • LT hits it out of the park. This house is FUGLY. It lacks the charm of nearly all of its neighbors. It is completely out of scale. The floorplan is insane. The materials used look like something you would find on a “flippers” episode for $500,000 properties. Additionally, if you look at the inventory in Boulevard Oaks-Southampton area, you’ll find that the market for spec homes isn’t that great. There are literally twice as many newer homes for sale in the Boulevard Oaks, Southampton, Chevy Chase, Jandor Gardens, Shadowlawn, and Shadyside areas as compared to what appear to be original homes.

  • According to one source, there are 19 months of inventory in the $1-2 MM range in Boulevard Oaks. Probably not enough data in the >2MM range to calculate months of inventory.

  • I have always heard that the formula for spec builders was as follows: the land is one quarter of the final selling price. If this was a 600k lot, the price makes sense. Anybody know their tear-down prices on S. Blvd?

  • South Blvd is a beautiful street but it is not all created equal. You have the end of the Blvd (1300 block) where the lots can be 40,000 to 80,000 sq ft and your true historic mansions. Then you have the 1400 through 1800 blocks with some nice big 20,000 sq foot lots and multi million dollar beautiful homes. Then you start to get closer to Poe and some ghetto apartment complexes and it gets pretty hit or miss. That is where this house is. Plus, there isn’t a lot of new construction on South, much less spec houses so getting a meaningful comp is unlikely.

  • “Then you start to get closer to Poe and some ghetto apartment complexes and it gets pretty hit or miss.”

    That’s pretty funny, HG, ghetto apartment complexes. Is it because they are old that you refer to them as ghetto?

  • Ok. For grins, we went to visit this house yesterday as it was open. I can’t figure out why a $2 million+ house can’t have single pieces of granite for the countertops. I’d expect to see seemless countertops, even for the island . . . that’s what I might see in a house that was under $700k. The house has been vacant too long . . . there’s lots of nice ideas, like pocket doors, but it seems that the humidity has warped many of the doors and you can see all the joints in the kitchen cabinets. The other weird thing was the power strip on the island. It looked like they took 2 regular powerstrips and put stain on them to make them “blend” into the island–something I might have thought was creative in a handyman’s special. I was told the house had central vac, but I didn’t see any sign of it other than the crumb sweeper in the kitchen.

    Another sign that the house has been vacant too long: the pool looked liked the San Antonio River Walk after it’s been dyed green for St. Patrick’s Day. And why would you have a separate air handler to cool the outside patio?

    I can understand wanting lots of windows/doors for light, but when they’ve been placed so there’s no room for furniture, you have to wonder. And why can’t the hall way upstairs be straight?

    The downstairs bedroom was nice in theory. There was no lip to the shower, but the bathroom was probably still too small for a wheel chair to get into. In fact, I’m not sure the door way was wide enough for a wheelchair. Good thought, questionable execution.

    Even in a “less desireable” location, I’d be hard pressed to think the quality of the construction and materials would warrant a price of over $1.1 (I give it a bit of a bump because the pool is already installed).

    However, I think the builder may think it’s going into foreclosure because there are a number of missing plumbing fixtures and NO kitchen appliances(other than the 2 dishwasher).

    Oh, and Bernard, even though there are nice cabinets for a work area in the garage, it’s only a 2 car garage.

  • In today’s market this cottage is only worth $110 per sq. ft. tops. This means the real value is therefore $850,000. It is obvious that everyone is in denial about how the housing crisis has affected houston. There are piles and piles of unsold houses especially in the upper price ranges. Just peruse har.com as I have frequently throughout 2009. Virtually nothing is selling except for foreclosures. The banks will not lend if the house is overvalued as this one is. Time to get “real” about real estate!