When it comes to buying a home, a million bucks goes further in Toledo’s real estate market than many other places in the United States.
“I love showing houses in the Toledo area when I get somebody from the East or West Coast. Their eyes bulge,” said Tom Kabat, an agent with Welles Bowen Realtors in Toledo. “They just say, ‘I can’t believe this.’ You get a lot of house for the money.”
Though the vision of a $1 million home may be that of ostentatious luxury, the reality is that what seven figures can buy varies widely.
“Million-dollar homes are sometimes the benchmark for a luxury home, but it turns out that a million-dollar home has very different meaning depending on the local market,” said Jed Kolko, chief economist at California-based real estate data firm Trulia.
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According to Trulia’s research, the average size for a $1 million home in metro Toledo is 7,087 square feet.
That’s good for second in the nation in terms of how much house can be bought for $1 million.
Out of the country’s 100 largest metro areas, the only place money goes further is Birmingham, Ala., where $1 million buys an average of 8,059 square feet.
Buyers in Toledo get twice the national average of 3,480 square feet. In New York City, where space is limited and prices are high, the average million-dollar home is about 1,500 square feet — roughly the same size as the average single-family home in Toledo.
In this market, it’s rare for homes in the Toledo area to sell for $1 million or more. Trulia says less than 0.5 percent of homes listed here are priced at $1 million or more, one of the lowest percentages in the country.
Only two homes in Lucas County sold for more than $1 million last year.
A five-bedroom home at 12 Riverhills Lane in Sylvania Township sold for $1,050,000. A four-bedroom home at 5310 Tidewater Place in Sylvania Township sold for $1,035,000.
Two Ottawa Hills houses sold for a little less.
One on Underhill Road fetched $915,000, and another on Brookside Road sold for $895,000.
“We just don’t have a huge market for those million-dollar type properties here, largely because $300,000 or $400,000 buys you so much in this market,” said John Mangas, president of the Toledo Board of Realtors. “We’re an affordable place to live. It doesn’t drive a lot of traffic to that end of the market.”
That’s not to say, however, that the area doesn’t have homes with the type of opulence typically found in some of the country’s top real estate markets.
“Toledo was such an economic force with the Fortune 500 companies and the industrial pioneers,” Mr. Mangas said. “Some of their original mansions, especially on the river between Perrysburg and Rossford, are absolutely exquisite. The same with Ottawa Hills.”
While those historic homes don’t come up for sale often, when they do, they command some of the highest prices in the region.
Right now, an 8,280-square-foot, 14-room, six full-bath mansion along the Maumee River in Perrysburg Township is listed at $1.875 million. The home, which is listed as being built in 1945, appears to have actually been built in 1923 by Toledo attorney Rathbun Fuller, according to Blade archives and the historicperrysburg.org Web site.
A garage was added to the home in 1945, according to the auditor’s office. Lance Tyo, a real estate agent with ReMax and the listing agent for the house, confirmed that Mr. Fuller was the builder, and that they believed the home was built in the 1920s, but were uncertain why there was a discrepancy in dates.
The two-story home described on the historic Perrysburg Web site by local preservationist Ted Ligibel as adding “an interesting Mediterranean architectural mix among largely English-influenced styles popular at the time along East River Road,” was occupied after Mr. Fuller’s wife, Katharine, died in 1953 by one of Mr. Fuller’s law associates, Benjamin Batsch.
Mr. Fuller, referred to as the “dean of Toledo lawyers” during his career and who served as counsel for such firms as Libbey-Owens-Ford, Mather Spring Co., Bostwick-Braun, and the Toledo Trust Co., died in 1937, according to Blade archives.
According to records from the Wood County Auditor’s Office, the home was purchased in 1990 by Stephen Stranahan, the grandson of Frank D. Stranahan, who along with brother Robert, founded Champion Spark Plug in 1907 in Boston and brought the company to Toledo in 1910.
The home’s current owners are listed as Becky Kasperzak and her husband, Dean Kasperzak, who purchased the residence in 1998, according to Wood County records.
Mrs. Kasperzak, who died in February, was a local philanthropist who hosted the Taste of the Nation charity event in the Perrysburg home for several years. She was heavily involved with Maumee Valley Country Day School as a trustee and she and her husband were fund-raisers for the school’s capital projects.
“These are beautiful homes,” Mr. Kabat said. “To duplicate a house like that in today’s market, you’re probably talking $10 million to $12 million, if you can find the workmen to do it.”
Mr. Kabat doesn’t have that listing, though he and his wife, Nancy, are among the area’s most experienced at selling high-dollar homes.
An 8,316-square-foot house on Brookview Drive in Ottawa Hills is for sale for $1,599,000.
Other houses on the market with an asking price exceeding $1 million include two on Riverhills Lane in Sylvania and one on Highpoint Drive in Sylvania. Those three are all near Corey Road.
Mr. Kabat said that if those houses were in certain other parts of the country, they would likely command far higher prices.
That’s not unique to Toledo, of course. Many of the nation’s high-end properties are clustered in a few prime ZIP codes. Take San Francisco, for instance. Trulia found that an incredible 44 percent of homes listed in the metropolitan area have an asking price of at least $1 million.
That can price a lot of people out of the market and tends to mean homes are smaller overall.
“Markets that have a lot of million-dollar homes tend to be more expensive overall, and some also have high income inequality and therefore a lot of high-income buyers,” Mr. Kolko said. “Many markets with few million-dollar homes are generally affordable, but affordability is sometimes a sign of longer-term local economic challenges. Some of the most affordable markets in the U.S. have slow job growth or high unemployment.”