Raleigh's Historic Missing Middle

That’s a great list should we try and map out your excel data?


That 5 million house is in my neighborhood and everyday when I drive by I think how insane it is. Who has this much cash? I don;t know. But someone is obviously buying these houses. This was a pretty standard 1960’s ranch previously.

Developer could have easily built 3-4 $2 million townhomes on this lot. But the Nimby’s would have had a fit with it ruining the neighborhood. In my mind, a $5 million McMansion ruins the character of the neighborhood more.


Sorry to be yet another responder to your first post here. Welcome to the DTR Community!

There is another, simpler point to be made about “missing middle”, which is really just any housing between a SFH and a mega apartment building.

  • Larger homes cost more, so legalize smaller ones
  • Property is expensive, so let multiple families split its cost

Pointing at luxury townhomes and saying missing middle is a scam is totally missing the point. The point is that we’ve lived in a development pattern that has prioritized and even subsidized single family homes via uneconomical land restrictions that ultimately create scarcity and drive up housing costs. We’ve deregulated those land restrictions somewhat, and it needs to stay that way. If a private owner of a SFH wants to sell to another entity that wants to split the SFH into apartments, or tear down and convert to townhomes/micro apartments, that is the free market working to provide more housing where demand is highest.

We need to allow the market to show us where our value is as it places more housing, retail, and services in those areas, and we need to get out of the market’s way as this natural human process unfolds.


It is ridiculous. And no blame to the builder who is merely acting within a constrained system.

This home in particular is my new favorite example of how our current development pattern and property valuation scheme creates incoherent neighborhoods. The intense development at North Hills, designed from the top down (Kane) to a polished, high-value, finished state, with no thought of the next lifecycle or how it might fare to a deflating macroeconomic change, has driven up adjacent land values so high that the the only next step of development that makes financial sense is a $5m SFH. This should be seen as preposterous, but instead it’s talked about as “yeah NHs is really valuable”.

We often talk about the principle that “every neighborhood should be subject to evolution”, i.e. incremental density, accessory commercial units, etc. but we need to also talk about “no neighborhood should be subject to extreme change”. In traditional city-building, areas of value were constantly evolving to the next increment of intensity, while the affordable/risky investments were being made on the fringe. When we skip several stages of intensity and go from a failing mall to a booming sub-city in 2 decades, it creates incoherent inflation in the adjacent property value. If North Hills was surrounded by predominantly rental property, you can imagine the social problems that would have created.


521 S Saunders is a duplex. I believe it was originally a store with an apartment above.

Both 131 and 121 S Boylan have been rezoned and will be replaced by an apartment complex.

My favorite in the city is 610 Willard Pl (because I lived there for five years).

A few more in Boylan Heights (there are a lot more than this, but these are the first I could think of):

728 W Cabarrus

425 and 429 S Boylan

515 Florence (currently used as a residence and business)


As an example, the developer at 908 Williamson in Historic Hayes Barton District is advertising units (17 of them I believe) at up to $2 million, so where is the affordable housing? […] Anything ITB is not going to be “middle class”

Ok? That’s an example of luxury missing middle housing. There’s also many examples of affordable missing middle housing, many of which have already been posted in this thread. But it’s not just historic properties – there are also newer builds for the middle class. Here are two examples, and both are located in a neighborhood where it is impossible to find other housing in this price range.

This single family home in Boylan Heights sold for $610k this year ($614/sf).

Two nearby condos, meanwhile, sold for literally half the price per sf and create a lower entry point to living in the area than would otherwise be possible. This is missing middle in action.

505 Florence St, sold most recently for $331k in Boylan Heights, built in 2006.

613 W Cabarrus St, which regularly had units available around 300k. This one most recently sold for just over 400k. Built in 2006.


This kind of stuff is the absolute happy medium: density that doesn’t overwhelm. And you’ll find that these units are typically some of the most affordable in a given neighborhood.

Here’s my building from when I lived in Pasadena, CA, a city and region that’s no stranger to affordability crises. This building had eight units, and we lived in a 2-bedroom in the back for $1650 a month, an absolute steal at the time (2014-2017). Plenty of SFH on this street, too, but this blended in just fine.


I lived in this place as my first apartment after college. 2/1, no A/C & $275 a month. Surely this was DECADES ago.


This house is an anomaly (millions more than other new construction in NH). I think it will take a long time to sell. Especially since it’s a corner lot with traffic lights, and the houses across the street from it - going all the way down Camelot - are pretty dumpy. One looks like it should be condemned. It wouldn’t surprise me if they all get torn down and that side of the street rezoned. So the buyer would need to have enough $ to buy a $5M house (though price may get cut), be ok with red lights flashing in their windows and be across the street from what may be a lot of construction in years to come following which they will live in the shadows that are often discussed on these boards. That seems like a really rare person. I was actually surprised that it was built without an owner already.

Out of curiosity I looked into this property.
There is a deed transfer on file for 2021 with an excise tax of $1,300. Wake county RE excise tax is $1 per $500 of value, so the transaction must have been $650,000 for the lot. Assuming there was a home on the lot that was demolished, they probably have another $35,000 in demo permits and demolition. Let’s round up and say the dirt was $700,000.

The list price is $4,995,000, less the land cost equals $4,295,000, improvements only.
There is an extensive outdoor package with pool and cabana. I would estimate that at $300,000, taking the total asking down to $3,995,000 house only.

At 7,674 htd sf, the cost per htd sf is $520/sf house only.
This is high, but about what I would expect to achieve the interior finishes and features I see in the photos, with today’s insane inflationary pricing in construction materials and labor.

No particular point here, was just curious. We recently sold a home that was in a similar cost per sf range (~$500/sf) but much smaller house and on much less expensive piece of dirt.

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Thanks for doing the math. Objectively, the house has all the “receipts”. That said, what in the Hell possessed the builder to choose that corner lot as others have said? Even a few lots down from that corner would make a huge difference, or even the next corner down Dartmouth. Who knows? I personally wouldn’t drop 5M on that corner if I could drop it any variety of other nearby parcels.


Agreed - I didn’t realize it was on the corner until this morning.
Talk about a “missing middle”

Apartments > missing > $5m mansion

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Drove by this house this morning on my way to Harris Teeter and it says Under Contract. I’ll be curious to see how much it sold for and who bought it.

Could be an investor. I’ve seen some documentaries that talk about people buying investment properties. The properties may remain vacant. In this instance, maybe an investor who wants to use it as an “AirBnb”? There was legislation that was supposed to target vacant property owners in SF who weren’t lowering rents with the market. I don’t know if it passed.

More missing middle housing coming to Raleigh neighborhoods "A Raleigh developer is planning two new communities that fall under the city’s missing middle rules for housing.

Redeeming Development Group has filed subdivision plans for Scales Townhomes in the Five Points area and Farm Gate Townhomes in west Raleigh on the border with Cary. Each community is a residential zoning that allows for townhomes without having to rezone the properties due to the missing middle text changes the City Council passed in 2021.

Missing middle housing is meant to give developers more options for density – including duplexes, triplexes, townhouses and small apartments – in areas that have traditionally seen single-family detached houses." https://www.bizjournals.com/triangle/news/2023/06/19/raleigh-new-missing-middle-housing-homes-prices.html


Zillow shows it sold on 31 Mar for $4.6MM. But I don’t think anyone has moved in as far as I can tell. I drive by that house just about every day.

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I’ve seen a car there a few times. It might not be the owner’s full-time home. You can Google the owner in this case; appears to be a finance type from NYC.

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