Time is money.
“People are paying a premium to be closer to work and the airport; it’s about cutting down on the commute,’’ said Irene Kerzner, an agent with Hammond Residential Real Estate in Chestnut Hill. “The majority of $3 million homes sold last year were inside the 128 belt.’’
In Brookline, Kerzner said, $3 million gets you a 4,000- to 5,000-square-foot home on a quarter acre-plus. Move out to Newton, and you’re up to 6,000-plus square feet and a two-car garage on a bit more land. Head out to Wellesley, and $3 million buys you an even larger property, a three-car garage, and a half acre-plus, she said.
But there’s a limit on how large people want to live.
“Eight-thousand-square-foot properties are less desirable than 6,000-square-foot ones,’’ said Andrea Jackson, an agent with Barrett Sotheby’s International Realty in Lexington.
Instead, people want volume. “A 5,800-square-foot home that feels much bigger, with 10-foot ceilings and lots of windows, is what sells,’’ Jackson said.
Cookie-cutter homes with lackluster finishes and, alternatively, ones with fussy detailing, languish. Today’s buyers, 36 percent of whom are millennials, according to the National Association of Realtors, are highly discerning.
“If the design is exceptional, someone will pay for it,’’ Jackson said.
What appeals is the modern farmhouse style — classic on the outside, sleek and clean on the inside. Scroll through the nearly 630,000 #modernfarmhouse posts on Instagram, and you’ll get the idea.
“Antique hybrids are highly desirable,’’ Jackson noted, referring to older homes that have been refurbished. Developers are vying for fixer-uppers that hit the sweet spot, eager to take them to the studs. Everyday buyers, not so much.
“In Newton,’’ Kerzner said, “you will find more new construction, which tends to go at a premium because of the appeal of a turn-key property to buyers today, who no longer want to take on the big renovation project.’’
“Large historic homes that need everything sit longer, whereas five years ago they didn’t,’’ she added.
After all, time is money.
Year built 1905
Square footage 4,439
Baths 3 full, 1 half
Lot size 4.6 acres
Last sold for $1,400,000 in 2003
This gorgeously restored 4.6-acre estate along 650-feet of the Ipswich River — complete with a newly built carriage house, formal gardens, and a greenhouse — is move-in ready and storybook beautiful. Highlights of the 1905 Arts-and-Crafts main residence include a living room with a big fireplace, a kitchen with built-in breakfast nook and butler’s pantry, a sycamore- and oak-paneled library with exquisite glass-front bookshelves, stained glass, a conservatory with a stone floor, and sleeping porches and terraces with river views. Every detail has been considered in preserving and improving this private oasis.
Lanse Robb, LandVest, Christie’s International Real Estate, 48 Central St., Manchester-by-the-Sea, 978-590-0056, landvest.com
Year built 1902
Square footage 6,491
Baths 5 full, 1 half
Lot size 0.93 acre
Last sold for $700,000 in 1992
This white-clapboard home with its wide front porch is picture-perfect. Its nearly 6,500 square feet ensure graciously sized, elegantly appointed rooms, including a double living room, library, formal dining room, mudroom, media room, and sunroom with dreamy mural. French doors in the kitchen lead to a deck and the wooded yard. The second floor is dedicated to five bedrooms, while the third level offers a central lounge with bedrooms or offices in each corner. The house and three-car garage are set among gardens, stone walls, and a birch tree grove, on a lot with access to conservation trails.
Andrea Jackson, Barrett Sotheby’s International Realty, 617-571-1888, barrettsothebysrealty.com
Year built circa 1790
Square footage 4,107
Baths 3 full
Lot size 1.64 acres
Last sold for $7,500 in 1939
Shipbuilder Joshua Cushing built this shingled home around 1790. The bucolic waterfront property, which ends in its own private beach, includes three outbuildings: a two-story former summer kitchen called the “Little House’’ that has a porch facing Duxbury Bay, a three-car garage, and a boathouse. The antique main house offers charming simple interiors with well-worn wood floors, period hardware, and eight fireplaces. Eight bedrooms and a large unfinished basement with a workshop add to its appeal as a home to raise kids or escape to with the cousins.
Donna Wood, Macdonald & Wood Sotheby’s International Realty, 459 Washington St., Duxbury, 781-710-7351, macdonaldwoodsir.com
Year built 1951
Square footage 7,866
Baths 6 full, 1 half
Lot size 2.1 acres
Last sold for $977,500 in 1994
Not every historic home in New England hails from Colonial times. This modernist marvel is done in the International Style. The large, boxy white structure is set at the end of a long private drive on wooded, landscaped grounds with a koi pond and pool, as well as a deck atop the attached garage. The light-filled, airy interiors also exemplify the architectural style, with its use of large expanses of glass, clerestory windows, skylights, stacked stone and brick fireplace walls, and metal rails. Essentially, it’s a mid-century modern architecture-lover’s dream.
Betsy Kessler, Rutledge Properties, 572 Washington St., Wellesley, 617-936-7132, rutledgeproperties.com
Marni Elyse Katz blogs about design at StyleCarrot.com. Send comments to Address@globe.com. Subscribe to the Globe’s free real estate newsletter — our weekly digest on buying, selling, and design — at pages.email.bostonglobe.com/AddressSignUp. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter @globehomes. Send story ideas to Address@globe.com.