For that price, it’s surely a giant 10,000-square-foot, five-bedroom, six-bath seaside mansion on an expansive, secluded wooded property, with luxury amenities down every hallway. The generational estate of an old-money tycoon, right?

Not quite.

$2 million cabin

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This $2 million dollar home is actually a mere 320-square-foot, 80-year-old, one-bedroom, one-bath cottage on just a third of an acre. The building, a former post-war candy shop, isn’t much to speak of. It’s … quaint. So, how is this modest house worth $6,250 per-square-foot? And why would you drop that chunk of change on it when there are much better Portsmouth rental home options to choose from just steps away?

What this two million dollars actually gets you

The owners have valued the 445 Marcy Street property so high for three reasons – location, location, location. Listings suggest knocking down the tiny home and building your dream house to your own wishes, and the true worth is strictly on the lot’s desirable location.

Portsmouth is a small, alluring New England resort city right across the southern Maine border. It’s a popular summer tourist destination for the well-to-do, with a picturesque waterfront downtown bustling with vacationers filling the cafés, restaurants, brewpubs and galleries around Market Square, in full view of the sailboaters, jet-skiers and yachtsmen on the Piscataqua River.

And this $2 million property with its semi-obstructed waterfront view is just steps from it all. Realtors assert that the land is the “last large lot available” in the city’s celebrated South End. It’s walking distance from downtown, the historic Strawbery Banke district and Prescott Park, home to free summer arts and entertainment festivals.

But if it’s all about the where, why not find yourself a great rental nearby instead for just a little bit less? Here are three nearby Portsmouth rental options within a few blocks of this expensive cottage that will save you a couple million dollars.

Room enough for 12 right on the river

55 Salter Street

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If the $2 million home’s value is in its proximity to the Piscataqua River waterfront, then why not live even closer? 55 Salter Street is a stunning five-bedroom, three-bath, 3,906-square-foot whole-house rental right on the river. For a well-priced $8,000 a month (or just $1,600 per bedroom with room for 12 residents), you get the exact same location near downtown and the park, plus a private boat dock for a fraction of the price.

The newly-restored two-story rental features an updated gourmet kitchen with wet bar, wood-detailed fireplace library room, giant living room with wood-hearth fireplace, upstairs loft with a cozy fireplace, 10-seat dining room (yes, also with a fireplace, see a pattern?) and five distinctive New England-charm bedrooms with skylights and a soaking tub, all sitting on a giant riverfront property surrounded by seawall.

Value: At $8,000 a month, you can rent here for 20 years before spending $2 million.

Value option in the same great neighborhood

332 south street

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Just a half-mile south of the $2 million dollar cottage is an extremely affordable apartment on the isthmus between Curriers Cove and South Mill Pond. Just a 10-minute walk up Jenkins Avenue to downtown, the apartment, which encompasses the entire third floor at 332 South Street, is a wonderful value for the neighborhood at just $1,500 per month.

Sitting right on the main east/west artery through the South End, this adorable 650-square-foot quiet space offers a hardwood floor living space with quarter-round dormer windows, a carpeted bedroom under tilted-skylight windows, an office or study space and a private hallway leading to a cozy bathroom filled with natural light and a full-sized tub/shower combo. Heat and hot water are included, and street parking is available right in front of the house. And the Lady Isle-area waterfront is just steps away.

Value: At $1,500 a month, you can rent here for 111 years before spending $2 million.

Next-door to the water and on the edge of downtown

65 rogers

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While $2 million does get you that cottage by the river, the same price will also lock you into this four-bedroom, one-and-a-half bath house for 51 years, plus lets you be both right on the water and a three minute walk from downtown Portsmouth.

Situated right next to the northern shore of South Mill Pond at 65 Rogers Street, this charming 2,326-square-foot New Englander could not be more convenient – even for a couple million. An equitable $3,250 per month puts you smack in the middle of everything. Three blocks from Market Square, two blocks from Haymarket Square, four blocks to Strawbery Banke, a mile from Peirce Island and just a 10-minute walk to Prescott Park.

The unit itself is a wonderful two-story period house featuring living, dining and family areas lined with hardwood floors and abundant natural light throughout with a full kitchen and laundry room, four bedrooms with hardwood flooring, plus a wealth of built-in bookcases, shelving and storage and unique A-frame ceilings.

The back of the house opens up to an enclosed three-season sun room and porch with a large fenced yard surrounded by privacy trees, a brick patio perfect for grilling and entertaining and manicured pocket gardens. There’s even enough private driveway space for four cars.

Value: At $3,250 a month, you can rent here for 51 years before spending $2 million.

A plethora of perfect Portsmouth options

With incredible, and much more affordable options around the South End of Portsmouth, with convenience to shopping, water recreation, parks and entertainment, you might want to consider not writing that check for $2 million for a one-bedroom cottage kinda, sorta near the water.

The rent information included in this article is based on February 2019 rental property inventory on and is used for illustrative purposes only. The data contained herein does not constitute financial advice or a pricing guarantee for any apartment.
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