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There and Back Again: A Hobbit’s Real Estate Journey

With "The Hobbit" movie around the corner, we decided to go on our own fantasy adventure by figuring out how much Bilbo and Frodo’s abode would cost.

David Cross

Content Editor

237 articles, 24 comments

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There and Back Again: A Hobbit's Real Estate Journey

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The Movoto Real Estate bloggers are big fans of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings series, and Peter Jackson’s silver screen adaptations. To be frank, we were ecstatic when it was announced that “The Hobbit” would finally be made into a proper movie (not that the animated one was bad, mind you).

Being housing nuts, we wanted to get a second look at Bilbo and Frodo’s hobbit hole.

With the movie around the corner (it will be out Dec. 14), we decided to go on our own fantasy adventure by figuring out how much Bilbo and Frodo’s abode would cost if it went on the market.

After the greatest adventure, we found that Bag End would cost about $1,330,000.

If you’re interested in learning how we did it, continue on. Remember, there’s no need to bring mithril armor—we’ve already cleared the way for you. Of course, a sense of humor “forged” by mighty elves would help.

A Brief History (Unlike a Tolkien Tale)

Bilbo, and later his nephew, Frodo, lived in Bag End, a large smial (think large home) in The Shire. It is a sprawling single-story structure built into the side of a hill. Searches for images of Bag End bring up a few examples–some by Tolkien himself and from others.

Bag End, which resides at the end of Bagshot Row in Hobbiton, was built by Bilbo’s father as a wedding gift to his wife. Bilbo lived in the smial for the majority of his life before ceding it to his nephew Frodo. At the end of the tale, both Bilbo and Frodo sail away from Middle-Earth, leaving the home in the hands of Samwise Gamgee.

Eventually, loyal Sam follows Frodo across the seas and leaves the home in the hands of his eldest child.

How’d We Do It?

To come up with a price, we needed two things–the home’s square footage and a location to base our estimation on. For both of these we started where every modern adventure starts–the Internet.

First, we set out to locate Bag End’s square footage. After a long search in which we overcame many dangerous obstacles (mainly lolcats), we came across Karen Wynn Fonstad’s “The Atlas of Middle-Earth.” Housed inside this tome–quite literally–was a map of Bag End. This became the basis for our calculations.

It turns out that for such a small person, Bilbo has a massive home. Bag End is about 4,500 square feet. It is a ginormous underground hobbit hole, complete with quite a bit of luxurious additions.

What would you find if you visited?

  • 3 bedrooms
  • A kitchen
  • A drawing room
  • A sitting room
  • A parlor
  • A study
  • A dining room
  • A potato garden
  • Assortment of cellars and pantries

While we know there had to be a bathroom or outhouse in the vicinity, we were unable to locate it. Our best guess? There was likely one hobbit-sized facility.

Once we knew Bag End’s size, we turned our fictional swords toward finding a location.

A Picturesque England

After we found the size of Bag End, we needed to make an educated guess as to where the hobbit hole was located–and no, Middle-Earth wasn’t an option. We came up with two choices:

  • England: Supposedly, Tolkien based the Shire on an imagined perfect England
  • New Zealand: The location of The Shire seen in Jackson’s mega blockbusters

We went with England. Why? Jackson created a great franchise, but The Shire sprang from Tolkien’s brain. Who were we to argue with his inspiration?

With a fictional map in hand, we needed to winnow down the island. Our journey led us to Worcestershire–based primarily on Tolkien’s love of the county. In addition, it happened to be the location of his aunt’s home.

According to Wikipedia, he wrote of Worcestershire: “Any corner of that county (however fair or squalid) is in an indefinable way ‘home’ to me, as no other part of the world is.”

From here we turned to finding the home’s cost.

No One Lives As Well As a Hobbit

Do you remember that earlier we noted Bilbo and Frodo’s home had three bedrooms? You probably glossed over it like a long-winded, meticulously detailed scene in LoTR. (Don’t lie. We know you did.) Because there were only three bedrooms, it was difficult to find comparable homes to base our assumption on.

Most homes that push the 4,000-square-foot mark have more than three bedrooms. We were, however, able to find agrarian homes with comparable square footage in rural sections of Worcestershire County.

The average price per square foot for a house in Worcestershire County, according to Zoopla, is £205, or $262. Our comparable homes had a price per square foot of £231 per square foot, or $296.

Armed with this, we were able to calculate Bag End’s estimated cost, which turned out to be about $1,330,000.

If you’re interested in purchasing it and short on funds, we know where a mound of gold is located. Of course, you’d have to fight off a dragon.


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posted on: December 10, 2012
1,500 views, 2 comments

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2 Comments

  1. Lindsay Gauntlett

    How can this be worth £1.3 m. it would collapse as the inside defies the basic principles of engineering ha

  2. Sarah

    Lovely blog! I can’t help but point out though that you can drop the ‘County’ part with Worcestershire in the few cases you use it. It is a County, but we don’t usually append it to the name and it sounds so funny! Lindsay, I don’t believe any self-respecting hobbit would live directly in the dirt, so instead imagine a hole lined with wood or something acting as a support to fight against those pesky engineering principles.

 

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