The lighter side of real estate

Won’t You Be His Neighbor: The Cost of Mister Rogers’ Make Believe Home

Ever want to know how much it would cost to live in Mr. Rogers' neighborhood? Movoto tackled this hard-hitting question with our latest exposé.

David Cross

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If you really want to be Mister Rogers’ neighbor, you’ll need to get used to an infinitesimal living space. Glimpsed at the beginning of the 30-minute children’s show, Mister Rogers apparently lives in something akin to a model city—and by extension so will his neighbors.

After putting in some legwork, Movoto Real Estate has come to believe the iconic tan and brown home shown at the beginning of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” is from a Plasticville U.S.A. model kit, which happens to still be available.

Known as the Cape Cod House, this model has a retail value of $16 not including tax. Being real estate junkies, we’re used to finding comparables. Because of this, we assumed that similar model homes in Mister Roger’s neighborhood would cost about the same.

Courtesy of Plasticville U.S.A.

Of course, we didn’t stop there. We decided to figure out the cost of Mister Roger’s house if it were real. This took some deduction as Mister Roger’s crib was located in a model city. After some difficult Internet searches and number wrangling we came up with a figure.

Mister Rogers’ Plush Bachelor Pad

If Mister Rogers’ house was real, it would be worth $46,700.

It turns out that everyone’s favorite cardigan-wearing educator would live in a tiny bachelor pad. Said pad would include 1 bedroom, 1 bath, and come to just shy of 300 square feet. This comes to a price tag of $157 per square foot.

How’d We Do It?

This is what we know of the fabled children’s show: a version of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” ran from Feb. 19, 1968 until Aug. 31, 2001. In 1966, Rogers moved from Toronto to Pittsburgh, where he previously worked on “The Children’s Corner.”

At first, the children’s show aired regionally. But in 1967, with the help of the Sears Roebuck Foundation, the show was broadcast nationally and continued to do so until Fred Rogers retired.

Because the show was broadcast in Pittsburgh for nearly all of its existence, we made the assumption that Mister Rogers’ house and his neighbors would live in Pittsburgh. The bad news is that Pittsburgh is home to more than 100 neighborhoods.

To help us winnow down the list of neighborhoods, we turned to a source close to Mister Rogers, who asked to be left anonymous. Our source said there was no single neighborhood that could lay claim to the inspiration of the small-scale city.

“I don’t think we could narrow it down to any particular neighborhood…because in some ways the fictional one is a reflection of many aspects of Pittsburgh and Southwestern PA,” Movoto’s source on the inside said.

Digging deeper, we turned to Rob Owen, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette TV writer. Owens pointed us to Squirrel Hill, an east-side neighborhood that was Mister Rogers’ actual home for a time.

Source: Wikipeida. Created by Tom Murphy VII. The red section of the map represents Squirrel Hill.

Armed with this information, we felt comfortable making the assumption that Mister Rogers’ home would be located in the same neighborhood. Still, this little assumption came with one large problem: We couldn’t find 1-bedroom, 1-bath homes in Squirrel Hill.

How Bourgeois is That?

Did this slow us down? No, not really. Movoto’s resident economist calculated the difference in price between a 2-bedroom house and a 3-bedroom house. This turned out to be about a 10 percent difference. He used this to calculate the difference in value between a 1-bedroom home and a 2-bedroom home.

A Model Citizen

A second, and more difficult, problem to overcome was working out the size of Mister R’s abode. His model Cape Cod home was made to HO scale. For non-model junkies this means a 1/87 scale. After sending a team of ninjas to scour the Internet, we learned the length and width: 1.874 inches by 3 inches. From here we extrapolated the size of the house.

In the end, Mister Rogers may have lived large in our imaginations, but he definitely didn’t live like King Friday XIII.

The Movoto blog is a service of Movoto Real Estate. If you’re looking for a new home, keep us in mind. We have up-to-date real estate listings and local agents throughout the country. When you want to take a break from browsing homes, you can keep coming back to read awesome blog posts like this one.

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posted on: October 2, 2012
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