Vintage home prices are booming

Buyers are willing to pay for history, agents find

Sep.September 24, 2017 11:10 AM

A Sears’ kit home, named Alhambra, listed in Milford, MA, back; Sears’ catalog listing for Alhambra including floor plans and a drawing of the exterior, front overlays. (Zillow, back; Sears Modern Homes, front overlays)

What’s old is new again, real estate agents are discovering as buyers lay down millions in order to own vintage houses known as kit homes.

Before these homes became sought-after relics, they were built as an affordable option for families who would order their house from an Ikea-like catalog. The pieces needed to assemble said house were then mailed right to their doorstep for assembly.

One of the major companies behind these made-to-order kit homes, Sears, Roebuck and Co., had over 300 styles listed in its catalog and sold about 70,000 kit homes between 1908 and sometime in the 1940s, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Kit homes built in the 1920s were sold for between $600 and $6,000, but, today, these homes can bring in a million or more according to real estate agents, who say kit homes are becoming a valuable feature to include in listings.

Long & Foster Real Estate’s Sky Group agent Anna Mackler told the Journal a listing that explains a house’s history as a kit home “made it more appealing” to buyers. A client of Mackler’s willing forked over $200,000 more than the asking price simply because they wanted to “own a piece of history.”

Other agents report selling kit homes for prices ranging from about $1 million to close to $3 million.

Though the history of kit homes — how many are left and the rarity of a particular style — is poorly documented, various bloggers have taken up the mantle, such as Kit House Hunters and Sears House Seeker, to preserve the history which has turned out to be more lucrative than home buyers a century ago could have imagined.

[Wall Street Journal] — E.K. Hudson

Related Articles

Web searches for terms including “homes for sale” are way down up north. (Credit: Pixabay)

Fewer Canadians are searching for homes online amid pandemic

Massive stimulus package has limited upside for real estate

Massive stimulus package has limited upside for real estate

About 450 sellers pulled their listings last week (Credit: iStock)

As New York shut down, so did its resi market

Is REBNY and StreetEasy’s decision a much-needed reprieve or data manipulation? (Credit: Pixabay)

Decision by StreetEasy, REBNY to stop market clock triggers debate

The Atelier at 635 W. 42nd Street and 70 Charles Street (Credit: Google Maps)

One of NYC’s priciest listings to appear on the market last week is already in contract

Jacqueline Friedman Brogadir and 993 Fifth Avenue, 10th Floor (Credit: Brown Harris Stevens, Patrick McMullan/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)

Daughter of Goldman exec nabs Fifth Avenue co-op for $25M

Clockwise from top left: Halstead’s Diane Ramirez, Douglas Elliman’s Howard Lorber, Corcoran Group’s Pam Liebman and Brown Harris Stevens’ Bess Freedman (Credit: Getty Images; iStock)

Tension lingers over showings as brokerage chiefs navigate pandemic

(Credit: iStock)

REBNY orders days on market calculation to stop for resi listings