The Pacific Northwest is blessed with spectacular geography and Seattle offers sights to behold in every direction from the Olympics to the Cascades, from Puget Sound to Mount Rainier to Mount Baker. What this area lacks is imagination when it comes to the style of (new) homes.
When I started here in real estate five years ago, I was introduced to the ubiquitous “split-level,” an externally non-descript contemporary style of home built usually on a slope. Non-descript to slightly ugly on the outside, the style makes great use of space with stairs leading from the entry straight up and downstairs. Most of these homes were built in the seventies and, being old and out-of-style, they can be tough sell.
Now we have the invasion of the Craftsman homes. I am not imagining this. I checked the Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS) for King County (that’s Seattle and eastern cites like Bellevue, Kirkland and Redmond). Of 194 homes, priced between 500 and 600K and currently for sale, 130 have been labeled “Craftsman” by the listing agent. The rest of them are “Contemporary.”
Score a fat zero for the other style options: Cape Cod, Colonial, Spanish/SW, Tudor, and Victorian.
What’s going on here? A builders’ conspiracy? Does any native Seattleite on Active Rain know? Has this craze hit other parts of the country? What’s the most popular style for new homes where you live and work?
In case you don’t know what a Craftsman looks like, here is a picture of a one I listed and sold quickly. There are entire subdivisions of these. In 20 years they will be as hard to sell as split-levels.
In case you’re interested in the origin of the Craftsman term, there was “The Craftsman” magazine in the early 1900s that popularized the “Arts & Crafts” style. Readers could order home plans, usually for one-story homes, often referred to as ‘bungalows.”
© 2006, Gerhard N. Ade