Real Estate Monday: Old, New Homes A Market Opportunity

"New Old" homes like the Winslow are becoming a trend

“New Old” homes like the Winslow are becoming a trend

My first car was a semi-rusty 1966 candy apple red Ford Mustang.
It was 1980 and I think I paid $600 for a car that had poor brakes, a balky transmission, no A/C, no seat belts and more bondo than paint.
I loved the car.
Because despite its flaws, it maintained its pony car charm and beauty.
I’ve often wondered why American automakers didn’t capitalize on Baby Boomer sentiments and issue a series of “replicars” that would allow the AARP set to relive their youth but with the benefit of today’s fuel efficiency and technological wizardry.
I’d buy a classic Mustang or Camaro again if they included little conveniences like power windows, decent brakes and safety features like air bags.
There must be a reason that it can’t be done, because I’m pretty sure those old classic designs would sell.
That’s why I was intrigued when I saw an article in Saturday’s Wall Street Journal entitled “Looking for a New Old House?”
The Journal wrote about a new trend in which today’s homebuyers,  fed up by McMansions are flocking to homes that look “historic” on the outside but feature walk-in closets and modern kitchens within.
In communities throughout the country, architects and home builders are building new Greek Revival farmhouses and Craftsman bungalows that have the architectural integrity that seems lacking in so many McMansions today.
Architects and designers are perusing books from the early 1900s and late 1800s to gather ideas and make sure that their designs are as authentic as possible.
And buyers are gobbling up the new, “old” houses, which feature modern day amenities such as large closets, modern day plumbing, central air and higher ceilings.
The Bungalow Company in Bend, Oregon is doing big business selling plans for “new, old homes” and architects from coast to coast are embracing the concept.
So it occurred to me that a Florida builder might strike gold if he or she began to specialize in new, old design.
Because while Delray and Boca Raton have rich architectural traditions– with greats like Sam Ogren Sr. and Addison Mizner playing large roles in Boca/Delray’s history–Florida as a whole and too much of Boca and Delray have given way to cookie-cutter design.
I happen to live in a neighborhood of “tract” housing. And while I love my neighborhood and it is beginning to gain some character as it ages, my guess is lots of buyers would be attracted to more design and less cookie cutter.
I know plenty of people who love spending their weekends fixing up older homes and those people are to be commended for preserving local treasures. Next time you are out and about, take a close look at some of the older homes in Delray’s Marina  and Old School Square Historic Arts districts or Boca’s Old Floresta–you can’t help but fall in love.
But for some the constant repairs and cash calls make owning an older home hip but challenging. Wouldn’t it be nice to own a new, old home?
So if you are an enterprising builder reading this blog–give it some thought.
You’d sure stand out in the South Florida market.