Architecture Coach: Prairie

In suburban Chicago in 1893, Frank Lloyd Wright, America’s most famous architect, designed the first Prairie-style house, and it’s still a common style throughout the Midwest. Prairie houses come in two styles–boxy and symmetrical or low-slung and asymmetrical. Roofs are low-pitched, with wide eaves. Brick and clapboard are the most common building materials. Other details: rows of casement windows; one-story porches with massive square supports; and stylized floral and circular geometric terra-cotta or masonry ornamentation around doors, windows, and cornices. (Realtor.Org)

Any Prairie’s in Atlanta? I need pictures

Cool website: www.Prairiemod.com  (love this site)

Photo © Kenneth C. Zirkel / iStockphoto.com

The Frederic C. Robie House in Chicago is widely considered Frank Lloyd Wright’s finest example of the Prairie style. It was built in 1909.

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Employer-Assisted Housing Can Be the Answer

Rising home prices, increased housing costs, and today’s tightened mortgage market have put homeownership out of reach for many working families.

In fact, nearly 40 percent of Americans believe there is a shortage of available affordable housing, according to a recent survey by the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.

The survey also found eight out of 10 Americans believe that having enough money for down payment and closing costs is an obstacle to purchasing a home. Another 69 percent think it’s difficult to find a home that they both like and can afford.

To promote more affordable housing solutions for the nation’s workforce, hundreds of housing advocates from across the country are coming together Monday for the first-ever conference on employer-assisted housing benefits.

“Employer-Assisted Housing: Bring Workers Home” is taking place in Chicago at the InterContinental Hotel. The conference will highlight case studies of successful EAH programs from public and private sector employers and local governments and allow key stakeholders to connect and explore opportunities to work together to help increase awareness about EAH benefits.

“REALTORS® build communities and care about the lack of housing opportunities available to America’s low- to moderate-income working families, many of whom can’t find affordable housing near their workplace,” says NAR President Dick Gaylord.

The conference keynote speakers are national housing consultants Beverly Barnes and Beth Marcus; Sharon H. Douglas, vice president of human resources and chief people person, Aflac; and Carl Guardino, Silicon Valley Leadership Group.

NAR is sponsoring the event in partnership with the Chicago Association of REALTORS®, Illinois Association of REALTORS ®, Metropolitan Planning Council, National Association of Counties, National Housing Conference and the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

Source: NAR

Big-City Home Prices Are Faring Well

America’s largest downtowns have become some of the best places to hide during the housing downturn. Here’s a rundown of home-pricing trends in the central core of a sampling of the country’s largest cities:

  • Chicago The city’s prized Gold Coast neighborhood had record sales prices in the last year, but bargains abound in the city’s periphery. In Bronzeville, a gentrifying community, prices have dropped to as low as $85,000. Chicago’s desirable North Shore suburbs are continuing to do well: Prices are up, though sales volume has declined.
  • New York Manhattan neighborhoods like SoHo, the Lower East Side, Greenwich Village and the Upper West Side are all up in the last year. Brooklyn is also holding up well. Meanwhile, sales in New Jersey and Connecticut commuter suburbs are down 8 percent from the peak in mid-2006.
  • Boston Prices in the core part of the city are flat or slightly higher over the past year, though sales are taking longer. However, Condo prices in suburban Brookline, one of the most desirable neighborhoods, are down about 7 percent. City neighborhoods like Jamaica Plain and West Roxbury are up about the same amount.
  • San Francisco Prices are up strongly in the city’s favorite neighborhoods, including the Financial District, Telegraph Hill and Russian Hill. Distant suburbs have weakened. Sales in Alameda and Contra Costa, across San Francisco Bay, are down 18 percent and 27 percent respectively.
  • Los Angeles Without an active downtown residential core, L.A. is an anomaly, Riverside and San Bernardino counties are down sharply. Lower-priced homes in Palm Springs have lost about 24 percent of their value. Less-affluent cities like Ontario and Chino are down between 15 per cent and 31 percent. But prices are up in posh areas like Brentwood, Westwood, and the Hollywood Hills

Source: The Wall Street Journal, Jeff D. Opdyke 05/20/

Midcentury Modern Homes Are Hot

Homes built in the midcentury modern style continue to fetch ever-increasing prices from preservationists and others who love their rich woods and minimalist design.

The Kaufmann Housein Palm Springs, Calif., designed by Richard Neutra in 1946, brought $16.8 million with commission last week at a Christie’s auction.

Marc Porter, Christie’s president in America, said the buyer, whom he declined to name, exercised an option to purchase an orchard adjacent to the property for an additional $2.1 million that includes three cacti that were a present from Frank Lloyd Wright to original owner Edgar Kaufmann, Pittsburgh department store magnate, on his first visit to the home.

The 1960 Esherick Housein Chestnut Hill, Pa. — one of the few private residences designed by the influential Louis Kahn — is part of a contemporary-design auction on May 18 at Richard Wright in Chicago. It is expected to bring $2 million or $3 million.

Many of these homes aren’t very livable. For instance, the Esherick House has only one bedroom and the kitchen. The five-bedroom Kaufmann House comes with restrictions that bar its new owner from making any structural changes.

Source: The New York Times, Carol Vogen (05/14/), and Newsweek, Cathleen McGuigan (05/19/)

Nia Fact: I love midcentury modern- and am a collector of the furniture….however looking at the price tag of these homes, I may need to find a new hobby.

10 Fastest Growing U.S. Cities

The fast-growing areas in the United States are in the Sunbelt, with Texas leading the way, according to data released today by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Dallas-Fort Worth added more than 162,000 residents between July 2006 and July 2007, more than any other metro area. Three other Texas cities Houston, Austin, and San Antonio also were in the top 10.

Experts credit much of the growth in the South to strong local economies and housing prices that are among the most affordable in the United States.

A report earlier this month by Global Insight found that housing prices in the Dallas area were undervalued by as much as 30 percent.

Other areas experiencing growth included the New Orleans area, which is recovering from Hurricane Katrina and grew by 4 percent or nearly 40,000 people. During the same survey last year, the population of New Orleans dropped by nearly 290,000 people.

Meanwhile, Detroit lost more than three times as many people as any other metro area its population declined more than 27,300. Other areas losing more than 5,000 people were Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Columbus, Ga., Youngstown, Ohio, and Buffalo, N.Y.

The 10 biggest gainers:

  1. Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas: 162,250
  2. Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, Ga.: 151,063
  3. Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Ariz.: 132,513
  4. Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, Texas: 120,544
  5. Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif.: 86,660
  6. Charlotte-Gastonia-Concord, N.C.-S.C.: 66,724
  7. Chicago-Naperville-Joliet, Ill.-Ind.-Wis.: 66,231
  8. Austin-Round Rock, Texas: 65,880
  9. Las Vegas-Paradise, Nev.: 59,165
  10. San Antonio, Texas: 53,925

The 10 fast-growing metro areas

  1. Palm Coast, Fla.: 7.2 percent
  2. St. George, Utah: 5.1 percent
  3. Raleigh-Cary, N.C.: 4.7 percent
  4. Gainesville, Ga.: 4.5 percent
  5. Austin-Round Rock, Texas: 4.3 percent
  6. Myrtle Beach-Conway-N.C.-Myrtle Beach, S.C.: 4.2 percent
  7. Charlotte-Gastonia-Concord, N.C.-S.C.: 4.2 percent
  8. New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner, La.: 4 percent
  9. Grand Junction, Colo.: 3.7 percent
  10. Clarksville, Tenn.-Ky.: 3.7 percent

Source: The Associated Press, Paul J. Weber (03/27/08)