Million dollar mansions are excellent examples of architecture, and Seattle has seen some great periods go by; but how about everyone else's homes? Here are six homes that represent more than a century of Seattle's housing history; for about today's median price. Picking the median value means missing out on the grand architecture, but it may mean seeing how everyone else lived.
Let's start in 2014 with a townhouse. For $550,000 you get 3 bedrooms and 2 baths. You also get a yard (1,137 square feet) that is smaller than the house (1,454 square feet.) That works because it is a three story unit that's capped with a roof deck. A very dense package, and also one with modern, practical conveniences like quartz countertops and radiant floor heat.
Step back to just after the internet bubble burst, 2002, and $535,000 gets you 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, and almost the same square footage, 1,460 square feet. The lot is even smaller, at 1,285 square feet; and instead of a rooftop deck you get a balcony and a patio. It is still relatively new, so there hasn't been as much need for remodeling - yet.
Jump back to 1967, because for some reason (probably Seattle's historically low inventory) north Seattle has very few homes for sale from the 70s through the 90s. Some forgotten decades, perhaps. In 1967, Seattle was booming. Boeing was busy with jets and dominated the economy like no industry since. A $525,000 house, not a townhouse, but a house, comes with 4 bedrooms, 2 baths, and 1,750 square feet. The Baby Boom was busy and they needed the extra rooms, but didn't build a lot more room. The island kitchen is an definite upgrade that would've been appreciated back then. The yard is a large 7,500 square feet and fenced, maybe a good way to keep the kids and the pets off the street. Now, the yard is a raised bed garden. So much for play space. At least there was a place to park, even if it was a carport instead of a garage.
Slide back to 1940. The US hadn't entered the war, yet, but Boeing was about to be in the front of another housing boom. Buildings were camouflaged, just in case. It was undoubtedly cheaper then, but today's $550,000 gets 3 bedrooms and 1.25 baths. Even that extra quarter bath may have felt like a luxury. The house is 1,380 square feet, a bungalow of sorts, on a 3,680 square foot lot (which probably had a Victory Garden out back.) An extra feature that made sense back then was a basement, a good place for a root cellar which is probably a candidate for an upgrade to a media room - assuming the head room is adequate.
This $549,900, 3 bedroom, 1.75 bath, 2,030 square foot house with a 4,399 square foot lot has nice numbers; but the listing makes it sound like even they won't be surprised if it becomes the focus of a major renovation. It was built in 1926, part of another bubble that was about to burst. Many marvelous remodels have probably gone through such a phase, or been razed and turned into townhouses.
The old house in the list is from 1907. The Great Seattle Fire was a recent memory, and the city was building because the Yukon gold rush had just passed through town creating brands like Nordstrom. In a couple years Seattle would hold a World's Fair, the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition. This nicely renovated 3 bedroom, 2 bath, 1,700 square foot house was built. It's price now is $545,000 and comes with a 5,000 square foot lot, triple the size of a modern townhouse lot. It also has some of the most modern features like a media room, while hanging onto some old, useful concepts like a garage and a mudroom.
Seattle's housing history, a lot of booms and busts, but the houses survive.
· 9607 Roosevelt Way NE [Zillow]
· 2633 NW 59th St [Zillow]
· 10552 39th Ave NE [Zillow]
· 7556 13th Ave NW [Zillow]
· 1802 NW 85th St [Zillow]
· 2839 NW 62nd St [Zillow]