Has midcentury peaked?

Home improvement Q&A, pictures and news fro Mid Century Modern Homes and Houses(NOT for Real Estate)

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Has midcentury peaked?

Postby dorisday » Mon May 19, 2008 10:58 am

Or is the economy to blame? Food for thought from the Wall Street Journal and Philly Inquirer.

Lewis Kahn house fails to sell at auction for $2 million.
http://www.philly.com/philly/hp/news_up ... llion.html

Richard Neutra house in Palm Springs goes for (only!) $15 million.
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1210964 ... tateMain_1

My two cents: midcentury modern design is a perennial classic and where I'd put my money, economy or no. One only need to look at Crate and Barrel and other mass home goods retailers, or in the pages of just about any home design magazine, to see the continuing influence of midcentury.

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Postby Futura Girl » Mon May 19, 2008 12:41 pm


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Slim and Gabby
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I think it's the economy AND lack of respect for MCM

Postby Slim and Gabby » Mon May 19, 2008 1:34 pm

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Postby Perks » Mon May 19, 2008 1:48 pm

That's a rough ride your friend Jack has been on, M-M! I'm so glad my homebuying process was comparatively easy (emphasis on comparatively!!), and I'm glad things are turning around for him.

I would posit that the mortgage crisis is only a "crisis" in the handful of speculative markets that boomed out of control (So Cal, Las Vegas) or where the economy is completely in the tanks (Detroit). In other areas--say, Houston, Charlotte, etc.--the market is chugging along more or less as usual.

The lenders are under considerable pressure to be more liberal with their lending to get the market back on track. However, a market in an upward spiral is never "on track" -- that liberalness is what got the lenders into the trouble to begin with. So now the banks are also under intense pressure from both shareholders and regulators to also be more conservative with their lending standards.

Add to that: in some areas, where prices are in freefall, it's practically impossible to determine the market value of a property. If I was a bank (sadly, I am not!), I would probably be taking a very conservative line myself right now until I know what is going to happen to the market.

I would argue that the crisis is not what's happening right now. The crisis is what happened over the past several years, and what never should have happened. What we're seeing now is these overvalued markets returning to a more normal state that is not falsely inflated--where home values are based in relation to local incomes, not freewheeling lending standards and speculative land grabs with the anticipation of even further gains in equity.

Jack's bank (and that of your other friends) really should be more sensible, of course--or at least more open about things. I would not be surprised, though, if many banks are so overwhelmed by the turmoil right now that they simply can't deal with things on a more case-by-case basis. That only serves to sour the buyers and, as Jack suggests, exacerbates the problem by scuttling real estate deals that are legitimate and sensible.

Now, WITH THAT SAID...

I actually think that the collapse of the real estate market in certain areas will inevitably help save midcentury modern structures, with money no longer freely available to so many people for teardowns, flips, and other awful remuddles. When prices reach a level where more people can afford homes without stretching far beyond their means, you open up ownership of modern homes to an entirely new group of people. I know a couple people who are actively looking for MCM homes but are only now becoming able to purchase. I was in that boat myself until a few months ago; by resisting the drumbeat from friends, family, realtors, and everyone else ("why haven't you bought yet? buy now before you get priced out forever!"), I saved literally hundreds of thousands of dollars and can now actually afford the house in which I live.

So, given tighter lending standards and limited availability of "remuddle money," and with so many homes on the market, buyers are going to 1) have the opportunity to find a house that fits them better, and 2) be less able to afford substantial renovations. If you want your home to be a Greek columned palace, you'll have the advantage of 1) being able to find a house that already looks like Zeus puked on it, and 2) being able to get that house at a more reasonable price, and without having to spend the extra money to destroy a house that doesn't fit your tastes.

Hopefully, that will leave more midcentury homes available for the modern enthusiasts who have been waiting on the sidelines. (I say this, of course, as I watch a delectably original P&K home a block away from me being turned into a spectacular Home Depot Special!)
Last edited by Perks on Mon May 19, 2008 3:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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jesgord
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Postby jesgord » Mon May 19, 2008 1:56 pm

Those two auction results clearly prove that MCM is dead. About the future, I just want to say one word to you. Just one word. Plastics! :wink:

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Amen on stopping the flippers!

Postby Slim and Gabby » Mon May 19, 2008 1:56 pm

I agree with you, Perks.

I have been thinking there are some of those dreaded flippers that will be caught hanging out in the current climate and that time can be our friend as far as preservation goes. There is a really cute duplex in our neighborhood that was bought by a flipper right as we were looking. Too bad he has to live in his Home Depot paved over nightmare now-he is quite the negative example.

Yes- there are lots of great opportunities for folks who care to get into the market. I hope the current trendy interest in mags like Domino, etc. can only help get restoration off to a better start.

I love all the great ideas from folks here.
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Postby Miguel » Mon May 19, 2008 2:17 pm


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Postby Chimay » Mon May 19, 2008 5:20 pm

I think it's very rare for homes to be able to demand a premium due to their architectural origin or style - regardless of the architect. At least this has been the case in San Diego. The fact is, even with the resurgence of interest in mid-century modernism over the past ten or fifteen years (wow, has it been that long?), we're still a relatively small group - not enough to move the housing market in either direction, frankly - except in perhaps a few concentrated zones of MCM fans such as Palm Springs and West LA. Everywhere else, I think you'll see the fortunes and values of MCM homes rise and fall with homes of every other style.

By the way, it seems strange that people keep looking for signs that mid-century modern is a fad that's past its prime. We had similar discussions on that topic on this very website a few years ago. To me, that's like saying colonial style homes are passe or something. It's just a style like any other. There will always be people that like it over something else. Personally, I haven't seen any weakness in the market for mid-century modern art and furniture. But if anyone wants to get out of the market while they can, I'm looking for a few more Knoll Saarinen Tulip side chairs. I'll take them off your hands for $20 each! Act now before it's too late! :P
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Postby PaulKaplan » Tue May 20, 2008 9:55 am

Mid-century is alive and well in Palm Springs. I don't think the mid-century market has peaked at all. If anything, there seems to be more international interest- In the past year, I've received a number of inquiries from Europe and Asia.

I do think prices were rising at such an incredible pace, Mid-Century homes became unobtainable as 2nd homes for many, here in the Palm Springs area. Our prices seem to have leveled off now, back at what they were in 2004. And now being more reasonable and having more inventory, more buyers have been flooding the market lately. Sales have been increasing steadily, up approximately 15% over April of 2007.

A mid-century home is of course an investment, like any home. However, they are also extremely comfortable houses that embrace the outdoors- new home builders have been trying to immitate mid-century architecture for the past 10 years! But its hard to really capture the essence of a mid-century home- I think there will always be a demand for the originals!

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www.MidCenturyModernPS.com
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I'd say

Postby modfan » Tue May 20, 2008 10:40 pm

the inflated prices for real estate are the problem, now at least they are decreasing down to realistic levels regardless of whether it's MCM or not.

But one thing I've noticed, driving thru Bel Air there were at least 3 houses that either looked empty (like foreclosures) unkempt etc. or there were remodels that were stopped mid construction and looked like they were that way for a while. I'd never seen that before.

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Postby Luka » Wed May 21, 2008 5:42 pm

"Has midcentury peaked?"

Yes, now everyone can sell me their furniture and other items at pennies on the dollar, right? :wink:

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Re: I'd say

Postby Perks » Thu May 22, 2008 6:50 am

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I

Postby modfan » Thu May 22, 2008 7:51 am


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Postby Joe » Thu May 22, 2008 10:56 pm

MCM peaked about 1957-58 :wink:

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Postby Chimay » Fri May 23, 2008 11:40 am

well put!
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Postby SDR » Sun Jun 01, 2008 9:54 am

Last edited by SDR on Sun Jun 01, 2008 8:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby dalangdon » Sun Jun 01, 2008 11:35 am


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Postby fillmore » Sun Jun 01, 2008 1:01 pm


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Mid-Century Modern has not peaked-

Postby JGropp » Fri Jun 13, 2008 9:22 am

Mid-Century Modern has not peaked in my experience. In fact it seems to be
sought out more and more. One factor is that the original owners may have
passed on and children raised in MCMs seek out a way to live the way people
used to- with simplicity, modesty, related to nature. Yet another consideration
is that many of these homes are located in established neighborhoods. Jerry

Here's a recent example of mine:

Image

Jerry Gropp Architect AIA PS

7620 SE 72nd St., Mercer Isl. WA
98040 (206)612-7367
eMail
JGropp2@AOL.com
WebSite:
http://jgropp2.googlepages.com/alterationsanadditions

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Postby agent lemonade » Sun Jun 15, 2008 8:38 am

Just recently, an Eichler here in Sacramento was put on the market for $349000 to compete in the current market. The sale is currently pending.


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