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  • Writer's pictureNancy Bennett

Mortgage Rates Don't Deter Active Buyers

October is almost here, and it feels like it may be a very interesting month in real estate. Mortgage rates hit a 23-year high this week, but that may not be affecting homebuyers as much as anticipated.

A couple of weeks ago, we listed a home for sale in Concord. During that first weekend, 50+ groups of attendees came through our two days of open houses. Not all of those attendees were homebuyers, but a large percentage were. I had a lot of conversations about what is going on with the market, how that affects home sales, and where the housing inventory is!

If you’ve been reading these blogs over the past few months, you may realize that the market is relatively the same. Homes that are prepared well and priced for this market are selling in a matter of days. Buyers who are ready to buy are making offers (even if the interest rates are higher than a year ago). And home sellers are few and far between, due to the large amount of equity that they have in their homes and lack of motivation to move.

I expect more of the same as we begin Q4 (October to December) and close out this year in real estate.In a few weeks, our team will be selling an Eichler home in Concord, so I thought I'd share some information on what type of home this is and why it’s so desirable.

Eichler homes have come to epitomize a certain type of Mid-Century Modern style. If you’re a fan of clean lines, traditional materials, and minimal ornamentation, chances are good you will adore this architectural style.

What makes a house an Eichler?

Eichler homes are examples of Modernist architecture that has come to be known as “California Modern,” and typically feature glass walls, post-and-beam construction, and open floorplans in a style indebted to Frank Lloyd Wright and Mies van der Rohe. Eichler homes encouraged “indoor-outdoor” living, with outdoor atriums in the center of the home that brought in the California sunshine. Like most of the best of mid-century architecture, these homes are highly prized by today’s buyers.

As a real estate developer working in California in the 1950s and ’60s, Joseph Eichler was one of the primary builders responsible for bringing modern homes to the masses. He built 11,000+ houses around the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles, and changed the reigning ideology about what was possible for middle-class suburban homes.

What do Eichler homes look like?

“Even though the homes were mass-produced, they had a feeling of being both industrial and organic, with an intimate connection to the landscape,” says Chris Lim, founder and CEO of Climb Real Estate. Inspired by his time living in a home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, Eichler wanted to take Wright’s design ideas and make them accessible to middle-class homebuyers.

“Typical homes of the time were compact brick houses with asphalt shingles and small windows,” explains Andrew Mikhael, an architect in New York City. Typical features of an Eichler home, on the other hand, include big windows, clean lines, indoor-outdoor living, open-air foyers, natural light, and an open living space.

A true Eichler will have these features: small windows facing the street and huge windows facing an outdoor space in the back; post-and-beam construction; center courtyard and roofed atrium; an abbreviated entry court; carport; and “front-to-back” planning that puts the living spaces in the rear of the home. These homes also feature radiant floor heating, flat, foam roofs and the HVAC is also found on the roof.

Why are Eichler homes so desirable?

Eichler’s modernist vision is definitely in line with what’s in style at the moment: bright, clean, open-plan living and furniture that give a nod to Mid-Century Modern style.

Eichler homes tend to appeal to many generations. “While Eichlers originally were built as affordable housing options, today they are widely considered by buyers to be pieces of art and architectural gems,” says Justin Fichelson, the agency’s managing director of estates division. “They are quite common in the Bay Area and sell fast.”

With about 175 of these homes in three separate neighborhoods, Concord has the third largest concentration of Eichler homes in the East Bay!

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