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The Burgeoning Bungalow Market

Posted by Johnine Larsen on September 25, 2014
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Bungalows are coming back. They’ve always been here, ever since their heyday in the early 20th century, but recently homebuyers have been hunting them down and pouncing.

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Why?

  1. Bungalows are affordable, compared to their bigger urban neighbors, but they don’t sacrifice character to be that way.
  2. Bungalows make for cozy, charming homes.
  3. You’ll often find them in those ideal, active urban neighborhoods low on crime and high on indie coffee shops and young families.

Features

You can spot a classic bungalow as soon as you know what to look for:

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  • One or one-and-a-half stories, often with a basement
  • Room-to-room layout with minimal hallways
  • Wide, overhanging roof
  • Exposed rafters under the eaves
  • Wide front porch beneath the main roof
  • Tapered or square columns supporting the roof
  • 4-over-1 or 6-over-1 sash windows
  • Hand-crafted stone or woodwork
  • Simple forms and natural materials

The Bungalow History

Bungalows came from India. The term originally referred to small, one-story homes with thatched roofs, where the East India Company used to house its English sailors. But then bungalows got bigger and moved to Britain (the thatched roofs disappeared), and then they crossed the Atlantic and joined America’s Arts and Crafts movement.

U.S. bungalows boomed between 1900 and 1930. The lower middle class was moving out of apartments and into private houses, and bungalows were cheap. You could order a bungalow kit from the Sears and Roebuck catalog for as little as $900. That was in 1910, but $900 back then still only equates to $23,500 today. A brand new house for $23,500? No wonder they were popular.

Bungalows invaded most American cities. They settled down in established neighborhoods and plopped down along streetcar lines. In many cities in the 1920s, you would find a “Bungalow Belt” of newly constructed homes.

The Bungalow Present

Many of those original homes survived. They predated urban sprawl, so you’ll find them in the old streetcar neighborhoods: Ballard, Maple Leaf, Green Lake, etc. And what might have looked cheap back then looks charming today. Bungalows have character. Bungalows have history. And bungalows, more often than not, have some of the best locations.

29984_18_1They are not cheap on a cost-per-square-foot basis—a single-story bungalow costs more than almost any two-story home with the same square footage. Plus, those prime locations cost money. However, when you compare bungalows to a three-story house in Queen Anne or a 2,000 sq. ft. place in Ballard, bungalows can’t be beat.

Pros

Affordable, compared to their neighbors

Small size (less cleaning, less wasted space)

The charms of an old house

No stairs (for those with young children or elderly relatives)

Privacy (a single-story grants more privacy than a two-story)

Centrally located in urban areas

Cons

High cost per square foot

Small size (crowded)

The upkeep of old house

Small bedrooms compared to current styles

Our Listed Bungalows

We are listing two bungalows right now: one in Maple Leaf, the other in Ballard. Both date back to that 1900-1930 bungalow housing boom, and both are absolutely adorable. Want a virtual tour?

Maple Leaf Bungalow (built 1923) 9015 12th Ave NE

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Ballard Bungalow (built 1925) 5807 28th Ave NW

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