View Full Version : 1950s home prices?

08-27-2005, 11:17 PM

I'm having trouble finding info on the price a 3-bedroom home would've sold for in the late 1950s. If anyone has this kind of info or knows where I can find it I'll be most grateful.

Here are the specifics (if they help! http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/smilies/smile.gif ), per the story I'm working on:

3-bedroom, 1.5 bath, 2 story home with small-ish yard, not fancy, just a single-family home in a small to "very small" town in the foothills of the Sierras, ~100-150 miles NNE of Sacramento as the crow flies (purely fictional town in the Lassen County area), the home would've been sold in 1959.

Please feel free to post or PM any info/leads.

Thanks in advance & have a great day! http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/smilies/smile.gif

08-28-2005, 12:07 AM
What years did they sell the home kits through Sears Roebuck? Anyone remember? You might try doing a search to see if you can find old catalog prices on that.

The best I can do to help you is tell you a family member built a home in the mid-1960's, 3 BR, 2B, den, LR, brick, nice home for the times, for $11000 (did the work himself, so probably $15000 if he had been paid).

Going on that my best guess would be about $10,000 for a 2 story frame (no brick).

Andrew Jameson
08-28-2005, 03:13 AM
Try this: Median historical home values (http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/housing/census/historic/values.html), state-by-state. Remember to scroll down to the "unadjusted" figures.

08-28-2005, 07:41 AM
I truly appreciate your responses, they've both helped a lot.

Fern -- It's funny, ~$10K was what my character said, but I had to double check her "facts." Your details are great too, I've never known anyone who built their own home, and hadn't thought of the "home kits." Thank you for sharing, it gives me a different perspective on how much a home was worth at that time than a dollar figure alone.

Andrew -- This is exactly what I looked for at the beginning, but I looked at the state level so the data wasn't presented this clearly. Thank you for the link, it's very helpful, not to mention interesting.

08-28-2005, 06:27 PM
Sounds like you've found the answer you needed but for you - and any others - what I have done in the past to check prices on housing and other things is to look up back issues of newspapers for the years I'm researching. Many libraries have copies of back issues - even small town ones - and it can be a great research tool. I've verified clothing and grocery prices, home prices (and rents) and much more.

Tish Davidson
09-03-2005, 11:49 AM
In 1951, my parents bought a three story house built around 1890 in a near suburb of Philadelphia, PA for $11,000. It is on a lot about 40' x 110' and has three rooms plus kitchen down stairs, 3 bedrooms and one bath on the second floor, and two rooms with slanty ceilings that could be used as small bedrooms on the third floor - also an unfinished basement. At the time they bought it, my father was teaching in the local public school and making about $2,500/year. They still live in the house. It's been paid off for years - lucky them.

09-03-2005, 08:43 PM
johnnysannie -- Thanks, that's good advice. I did that a lot when I was in school the first time (looooong time ago) but now I'm spoiled by the net I guess & expect instant gratification when I do research.
(I apologize for taking so long to thank you, but I'm new to boards & keep losing track of the threads. I just found the subscribing thingy, so hopefully that won't happen again -- or not so often anyway! :))

Hi Tish -- Thanks for your input. It's a little surprising that a home in a suburb of Philadelphia was so close in price to one in a small town in California in the 50s, but all my research is saying it was. Your parent's home sounds lovely, it must've been nice growing up there. :)