It looks like prices have changed a little bit in the last 100 years. In case you haven’t priced homes lately, the cost has gone up. Here are some quotes from Metafilter.com about catalog homes from companies such as Sears.
Here’s the first sentence from the house description: “For $1,273 we will furnish all the material to build this Seven-Room House, consisting of lumber, lath, shingles, mill work, ceiling, flooring, finishing lumber, mantel, sideboard, building paper, pipe, gutter, sash weights, hardware and painting material.”
Most of these would go for $300,000 to $800,000 in Chicago right now. I’d say whoever bought one brand new has a nice ROI.
I know that in the early ’60’s, my parents bought a house in a housing development in Fairfield County, Connecticut for the princely sum of $14,500. You can’t even buy a new car for that little money these days.
in my past life as a real estate appraiser i discovered many of these ‘catalog’ homes in my hometown. i also noted the fact that if you put one of these side by side with a modern stickbuilt and blew a force three tornado by them both, the mail order home would fare much better. they just don’t build ’em like they used to.
Sigh … and I like the look of the Sears houses *so* much better than the new houses being built these days.
Here’s an interesting site that helps you come to relate to how much things cost at various times… according to it, in 1908, bread cost 5 cents a loaf; milk was .32 a gallon; a car cost you $500; a house could be had for $4500; stamps were 2 cents each; the average income was $915/year; and the DOW average was 86.