Eichler Owners

Let's Do This.... We have mentioned them, mentioned the people, who "live in glass houses" EICHLERS-what exactly is an Eichler –who is (or was) Joe Eichler and why are they as popular, if not, more popular today and finally let's talk real estate-the numbers. What is the value of an Eichler and why?

What is an Eichler?

We have all seen them and wondered about those "weird" houses with the flat roofs and no front windows clustered around the bay area that seem to trigger a strong response -people either love them like crazy or hate them with a passion. All the glass, but the energy bills, the radiant heat (which is so smart) and the radiant heat which is in the concrete floor (not so easy), bringing the outdoors in but no windows at the front of the house. To many they are a nod to nostalgia; the first housing developments that incorporated the new technologies of the 50's; plywood, Formica and stainless steel. To others it is the love of modern, simple, clean design.

But the fact remains, whichever side you land on love ‘em or leave ‘em, these homes (around 11,000 of them, built in California (mainly) from 1950 to 1974) have become a legacy to the man behind them and a joy for those that love them.

Who was this man?

Joseph Eichler was a developer who wanted to create a diverse, inclusive community. He wanted his homes to be affordable to middle class Americans and innovative. After World War II rows and rows of ticky tacky housing tracts were built across the nation. Victorians were considered an old style that didn't fit the now optimistic, hopeful reborn nation. Eichlers beckoned people to live in a modern, bold way and still do, which we will come back to, but first some interesting facts about the man Joe Eichler.

  • He was the first large tract builder to sell to minorities and even built a home on his own lot for an NAACP leader.
  • He had a policy that if you were not happy with your neighbor, (racial profiling), that he would buy back your home
  • He refused to be swayed by associates who saw greater profits in design shortcuts and inferior materials, Eichler never became rich by his developments.

Modern, Bold, Optimistic, Simple

It is said that you don't just buy an Eichler you buy a lifestyle, a personality-Modern, Bold, Optimistic and Simple.

There is a spirit about Eichlers, the look, the feel. It is like a piece of artwork, which you just love and know you have to be there.

One of Eichlers signature concepts bringing the outside in via skylights, floor to ceiling windows, atriums, gardens, patios and swimming pools really resonate today with our California lifestyle . You now see mainstream products like the Nana walls, outdoor kitchens and water fountains; all developed to not only extend your living and entertaining space but to create a peaceful, simple environment. We are seeing these products in all homes but specifically Eichlers.

So why are Eichlers as popular now as they were or more so...?

  • Because they are still on the leading edge of innovation, bringing new technologies to these homes that are cool and make life easier. Some of today's newer trends and products will be seen in these modern homes before your more mainstream homes because the people, the house and the personality, is what Joe wanted them to be: Bold and innovative.
  • The modern, clean lines are very attractive to the young technology population that values a simple modern aesthetic. In fact many people, who want a respite from the craziness that daily life brings, enjoy the simplicity of an Eichler, of stepping into your home away from the eyes of the public into a sanctuary, passing through the peaceful atrium and opening into a flowing room free of distraction and clutter.
  • The inclusive community, as a builder in many large Eichler communities in the bay area, I can tell you these homeowners know each other, socialize with each other, share advice with each other and watch out for each other. To find a home in one of these neighborhoods is worth its weight in gold.
  • Speaking of... Last but not least, the investment-only 11,000 Eichlers were built in California from 1950 to 1974. It is simply-supply and demand. There are no new Eichlers being built. So the homes that Joe built, with a starting price in the 50's of $10,000.00, today are going for, in many cases, over 1 million dollars AND there value continues to grow exponentially every year.

Where do we go from do you update these homes without losing the aesthetic, what are the downsides to owning an Eichler and how to overcome, where can you see Eichlers, what about building a new California Modern home today, is there a market, would people buy it even if it's not an Eichler?

This is a topic that could be around forever like Joe's house!