Architect

Frank Lloyd Wright Homes Are Popular With Tourists, But Difficult To Sell

Frank Lloyd Wright passed away on April 9, 1959. However, he remains one of the most influential and revered architects in the world. Throughout his career, the Wisconsin native was credited with designing more than 1,000 structures — which included churches, museums, office buildings, and residential homes. Although a number of the structures have become popular tourist destinations, the homes are notoriously difficult to sell.

As reported by Realtor.com, Frank Lloyd Wright homes “have been proven to be a solid investment.” In many cases, they are purchased by fans of the architect’s work — who regularly check for newly listed Wright homes. However, even some of his biggest fans are unwilling to purchase the homes if they are in disrepair.

A majority of the Frank Lloyd Wright homes are more than 60 years old. Although many, including Alabama’s Rosenbaum House and California’s Paul Hanna House, are still open for tours, others have been severely neglected. In many cases, buyers are unwilling to spend more than $1 million on a home they will need to spend hundreds of thousands to restore.

As reported by Crains, buyers are often leery of purchasing older homes — which may require a lot of upkeep. Real estate agent Marilyn Fisher said, “the young buyers who want a big house are looking for new houses, not old.”

Some realtors contend that Frank Lloyd Wright homes simply do not appeal to today’s buyers. Jameson Sotheby’s International Realty Vice President Pam Linn said she has seen a sharp decline in the number of buyers interested in purchasing Wright homes over the “past two or three years.”

In May 2016, a Frank Lloyd Wright home in Barrington Hills, Illinois, sold for the asking price after only three days on the market. However, it was an exception to the rule. In recent years, a majority of Wright’s homes spent more than a year on the market and were eventually sold for far less than the initial asking price.

For example, the owners of a Wright-designed home in Elmhurst, Illinois, have been trying to sell their house for more than three years. Although the owners have lowered the price from $1.29 million to $1 million, they still have not found a buyer.

In an interview with Financial Times, LW Reely agent Marilyn Fisher, who listed the Elmhurst home, said “modern buyers” are turned off by the smaller bathrooms and the house’s “dark and dated” design. She also suggests that the prestige associated with owning a Frank Lloyd Wright home is a thing of the past.

Despite the fact that Wright homes have become less popular in recent years, some realtors believe they “may be coming back into fashion.” Beverly Hills-based realtor Crosby Doe, who specializes in historical homes with unique architecture, said buyers are becoming increasingly interested in historical homes — which have more character than the standard “McMansion.”

Throughout his 70-year career, Frank Lloyd Wright developed and focused on his concept of “organic architecture” — which infused man-made structures with the existing landscape. He also incorporated the “Prairie School” style of architecture, which is known for its strong horizontal shapes and lines, and the “Usonian” style, which includes single-story houses with flat roofs and no garages, into many of his structures.

Frank Lloyd Wright was honored with numerous awards for his work, including a Gold Medal from the Royal Institute of British Architects and an AIA Gold Medal from the American Institute of Architects. Wright’s Fallingwater home in Mill Run, Pennsylvania, which was built on top of a waterfall, remains one of the most admired and recognized residential structures in the world.

It is unclear whether Frank Lloyd Wright homes will re-surge in popularity. However, his fans still believe his structures are more than simply buildings. To them, they are truly works of art.

[Featured Image by Thomas Barrat/Shutterstock]

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