Living on the Sacramento River is a whole lot more affordable in today’s market than it was in the past. I wanted to share a bit of recent research as I just finished up an apprasial on Garden Highway. Here is a graph of all sales along Garden Highway in Sacramento County over the past ten years. Keep in mind these are only sales that closed in MLS, so there may be other private transactions or newly constructed custom properties not accounted for below. What do you see?
Real Estate Market in Sacramento
There are about 3,000 Streng homes in the Sacramento area, and I just finished appraising one recently. I have valued quite a few Streng homes through the years since they show up in many local communities.
You may be wondering what in the world a “Streng” home is, so let me break it down in a nutshell. A Streng home is a mid-century modern (MCM) home built by the Streng Brothers and designed by Carter Sparks. Strengs have a modern feel to them, lower pitched roofs, high windows, few windows in front, skylights in many cases, and they often have terrariums too. Strengs were influenced by Bay Area builder Joe Eichler.
Here is a photo of a Streng home in Elk Grove:
An article from “The Beam Guy’s” website helps give insight into Steng homes.
The Streng Brothers seemed to have had an almost intuitive grasp of where the valley was headed, and what was needed. The enclaves are not sprawling, endlessly repeating, cookie-cutter tracts – they’re neighborhoods. Some (River City & Evergreen Commons) even include private parks that foster a safe and family friendly place to create that all-important sense of community. These homes were affordable, and the Streng Brothers fought for and received FHA approval — a legacy that is still profoundly shaping these lovely neighborhoods. Many are still filled with teachers, professors, and a variety of other professionals. Several have neighborhood associations with an online presence — filled with photos, upcoming events, residents’ stories, and even favorite recipes (see the links on the far left).
Although categorized as mid-century modern (a.k.a. MCM, Postwar Modern, or California Modern), deserving of historic note and preservation, these homes truly were forward looking. They fit today’s “modern” lifestyle seamlessly. The Streng Bros. worked with Carter Sparks to create a home, uniquely suited to the hot Sacramento valley: interior atriums domed with tinted acrylic to block heat, exposed aggregate flooring enhances cooling, open living areas allow free flowing AC, and lots of natural sunlight without the “hotbox” effect. Moreover, these homes provide a private retreat from the hectic 21st century world, with front exteriors that are setback and substantially closed-off from the road, and back exteriors with lots of windows and sliders that tend to open into beautifully landscaped backyards and patios.
Here are some relevant links in case you’re interested in Streng properties.
Blog cataloging restoration of an Eichler home in Land Park
Floor Plans for Streng Homes
Modern Valley Blog
Pictures of Streng Houses on Flickr
Sacramento Bee Article
Sacramento Mid-Century Modern Tour
Streng Brothers Homes
If you live in or have lived in a Streng home (or would like to), I’m curious to hear your thoughts about Strengs. What attracts you to the design? What do you like most? Anything you don’t like? Or if you’re in real estate, have you sold many Strengs? In your mind, what is the perception among buyers for Streng homes?