We totally get why developers are tearing down properties in Oak Forest; the home values of the newly constructed dwellings are stratospheric in comparison to the original ranch style gems from the 1940s and '50s.
Of those newly constructed (or still under construction) properties on HAR.com, at least 17 are listed for more than a million dollars. One 4,867-square foot home at 1526 Martin is even going for $1.4 million. In comparison, real estate listings range from $185,000 to $695,000 for midcentury properties, though on the lower end expect to find pink tile, lots of linoleum and a generous use of the descriptor "vintage."
This popular neighborhood north of Loop 610 and roughly bordered by Highway 290 to the west, Pinemont to the north and Ella/North Shepherd to the east, is definitely geographically desirable. It's also cute, with neighboring commercial and nonprofit buildings retaining some of the architectural flavor of yesteryear, and even sporting some of Houston's most iconic signs.
There are solid arguments from both sides in the endless debate between "build new" or "preserve" and, in spite of all the recent construction, it appears that more and more homeowners are choosing to renovate rather than tear down. Right now there are 60 homes on the market that have been constructed within the past ten years. That's in comparison to 94 properties on the market from those heady builder boom days when land developer Frank Sharp first established the neighborhood back in 1947.
Which do you prefer? Let's take a look.
Luxury home builder Thakkar & Bell Development Co. pulled out all the stops when designing this custom home at 1301 Chantilly Lane. Twelve-foot windows, closets to die for, and a kitchen with seamless quartz counter tops and Sub-Zero/Wolf appliances all add to the light and bright feel of this grand home. The second floor features the master bedroom and a convenient laundry room, plus three bedrooms and a large game room. This property has been listed by Realm Real Estate Professionals - Sugar Land for $1.299 million.
Custom builder Corbella, Inc. recently completed work on the modern contemporary home at 1718 Ebony Lane (shown at the top of this page). Creative details set this one apart from the pack: accent wood beams, pop ceiling over the dining room, and a recessed ceiling in the media/game room. The master closet is larger than some apartments in New York City, and even the laundry room features stylish accent flooring. This property has been listed by Martha Turner Sotheby's International Realty for $1.059 million.
According to the seller, renovations for this property at 1403 Chantilly began by taking everything down to the studs and starting over fresh. Huge props for preserving that fabulous midcentury front door with glass insets. Mature landscaping, a backyard oasis with pool and covered hot tub, and a chef's kitchen all add to this home's appeal. This property has been listed by Jessica McCreary Real Estate for $670,000.
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Don't be fooled by the unassuming facade of this 1949 traditional home at 1710 De Milo in Oak Forest East. Built on an 8,337-square foot lot with mature trees, the back yard is expansive. The interior does have a few updates, too, including granite countertops and stainless steel appliances in the kitchen, plus hardwoods throughout. This property has been listed by The Reyna Realty Group for $375,000.
Another vintage find with an affordable price can be found at 4003 Antoine on a large corner lot in Oak Forest West. It's been so beautifully renovated that we almost thought the listing price was a typo. Recently replaced roof and furnace, plus recently upgraded flooring and a chef-worthy kitchen with granite countertops work to make this home feel modern and fresh. This property has been listed by Keller Williams Platinum for $290,000.
Read more about the history of Oak Forest in this companion piece by contributor Chris Lane, The Changing Face of Houston.