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Old real estate attracts lower-income buyers

Census Bureau report finds homes built before 1920 had median value of $98,794

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Housing units built before 1920 were valued at a little more than half the amount of those built since 1990 and the older houses generally have fewer amenities, the U.S. Census Bureau reported Tuesday. In a report titled "These Old Houses: 2001," the Census Bureau said the median value of the 4.5 million detached, owner-occupied housing units built before 1920 was $98,794, compared with $183,502 for the 9.9 million units constructed since 1990. The country's total housing stock in 2001 was 119 million units. Older buildings offer financial attractions for people with lower incomes, the Census Bureau reported. The value of old homes allows more opportunities for home ownership, and older properties are often less expensive on a day-to-day basis, based on the figures for monthly housing costs. But, while the price might be right, many old houses did not have the amenities of the newer homes and their maintenance costs tended to be higher. For example, fewer than 3-in-10 old houses h...