If that doesn’t sound like a lot in a community with so many doctors, PhDs and entrepreneurs and a foodie scene that is the envy of our neighbors, you’re right. In fact, Orange County with a much smaller population had 28 and Chatham had 32. Wake County had 155.
In fact, Durham’s median home price is considerably below our neighboring counties and the ratios above are similar all the way up the deluxe scale. Is this good news or bad news? It depends on what you are looking for.
As has been the case for many years, there is a premium associated with living in Chapel Hill. In Orange County the average size of the homes in this price range is about 22% smaller and the average cost per square foot almost 30% higher than in Durham. The difference in Chatham is not quite as significant but still substantial. The averages in Wake County are much closer to those in Durham but still higher.
So, you can get more for your money in Ordinary Durham even though there aren’t as many choices. The quality of the inventory is not a problem either. You can get something newer and not much different that you would get in any of the Triangle communities at the lower end of the price range.
Nevertheless, the current crop has a couple of interesting homes in two of the older urban neighborhoods that are my favorites. The first is pictured above and is at 2206 Wilshire Drive in Forest Hills. The designer of the home was Richard Harkrader who build many smaller homes in Durham on in-fill lots. What they have in common are solar orientation and a kind of roughhewn modernism that makes them distinctive.
This is the largest Harkrader home that I have seen. Art lives well in this home and there are two parcels as part of the package for almost an acre of land. One of the more remarkable features of this home are the numerous decks. The home itself has 2,468 square feet but there is also 2,455 square feet in deck placed around the home. If you are looking for a McMansion hugging the road, a huge slab of concrete driveway for your front yard and thirty linear feet of granite counters in your kitchen, this is not the home for you.
I fell in love with this kind of open, multi-level floor plan back in the 70’s after my first visit to Reston in Northern Virginia. This makes my second choice to feature in the current crop kind of surprising. Nothing about it is terribly distinctive but it looks as comfortable as an old shoe. Except for the stunning sunroom addition, the first reaction a Realtor might expect showing 2740 Spencer Street in Duke Forest is “dated.” Fair enough, but this is quality dated.
The dilemma here is there is no excuse to redo the kitchen or the baths because of low quality or excessive wear. The powder blue tile in one of the bathrooms even looks retro. And it’s spacious; five bedrooms, four full baths and 4800 square feet plus garages and decks. Twelve rooms in all. One of the most attractive features of this home is its proximity to Duke. It’s also a bargain at $98 per square foot or 68% of the Durham average in this price range.
If you know the story of Duke Forest you know that many of the homes were originally custom built by Duke faculty and staff and you get a wide variety of styles and sizes. This is sort of the antithesis of the “tiny house” movement and is built for comfort and a lot of furniture. It’s empty now and easy to view and consider all the options for that grand piano that never seemed to fit well any place you lived in before.
If you want details on these two or any of the homes in this price range in Durham, click this link. The home on Spencer is the first in the list and the one on Wilshire almost at the end. The link expires after a while, so if you’re looking at this in 2017 it’s not going to work. However, you can let me know and I’ll send you the updates.
Oh, and if I’ve tweaked your interest, I’ll be glad to show you any of these homes and represent you in the sale. It is, after all, how I earn my living.