Investing in History: Benefits of Buying a Home in a Historic District

Historic districtsPurchasing a home can be an involved, complex and expensive investment with no specific guarantee of a sizable rate of return on the investment—unless you buy the home in a classified historic district in the community.

?Homes purchased in a historic neighborhood appreciate in value,? said Fareeda Stokes, a realtor at SBR Realtor in Ewing, NJ?a suburb of Trenton. Stokes said in many cases homes located in a nationally, regionally or locally designated historic district tend to be higher quality homes and perhaps better maintained because they are closely monitored by the city. Major renovations such as a new roof, fencing or adding a deck or porch on properties in a historic district requires inspection and a special approval from the city.

According to the National Historic Landmark Division, local land marking and design review guidelines increase property values by highlighting certainty into the marketplace and improving the overall economic climate. The historic designation of a district is based upon various criteria including location and landmarks within the specified area. For example, in the city of Trenton, the Landmarks Commission for Historic Preservation has designated 58 local historic landmarks and properties throughout the city of Trenton and eight historic districts with historic or special landmarks. The designated community landmarks could include a park, a community center, health care agency or an assisted living facility.

Buying historic is not just a regional or local fringe benefit?it’s a universal perk. According to a recent study at the Department of Urban Planning and Design Center in Tucson, (AZ) a comparative study of local historic districts in New Jersey, Texas, Indiana, Georgia, Colorado and Maryland showed consistent and pervasive economic returns for homeowners when they buy historic. Additionally, national and state-level property designations convey more prestige to an individual property, area and community.

In New Jersey, historic and landmark friendly homeowner communities may not offer tax breaks or other incentives to prospective buyers. However, a guaranteed uptick in the value of the property is a selling point for realtors.? ?I’ve sold several homes in historic districts,? Stokes said. ?Some of those homes were to first time home buyers that liked the idea of living in a historic community and buying a piece of history.?