“Starter home” is a real estate term with a flavorless taste. It carries the sense of something temporary and not particularly inviting, a place to be discarded and forgotten as soon as circumstances allow moving up.
Consider instead a radically different concept: a small but beautiful home, executed with the best-quality components and craftsmanship, one that you would be happy to live in for a very long time—maybe permanently. But with a “starter home” price tag.
This isn’t a dream or a trick. It’s real. It’s possible because the houses are on quiet Whidbey Island where land and development costs are much lower than in the overheated housing market of Seattle and King County, and because the homes themselves are compact and jewel-like, not sprawling McMansions.
The Highlands at Langley has just opened up a new phase of the neighborhood, and there are two Ross Chapin-designed models available for building: the 1,461-square-foot Egret II at a base price of $379,000, and the 900-square-foot Betty Gable for $349,000. There are also some other lots remaining in the neighborhood, and several other designs for them ranging from 1228 to 1558 square feet.
None of our Highlands homes comes close to the national median size of a new home, which last year was 2,453 square feet.
None of our Highlands homes even remotely approaches the median value of a single-family home in Seattle, which Zillow currently pegs at $504,000.
Homes in the Highlands at Langley are priced like starter homes in Seattle or Bellevue. But they don’t look or feel like starters.
They’re beautifully detailed with fine joinery. They have garages in back and generous porches in front, promoting neighborly interaction. They’re built to a much greater energy efficiency standard than the building code requires. We recently won the Skagit/Island Counties Builders Association award for Best Energy Efficient House.
When you see the neighborhood, you’ll understand why we build homes to feel solid and permanent. It’s on a small rise half a mile from the village of Langley, surrounded by forests and farmland. It’s a beautiful environment that invites settling in, and one that asks that we take care of it.
Not for starters. For keeps.