Building a Home: Tract House or Unique Contemporary Design?

Noble Horvath

Home builders in the U.S. are busy. Simply put, there aren’t enough existing homes to go around. People are building if they cannot find a home that suits their needs. And in such cases, they generally have a couple of options: building a tract home or going for a custom-designed […]

Home builders in the U.S. are busy. Simply put, there aren’t enough existing homes to go around. People are building if they cannot find a home that suits their needs. And in such cases, they generally have a couple of options: building a tract home or going for a custom-designed home on a separate piece of property.

If you were building, would you choose a tract house in a local neighborhood? If so, there are no shortage of options in most locales. Tract housing is booming right now. But if you prefer custom modern design, you might have to buy a separate piece of land and hire a contemporary architectural firm.

Sparano + Mooney is such a firm in Park City, Utah. They specialize in mountain modern and contemporary design. They design permanent residences, vacation homes, and even commercial buildings. They say that contemporary design is what the bulk of their clients are looking for.

 

Affordable and Functional

There are valid reasons to choose a tract home over a custom-built house on a single piece of property. For starters, tract homes are affordable and functional. They may be similar to all the other homes in the neighborhood, but this is one of the reasons they come with a comparatively lower price tag. Builders save money by selling only three or four designs with which to populate entire tract developments.

Today’s tract homes are comparable to the 1990s McMansions in terms of function. They come with modern kitchens, ample living space, and a sufficient number of bedrooms to keep the entire family happy. They differ from the McMansion philosophy and that they do not tend to be cheap imitations of luxury homes.

Tract homes are a great option for families that need to prioritize their home building budgets around function. Moreover, housing tracts tend to be near schools, shopping centers, and other amenities. That makes them convenient to the things that are important to homeowners.

 

Modern and Customizable

Contemporary homes built outside of track neighborhoods tend to be more modern and customizable by design. For example, Sparano + Mooney doesn’t present clients with three or four designs and ask them to pick from among them. They custom design each home according to the preferences and needs of the client.

Today’s contemporary homes have their own aesthetic characteristics. For example, large living spaces that incorporate kitchen, dining room, and great room are fairly common. So are high ceilings and abundant windows that welcome in natural light.

The interesting thing about contemporary home design is that it is not just an aesthetic. Contemporary design also focuses on:

  • energy efficiency
  • passive design
  • sustainability

The same three elements can be designed into a tract house. More often than not though there isn’t such a strong emphasis in the track environment because building this way costs more money. Tract housing needs to remain reasonably priced in order to sell.

 

Budget or Customization

For a lot of consumers, the choice between tract housing and contemporary design boils down to a difference between budget and the desire for customization. It is a given that most of us would prefer to custom design a new home. But contemporary homes designed from the ground up are expensive. Those whose budgets will not cooperate must look to tract housing instead.

What about you? If you had the opportunity to build a new home from the ground up, would you elect for a contemporary home designed by an architect or would you go with a tract house? Neither option is better or worse than the other. The options are just different.

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