Home 90 Years of Price Change Today In History Years and Decades

What was a home like in the 1940's and how much did they cost

Even though the war started in the year 1939 homes were still being built everywhere during that year and on into the 1940s. In fact, according to a New Year's Eve issue of Lima Press nearly 500 thousand dollars (equivalent to millions of dollars in today's money) was spent on local home construction just before the turn of the decade (1939).
By 1940 the amount of money spent on home building and/or construction (and/or home buying) in the late 1930s had surpassed the half a million dollar mark for the Lima area. This was most likely a result of the Federal Housing Administration (F.H.A.) involvement that started in the year 1934, and inflating cost of materials needed to build these homes.
In case you are wondering, the F.H.A. gave the right people and/or groups insured loans to be able to buy homes. If you read the 1930s article you will learn of the criteria for receiving an F.H.A. loan. The major incentive of this organization was to make home living as safe and as inviting as possible to anyone who would live in a certain dwelling.
1947 California Home sample 40's home layout plan

Shelter Homes Built During Wartime

During wartime (World War II 1939-1945), several hundred homes in the Athens, Ohio area were built for the purpose of housing war workers. These homes were very commonly referred to as "shelter homes" as indicated by a 1945 copy of a local Athens, Ohio news publication.
These shelter homes that were built usually housed two to four families under one roof. There were a total of 700 of these homes built in all between the years of 1942 and 1943 (plus hundreds of other dwellings) built in the Point Peasant area.
These wartime shelter homes were built with some of the most modern necessities of the times. For instance, amenities such as heaters, kitchen ranges, light fixtures and bathrooms (presumably ones with flushing toilets) were installed in many of these homes.
Building these shelters probably would seem to most people even now to be an excellent idea. However, not very many of them were occupied. As a result a large number of these shelters were moved to areas such as Tennessee, Indiana, and Kentucky.
(These houses were either dismantled or carried down the river). Most likely the reason that not many of these homes were lived in is because of hard economic times preventing people from purchasing them.

Homes for World-War II Veterans

Part of the gruesome post-war recovery process included the process of providing adequate housing for war veterans. This was part of an effort to help wartime families and individuals to get back on their feet again.
However, making sure that there were enough homes for war veterans was a challenge. The world's resources had been very much exhausted during this time and it was hard to find the materials for home building after the war.
The other problem was that it was not for at least a couple of months after the war that building restrictions were limited. People who wanted a new home built anxiously awaited-often only to be disappointed-for the chance to be offered a home building permit.
Likewise, builders carried on with building plans even though those plans would be delayed due to the building material shortage. This period of time was very frustrating-to saying the least-for war veterans as well as their families.
It took years from this time to create enough homes to meet the needs of the post-war population. This was a process that became more a reality in the mid 1950s, which you will learn more about by doing further reading.

Characteristics of 1940s Homes

The use of wallpaper for interior design became more prevalent. Carpeting was used more often as well, most likely because of its ability to help insulate a home. Furthermore, installing a carpet in rooms of a home could be thought of as an alternative form of creative expression.
Asphalt was sometimes used in homes, as indicated in home want ads of an early 1940s newspaper. It was primarily used for kitchen tiling and/or roofing. Bathroom fixtures were quite often made of chrome during this time.
Additional amenities of a 1940s home would include items that are thought of as necessities by today's building standards. For instance, a hot water heater, barbecue patio, double garage, and/or heating system would be included in the sale of a specific home.
The exterior of a home built during this decade was often of a red brick siding, and the interior home flooring was often of hardwood, just as it was in earlier decades. Other luxuries of 1940s homes included newly-installed roofing, kitchen cupboards, spacious rooms, and thermostat controlled heat.
Tile flooring and walls in bathroom as well as duel gas furnaces were also characteristic of some of these homes. Furthermore, these homes were often placed on large lots with fertile soil.
Tenement homes and other multiple units were also springing up during this time period. The following is an example of a multi-unit tenement that was displayed in an Oakland, California newspaper:

Furnishings

After the war, housing materials and furnishings were more lavish than during the war. Chair and foot rest sets were very common, and they were made with spring seats, rounded cushions, and/or heart-shaped back.
You will get an idea of what these furniture pieces look like when you view the following photos:
chair with footrest set of furniture from the 1940's
Another signature furniture piece of the 1940s was the seven-way floor lamp, which at the time only sold for $9.95 new. The image below can help you visualize how tall these lamps stood.
Seven-Way Lamp Photo
1947 floor lamp
Home Heating Systems in the Late 1940s
It may interest you to know what heating furnaces looked like in the late 1940s. Some houses even have these models still installed in their homes today. Take a look at the following photo:
Examples of the type of heating furnace available in 1947
1941

Lincoln Nebraska

Bungalow 1 story 3 bedroom home
$3,000
1941

Oakland California

Modern Home 6 rooms hardwood floors throughout , gas furnace basement modern kitchen appliances
$4,250
1941

Lima Ohio

Bungalow with 10 acres with 6 rooms fine condition inside and out chicken coops and Orchard
$2,500
1942

Pittsfield Massachusetts

2 bedroom family house with Hot air heat 3 acres of land a home and will provide income
$2,500
1942

Appleton Wisconsin

Double Flat Nice home plus income 5 rooms 2 car garage 2 bathrooms
$6,650
1942

Monessen Pennsylvania

Brick Built 4 rooms bath, hot water , storage room , laundry room
$5,000
1942

Mansfield Ohio

Farm 130 acres rolling countryside spring water fenced in home , six room brick house with good barn and outbuildings
$5,500
1943

Mansfield Ohio

City Home 6 rooms all modern nice lot double garage
$4,200
1943

Long Beach California

Fully Furnished 3 bedroom new home furnished hardwood floors
$3,600
1943

Sheboygan Wisconsin

17 acre farm , fair boardings and equipment
$3,400
1943

Chicago Illinois

1st floor flat 5 rooms and garage
$6,200
1944

Valparaiso Indiana

Farm 16 acres with 5 room home barn and 3 poultry houses
$5,000
1944

Lima Ohio

Darling bungalow 2 bedrooms wood burning stove built in cupboards and attached garage
$4,000
1944

Lowell Massachusetts

2 pleasant 6 room flats electricity baths and double garage providing home and income
$6,500
1944

Saint Joseph Michigan

Lake Side Home 100ft Lake frontage 4 bedrooms large living room oil heat glass porch
$10,000
1945

Valparaiso Indiana

4 room new built house on 2 acres including furniture electric stove , garage and new poultry house
$7,500
1945

Zanesville Ohio

6 rooms modern home
$6,000
1945

Lincoln Nebraska

Income property 3 apartments furnished 2 separate baths automatic heat
$5,300
1946

Oshkosh Wisconsin

3 bedroom brick home with gas heating and 2 car garage
$11,500
1946

Middletown New York

3 acre lake front property 7 room house with hardwood floors
$7,500
1946

Bradford Pennsylvania

Modern Home 7 rooms full basement gas furnace 2 car garage
$12,000
1947

Elyria Ohio

Suburban Ranch 3 bedrooms utility room and dinette hot water heat double garage 295 ft frontage
$9,900
1947

Lincoln Nebraska

New Homes choice of 3 models and 5 floor plans
From $13,000
1947

Harlingen Texas

New Brick House 5 room house with all furniture included
$7,100
1947

Long Beach California

Mediterranean style Home with Most beautiful 2 story modern home overlooking the ocean well cared for grounds
$37,500
1948

Lincoln Nebraska

New Homes 2 bedrooms forced air ideal location
$7,000
1948

Sheboygan Wisconsin

5 room new home 2 bedrooms and furnace
$10,900
1948

Warren Pennsylvania

5 room bungalow on 1 acre with furnace electricity water gas and double garage
$7,000
1948

Dixon Illinois

Plot for sale 50 ft by 150ft
$500
1949

Pittsfield Massachusetts

Cape Cod Home 6 room with basement garage and laundry oil steam heat
$10,900
1949

Sheboygan Wisconsin

Lakeside Dutch Colonial style 6 rooms new bath and carpeting
$12,500
1949

Mansfield Ohio

90 acre farm with modern home all tillable
$11,500