Many Eichler homes have been upgraded... the plywood walls have been removed and replaced with sheet rock (safer in a fire and more sound proof,) kitchens and bathrooms have been remodeled, floors tiled, and windows replaced, insulation added on the roofs, etc. Once upgraded they can be quite lovely and more energy efficient than the originals.
People tend to either love Eichlers or hate them, but there definitely is a market for them. The price will depend on sq. ft., location, and condition, just as with any other style of home, and the prices will be comparable. The lower prices you have noticed may be because you have been looking at some of the smaller homes or homes that have not been remodeled or well cared for.
You are right. Most of the newer homes are a different style and that is a reflection of current tastes. But there are contemporay homes being constructed that incorporate some of the style concepts that Eichler endorsed... sleek lines, high ceilings, open spaces, and no attics. It is all a matter of personal taste.
My Aunt and her daughter (my cousin) both own Eichler Homes in Sacramento area down the street from one another. My Norcal family is very "artsy" type people. All we heard about for about a year before they finally purchased was Eichler, Eichler, Eichler. They all HAD to buy an Eichler Home. They raved about the unusual, contemporary architecture with the inhouse planters, the floor to ceiling windows and the straight lines throughout the floorplan including the flat style roof. These homes have an appeal all their own that you will either love or hate.
They are difficult to keep warm in the winter and cool in the summer unless they have been remodeled using insulation within the interior walls as well as all exterior walls and ceiling spaces. The indoor planters can be a bit of a nuisance to keep up if you don't have a green thumb and have an issue with the mildewish smell than can occur if not treated correctly, not to mention if animals or small children were to play in the planters. Many people have removed the planters in lieu of artificial greenery or the like.
The usual condition of these homes upon purchase is NOT good. These homes were built back in the 50's and 60's (don't quote me on the age) and will need vast amounts of updating and retrofitting not to mention becoming eco-efficient. That may be the reason that you see a dip in the pricing. But to purchase a fully restored and renovated Eichler home that maintained the characteristics of the original design would most definitely be priced right in line with the newer homes with recent architectural amenities that prove to be so popular.
From what I hear, that is the story. Now my cousin owns a rare two story Eichler she is in love with. But once again, rehab, rehab, rehab......that is the song of the day with my Norcal family. Hope I helped!
Diane Wheatley, Broker