Cookie cutting houses, which are usually identical, are typically found in the suburbs.
When working on a housing development with multiple houses, one way to save money on materials is to create nearly identical houses. This means that all parts for each house can be purchased in bulk, which often results in discounted material prices. Of course, when all the houses are ready, they can offer little variation in appearance, and for that reason they can be called prefab houses. They look like they were all made the same way, with the same cutter.
The idea of creating houses in this way dates back to the mid-20th century, when the first dwellings were built. It’s still not difficult to find these neighborhoods, although over the years the people who live in these houses may have significantly modified them to look less identical. Because the idea of these housing projects is distasteful, prefab homes today tend to offer a little more variety.
There can be different sizes of homes, different ways to position the home, and other different features to accommodate buyers of different tastes and price levels. Still, the houses look related, if not entirely identical. These developments are analogous to comparing a batch of chocolate chip cookies. Each may have a slightly different number of chips and circumference, but they are still all recognizable as the same type of cookie.
There are very strong feelings about prefab homes. Some people really don’t like them as they can inhibit individual expression too much. This is particularly true if buying a home means belonging to a homeowners association, where any changes to the home, including items like paint, may require approval.
On the other hand, there can be an advantage to buying prefab homes. Firstly, they can be cheaper, although there are very affluent communities where the style of home is also not very individualized. Second, materials and construction can be of particularly reliable quality, as suppliers and manufacturers are likely to be the same for every home. Especially when buying old tract homes, tract tends to have a good or bad reputation for construction and materials, which can apply to all homes.
The Cookie Cutter House has evolved as a suburban feature and remains a vital approach to building multiple homes at once. They can be attractive to some people because they can be cheaper and have a certain quality. Alternatively, the sameness of the houses and neighborhoods that own them is a disincentive to others. This negative opinion of prefab homes, when maintained, is not necessarily strong enough to deter people from buying residential real estate, especially when many neighborhoods are made up mostly of prefab.