Bush Joins Tear-Down Brigade

Down in Texas, former President George W. and Laura Bush have joined a dwindling crowd: the home tear-down brigade.

Though national home-razing stats are not available, the National Association of Realtors estimates that 75,000 homes are torn down annually. The most house-busting dust flies in suburban Chicago, the San Francisco Bay area, Palm Springs, Calif., and Washington, D.C., according to Richard Moe, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

But we can thank the Great Recession (and preservationists) for one thing: Home razing has dropped almost as much as some home prices, about 20 percent, according to the National Association of Home Builders. Tear-downs are not uncommon in affluent Dallas neighborhoods, where appraisers routinely give non-updated homes a 30-year shelf life before functional obsolescence creeps in. It's also not uncommon for some homeowners to knit together parcels of land to create multi-acre estates, especially in Bush's Preston Hollow, an affluent Dallas neighborhood well known for such gentrified acreage estates. During the boom, Dallas home demolition companies say they were tearing down two to three homes per week, especially in the more affluent sections of the city. Now they're lucky to bust a home every other week. Cost of demolishing a 5,000-square-foot home in Dallas? Between $10,000 and $20,000, depending on the foundation.