A historic house generally meets several criteria before being listed by an official body as "historic." Generally the building is at least a certain age, depending on the rules for the individual list. A second factor is that the building be in recognizably the same form as when it became historic. Third is a requirement that either an event of historical importance happened at the site, or that a person of historical significance was associated with the site, or that the building itself is important for its architecture or interior.
Houses were first thought of as historic rather than just old or interesting, during the early nineteenth century. Government protection was first given during the late nineteenth century.
Historic homes are often eligible for special grant awards for preservation. What makes a historic home significant is often its architecture or its significance to the culture or history of the area. There are some organizations that offer services to research the history of a home and others that provide repositories for users to document the history of their homes.
Historic homes may still be inhabited, and thus should not be confused with historic house museums.
Historic houses in the United States
Houses are increasingly being designated as historic in the United States as a way to resuscitate neighbourhoods and increase the economic health of surrounding urban areas. Designating a house as historic tends to increase the value of the house as well as others in the same neighbourhood. This can result in increased development of nearby properties, creating a ripple effect that spreads to surrounding neighbourhoods. In some cases, fees are assessed of homeowners during the designation process, so there is not necessarily an economic benefit to doing so.
- Canadian Register of Historic Places – an on-line directory of historic sites in Canada that are formally recognized for their heritage value by a federal, provincial, territorial and/or municipal authority
- Historic Houses Association – non-profit organisation that represents 1,600 privately owned historic country houses, castles and gardens throughout the United Kingdom
- List of historic houses
- List of Irish Towns with a Market House
- National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 – U.S. legislation intended to preserve historical and archaeological sites in the United States
- National Register of Historic Places – the United States federal government's official list of districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects deemed worthy of preservation
- The Georgian Group
- "What makes a property historic?". Georgia Department of Natural Resources. Archived from the original on 23 September 2015. Retrieved 27 August 2015.
- Stewart, Elizabeth (2011). "A History of Historic House Reconstruction: Understanding the Past and Informing the Future". Internet Archaeology. 29. doi:10.11141/ia.29.3.
- Coulson, Edouard N.; Leichenko, Robin M. (2001). "The Internal and External Impact of Historical Designation on Property Values". Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics. Kluwer Academic Publishers. 23 (1): 113–124. doi:10.1023/A:1011120908836 – via SpringerLink.
- Narwold, Andrew; Sandy, Jonathan; Tu, Charles (2008). "Historic Designation and Residential Property Values" (PDF). International Real Estate Review. 11 (1): 83–95. Retrieved 22 August 2015.
- Zahirovic-Herbert, Velma; Gibler, Karen M. (January 2014). "Historic District Influence on House Prices and Marketing Duration". The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics. 48 (1): 112–131. doi:10.1007/s11146-012-9380-1 – via SpringerLink.
- Cowell, Ben, "Safe as Houses? The Gowers Report of 1950 was the first step in the postwar rescue of Britain's country house heritage." History Today (June 2020) 70#6 pp 22-24. online
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- Historic Houses Association of Australia
- Parks Canada – Canada's Historic Places
- UK Historic Houses Association
- US National Park Service's Register of Historic Places
- The DiCamillo Companion to British & Irish Country Houses – database of over 7,000 houses
- Hudson's Historic Houses and Gardens – UK guidebook of over 2,000 houses open to the public
- Lost Heritage – A Memorial to the Lost Country Houses of England – list of over 1,700 houses
- National Trust for Historic Preservation – online database of historic houses in the United States