September 2015 Update: Long Live the Ranch

The Ranch

It’s hard to imagine traveling anywhere across the West without spotting a ranch house. Maybe that’s because ranch homes are the single most prolific residential home design in the US.

According to the National Association of REALTORs, the ranch style was temporarily edged out of the top spot by larger two story homes in the 1990s and early 2000s, during what some have dubbed the “McMansion Boom.”  But today’s renewed interest in ranch houses, from seniors, empty nesters, starter-home buyers and remodelers, has transformed existing ranch inventory into a hot commodity in many neighborhoods. And in today’s rapidly appreciating market, ranches often offer a more affordable option.

Why we love them: Design that is simple, functional, and flexible

These hallmarks of the ranch have made it popular:

– One story

– Low-pitched roof: hipped, cross-gabled, or side-gabled, sometimes with deep eaves

– Horizontal but asymmetrical arrangement, creating an informal feel

– An integral garage

– Rooms frequently open to one another and to private courtyards, patios, or porches

– Floor plans feature specific living zones: private sleeping areas separate from public, active living areas

Katherine Samon, author of Ranch House Style, perhaps sums up the ranch best…”the things we loved about ranches when we liked Ike are still attractive, perhaps more so, today: the liberation that comes with open-plan living, the casual feel of easy kitchen access, the comfort of having bedrooms and children near at hand, the convenience of one-level living, and the everyday luxury of smooth indoor-outdoor flow.”

What is Sparking the Ranch Revival?

Financially, ranch prices appeal to a wide spectrum of buyers.  For those who have decided to downsize, simplify and/or minimize their resource footprint, an existing ranch is the perfect fit.

As baby boomers approach and enter retirement, they’re reviewing their residential options every bit as closely as their stock portfolios or pensions, and the ranch is passing muster. Homes that can easily be navigated in good health or bad have merit, and nothing could be less complicated than a house with no stairs.

Cost of ownership? What could be more economical to maintain than a home where practically every component can be reached without a ladder, making it simpler for residents to manage and repair themselves.

For first time buyers, ranches make excellent starter homes. They are affordable, safe for little ones, and structurally suited to cost-effective improvements as budgets and families grow.

For investors, ranches can be relatively easily remodeled, by increasing the size of the master bedroom and/or the kitchen off the back of the house (lot size permitting), or doubling square footage by “popping the top.” In neighborhoods where remodeling activity is taking hold due to high underlying lot values, ranches are great investments, especially those with a full basement. Ranches also make great rental properties due to their flexible floor plan and low cost of ownership.

For architectural enthusiasts, certain styles of ranches are sought after classics. These include the Mid-century Modern, the Prairie style Ranch, or the Spanish-influenced Ranch.

Bottom line – the ranch is here to stay, and certainly a design that warrants consideration for any homebuyer.  Long live the ranch!

Trackback from your site.

Leave a Reply