A Look Inside the Ranch Home Revival

April 12, 2016

One-story ranch houses, once overlooked in favor of two-story homes, are back in buyers' good graces. In fact, single-story homes are becoming so coveted in some markets that it’s prompted bidding wars for limited supplies, The Orange County Register reports.

“You see this cycle,” says Alan Hess, an architect and author of a 20th-century home design book called “The Ranch House.” “Many types of buildings will be popular for a while, then go into decline, get torn down, then inevitably there is a return of interest. The ranch house is now on the upswing in that cycle.”

Two-thirds of home buyers – or 64 percent – say they prefer a single-story home, according to a housing preference study released by the National Association of Home Builders. Broken out by age, 35 percent of millennials say they prefer a single-story home, 49 percent of Gen Xers, 75 percent of baby boomers, and 88 percent of seniors.

Yet despite the high demand for ranch homes, builders continue to largely favor constructing houses with two stories. Housing analysts say it's because two-story homes can be built on smaller lots at a time when the costs of land are escalating. The trend is particularly evident in Southern California, the birth place of the ranch style home, which is seeing skyrocketing land costs.

Ranch homes for sale in Southern California are commanding high prices. For example, a 2,746-square-foot ranch in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles attracted a bidding war with four offers of buyers trying to escape the two-story house trend.  The house was listed at $2.099 million but sold for $2.2 million.

“With the new developments, they’re two stories,” says Manny Fierros of Ontrac Real Estate in Whittier. “When you’re able to find something with a good-sized lot, and a single story, that’s what’s attracting buyers.”

Source: “All the Rage Before Disneyland Was Built, Iconic Ranch House Back in Demand,” The Orange County Register (April 11, 2016)