By Marilyn Kennedy Melia, CTW Features
The “ranch,” not the cowboy variety, but the modest one-story homes that built much of suburbia from the late 1040’s to early 1970’s may not have the cache of the two-story modern farmhouses, but it’s having a revival.
According to Brian Toolan of The Plan Collection, a firm that sells home blueprints, both families with very young children and aging Boomers have practical reasons for embracing the ranch. “The ranch, specifically, and one-story homes, in general, are now among our most popular house plans.”
But for decades, one-story ranch homes have made up a minority share of new construction in many areas.
In the northern Chicago suburb of Glenview, IL, Compass real estate agent Betsy Phillips, notes that “There are not many of these homes available.”
For Corcoran Icon Properties agent Debbi Di Maggio, who works about twenty minutes outside of San Francisco in East Bay, says: “When a buyer comes to us in their 50’s, that is the time they start obsessing about the need to purchase a home with a level floor plan.” While a one-floor bungalow takes preference over ranches for some, both styles are in short supply, DiMaggio adds.
In areas of the country where basements are common, ranch homes offer lots of square footage below. But for one-story living to be a real draw, all essentials, like laundry should be on the main floor, adds Bryce Fuller, a Baird & Warner agent in Northbrook, IL.
“The biggest stand out for ranch-style homes is that they usually have a wider layout, which requires a wider lot, meaning you get more lot for your money,” notes Scott Bergmann, of Realty ONE Group Sterling, in Omaha, NE. He sees buyers who want to add a three-car garage or add a suite for grandparents motivated to buy a ranch for the build-out potential of the large lot.
While aging buyers like the one-story living, the larger lot means that they must also factor in lawn maintenance costs if they don’t plan to mow themselves, adds Erin Hybart, Client’s First Realty, Baton Rouge, LA.