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Austin Ranch-Style Homes

An Austin-area ranch style home with mature trees and a beautiful yard
An Austin-area ranch style home with mature trees and a beautiful yard

Unlike many home styles that hail from other countries, ranch-style homes originated in the United States. With their single-story and low profiles with wide expanses, their design emulated the open feeling of the American prairie. The popularity of ranch homes surged in the booming post-war period beginning in the 1940s, and, in fact, typified the American subdivision for many years.

Traditionally, ranch homes are single story, with a wide low-pitch roofline, and are rectangular, L-, or U-shaped. They have simple floor plans and attached garages and sometimes have wide front porches. They are more informal than many of the homes of previous generations and are commonly made of wood, stone, brick, or stucco, depending on the types of building materials readily available in their respective areas. A “raised ranch” home requires going up a flight of stairs to reach the main living floor and has a finished basement that serves as additional square footage.

Ranch homes from earlier decades appeal to many because they are relatively modern in construction, while still generally more affordable than recent designs and construction. Many homebuyers seek neighborhoods with a predominance of ranch-style homes because they are well established in terms of community and trees and landscaping and also because of their desirable one-story layouts and larger lots. While certain time periods lacked the customizations that appeal to today’s buyers, these homes often have been updated in ways that increase their appeal and character. In fact, many Austin ranch homes will have been substantially updated, upgraded, and modernized.

Recently constructed ranch homes have evolved from their original simplicity. They offer the same overall features but with upgrades such as varied and steeper rooflines, higher ceilings, and embellishments and even luxury touches that today’s buyers prefer.

Within ranch styles, there are homes with southwestern flair, Colonial Ranch-style homes, California Ranch-style homes, and neo-eclectic homes, which blend the traditional ranch with more formal design.

Austin has many neighborhoods with ranch-style homes, following the same nationwide pattern of a boom beginning in the 1940s and continuing in popularity for several decades. Look to an outer ring of ranch-style home neighborhoods extending from the center of the city in all directions.

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