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Why are Ranch Homes More Expensive?

Why are Ranch Homes More Expensive?

When you are looking for a home, knowing the different styles can help you narrow down options. Well, if you’ve seen ranch homes, then you know they are more expensive. Why is this? We will find out.

Ranch houses are more expensive because their total square footage is spread across a single floor rather than multiple. This leads to increased construction costs due to having a large foundation, roof, and material cost.

Would you like to know what else affects the high cost of ranch-style homes and makes them more expensive than other choices out there? Then read on and find out all the different factors that make a ranch home cost more than others.

How Much Does an Average House Cost? 

When it comes to the pricing of different homes, there are a lot of factors that make the cost vary from place to place. However, when averaging out the cost of a house for a typical family, the cost comes to around $320,000. 

This is a home that is in the mid-range which most people will be able to afford and usually comes with a backyard or spacious front yard along with the house itself. Most of these homes will come with a two-story layout that is ideal for nuclear families with one or more children. 

However, if you take a look at one-story homes, you will find that you will be paying a higher price for a ranch home than for a two-story option of the same size and square footage. 

So, why is this? 

How Much Does the Average Ranch Home Cost? 

When you compare the average ranch home with a two-story option of a similar size, there is often a much higher price. The typical ranch home cost is around $430,000. 

This is over $100,000 over the price of the two-story option. This doesn’t seem reasonable considering that you are getting two whole stories with one option, and only one with the other. 

However, because of the spread-out style layout, multiple issues come about with plumbing, wiring, and other household systems.

This is because some of the rooms might be very far away. This is not as much of an issue with a two-story option because the rooms are closer, just on top of one another. 

So, what are all the factors that make a ranch home more expensive? 

Why Ranch Homes Cost More

There are several main reasons why the cost of a ranch house is higher than in two-story homes. So, we will discuss each reason in detail.

Higher Structure Costs 

When a two-story structure is being built, construction workers use the least amount of materials and finishes to ensure that it is completely enclosed. This is easy to do with a smaller, but taller structure. 

Ranch homes take up a larger footprint. If you have a 3,000 sq ft ranch home all of that space is on the main level. This requires a larger excavation, larger foundation, more framing materials, more roofing surface areas, longer gutters. You get the idea.

This cost will not get absorbed by the seller, so the higher cost is passed onto the buyer. If you like the ranch style, then you will have to pay up.

A Larger Foundation 

One of the most expensive parts of building a home is creating the foundation. This needs to be done right, and there is little room for mistakes. 

With a two-story house, you can have a smaller foundation for the home, since it only covers the bottom floor. The top floor is built on top of the first story, so it does not have the same foundation costs. 

However, when you are building a ranch house, the foundation is needed for the entire square footage of the home. This means that the cost to just put the foundation down before building is already much higher. 

As this is one of the costliest parts of the process, this makes the cost of the house higher than its two-story counterpart. This high cost for the foundation is increased even more when the house is large.

Most ranch houses that come with the same square footage of a two-story house will need to be very wide.

The larger the foundation, the larger the budget.

Covers More Land 

Another big reason that ranch homes are more expensive is that they need more land to be built on. The same space where a ranch house can be would likely be able to fit one-and-a-half or two other options.

This means that the more land a house needs, the more it will have to cost. The land is not cheap, and if you want a ranch home that is wide and uses lots of land, then you will have a higher overall cost.

If you were to purchase a two-story option with the same amount of land, you could have a home that has the same square footage with a larger land area for a front and backyard space. 

Internal Systems 

When you purchase a house, you are paying for the cost of plumbing, wiring for electricity, and the ducts for the HVAC system.

However, with two-story homes, the systems are closer together so they will be more efficient and require less square feet of materials.

In a ranch floor plan, your units are more spread out and may require more square footage of materials. Additionally, the further away your rooms are from your HVAC system, the less efficient it becomes. If you have a very large ranch home, you may need two HVAC systems.


When building a two-story, you have a smaller roof to cover just the second story. However, with the layout of a ranch home, you will need much more roofing to cover the entire building. 

Roofing is another expensive part of the home. A larger, more expansive roof requires more trusses, more support beams, more water proofing, more gutters, and more shingles.

Want to upgrade your roof to have metal accents? Then you will see even more costs!

Is a Ranch House Worth it? 

Well, this is something that you will have to think about for yourself. It will also depend on how much you want to have a ranch-style home.

There are some benefits to having one. One of the biggest is having a home to grow old in. Many people are drawn to having a home with all rooms on one level.

Also, second stories get much hotter than the first story in a home, which means that you will pay much higher costs for cooling during the warmer months of the year. Running the cooling and heating system can be as much as a few hundred dollars during the summer, so this is a huge cost for the year. 

With only the first floor, this is something that you won’t have to deal with as much. The single-story will cool down faster, which means you will use the HVAC system much less.


Whether you want a ranch house for the look, or for the functionality of not needing stairs, the cost is significantly higher than that of a two-story option.

For the many reasons that we covered in this article, you can see why the cost is so much higher than others. 

Keep this in mind when house hunting or designing your own custom home.

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Lindsay Reed

Hi, I'm the founder of! I created this website to be a resource for everyone who wants to make the best home possible.