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Posted May 23rd, 2016

Homebuilding Trends: The Return of the Ranch

One-story living is becoming increasingly popular and Epcon Franchise Builders are poised to capitalize on this demand.

It’s not just fashion trends that come and go — home styles do, too. In the boom times after World War II, a sprawling ranch style home became the epitome of contemporary cool. Then, for decades, homebuilding trends shifted toward multi-story homes. Decades later, fast forward to the present, what was once thought an outmoded style is suddenly back on the upswing. Here’s a look at the return of the ranch.

Why Now?

Ranch-style homes were popular for a long time before soaring land prices, especially in California, the birthplace of the ranch, nudged home builders to expand upwards. As consumer demand for ever-larger numbers of rooms and expanded living space increased, multi-level homes on smaller lots — sometimes derisively dubbed McMansions — became a more routine offering.

So what prompts the renewed popularity of the ranch? Demographics is the primary driver. The 65+ population is the fastest growing segment in the United States, with growth projected at the rate of 3.5 million every year. What’s more, people 55+ are projected to form the highest percentage (52%) of new home buyers.

These new home buyers look for easy-to-maintain homes with open floor plans that allow for wheelchair movement with no arduous steps to climb. In other words,… the ranch. In fact, a majority (83%) of the top-selling floor plans in 2014 featured accessible owner’s suites.

And it’s not just people over 55 who are looking for one-story, low-upkeep homes. According to the National Association of Home Builders, a recent study on housing preferences indicated that about two-thirds of homebuyers – 64 percent – would prefer a single-story home, with Millennials at 35 percent, Gen Xers at 49 percent, baby boomers at 75 percent and seniors at 88 percent.

Given this significant demand for ranch-style homes and the growing segment of people who will be looking for such homes in the near future, there is a noticeable imbalance of supply and demand, creating opportunities for residential builders who can work in this underserved market.

Innovative Floorplans

Given that the need for substantial living space has not diminished, and that all of it has to fit on one level with the ranch, newer single-story floor plans have evolved from the simple box homes of the post-WW2 era to a more luxurious, open floorplan concept that appeals to modern home buyers.

Epcon's ranch style homes
Epcon’s ranch-style homes are built according to copyrighted floor plans delivering plenty of living space despite it all being on one level.

These ranch-style homes also make room for one of the ranch model’s other charms: more seamless interactions with the outdoors. Entertaining friends and family at home has been on the rise for years now and that trend is expected to increase sharply over the years as millennials join the home buying market in growing numbers. According to the National Association of Home Builders, millennials will also be looking for more casual outdoor entertainment options, a preference that’s shared by 55+ lifestyle buyers.

How Epcon Franchise Builders are Poised to Capitalize

Epcon is the 40th-largest home builder in the U.S. (Builder Magazine, May 2015) and the 22nd privately owned homebuilding company in the country. It has 30 years of experience in homebuilding and 20 years in franchising which means Epcon Franchise Builders leverage the power of an established industry leader to help them scale up quickly.

Epcon’s single-story and low-maintenance homes are built according to copyrighted floor plans and are continually updated keeping buyer preferences in mind. They also feel much larger than their square footage. Epcon’s ranch-style homes are especially popular with the growing 55+ demographic, people who are looking ahead to the next stage in their lives and want a lifestyle that focuses on entertaining and other kinds of fun instead of having spare hours tied up in home maintenance. Epcon’s new American Porch Collection features a porch in the front of the home as a way of increasing social interaction with neighbors and adding space for entertaining.

Epcon's popular floor plans
Epcon’s popular floor plans have owner’s suites that are accessible without having to negotiate stairs.

What’s more, all Epcon floor plans feature owner’s suites with no steps required to reach them. This means that as home buyers get older, they will not have to negotiate stairs if they are physically unable to do a few years down the line.

While the rest of the homebuilding industry may be re-awakening to the opportunities that single-story homes present, Epcon helps Franchise Builders get a jump on the competition by sharing its 30 years of knowledge and experience in this rapidly evolving segment of the market.

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