Over the past few weekends at open houses, I’ve visited with several ‘boomers’ who are considering downsizing to a ranch style home. They’ve told me stories of friends falling on stairs and breaking bones and are concerned it might happen to them. However, boomers with potential mobility issues are not the only buyers considering a move to a ranch. In a recent survey published by Builder online magazine, 65% of Americans actually prefer a ‘rancher’ as they are called in the lower 48. In Anchorage, MLS reported 384 ranch homes sold in 2016. That’s 13.05% of the total reported sales of 2016. That was a surprise to us and we had to check those stats twice. 

So if you’re a fitness fanatic and love to climb stairs either at the gym or home, why buy a ‘rancher’? According to an HVAC system source, heating a ranch is less expensive. That makes sense since there is less open air and vertical space to heat. If you’re concerned about quiet, there’s no noise from above. The best ranch style home separates the master bedroom from the secondary bedrooms either by the great room or bathrooms. A ranch is also easier for exterior maintenance. No ladders necessary when cleaning gutters!

Finding lots in Anchorage to build ranches on is a challenge for buyers and builders.  Many newly developed lots are only fifty feet wide and the handful of wider lots that are available require homes that are 2,000 to 2,400 square feet. Plus, new ranches are more expensive on a price per square foot than two-story homes. Even the older ranch homes that sold in 2016 had an average price per square foot of $214. Only 13 new ranches sold with an average price per square foot of $263, a 20% bump up for brand new.   

It’s a given that two story homes are more cost-effective and can fit on a lot with a smaller footprint. The MOA allows a 40% lot coverage ratio for ranches versus the 30% lot coverage for two-story homes but even that 10% increase is not enough to accommodate most ranches on small lots, let alone one with a triple car garage —the #1 wish list item for almost all new home buyers.

Dwell Realty has six new ranch homes either under construction or coming out of the ground in the next few weeks. They range in price from $339,900 to over $750,000. Check them out at www.dwellrealty.com or give us a call at 646-3600.