Updated May 12, 2021
Wherever you live, you are likely to encounter a wide variety of architectural house styles just by driving around your neighborhood. From the extravagant to the quaint, homes in the US have their own unique beauty and characteristics, just like the people who live there.
So, what are the most popular house styles in the US? From New York, NY to Portland, OR, you don’t have to be an architect to explore the range of stunning corporate identities available on the housing market. So whether you are looking for a new home or just like to browse homes on your favorite real estate app, now check out the 13 Most Popular House Styles in the United States.
What are the most popular house styles?
1. Ranch-style houses
Dating back to 1932, the ranch-style house grew in popularity in the 1950s and 1960s and is still popular today. The iconic farmhouse architecture is known for its simple one-storey floor plan, low to the ground, often with an open layout and the occasional basement. This style of home usually has a smaller garden, an attached garage and a low roof. The ranch-style house often has large windows and sliding glass doors, encouraging an indoor and outdoor living style. A ranch may also be referred to as a ‘hiker’ depending on the region of the country you live in and the local terminology.
Looking locally, farm style homes currently have the highest sale-to-list ratio in a handful of cities, meaning this style of home is more likely to sell above list price. These cities include Portland, OR, Phoenix, AZ, Chicago, IL, San Francisco, California, and San Diego, California. Each of these cities favors the walker, with a current sales-to-list ratio of over 100%.
2. Traditional style houses
The beloved craft-style house gained popularity in the 1900s by architect and furniture designer Gustav Stickley and has remained popular throughout the 21st century. This staple of American architecture adds charm to any neighborhood with its exterior features, including shingles, low roofs, and covered porches. Craft houses also have recognizable interior details such as thick trim, prominent ceiling beams, and built-in shelves and chairs.
Craftsman homes are a sought after house style all over the US, but they are often sold above list price Oakland, California, Seattle, WA, Atlanta, GA, and Portland, OR.
3. Contemporary style houses
Contemporary architecture is often used interchangeably when describing modern architecture. A wide variety of recently built homes are being built with contemporary architecture. These houses have inventive designs and simple shapes without elaborate decorations or details. They usually have geometric lines, large windows and doors to bring in light, and open floor plans. They often include durable and eco-friendly building materials, textures and components, exposed roof beams and flat or low roofs.
Contemporary style homes see the highest sell-to-list ratio Oakland, California, Denver, CO, Phoenix, AZ, San Francisco, California, San Diego, California, Chicago, Illinois, and Atlanta, GA.
4. Modern style houses
Modern house styles, which emerged in the 1920s to embrace minimalism and reject the more ornate house styles, typically include progressive elements such as asymmetrical exteriors, flat roofs and integrated outdoor spaces. Many modern interiors also have minimal shapes and borders, neutral color palettes and metallic accents.
You will find the highest sales-to-list ratio in Denver, CO.
Cape Cod style houses
With roots dating back to 1675, the quaint and charming Cape Cod-style homes are reminiscent of the classic American cottage style. This type of home design migrated from England to the United States, keeping the symmetrical design and central chimney. Cape Cod-style houses have a steep roof to keep snow from building up, dormers for extra light, wood siding and shutters to keep the heat in, and hardwood floors for comfort and practicality.
This style of home is common in the Northeastern part of the United States and is commonly found in the New England region.
6. Colonial style houses
The East Coast architecture dates back to 1876 and has retained its allure in many parts of the United States. These classic houses are known for their old-world charm, decorative doorways and symmetrical window placement. Many colonial-style homes have two or three stories, fireplaces, and brick or wood exteriors.
Colonial style houses resemble the Cape Cod style house for their symmetry and side gable roofs, but Cape Cod style houses are usually one story rather than two or three. Colonial-style homes can be found in the Northeastern United States.
7. Tudor style houses
Originated in the 15th century during the reign of the House of Tudor, this style of home is quite easy to identify with its unique features. Tudor-style houses typically have a combination of brick, stone or stucco on the outside and decorative half-timbering on the second floor to create the familiar striped exterior. They also have a steep pitched roof, cross gables and tall, narrow windows. Today, Tudor-style homes feature prominently in the Northeast and Midwest regions of the United States.
8. Cottage style houses
Inspired by the medieval styles of the English countryside, American architects designed the cozy cottage-style houses in the 1920s and 1930s. This style of house typically has a steep thatched roof, arched doorways, shutters on windows and a warm fairytale character that brings its old-world charm to life.
9. Mediterranean style homes
Mediterranean-style homes are suited to warmer climates, which is why this style of Southern California home was common in the 1920s and 1930s. Influenced by the architecture of Mediterranean countries, they often feature low red-tiled roofs, vaulted ceilings, arched doors and windows, and stucco or adobe exteriors. The floor plan is typically U-shaped, creating a central courtyard for a garden or fountain. Today, this style of home remains popular in California and Florida.
10. Farmhouse style houses
The farm was designed in the early 18th century, built as housing for farmers and is all about practicality. Modern farmhouses still display many of the same features as the original design, such as large wraparound porches, clapboards, large fireplaces, wooden floors, eat-in kitchens, and oversized sinks.
11. Mid-century modern style houses
Part of the modernist movement, the mid-century modern style dates back to the post-World War II period and remained popular throughout the 1970s. Mid-century modern design is characterized by minimalism, clean lines and floor-to-ceiling windows. You often see open layouts and a mix of natural and manufactured materials for the interior elements such as wood, stone, steel and plastic.
Mid-century modern-style houses are most popular in Oakland, California, Denver, CO, San Francisco, California, and Seattle, WA, with a sell-to-list ratio as high as 131.5% in Oakland.
12. Victorian style houses
Victorian style houses were first seen during the Victorian era from about 1860 to 1900. This house style is best described as a colorful dollhouse with romantic and distinctive features. Victorian-style homes have elaborate details in just about every part of the home, from the intricate wood trim, ornate staircases, stained glass and decorative woodwork. They have steep gabled roofs, a front gable, patterned clapboards, bay windows, a circular tower and a porch.
Victorian-style homes remain popular throughout Boston, MA and San Francisco, California, with a sale-to-list ratio of 98.5% and 101.1%, respectively.
The row houses are native to Europe and eventually migrated to the United States and are most common in cities in the United States. With the convenience of spacious layouts, row houses offer more amenities than condo styles and are less maintenance-friendly than most residential homes. They are usually two- or three-story houses, usually sharing one or two walls with adjacent properties, and a roof terrace to enjoy expansive views.
Branding with the highest sales-to-list ratio in the largest 12 U.S. subways:
|Subway||Corporate identity||Relationship between sale and list||% active mentions|
|Oakland, California||Mid Century Modern||131.5%||1.2%|
|Chicago, IL||Raised Ranch / Ranch||100.2%||1.0%|
|Mid Century Modern||105.1%||1.0%|
|San Francisco, California||Mid Century Modern||122.8%||1.0%|
|Seattle, WA||Mid Century Modern||110.9%||1.0%|
|San Diego, California||Farm||102.5%||2.3%|
*Per home trends with data on Pyjama People.com, as of May 2021
Individual results may vary. This is not intended to replace the services of a licensed real estate agent, or a licensed and bonded home services professional or appraiser.