The Modern Touch Makes for the Fastest Appreciating U.S. Home Style

modern1016While America’s architectural styles are as diverse as the country itself, those who own modern homes are netting the biggest gains when they become sellers.

A recent report examines common U.S. home styles and how they stack up in terms of geographic distribution, list prices, and recent price growth. The type of home mentioned most often across the country in listings is the ubiquitous ranch-style home, which takes the top spot in 29 of 50 states. Although originally designed with the Old West in mind, ranch-style homes proliferate in suburbs across the country. With a 2016 median list price of $189,900 — up 19 percent from 2012 — the ranch-style home is also one of the most budget-friendly options, along with cottages and bungalows.

Owners of modern homes have enjoyed the best price growth over the past four years, with the median list-priced $425,850 property up 37 percent from 2012. Tim Cannan, President of, told that modern homes are popular with buyers due to their energy efficiency and cheaper repair costs when compared with other types of homes.

The nation’s most expensive architectural style is also the only one that profiled that hasn’t appreciated at double-digit-percent rates. At $749,900, the median list price for a Mediterranean home is flat since 2012. Mediterranean or Tuscan-style homes are popular with luxury home builders and average 3,325 square feet. Cannan notes that Mediterranean homes can be more expensive to maintain partially because of their iconic red clay roofs.

Home styles vary by geography, a reflection of climate differences, residents’ countries of origin, and building materials available locally at the time. Victorian homes, which were popular on the East Coast and in the Midwest, reflect the influence of Britain’s Queen Victoria during the mid- to late 19th century. Meanwhile, California’s abundance of Spanish-style homes are a nod to its history, while cabin-style homes are a natural fit in mountainous areas of the U.S. like the Lake Tahoe region.

Given California’s high real estate prices, it’s not too surprising that Spanish-style homes are among the most expensive of those profiled, with a median list price of $638,900, up 17 percent over the past four years. Victorian and Craftsman-style homes, both popular architecture types here in the Bay Area, saw 14 percent and 13 percent appreciation, respectively. While Craftsman homes tend to appeal to buyers because of their unique designs, this also makes them more difficult and expensive to maintain.

(Photo: Flickr/Milestoned)

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