How Much Does It Cost to Build a Ranch House?

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(california 3-bedroom ranch with a patio and single-car garage, 1,700 sq.ft.)

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How Much Does It Cost to Build a Ranch House?

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Reviewed by Adam Graham. Written by

If you want a single-story home with an open floor plan and modern features, the ranch may be the architectural style you are looking for. First introduced in the 1920s, the ranch or rambler is one of the most popular styles of housing today. The original California style is still an option, and there are several other subtypes of ranches to choose from.

Different ranch types, the regions they are built in, and the home’s size lead to a wide range of associated costs. The national average cost to build a ranch house is between $196,000 and $625,000, with most people paying around $340,000 for a 1,700 sq.ft. California 3-bedroom ranch with a patio and single-car garage.

Cost to Build a Ranch House

Ranch House Building Costs
National average cost$340,000
Average range$196,000 - $625,000
Minimum cost$182,000
Maximum cost$675,000

Build a Ranch House Cost by Project Range

Basic suburban ranch with build-grade materials, 1,400 sq.ft.
Average Cost
California 3-bedroom ranch with a patio and single-car garage, 1,700 sq.ft.
Storybook ranch with high-end materials, slate roof, and tennis court, 2,000 sq.ft.

What Is a Ranch Style House?

A ranch is a type of architecture first created in California in the 1920s. It is also known as the American Ranch, California Ranch, rambler, and rancher. Essentially, a ranch is a single-story home that has long lines close to the ground. They are usually asymmetrical in shape and have an open floor plan on the interior. Different ranch types have emerged over the years that include different levels, attached garages, varying rooflines, dormers, and other features. The ranch is considered a more contemporary layout than homes with wide-open interiors.

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Types of Ranch Houses

There are several variations on the original ranch, each with its own set of characteristics. Because the cost to build a ranch is based mostly on square footage, materials, and location, there is not much variation in the cost to build the various styles.

Types of Ranch Houses

Types of Ranch Houses

California Ranch

The California ranch is the classic-style ranch, a single-level home with long lines presented in a “U” or “L” layout. They are usually between 1,400 and 1,700 square feet in size and are normally built on a slab. They may have an attached garage at one end, and many have patios in the back.

Suburban Ranch

The suburban ranch is a smaller version of the California ranch. This style is slightly more compact in design and is usually under 1,500 square feet in size, with the average being closer to 1,200. They have the same open floor plan inside and are also usually built on a slab. These are sometimes known as a “basic” ranch, and they generally have the lowest costs to build because they do not have garages or special features.

Split-Level Ranch

A split-level ranch has the majority of the living space on one floor. But it has a small section on a second floor and a small section on a lower level, possibly a basement. Usually, this style has the bedrooms upstairs or at least a master bedroom upstairs and a finished basement room downstairs. This is not to be confused with the split-entry architecture style, which has stairs going up and down from the front entryway.

Raised Ranch

There are technically two types of raised ranches. The first is a new build - a home constructed as a two-story ranch from the beginning. In this case, the home usually looks like a single-story or a one-and-a-half story home from the front because the back is usually built into a hill that hides the lower level. The main living area is on the upper level, and there may be a finished basement family room or extra bedrooms below.

The second type of raised ranch is what happens if you have an existing California or suburban ranch, and you want more space but cannot build out. In this case, the ranch is literally raised - picked up off its foundation, and a second story is built underneath.

Storybook Ranch

The storybook ranch is also a single-story home but has more of a custom appearance than traditional ranches. It is usually smaller and includes dormer windows, front porch columns, angles, bump-outs, and other features that give it character and a unique design. This type of ranch often costs a little more per square foot, but because it is smaller, the total cost to build is usually in line with other ranches.

View of ranch style house in residential neighborhood

Cost to Build a Ranch-Style Home

The exact cost to build your home depends on multiple factors, including the size, materials, and location. However, ranches are typically built like other new homes, which gives them a similar breakdown to average out the costs.


Every new build requires some preparation, which includes getting the permits ($1,000 - $2,000), purchasing plans ($1,000), inspections for utilities ($500), land clearing and excavation ($1,500 - $3,000), and hiring the various professionals who may be involved. This may include:


Most ranches are built on slabs, but some have full basements depending on the area. A basic slab foundation with a vapor barrier costs around $9,310 on average, while a full basement may cost closer to $11,000.


Your home needs to be framed, with most ranches using a wood frame at around $9 a square foot. Framing makes up 18% of the total project cost, so for a 1,700 sq.ft. ranch, expect the framing to cost roughly $61,200.


The exterior of a ranch is usually clad in a horizontal lap siding, with wood being the most common. But many feature vinyl and fiber cement. In addition to your siding, you also have the house wrap, insulation, windows, doors, and paint to consider. Altogether, expect your exterior costs to add up to around $25,000 to $35,000.


Because ranches are most commonly open-floor single-story homes, they use a truss roof framing, which costs around $11,000 on average. If you choose to add dormers or other specialty roof additions, this increases the cost. In addition to the framing, you also have the cost of shingling the roof, which costs $9,000 on average.

Major System Installation

Like any new home, your ranch needs plumbing, electrical wiring, heating, cooling, ductwork, appliances, and various fixtures. Together, these make up $40,000 to $75,000 of the total cost to build.

Interior Work

While ranches have a fairly simple layout, they still need finish work down on the interior, which includes insulation, drywall, flooring, lighting, closets, painting, and things like moldings, trim, and interior doors. You need to add a kitchen, including countertops, cabinets, sinks, and faucets, with an average total cost of $30,000, while each added bathroom has a cost of around $20,000.

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Cost to Build a Ranch House by Size

Most ranches fall between 1,400 and 1,700sq.ft., but like many homes today, they have become larger. Today, many ranch houses reach 2,000 sq.ft. and sometimes larger. Keep in mind that most ranches are a single story. A larger home means spreading the house further, which is difficult to do on most standard-size house lots. The larger the house, the less space there is for the yard. And while it is possible to build a raised ranch or a split for some additional room, these tend to have a fairly strict footprint that limits how big they get.

Assuming an estimated average cost of $200 a square foot, building a new ranch has the following costs based on size:

Cost to Build a Ranch House Chart

Size HomeAverage Cost to Build

Factors Affecting the Cost of Building a Ranch House

Like any new home build, many factors impact the cost of a new ranch. These include the home size, layout, whether it has a full basement or an attached garage, materials, custom “storybook” features, and even the location. Some areas of the country cost more to build in on average than others. In many cases, you may also need to factor in the cost of the land you are purchasing and how much excavation and clearing it may need before building begins.

Ranch-Style Modular Home Prices

Like any other new home build, ranches can be designed and built modularly, meaning that the home is constructed off-site in a controlled environment and brought to the site for final assembly. This construction type tends to be less expensive overall than other types of builds. So while a stick-built ranch costs $200 a square foot on average, a modular-built ranch may have an average cost of $150/sq.ft, making a 1,700 sq.ft. home closer to $255,000 in total.

Suburban Ranch House surrounded by trees

Advantages and Disadvantages of a Ranch Home

Having a ranch has a lot of advantages for people of all ages and abilities. Ranches are usually single-level homes, which makes them easier to heat, cool, and clean. They are a good choice for seniors and people wanting to age in place, as well as for those with physical disabilities because there are no stairs. In addition, they make a good choice for people with small children who want all the bedrooms and living areas on one level.

However, because they tend to be spread out, they are difficult to add to traditionally. This is why the most common way to add to a ranch is to “raise” it, which means costly expansions. Attempting to add on to a single story often means causing the yard to shrink to the point where it is not as useful.

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Additions to Ranch House Cost

While it is not the easiest thing to expand a ranch, it is possible to make some additions. Many people add front porches, mudrooms, and patios. In addition, expect to pay around $200 a square foot for a finished addition to a ranch house. Your exact costs may be higher or lower, depending on the addition type, location, and materials used.

Cost to Add a Front Porch to a Ranch House

Most ranches do not have front porches, but it is possible to add one. The key is to make sure you do not attempt to wrap the house because the ranch profile makes this very difficult with the “U” or “L” layout. Keep the porch simple and confined solely to the front area. The average cost of a basic porch with a table roof is around $15,000.

Adding a Second Story to a Ranch House Cost

Due to the way that the ranch is made, the most common way to add a second story is to “raise” the ranch. This means lifting the house off its foundation and building a new story below it. Your main living area is now the upper story, while the lower level becomes the addition. Expect this addition to cost between $30,000 and $50,000 on average, depending on how you finish the lower level.

Cost to Raise Roof on a Ranch House

The reason that most ranches are raised, rather than the roof being raised, has to do with how the ranch is laid out. Most ranches have very high ceilings with open floor plans and a specific, elongated shape. While you may raise the roof, it is more cost-effective and better for the layout to raise the house and build below. If you want to raise the roof, expect costs of approximately $100,000 for the addition, rather than the lower costs of $30,000 to $50,000 to raise the house.

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Enhancements and Improvement Costs

Ranch House with Attached Garage

Ranches are built with or without attached garages. Adding a garage increases the costs by around $35,000 on average.

Build a Swimming Pool Cost

If you have the space, you may wish to build a swimming pool to make the most of your property. Building an in-ground pool has an average cost of around $50,000.


It is important to make sure that your landscaping matches the rest of your property to make the most of your curb appeal and your home’s value. New landscaping generally costs around $14,000 on average.

Basketball and Tennis Courts

You may wish to add either a basketball court ($30,000) or a tennis court ($65,000). Both add hours of enjoyment to your yard.

Additional Considerations and Costs

  • Having been around for a century, some ranches are now eligible for recognition through the National Register of Historical Places. This may lead to a revived interest in the style.
  • Ranches built through the 70s were mostly constructed between 1,000 and 1,500 sq.ft. The average size is now between 1,400 and 1,700, but it is possible to go larger with new construction.
  • Nearly all ranches contain three bedrooms. Keep in mind, however, that most new builds are customized with varied floor plans and amenities.


  • What does a ranch house look like?

The traditional ranch is a one-story home built low to the ground in an “L” or “U” shape.

  • How much does a ranch-style house cost to build?

The average cost to build is around $340,000.

  • How much does it cost to build a 1,500 sq. ft. ranch home?

The average cost to build a 1,500 sq.ft. ranch is around $300,000.

  • Is a ranch home more expensive to build?

Yes, with the open floor plan and truss roof, ranches are slightly more expensive to build than some other styles.

  • Are ranch-style homes more efficient?

Yes, the open floor plan and single-level make them easy to heat, cool, and clean.

  • Do ranch-style homes have basements?

They may have basements, but many do not. The most common foundation for a ranch is a slab. However, split levels have a partially finished basement.

Cost to build a ranch house varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

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The information provided by our cost guides comes from a great variety of sources, including specialized publications and websites, cost studies, U.S. associations, reports from the U.S. government, contractors and subcontractors, material suppliers, material price services, and other vendor websites. For more information, read our Methodology and sources
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Cost to build a ranch house varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

The information provided by our cost guides comes from a great variety of sources, including specialized publications and websites, cost studies, U.S. associations, reports from the U.S. government, contractors and subcontractors, material suppliers, material price services, and other vendor websites. For more information, read our Methodology and sources