Ranch Homes for Sale in Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill

Below you will find the pros and cons of purchasing a ranch home, as well as some background information on their history in the US. If you're just looking for our list of ranch/one story homes for sale please scroll down to the bottom of this page!

History of Ranch style homes

Ranch, rambler, rancher! Whatever name you know it by, it’s impossible to miss the characteristics of these one level homes - long, low roofline, asymmetrical design and open layouts, large windows, natural light, and exposed beams.

These quintessential American homes originated in California in the 1920s, combining Spanish colonial architecture used in the southwestern U.S. with modern design. As the trend moved across the country, different areas put their own regional facelift on the ranch style home. 

One Story Home in Chapel Hill

Above: a one story ranch in Chapel Hill, NC

The exteriors of ranch homes are usually brick, wood, or stucco. They often feature sliding doors leading to a patio. The square footage varies widely, with some featuring expansive rooms and others keeping to a more compact design.

Ranch homes saw the height of their popularity from the 1940s through the 1970s. They were especially dominant post WWII thanks to the simplicity of their one level home design and an increasing preference towards suburbanization. As more traditional styles once again took hold in the 1960s, ranch homes began to decline in popularity.

The boom years of the 1980s led to a trend of having a room for everyone and everything; two-story or multi-level homes dominated the landscape. Recently, though, ranch homes have seen a resurgence in demand, both for existing homes as well as new builds. In the last few years, Trulia released a study showing North Carolina as one of four states where ranch style homes are the most common style.

Why choose one story ranch homes?

Here are a few characteristics that can make ranch homes a great choice for the right buyer. 

Long-term remodeling flexibility. Due to their original open space design, ranches offer greater flexibility in remodels. Bedrooms originally designated for children and teens can be easily converted to a home office or other flexible spaces for empty nesters. 

Price and location. Ranch homes are the most affordable type of home in many markets, making them appealing to young buyers. Due to the age of the homes, many are located in well-established neighborhoods with mature trees. In the Raleigh/Durham area we have a lot of well-priced 1950s and 1960s brick ranchers.

One level convenience. For young families, it’s very handy to have laundry and bedrooms all one one floor. It’s also easier to monitor children on one level rather than two, or more. And ranch homes are great options for aging in place. 

Maintenance and safety. No stairs! That traditional safety hazard for both the very young and the elderly doesn’t exist in a one level ranch home. Interior and exterior maintenance are much easier. Cleaning outside windows and painting? Much easier with a single story. And there’s no lugging a vacuum cleaner up the stairs! Finally, from a safety point of view, it’s easier to escape from a one-story home. 

Finally, and just for fun, the very popular mid-century modern design style fits perfectly into the interior of many ranch homes. 

Unique one story home between Durham and Chapel Hill

A unique ranch style home with central patio and fountain located between Durham and Chapel Hill, NC

When a ranch may not make sense

Lack of privacy. A one-story home means recognizing a potential loss of privacy as your windows are at eye level to the world. Having all the bedrooms on one floor can also lead to a lack of privacy, especially for parents of small children. 

Maintenance costs. Sprawling one-story homes can be harder to heat and cool efficiently. And older homes are prone to needing more maintenance than newer ones, and ranches are no exception to that rule. 

Smaller yards. Although many ranch homes are designed to have the indoor space flow into an outdoor patio, in general, the larger footprint on the lots for these homes usually means a smaller yard. 

If you think a one story ranch home is ideal for you, you’re in luck! In Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill, there are many neighborhoods with ranch-style homes. 

In Raleigh, Cameron Village features ranch homes built in the 1940s-1950s. Many have been updated with modern upgrades and features. Cameron Village has easy access to the Village District, a shopping center of more than 100 stores and restaurants. 

Other Raleigh neighborhoods with ranch homes include Wilmont, part of the West Raleigh Historic District and immediately adjacent to NC State University; Laurel Hills, which features wooded surroundings and rolling hills, with Crabtree Valley Mall just down the road on Glenwood Avenue; and two midtown Raleigh neighborhoods, Lakemont and Crestview, that are near to a variety of North Hills shopping and dining opportunities. 

Hope Valley is one neighborhood in Durham to check out, a mature neighborhood with secluded, tree covered streets, equal distance (15 minutes) from UNC and Duke and 10 minutes from the Streets at Southpoint. Another good choice is Parkwood, which is one of Durham's earliest, larger neighborhoods, located only a few miles from Research Triangle Park. 

Chapel Hill offers classic ranch homes and transitional modern styles in relatively newer developments (1990s-2000s), Briar Chapel and Governors Park. Briar Chapel offers a 55+ development, Encore at Briar Chapel, which features one level homes with unique designs, premium finishes, open layouts, and customization options galore. 

Ranch home in Durham

1960s Ranch home in Duke Forest, a popular Durham neighborhood. 

One story home in North Raleigh

1990s Ranch-style home in North Raleigh. 

Below you will find the all of the one story / ranch homes for sale in the Triangle. Use our Advanced Search to narrow it down by Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, or other areas. Make sure to select "Ranch" in the Style drop down menu. 

For complete lists of ranch homes in each of the following cities, use the below links:

All Ranch Listings in the Triangle

Listings provided courtesy of Triangle MLS, Inc. of NC, Internet Data Exchange Database. Information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. © 2024 Triangle MLS, Inc. of North Carolina. Data last updated .