Agent Essentials

Real Estate Agent Blog

Which Style of Home Sells Best in Washington
May 15, 2020

Which Style of Home Sells Best in Washington

by The CE Shop Team

See Which Style Homes Sell Best In Your Market 

A study done by has collected data to show the differences among eight of the most common architectural home styles in the US.  The study used current single-family home inventory as the base sample. Other key factors that were analyzed include geographic concentration and prevalence, physical attributes such as living space and year built, and residential home inventory data including median list prices and price appreciation.

The study was careful to point out that while defining and normalizing a home style in data is difficult, there was plenty of observable difference in price appreciation nationally and locally. 

Definition of Home Styles

While some might not agree on what makes a particular home style, there are plenty of common characteristics that meet the key attributes used for the study. The definitions of these eight common home styles are provided by the National Association of REALTORS.

Cape Cod

A 20th-century Cape Cod is square or rectangular with one or one-and-a-half stories and steeply pitched roofs. The original colonial Cape Cod homes were shingle-sided, one-story cottages with no dormers. During the mid-20th century, the small, uncomplicated Cape Cod shape became popular in suburban developments. 

Most of today’s Cape Cods were built after World War II, as they were the first style used in modestly priced housing developments during the postwar housing boom.


Craftsman homes are known for their exterior, which typically features low-pitched roofs, overhanging eaves, heavy, tapered columns, patterned window panes, and a covered front porch. The interior of a craftsman home is fairly understated. In a typical craftsman home you'll find charming stone accents and impressive custom millwork.


Contemporary-style homes started to be built between 1950 and 1970. They were created with a flat-roof and gables, often featuring exposed beams. These home’s tend to be one-story and were designed to incorporate the surrounding landscape into their overall look.

Everybody can spot a Contemporary style home based on the tall windows, lack of ornamentation, and unusual mixes of different textures and materials throughout the home. 


Modern architecture refers to design inspired by the historical art movement of modernism. Most classic examples of modern architecture are more than 50 years old. Open living spaces, clean geometric lines and function-over-form are key elements of the style. 

The most common version we see today is mid-century modern, which is constructed out of new ideas, mindsets and a forward-thinking style. It flourished from 1945 into the 1980s. Characterized by flat planes, large glass windows and open space, the style focused on simplistic design and seamless integration of nature.


Influenced by the area from which it’s named, this style became extremely popular in the U.S. from 1918 to 1940. The homes were modeled after the hacienda style, with red tile roofs, arches and plaster surfaces. This style is very popular today and features many of the original design elements, including porticos, balconies and ornamental details such as heavy wooden doors and multi-colored tiles. 


First built in the 1930s, ranch homes were originally modeled after rural Western ranches. Ranch architecture bears a slight resemblance to the modern style with open floor plans and easy connections to the outdoors. 

Ranch style homes became popular in the 1950s and 1960s, when automobiles replaced streetcars. Families needed the functionality of having a garage, and Ranch style homes focused on function over form. 


Traditional home plans often have characteristics of one or more historical architectural styles, so they are not easily classified as a specific particular style. They may be eclectic or modern-day interpretations of historic styles. 

Popular new traditional home plans are usually two-story and have covered entries, at least one front-facing gable, symmetrically spaced windows and ornamentation.


Victorian architecture emerged between 1830 and 1910 under the reign of Queen Victoria and include sub-styles such as Gothic revival, Italianate, Second Empire, Queen Anne, stick style, Romanesque style and shingle style. Constructed more for beauty than functionality, Victorian homes tend to be more complex in design with ornate trim, bright colors, large porches, asymmetrical shape and multi-faceted rooflines.

Price Influenced by Many Factors

External attributes provide a hint of what the homes look like. However, the price of a home reveals other key differences. 

Out of the eight common styles analyzed, Mediterranean homes have the highest price tag, with a median list price of $750,000. This style also shows the broadest range, suggesting different versions and interpretations of the same style.

Home Locations Matters

The environment of these home styles is a reflection of their surrounding landscape, the history behind each home, as well as the cultural trends that influenced a particular architectural style. For example, the majority of Victorian homes were built on the east coast as immigrants began to move to the U.S. to plant roots. For families who had the money to travel west, Victorian homes with German influence can be found throughout the Midwest.

Typical Living Space in Common Home Styles

The third variable used to characterize a style is the size of the home. Naturally, living spaces in each architectural style have their differences. More often than not, home styles reflect the culture and geography, which influence the layout, exterior design, and overall functionality. 

Size is also influenced by time, and some architectural styles still give inspiration to homes today. This inspiration can be found in the form of living spaces within these homes. For example, many contemporary and modern homes have elegant hallways that connect one open layout to another. This idea of having long elegant hallways to transition from different spaces is a common characteristic found in many Victorian-style homes. 

Home Style Influences Price

A home’s style is dependent on its environment, which will inevitably influence the overall price. Mediterranean-style homes are most popular in markets like Florida, California, and Texas. These markets are also more competitive and have higher home prices on average than the rest of the US. A gorgeous Mediterranean home that sits on the water in Florida is likely to have a higher asking price than a Mediterranean home on the water in Ohio. 

What Styles Sell Best in Washington?

In Washington, most residents can make a good guess as to which styles are popular and sell well, but there are some surprising styles you wouldn’t think Washington residents would find appealing. 

Home Style Median Square Feet Median Listing Price
Craftsman 2,492 sq ft $600,000
Modern 3,325 sq ft $550,000
Contemporary 2,492 sq ft $450,000
Ranch 1,669 sq ft $262,500
Victorian 2,534 sq ft $382,500

In Washington, homes were built to withstand mother nature and the high precipitation of the Pacific Northwest. This functionality is reflected in the home styles that are most popular to residents in the Evergreen State. 

Overall, personal taste of the buyer will determine which home style is purchased. There’s no one architectural style that is better than others - they all have pros and cons that contribute to their unique character.

Ready to Get Licensed in Washington with The CE Shop?

Get your real estate license on your time with The CE Shop. Our courses are designed with the busy professional in mind. Get started on your Pre-Licensing or Continuing Education today!


We're your one-stop shop for all your real estate
education needs. Enroll today!