When it comes to architecture, most people may not know the word for the type of building they like — they just know they like it. They might be attracted to the swooping lines and sunburst patterns of Art Deco hotels, for instance, or the ornate gargoyles and buttresses that define Gothic cathedrals.
The same goes for our homes; where one person’s dream house might be a quaint, thatched-roof cottage, another person’s might be a sleek and sprawling modernist mansion. All of these homes will generally fall under an architectural label, often a style popular in a particular time period. In the U.S., most home styles tend to be associated with a particular region.
But just because a type of house is common in your neck of the woods doesn’t mean you have to like it. So have you ever wondered how taste in the look of a house might differ from place to place? To find out, the team here at American Home Shield analyzed thousands of Zillow listings across the U.S. to reveal the most and least admired of the country’s most common home styles.
What We Did
We first compiled a list of 65 architectural styles for homes in the U.S. Using Zillow filters, we then retrieved the total number of home listings of each architectural style in each state and major city. Each of those listings gave us the total number of listing views and the number of days spent on the market, enabling us to calculate the number of median views per listing of each style across the U.S. and by state and major city. Maine (ME) was excluded from the State’s analysis due to insufficient data.
● The most desired home style in America is the octagon — a typical listing for this type of house receives a median of 56 views a day on Zillow.
● But shipping container-style homes are the least admired, garnering just 2.8 views a day.
● Ranch-style homes are the most admired in 19 states — more than any other home style.
● Tiny houses are the least admired in 11 states — more than any other home style.
The Most Desired Home Styles in America, Revealed
Who needs four walls when you can have eight? The most desired home style in America is the octagon, the likes of which see a median of 56 views per day on Zillow. Phrenologist Orson S. Fowler pioneered this style of eight-sided house in the 19th century, believing that a circular-shaped house with fewer sharp angles offered more floor space and an improved “interchange of friendly and benevolent feeling.” They never quite caught on in the mainstream, though; only 2,077 of these homes exist today.
Their rarity and head-turning uniqueness are most likely why octagon-style home listings garner so much attention when they pop up online. Other architectural styles in our ranking are much more commonly found across the country, no doubt translating to a higher count of views. In second place comes stick style (51.1 views a day), characterized by boards placed in “Tudor-style” patterns across the outside walls, tall vertical windows, and overhanging eaves.
Shipping Container Homes Are the Least Admired of Any Style in the U.S.
Meanwhile, shipping container-style homes are the least admired of all, garnering just 2.8 median views per day. This style, which sees shipping containers repurposed into homes, is not short of criticism. “[The style is] utterly ill-suited for human life,” writes Professor Richard J. Williams in the New York Times. “They’re designed for things, not people. Dark, damp, and airless, boiling in the summer and freezing in the winter, they’re hopeless living and working spaces. They’re not even particularly cheap.”
The distinctive Tidewater style comes next (3.1 views a day). You’ll mostly find these kinds of homes in coastal areas across the Southern states, featuring wraparound porches (ideal in a humid climate) and a raised base to avoid flooding. The tiny house style (3.5 views a day) — defined as a house smaller than 400 ft2 — ranks close behind, an architectural trend that’s been all over the internet in recent years. Its downsides include cramped living spaces and poor temperature control.
Ranch-Style Homes Are the Most Admired in 19 States
Our next map reveals the most admired home style in each state. The ranch-style home — typically single-story with a long, low profile — comes top in 19 states, spanning from Alaska all the way down to Florida and Georgia. When it comes to homes on the market, ranch-style reigns supreme; previous research we carried out revealed that ranch-style homes are the most listed on Zillow.
In Delaware, Kentucky, Vermont and Washington, Cape Cod-style homes are the most admired on Zillow. In the 17th century, early American settlers sought to replicate the traditional English cottage with adaptations that could handle the cold New England winters, resulting in the style’s characteristic sloping roof, symmetrical, shingled façade and a central chimney.
As for their popularity today, designer Barry Goralnick comments: “They’re perfect for today’s younger buyers who don’t want the ostentation of a McMansion. They want to live honestly in multifunctional spaces. Not only are these homes space efficient, they are energy efficient — something we are all more conscious of these days.”
In 11 States, Tiny Homes Are the Least Admired Style of House
But every state has its least favorite home style, too. In that respect, the aforementioned tiny house comes top in eleven states, including Minnesota, where a typical listing receives just 0.5 views a day. Writing for the Architectual Review, author Jack Self sums up issues with the style, highlighting perhaps why so many states just aren’t interested in trendy micro homes:
“All spaces are simultaneously, and perpetually, visible to each other. There is no internal privacy or escape. Because so many of the fixtures are multi-functional, strange juxtapositions easily occur, forcing a tight schedule of domestic life: a dining table becomes a double bed, right next to a sink, and under-bench storage cannot be accessed while the kitchen is in use.”
But down in Louisiana, the 21st-century-style home is by far the least admired; on a given day, a typical local listing attracts no views at all. Considering that the state’s most admired type of home is the classic 19th-century stick style, could it be that Louisianians just prefer older architecture to anything too modern?
The Most Desired Home Styles in Major Cities
Bustling cities aren’t all skyscrapers and high-rise apartments; you can find a dazzling array of architectural styles across the country’s major cities if you know where to look. Our map reveals the most desirable of them all in each, based on the median number of views a respective local Zillow listing receives per day.
In Denver, San Francisco and Seattle, the Craftsman-style home comes top, characterized by low-pitched gable roofs, overhanging eaves and generous, pillared front porches. This style began as an offshoot of the British arts and crafts movement of the mid-19th century and emphasized simplicity and enduring craftsmanship. A previous study found that 43% of Americans favor the Craftsman style over any other.
In Dallas and Houston, Shingle-style homes are the most admired, with the typical local Zillow listings garnering a respective 80.8 and 49.7 views a day. Developed in New England in the 19th century, homes in this style are distinguishable by their wood shingle-covered walls and roofs, large verandas and asymmetrical façades. According to Dallas City Hall, only a handful of these homes exist in the city, their rarity no doubt adding to their popularity online.
New Yorkers Aren’t a Fan of A-Frame Homes
Home hunters in those same cities have their least favorite styles, too. In New York City, it’s the A-frame — the typical local listing for this type of home only garners 1.1 views a day. By virtue of being shaped like the letter A, these homes offer limited space on the top floor. Could it be that home hunters in the Big Apple — the most populated city in the country — are looking for more spacious properties?
Meanwhile, in Denver (6.9 views) and Philadelphia (3.7 views), Federal-style homes are the least desirable on Zillow. Characterized by simplistic outlines, brickwork and flat façades, this style of architecture was popular following the American Revolution between 1780 and 1830. In Philadelphia, federal-style homes can be found in Elfreth’s Alley, the oldest residential street in the U.S.
How To Make Your Home Listing Stand Out
No matter where you are in the U.S., real estate websites like Zillow seem to offer more and more listings every day. So how can you make your house stand out among the crowd when it’s time to sell up?
1. Set the stage
Decluttering and deep-cleaning your home before a photographer comes in goes without saying, but you might want to consider staging it, too. This could entail rearranging the furniture or adding mirrors to create a sense of space, adding cozy throws and cushions to couches, and cleaning the front porch to improve curb appeal. It’s all worth the effort, comments home stager Betsy Wilbur: “A staged home will sell for 17% more on average than a non-staged home, and 95% of staged homes sell in 11 days or less. That is statistically 87% faster than non-staged homes.”
2. Highlight new or updated features and warranties
Be it a refrigerator or your HVAC unit, if you’ve just had a system or appliance in your home upgraded or replaced, don’t forget to mention it in your listing. The knowledge that your home comes with functional fixtures and fittings will make your listing stand out to a buyer. Make sure to mention any transferable warranties on those systems and appliances, too.
3. What’s nearby?
Noting how far away your home is from local schools is a great starting point for your listing, but what else in the community is worth highlighting? It will make it easier for buyers when they want to check out the local scene; maybe you live close to a great shopping district, a leafy park, or quaint coffee shops. If you’re in a city, mention nearby public transportation stations and stops. Be honest, too. Buyers won’t be impressed if you fail to mention that your home is within earshot of a major highway!
With these tips in hand, attracting views to your home listing — no matter the architecture — should be a breeze. Don’t despair if your house has been online for a while; check out our guide to refreshing your home’s listing.
To identify the home architectural styles with the highest median views per listing across the United States, categorized by state and city, we first constructed a seed list of 65 home architecture styles in America -- these were curated from approximately 20 articles on the most popular and more obscure state-centric styles present across the states.
The State of Maine had insufficient data to meet the thresholds of property counts for enough styles and so was excluded from the states analysis.
Subsequently, we retrieved properties with each style by state and city on Zillow based on the keyword filter and extracted the corresponding listings. Initially, data was collected for 76,125 homes.
From each listing page, we pulled the total number of listing views and the number of days on the market. This allowed us to calculate the median views per listing of each style across the nation, by state and major city. The analysis of this data is accurate as of November 2023.