Why Split Level Homes Are So Popular

This wonderful home features 4 bedrooms, 3 full baths, and just
Split Level House

During the 50s-70s split level houses were built everywhere. But why? They aren’t pretty or very functional (now at least), so why?

First, what is a split level house?

  • A “Split Level” is actually what I refer to as a “Tri-Level” house.
  • Roughly speaking a tri-level is where you walk into a main space such as the living room and/or kitchen then the bedrooms up a half a flight of stairs and the den down a half a flight of stairs.
tri-level
Entering in a living room and can go up or down. Tri Level
  • A “Split Entry” is what we (meaning Real Estate Agents) really mean when we say “Split Level.” These are where you walk into a “foyer” and have a choice to go up or down a half level.
split-level
By “foyer” I mean no space to walk. Split Level

Now onto why they were so popular.

They were first designed in the 30’s in Chicago but gained popularity in 50’s and 60’s. Realtor explains that “With more families moving to the suburbs after World War II, many wanted a house that was a bit grander than the modest bungalows veterans purchased with G.I. Bill funds.”

One of the reasons it was more affordable than 2 story homes was because split level homes are built with the same footprint as a ranch style home. It makes split-levels significantly cheaper to build since they can also be built on smaller lots.

It was originally designed on slopping land like much of Seattle since it was cheaper to build and had less excavation.

What people liked about the houses was obviously the bang for their buck as well as the separation of living spaces for the changing family lifestyle.

What people didn’t like was the small cramped entry, the lack of storage, and (often) no master bathroom.

In real estate they are generally cheaper since they were cheaper to build and they are less desirable than other layouts and are often outdated.

As an agent, I have never had a buyer say “I am looking for a split level, that’s my dream home.” However, I show split level homes to many of my clients since they are many times the majority of homes on the market in their price range.

Do you like the split level floorplan?

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