Median-priced homes in 8 major cities
Want to know how far your housing dollar will stretch in some of the nation's largest cities? We went shopping for a median-priced home in four metropolitan areas that earned the best grades in our second annual Home Affordability Study and in four cities with failing marks.
Scouring the market for homes that were within $10,000 of each city's median price, we found houses with prices ranging from $140,000 in St. Louis to almost $700,000 in San Francisco.
We not only found big price differences, but the square-footage varied greatly as well. For example, we located a median-priced home with more than 1,500 square feet in Boston, but couldn't find one with even 700 square feet in Miami.
That means there was also a big difference in each home's price per square foot — one of the best ways to compare how far your housing dollar will stretch. Our homes ran from well under $105 per square foot in Minneapolis to well over $800 in San Francisco.
Let's take a look at what you can expect to get with the median-priced home in these seven cities.
Address: 390 NW 17th St., Unit 5056
Square feet: 868
Price per square foot: $171
Median home price: $143,300
Atlanta came in as the most affordable city in our study. So it's not surprising that this one-bedroom, one-bathroom condo also is one of the least expensive homes on our list. It's located in Element at Atlanta Station, a five-story condominium complex within a 138-acre mixed-used neighborhood on the site of a former steel mill. The development includes plenty of shopping, restaurants and even a movie theater within walking distance. The condo features an open chef's kitchen with a rounded breakfast bar, granite counter tops and black standard appliances. The kitchen overlooks both a dining room and a living room. The master bedroom includes a bathroom with double granite vanities, tile shower and garden tub. There's also a washer and dryer in the condo and a balcony that looks out over a garden and common area. One parking space is included. This home has an initiation fee of $420 and monthly association fees of $210.
Dawn Faulkner; Homes Sold By Dawn, LLC and Keller Williams Realty; 404-386-5072
Address: 7007 Pernod Ave.
Square feet: 1,368
Price per square foot: $102
Median home price: $136,600
This classic Dutch Colonial built in 1914 is the cheapest home on our list and the least expensive per square foot. That makes it one of the better deals in our lineup, especially since it's in a decent location on the city's southwest side. It's less than a quarter of a mile from the 14-acre Lindenwood Park and Interstate 44, and you can get downtown in about 15 minutes. The home itself boasts three bedrooms, one full bathroom and one half bath. The master bedroom is located on the main level, along with a living room, dining room and kitchen, which features a new stove and standard appliances. The home's hardwood floors have been refinished. And there's a screened-in sunroom at the back of the house where you can look out at the oversized lot and a perennial garden, which is perfect for those budding gardeners out there.
Pam Schneider; Coldwell Banker Gundaker; 314-457-6601
Address: 6050 5th Ave S.
Square feet: 1,406
Price per square foot: $135
Median home price: $199,600
This south Minneapolis house built in 1959 offers about 500 square feet more of living space than our Atlanta home — and at a much lower price per square foot. This three-bedroom, two full bathroom house located northwest of Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport was sold in May 2013 and underwent renovations before being put back on the market, including an updated bathroom and new carpeting and paint throughout. The kitchen features granite counter tops, stainless-steel appliances, white cabinets and tile floor. There's a dining room and a large living area with a fireplace. This home also has a finished basement and an attached one-car garage.
Wade Klick; RE/MAX Results and Green Homes; 763-227-8163
Address: 1 S. Ellwood Ave.
Square feet: 1,515
Price per square foot: $168
Median home price: $262,700
This three-bedroom, three-and-a-half bath row house built in 1904 is located in southeast Baltimore in the Patterson Park neighborhood, just a few blocks from the 137-acre park of the same name. The park features walking paths, playgrounds, athletic fields and a pool. This home includes three floors of living space with hardwood floors throughout. You'll fall in love with the exposed red brick that runs the length of the living room. The kitchen has an island, granite counter tops, stainless-steel appliances and a tile backsplash. The master suite includes a tall ceiling and full bath. There's a second bedroom upstairs with a hall bathroom. In addition, there's a finished basement with a family room, bedroom and full bathroom. When it's nice out, you can enjoy the rear patio. Unfortunately, there's no garage, so you'll have to park on the street. But the listing notes there's potential to add parking near the rear patio.
Chris Cooke; The Chris Cooke Team; 443-802-2728
Address: 169 Glenview Drive
Square feet: 833
Price per square foot: $839
Median home price: $706,300
This is the most expensive home and the priciest per square foot in our lineup — by a wide margin. That's not really much of a surprise considering San Francisco has the highest median home price of the nation's 25 largest cities. The house is roughly the same size as our Atlanta home, but is priced more than four times higher. This 1951 home in the Midtown Terrace neighborhood shares walls with one neighbor, but it features a big lot and yard that backs up to Twin Peaks. The main level includes both of the home's bedrooms and its only bathroom. The combined living room and dining room include hardwood floors, while the kitchen has tile flooring, standard appliances and solid-surface counter tops. There's a lower-level bonus room, which can be used as an office. This home has an attached single-car garage. Windows, electrical, the garage door and the water heater are all new.
Rob Regan; Pacific Union Real Estate; 415-652-3780
Address: 1016 21st St.
Square feet: 1,088
Price per square foot: $431
Median home price: $469,000
Nestled in the Golden Hill neighborhood just south of the 1,200-acre Balboa Park (home to the San Diego Zoo), this is the second-most expensive house on our list. It's a well-maintained 1913 carriage house with two bedrooms and two bathrooms. The main floor is open and features wood floors, which extend into the remodeled kitchen. There, you'll find an island, solid-surface counter tops and standard appliances. The second floor is home to a large master bedroom loft and a free-standing clawfoot tub. The basement offers a laundry area and storage. And there are French doors that lead to a rear deck. Don't miss one of the nicest features of this home — the view of downtown San Diego.
Doug Springer; Del Mar Realty Associates, Inc.; 858-755-6288
Address: 350 S. Miami Ave., Apt 1515
Square feet: 698
Price per square foot: $365
Median home price: $251,000
With views of the Miami River, this one-bedroom and one-bathroom condo certainly has some appeal. It's the smallest home on our list, but it's also one of the cheaper ones. It feels like more of a studio than a one-bedroom, however, with its open floor plan and lack of an enclosed bedroom. The kitchen has new cabinets, stainless-steel appliances and solid-surface counter tops. There's also a breakfast nook. There's lots packed into this small space, including a washer and dryer. But the real selling point is the floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the river and downtown Miami. The condo building offers plenty of amenities as well, including a gym, spa, sauna and racquetball courts. One covered parking space comes with the property. HOA fees are $467 a month.
Paola Guzzo; L3 Investments, LLC.; 239-825-4832
Address: 5213 Dartmouth Ave.
Square feet: 872
Price per square foot: $424
Median home price: $378,400
This home in the El Sereno neighborhood in northeast Los Angeles is close in price per square foot to the San Diego home on our list, but it's a considerably smaller house. The asking price recently dropped by $7,000, so it now is cheaper than LA's median home price. It's a three-bedroom and one-bathroom home built in 1947 that sold in July 2013 and is back on the market following some remodeling. There's new flooring throughout, with ceramic tile in the bathroom, laminate floors in the kitchen and new carpet in the bedrooms. The upgraded kitchen includes granite counter tops, wood cabinets and standard appliances. This home also has a new toilet, shower and fixtures. The front yard has new landscaping, and there's a detached garage.
Frank Ticas; All Counties Real Estate.; 818-742-6466