How Many Square Feet Will 200K Buy Across The Country

Dated: 05/23/2018

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How Many Square Feet Will $200K Buy Across the Country?

By  | May 22, 2018
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Home buyers have all kinds of dream features on their wish lists: an open kitchen with state-of-the-art appliances, a patio to relax on in the warm-weather months, and enough space to raise a growing family. But not all housing markets are created equal when it comes to just how much buyers will be shelling out for those coveted extra rooms.

So which cities offer the most—and least—square footage for $200,000? Buyers seeking sizable homes on a budget want to stay far away from the ultraexpensive coasts, according to a recent PropertyShark report. But the South and Midwest are good bets for those hoping to save a few bucks.

The home listing website looked at its own data to determine the median home's square footage in each of the 33 large cities (with Brooklyn and Manhattan, both parts of New York City, counted separately) included in the report. PropertyShark also used U.S. Census Bureau data to figure out the median home price. The company then divided the sale price by the home size to come up with the price per square foot.

(The median home list price nationwide is $289,900, according to the most recent realtor.com® data. Meanwhile, the median home square footage was 2,422 for U.S. homes completed in 2016, according to Census data. That's about $120 per square foot.)

It turns out that $200,000 will net buyers a measly 126 square feet in New York City's prized borough of Manhattan, home to many of the big skyscrapers that the city is known for. (To put this into perspective, the average standard U.S. hotel room size is 325 square feet.)

"We always say location, location, location, and people will pay for that," says Manhattan-based real estate broker Karen Gastiaburo, of Halstead Real Estate. "There’s no city like New York City. There’s a vibrancy, there’s a uniqueness.”

New York City isn't the only city where $200,000 will get you a home smaller than Kim Kardashian West's closet. The same sum can purchase only 260 square feet in San Francisco; 371 in Boston; 376 in San Jose, CA, the heart of Silicon Valley; 423 in Washington, DC; and 451 in New York City's borough of Brooklyn.

Meanwhile, buyers can score a palatial 3,769 square feet in Cleveland for that $200,000. That's about 30 times the amount of space they can get in Manhattan. Is it time to install an indoor skating rink?

Buyers can also live large in El Paso, TX, where $200,000 buys 3,334 square feet; in San Antonio, TX, at 3,249; and in Memphis, TN, at 2,965.

“It would be hard to spend $200,000 in certain neighborhoods, and it wouldn’t be enough in others," says Cleveland-based real estate agent David Sharkey, of Progressive Urban Real Estate. About "$200,000 could get an older home that’s been rehabbed pretty nicely, with three to four bedrooms and two bathrooms in a nice neighborhood.”

However, in Cleveland's hipper, pricier neighborhoods, that amount will get buyers much smaller, move-in ready abodes.

"If it was a larger home [in those areas], it would need quite a bit of rehab," Sharkey says.

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