Detroit, Cleveland Offer the Most House for Your Dollars

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While location may be the most important consideration for a prospective home buyer, size also matters. For the same amount of money you can buy a 7,000-square foot mansion in Detroit or a 165-square foot “studio” apartment in Manhattan. Provided, of course, there were such apartments for sale on the island.

That vast difference in space for the money is due to demand. A lot more people want to live in Manhattan than want to live in Detroit, but the comparison remains useful because it puts into perspective exactly how much space you can get for the money.

Researchers at Point2Homes recently evaluated how much space a buyer would get in 50 U.S. cities based on a median-sized home — 1,700 square feet — and a home price of $300,000, the median listing price for a home.

The five cities where you can get the most living space for $300,000 are Detroit, Cleveland, Memphis, Indianapolis, and El Paso. The five locations offering the smallest amount of living space for the same amount of money are Manhattan, San Francisco, Brooklyn, Boston, and San Jose.

The researchers drew up a list of some comparisons that starkly illustrate the differences in what you can expect for your $300,000:

–For $300,000 you won’t be able to afford an average-sized home in any of the first 20 cities in our analysis. Start with Dallas, if you need at least average elbow room.

–You could buy 1,700 square foot homes in all of New York City’s outer boroughs (plus one in Los Angeles) for the price of one home of equal size in Manhattan.

–You could buy 1,700 square foot homes in 5 major cities in neighboring states, for the price of one home of equal size in San Francisco (and still have cash for a sports car left over)

–You can buy 4 median sized houses in Detroit for $300,000. Or just one really huge, 7,000 sq. ft. mansion.

–You can buy two median sized homes and a 1,000 sq. ft. condo in Memphis for $300,000.

The full report, along with comparisons between some cities, is available at the website.

– Average price per square foot calculated with asking price data from Point2 Homes database, PropertyShark database and MLS listings.
– Median living space in the US based on the Geography of Home Size and Occupancy report, published by the National Association of Home Builders in 2011.