Buying a home is the biggest purchase millions of Americans make in their lifetimes. Within a given market, a higher price tag generally corresponds with a larger house. However, real estate markets vary by region, and depending on the location, larger homes that can accommodate growing families differ markedly in price — from very affordable to outside the reach of the typical American family.
More than just a place to live, a home is also an investment. Real property in the United States generally appreciates in value over time, and as a result, homeownership is one of the most practical ways to build wealth over the long term. Though the U.S. homeownership rate tumbled down to 62.9% in 2016 from a high of nearly 70% before the housing bubble burst in 2008, it is starting to inch upwards again.
For the growing number of Americans looking to buy a home, there are many considerations to make before taking out a six-figure mortgage. But the place where one can get the most space for one’s money is likely a leading consideration for a large share of investors and families alike.
24/7 Wall St. reviewed data provided by real estate data company Zillow to determine how large a home $200,000 can buy in every state. Zillow’s data reflects the median square footage of homes worth between $190,000 and $210,000 in each state. In parts of the country with higher costs of living, $200,000 is only enough to buy a home the size of a studio apartment — or less. In other parts, $200,000 can get the buyer a home around 50% larger than the typical 1,800 square foot American home.
Due to data limitations, we did not include Vermont in our analysis.
Correction: In a previous version of this article, overall cost of living in each state relative to the country as a whole was not correctly adjusted to the most recent available year. The error has been corrected.