What $1 million buys you in real estate today varies greatly in major cities around the country. Here’s a look at how far your money will go. Listen to Danielle Hale, the chief economist at realtor.com. “If your price range is $1 million and you are looking for space in Los Angeles or San Francisco, you’ll find more square footage for your money in Los Angeles.”
Given how large Los Angeles is, look to areas like Burbank to get more for your million. If you can up your budget to $1,000,099, there’s a 3,600 square foot home in the Burbank Hills area with a terraced backyard and canyon views.
“In San Francisco, even if you pull down a six-figure salary you may not find a great house at a $1 million when you look at price per square foot,” Hale adds.
The numbers from realtor.com, which looked at July listing prices for single-family homes, support Hale’s analysis. In San Francisco, $1 million will buy you around 1,600 square feet, 19% less square footage than a year ago. At $618 per square foot, that’s up 22% from last year.
Realtor.com does offer good news in some markets. Chicago and Washington D.C. buyers can get over twice the square footage as in San Francisco for the same price. Consider that San Francisco’s median home price is up to $1.366 million, according to Zillow.
When looking at the greater Washington D.C. market, buyers can get more house for that $1 million price tag. Realtor.com’s stats show half of the homes in that price range are larger than 4,300 square feet, with an average of 4.6 bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms. According to Koki Adasi, senior vice president at Compass, a real estate brokerage, and technology platform, there are good options available. “Buyers look to the North Arlington area in Virginia (right over the district line) for good schools and nice housing. There they can get a 2,000 square foot single family home in fantastic condition and be close to the metro, shopping, and schools.”
Lisa Harris, Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist (CLHMS) at RE/MAX CENTER in Atlanta, explains the current market in that $1 million range. “We are very fortunate to enjoy a strong economy thriving on an overall seller’s market over the last few years. According to the ILHM, the Atlanta luxury market is “balanced” with a median list price of $1.175 million vs. the median sold price of $950,000,” Harris explains. The median luxury sales price there according to Harris for single-family homes is $950,000.
Boston is still a hot market, with open houses pulling in lots of traffic. The fast developing and in-demand Seaport area with its new luxury condominiums doesn’t offer much choice in that price range. “When you look at the Seaport and the nearby waterfront you really can’t find much for a million,” observes David Bates, broker associate at William Raveis Real Estate. “I recently had a client who could spend a million and wanted a building on the waterfront with parking. After researching options, I had to tell him he couldn’t even buy a one-bedroom down there for a million with parking.” But you can buy a newly constructed 946-square-foot luxury condo with city and water views on Boston’s scenic Fan Pier with not one but two garage spaces for $1.25 million.
Lisa Larson of Warburg Realty in Manhattan confirms a softening market in the $1 million range. “I do see good buying opportunities depending on what neighborhood you are interested in. Today $1 million will go further than two years ago,” Larson observed. Moving around the city, certain prime areas remain pricey including the West and East Village and the Lower East Side, which can command around $2,000 a square foot, according to Larson. “Traditionally, Murray Hill and Kips Bay offer good affordability. Expect to pay $1 million for a two-bedroom, move-in ready co-op. Heading uptown and east, close to York Avenue prices are comparable to Murray Hill,” she adds.
Neighborhood X, a real estate and data analytics firm, compared August prices in several cities. A major takeaway from Neighborhood X’s research is, “the average property in Manhattan is more expensive per square foot than the trophy properties in many cities.” Data points compared the average price in Manhattan at $1,773 per square foot to Philadelphia’s $1,643, Denver’s $1,708 and Portland’s $1,053, the most affordable.
Heading to Seattle, which has seen strong price growth and demand, John Manning, managing broker at RE/MAX On Market in Seattle, explains changing market dynamics. “It was not so long ago that most of the $1 million homes in Seattle were concentrated in a few well-known neighborhoods such as Queen Anne or Laurelhurst. This changed around the same time that Amazon, Google, Facebook, and other great technology companies began to exponentially expand their workforce presence in the city. Today, $1 million homes can be found in almost every Seattle neighborhood and surrounding cities.” South Lake Union is a technology and medical hub in Seattle. The Wallingford neighborhood just north of Lake Union now has “cookie-cutter” townhouses selling for $1 million.
If you are looking for value, love country music, and good food, your money will go far in Nashville. “The greater Nashville market has seen a large increase in home prices over the last few years, but $1 million still goes farther here than in a lot of metro areas. In the downtown corridor, one could obtain a brand new, hip modern place with city views and over 3000 square feet,” explains Jeff Checko of RE/MAX Advantage in Nashville.
If you have $1 million to spend and aren’t limited to major east or west coast cities, expect to have choices in buying your dream home. After all, shelling out $1 million even in today’s over-the-top real estate market is still a lot of money.
Article via Forbes