What A $309,000 Home Looks Like Across The Country
Molly Grace14-Minute Read
January 16, 2020
If you pay close attention to the real estate market, you may have noticed that in the past few years the median home price has crept up and hit the $300,000 mark.
As of November 2019, the U.S. median listing price was $309,000, according to REALTOR.com®. Of course, home prices vary a lot among individual markets, so what you get for $309,000 in a rural area in the Midwest is going to be wildly different from what you’ll get for the same price in Southern California.
Curious what the average house looks like in your neck of the woods? Let’s take a look at what the median list price will get you in different parts of the country.
Northeasterners own, rent and live in some of the most expensive real estate in the country. Though it’s possible to find a home around the median price even in some of the more expensive areas, cramped spaces, limited amenities or conveniences and a high price per square foot is the name of the game in this area.
Boston has long been one of the more desirable urban areas in the country, and as such has one of its costliest real estate markets. According to Rocket HomesSM data, the median list price is currently sitting at a whopping $719,000. However, due to increasing uncertainty in the local market, 2020 may see that number start to trend slightly downward.
Still, Boston’s home prices are far off from the U.S. as a whole, and buyers looking to stay closer to the U.S. median might have to play the waiting game to find an affordable gem among the limited inventory at this price range. Here’s an example: this two bed, one bath condo in the heart of the Neponset district of Dorchester, Boston’s largest neighborhood.
This condo is listed at $310,000 and is 777 square feet, so you’re paying $398 per square foot. The unit features new wood flooring, a small but comfortable kitchen with granite countertops and custom cabinets, large rooms and a stylish bathroom.
New York, New York
New York City is, on its own, home to several of the most expensive real estate markets in the country. Three of the five boroughs that make up the city – Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan – make the top 10 list of most expensive cities to live in.
Because homes tend to be priced much higher than what buyers in other areas of the U.S. would ever dream of spending on a house, buyers looking in the city can expect limited square footage and studio apartments at the median U.S. listing price range (in fact, the median listing price for this area is over double the U.S. median, at $649,000).
Of course, in such a big city, it is possible to find a suitable home at this price range. Take, for example, this beautiful fifth-floor co-op unit that’s got a surprising amount of open space and natural light. For $308,000, you get 700 square feet (one bedroom and one bathroom) in Forest Hills, a neighborhood in the borough of Queens.
Even at such an affordable-for-New-York price, this home is conveniently located, with plenty to do within the neighborhood and ample public transportation to get you to other parts of the city quickly.
Buffalo, New York
Craving more space (or more nature)? Try an Upstate New York city, like Buffalo. With a median list price of just $115,000, home shoppers who are expecting to pay the national median will love to see how far their dollars can stretch in this hip locale.
This beautiful, industrial-style condo located right downtown is a perfect example of all that Buffalo’s housing market has to offer: attractive, spacious homes and city living at a fraction of what you’d pay in NYC.
For $309,000, you get two bedrooms, two bathrooms and 1,225 square feet. This unit is conveniently located and within walking distance of many local hotspots. Plus, you get the city feel without having to make many of the typical sacrifices that come with living in an urban area; the home comes with two parking spots, additional storage and an in-unit washer/dryer.
Annapolis is a lively community, a suburb of Baltimore and the capital city of the state of Maryland. While the median list price for this area is $468,000, it’s definitely possible to find a suitable home for less than that.
Take this $305,000 townhouse, for example. This beautiful two bed, three bath, brick front home has plenty of space – 1,758 square feet of it. It has plenty of beautiful features, including ample natural lighting, and is well-maintained. In back, it boasts a large deck with a beautiful view of the shared courtyard.
If you’re yearning to live in one of the country’s most iconic and historic cities, Philly might be more affordable than you think.
The median listing price in Philadelphia is $219,000. So, what does a $309,000 get you in this city’s real estate market?
This gorgeous, Victorian-style home located in Philadelphia’s historic Germantown neighborhood is listed for $307,900. With 1,832 square feet spread out among five bedrooms and four bathrooms, families will have plenty of space despite living in a more urban area.
The inside is roomy, with plenty of kitchen space and a substantial master bedroom. The neighborhood is conveniently located with plenty of amenities nearby.
The southeast is a mixed bag in terms of affordability, with some of the more sought-after areas coming in surprisingly affordable and others prohibitively expensive for the average home shopper.
Want a warm, seaside home or do you gravitate towards sweet, southern twangs? Here’s what shoppers in a median price range can expect of this region.
Asheville, North Carolina
Asheville residents are artsy, outdoorsy and hip. Asheville’s growing popularity has caused home prices to trend up in recent years, so the median list price is slightly above the national average at $344,000.
This adorable cottage clocksin at just $307,000. For that price, you get three bedrooms, two bathrooms and 1,303 square feet. This house is conveniently located minutes from downtown Asheville. If you want your own private, natural piece of land while still being close to all the action, Asheville will suit your needs perfectly.
Greenville, South Carolina
Greenville is, according to Niche.com, one of the best places to live in South Carolina. It’s a diverse area with lots to do, and it has a fairly average housing market with a $332,000 median list price.
When you picture Carolina living, do you think big, shaded yards, sunny screen porches and beautiful interiors? This spacious home in Greenville fits the bill.
This 1,899-square-foot brick home features three beds and two baths, big rooms with wood floors, a beautiful picture window overlooking the wooded front yard, any many other attractive interior details. It’s currently listed at $310,609.
With a median list price of $349,000, Nashville offers a fair amount of affordability relative to the rest of the country, along with plenty of wonderful attractions to keep you busy on the weekends.
This quaint ranch with a beautiful yard is listed at $308,200 and features two bedrooms and two bathrooms. It’s on the small side – only 796 square feet – but it’s a perfect trade-off for a young single looking for a starter home in one of America’s most popular cities.
Mount Juliet, Tennessee
If you’re looking for a suburb, Mount Juliet is a great place for both families and younger people just starting their careers. It’s located just a half-hour’s drive from Nashville, and the median home price here is a little more affordable than the city: $335,000.
This classic Craftsman home has three beds, three baths and 2,403 square feet for $309,900. For that price, it features a beautiful open floor plan with hardwood floors, plenty of space for a family, and a backyard fit for entertaining.
Atlanta is surprisingly affordable for being such a lively city and cultural hub, with its median home price just under the national, at $307,000.
This wonderfully unique home is listed at $299,000. It boasts three bedrooms, three bathrooms and comes in at 1,694 square feet. The inside is open concept and very spacious throughout all the rooms. The master bath is elegant and full of natural light.
Decatur is a suburb of Atlanta and is much pricier than the city it serves as a remote haven of, with a median home price of $499,000. In spite of this, it’s still possible for those with smaller budgets to get into this friendly community.
If you want to afford Decatur, consider a townhouse like this elegant two-story unit. For $309,000, you get 1,360 square feet (two beds, three baths), granite countertops, a fireplace and a one-car garage.
Tampa is a busy metropolitan area with a diverse population and lots of beautiful residential neighborhoods. The median listing price in Tampa is $284,00 – affordable homes abound.
This beautiful, shady home is quintessential Florida living in the Bayshore Beautiful neighborhood of Tampa. It’s 1,062 square feet, has three bedrooms and one bathroom and is currently listed right at $309,000.
The homes interiors are simple and elegant, but the gorgeous, lush yard is one of the most winning aspects of this house.
The Midwest sometimes gets a bad rap for being the somewhat unexciting, predictable place to settle down. However, its stability is a boon for home shoppers looking for a solid investment in their housing futures.
Chicago offers a wide array of housing, from traditional apartments or condos in the heart of downtown to freestanding homes with garages, backyards and space to raise a family.
Price-wise, Chicago is surprisingly affordable for a major city, with a $299,000 median listing price.
It’s even possible to get into an area as beautiful and iconic as Chicago’s famous Hyde Park neighborhood for the median U.S. home price.
This $309,900 home has three beds, three baths and comes in at 2,000 square feet, making it a substantially roomy condo. The interior is impossibly charming, with French doors that open to a peaceful balcony.
Hyde Park features plenty of shopping, eating and culture, and is home to the castle-esque University of Chicago.
To get away from the sometimes-cramped feeling of the city, you’ll want to head downstate. The city of Champaign is located in central Illinois and is home to the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. It has a more suburban feel, and home shoppers will find plenty of space and plenty to do in this city.
Champaign is a very affordable place to live in comparison to the areas we’ve looked at so far, with a median list price of just $159,000.
This spacious home, listed at $310,000, has five bedrooms, four bathrooms and comes in at 3,610 square feet (that’s an impressive $85 per square foot). The interior is open and sunny with lots of pretty details. The master bedroom features a walk-in closet and in-suite bath with a large tub and separate shower.
Though the city has struggled economically, it’s on an upswing, and there’s plenty of beautiful (and affordable) real estate to be found throughout the city.
The median list price in Detroit is $49,900.
This beautiful, modern home is currently listed at $309,000 and features three bedrooms and three bathrooms, with a total of 2,751 square feet. It has a large, open concept first floor with a large kitchen and lots of light.
Listed as Niche.com’s No. 1 best place to live in Michigan is Okemos, a small neighboring town of East Lansing (home of Michigan State University).
Okemos is a solidly suburban community with lots of shops and amenities. The median list price for this area is $270,000.
This gorgeous colonial has plenty of space inside and out – perfect for a growing family. The house is 2,484 square feet with four beds and three baths. It’s currently listed at $312,000.
This home is beautifully landscaped, well-maintained and has a brand-new roof to boot.
Madison is a diverse and welcoming community with an active nightlife and endless attractions and amenities. The median listing price for homes is $299,000.
This charming home manages to be both cozy and spacious, with lots of lovely interior details and an adorable front porch nook. It’s 1,770 square feet (with four beds and two baths) and is listed at $309,900. It’s conveniently located in a quiet neighborhood and has a sizable, woodsy backyard.
Cincinnati is a culturally rich and lively city, making it a great place to live. It’s also a fairly affordable place to live, with a median list price of $168,000.
This chic, midcentury modern condo is located in Cincinnati’s historic Over-the-Rhine district. It’s $305,000 and has two bedrooms and one bath. Its size is about average for a condo in the city – on the small side, at 836 square feet.
The building was built in 1900 and is well-maintained, with upgraded, modern finishes in this particular unit.
St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis, thanks to its iconic arch, is known as the Gateway to the West. If you want to live in a city with great barbeque and beer, you’re in luck: the median list price in St. Louis is an affordable $169,000.
This expansive Victorian is currently listed at $309,000. It’s 2,868 square feet with five bedrooms and four bathrooms. It boasts a roomy kitchen with a lovely backsplash, plenty of windows to let in natural light and gorgeous wood floors throughout the main floor. The master bath has a huge walk-in shower and separate bathtub.
If you like a hot, dry desert climate with abundant natural beauty, the southwestern region of the U.S. may be more your speed. But is the real estate market as hot as weather?
Phoenix is a sprawling, sunny metropolis with lots of economic opportunity and plenty of things to do. And, thanks to its relatively affordable housing, it’s perfect for home buyers from all walks and stages of life, from young professionals to families to snowbirds looking for a haven from the winter blues.
With a median list price of $274,000, finding a great property at the U.S. median is definitely possible.
This charming, modern desert home is one such example of the beautiful and relatively affordable homes you’ll find in the Phoenix area. Listed right at $309,000, this 1,515 square foot home has three bedrooms, two bathrooms and easily maintained low-water landscaping. The backyard has plenty of space and features a covered patio that gives homeowners a shady spot to enjoy the warm Phoenix air.
Many of the West Coast’s most iconic cities have a reputation for being unaffordable for all but the wealthiest of residents (the median listing price in San Francisco is currently at $1.2 million). California’s lack of affordable housing throughout the state is so bad it’s been deemed a “crisis” and a “nightmare” by many.
What does this mean for home shoppers with a median budget? Let’s take a look at what $309,000 will get you on the western side of the country.
Los Angeles, California
In densely packed LA, buyers and renters alike can expect to pay a premium for precious square footage. Los Angeles is always exciting and bustling, and as the entertainment industry’s main hub, it’s a star-studded and expensive place to live. The median listing price for homes in LA is $778,000.
With this Mediterranean-style condo, you’ll pay $309,000 for a mere 733 square feet, or about $421 per square foot. While this one-bedroom, one-bathroom home features a fairly average interior, it’s well-maintained and has a few features that make it stand out, including a large walk-in closet, granite countertops, wood floors and a community with a lot of great amenities, including a pool, gym and a beautiful outdoor area for barbequing. It’s also conveniently located in Los Angeles’s sought-after Encino neighborhood.
Right in the heart of central California is Fresno, where the median listing price is $327,000. This makes it much more affordable than many other places in California, while still boasting many of the features and attractions that draw buyers to California: warm summers, mild winters, and plenty of recreation options for everyone, whether you’re a foodie, a party animal or an outdoorsy type.
This California ranch features a gorgeous interior, great curb appeal and an attractive, shady backyard. At $315,000, it’s slightly above the U.S. median home price, but offers much more space than what you’ll get with similarly priced houses in other parts of the state. This three-bedroom, two-bathroom home is 2,391 square feet, so you’re paying a reasonable $131 per square foot.
The dining room has beautiful accent beamed ceilings, the bedrooms are spacious, and the enclosed sunroom features earthy tile pavers.
For something perhaps a little more affordable than some of Northern California’s priciest cities, consider Sacramento, where the median listing price is a cool $973,000. Sacramento is a diverse and desirable place to live, with abundant art, culture and outdoor recreation.
For $305,000, home shoppers in Sacramento can get into this adorable pink house with lots of space and great curb appeal. This home sits on a large 8,712-square-foot lot, with the home itself offering a comfortable 1,571 square feet of living space. It has three bedrooms and two bathrooms, plenty of storage room, and is conveniently located near top-rated schools, shopping and the freeway.
The mountainous, rainy, beautiful Pacific Northwest is great place to live, but can also be quite expensive depending on where you go. Let’s take a closer look at what kinds of houses you can expect to be available in the median price range in this area.
Seattle is one of the most expensive cities to live in. Though economic growth is strong here and unemployment is low, it can still be hard to find a reasonably price home within the city. The median list price in Seattle is $699,000.
This modern condo unit is currently listed for $309,000 and has two beds, one bath and a total of 756 square feet. Though it’s on the small side, the interior is open and lets in a lot of sun thanks to its multiple, large windows. There’s a small patio in the back so homeowners can easily enjoy the fresh Seattle air. The condo is well-maintained and conveniently located for commuters who work downtown.
Considered by some to be a suburb of Seattle, but a city in its own right, Bellevue has been recognized as one of the country’s best places to live. However, it’s also a fairly wealthy area, and with a median list price of around $942,000, it can be difficult for those with more average budgets to find a suitable home.
For $310,000 you can get into this hip condo in Bellevue, but you may have to squeeze a bit – it’s a total of 684 square feet, with one bedroom and one bathroom. The unit offers beautiful, new laminate flooring, updated features, a convenient location and good community amenities, including an outdoor pool and tennis courts.
Why Is There Such A Wide Range?
After looking at all these listings, you may have noticed that square footage tends to be a big factor in determining how much a house is worth. Generally, the more you pay, the more house (or square footage) you’ll get.
However, in very dense urban areas, where demand for housing is high, square footage is worth more, so the average price per square foot is relatively high. You’ll also see this play out not just in cities but also in highly desirable suburban areas, where buyers will pay a premium to live in the “best” neighborhoods, in the “best” school districts, near the “best” amenities.
A lot of it comes down to, as real estate professionals will say, location, location, location. If lots of people want to live in a specific place – either because it’s conveniently located, is in a generally safe area, or is in a place where home values tend to hold up well – there’s going to be more demand, and thus higher costs.
Ready to start your own home search? Check out what’s currently on the market in your ideal area with the Rocket Homes home search tool.