October 18, 2019
A million-dollar home looks very different from one city to the next, according to new research from Zillow.
The typical $1 million home in the U.S. is a detached, single-family house that measures about 2,200 square feet and includes four bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms, according to the real estate marketplace.
But the value of any home depends on where it’s located. In some cities, $1 million will buy a literal mansion, while in other cities, that same amount will only procure something much smaller.
According to the report, a detached single-family house is the standard for a $1 million home in 87 of the largest 100 metro areas in the U.S. All have at least three bedrooms and 1.5 bathrooms, and they range from around 1,400 square feet in Fremont, CA, to more than 7,000 square feet in El Paso.
That $1 million will buy a mansion of at least 5,000 square feet in 10 large U.S. cities, including El Paso. Most are in the southern states, including four in Texas, two in Tennessee and one each in North Carolina and Alabama.
The smallest homes for $1 million are found in Honolulu, Fremont, Oakland, San Jose and Los Angeles, at less than 2,000 square feet.
Condos make up a much larger share of the million-dollar market in some large, coastal cities, but the space that $1 million buys varies considerably. The smallest $1 million homes of any type are in San Francisco, where the standout home is a 900-square-foot condo. But, mid-size condos between 1,600 and 1,900 square feet are common in the Florida cities of Miami, Naples and Boca Raton.
In Minneapolis, Washington, DC, and Philadelphia, townhomes and row houses are the standout $1 million homes. Boston, New Orleans and Long Beach, CA have a high share of duplex, triplex and quadplexes worth $1 million.
“Owning a $1 million home was once a status symbol. But now, due to escalating home prices, it feels closer to the price of entry for homeownership in parts of the country,” said Cheryl Young, senior economist at Zillow.
“Nationwide, the typical $1 million home at 2,200 square feet may not be sufficient to impress colleagues or neighbors. Only in the most affordable markets, such as some in the south, will you find $1 million homes that verge on palatial, and the reality for some markets – particularly those on the coast and in California – is that $1 million homes often stand out more for their diminutive size, given their hefty price tags.”
For the most bang for your buck, the report states that buyers should look outside of a metro area’s principal city. Buyers willing to forgo the shorter commutes and amenities that come with living in a principal city will usually be rewarded with a larger home. For example, $1 million will buy a 1,650-square-foot row house in Washington, DC or a 4,700-square-foot home with five bedrooms in neighboring Silver Spring.
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