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What one dollar will get you in Boston

Buying Fall House Hunt Boston
Boston-Aerial-View
. KEITH BEDFORD/GLOBE STAFF/FILE

SEATTLE — It’s no secret that housing prices have been quickly climbing over the past decade — the median home value in the United States is higher than ever before, at nearly $220,000, and some markets, like San Jose, Las Vegas, and Atlanta, are reporting double-digit annual home value growth.

But understanding what buyers can get for their money, and how homeowners’ investments have grown over time, can be tough — especially when the footprint of homes themselves haven’t changed much. To help with this, Zillow Research looked at just how much a dollar gets you in each market and how this has changed over time.

For example, $1 will buy you 1.07 square inches of the typical US home, but 10 years ago, it got you 1.23. Back in 1998, $1 bought you 2.09 square inches.

However, in the city of San Jose, where the typical home is worth almost 84 percent more than it was 20 years ago, $1 will buy you just 0.20 of a square inch. In 2008, that was figure was 0.37, but back in 1998, it was nearly one full square inch.

Your dollar will go the farther in Memphis, buying more than 2.5 square inches of a home. Expect to get the smallest amount of space for your dollar in San Francisco, where it will buy just 0.14 of a square inch.

In Boston, a dollar will buy you 0.26 of a square inch. It got you 0.46 in 2008 and 1.01 back in 1998. The Boston metro area, according to Zillow, includes Suffolk, Middlesex, Plymouth, and Norfolk counties, in addition to Strafford and Rockingham counties in southern New Hampshire.

“A dollar today isn’t what it used to be, particularly when it comes to real estate in light of the rapid pace of home-value appreciation that the American economy has witnessed over the past half-decade,” said Aaron Terrazas. Zillow senior economist. “A dollar gets you about 20 times more space in an affordable market like Memphis than in a pricey place like San Francisco. Figuring out exactly how much space a dollar does – or doesn’t – buy you can be sobering, but enlightening. The space we live in is a tangible thing, with real value, and this shows how true that is.”

Home values across the country rose 8 percent over the past year, and Zillow is forecasting them to appreciate another 6.8 percent over the next 12 months. Over the past year, home values in the cities of Baltimore, San Jose, Las Vegas and Dallas appreciated the most.

City  Zillow Home Value Index    YoY ZHVI Change   Square Inches for $1 in 1998   Square Inches for $1 in 2008   Square Inches for $1 in 2018 
United States   $218,000   8.0% 2.09 1.23 1.07
New York   $672,200   6.4% 1.01 0.38 0.28
Los Angeles   $674,800   7.2% 1.18 0.43 0.31
Chicago   $225,600   2.1% 1.58 0.74 0.85
Houston   $179,400   7.0% 2.57 1.95 1.40
Philadelphia   $150,300   11.4% 3.79 1.55 1.22
Phoenix   $232,700   9.0% 2.25 1.12 0.95
Las Vegas   $262,200   15.4% 1.82 1.08 0.94
San Antonio   $168,600   8.1% 2.62 1.89 1.37
San Diego   $623,000   6.5% 1.13 0.50 0.34
Dallas   $194,100   13.8% 2.48 1.80 1.04
San Jose   $1,110,800   23.5% 0.76 0.37 0.20
Jacksonville, Fla.   $166,500   10.3% 2.67 1.44 1.35
San Francisco   $1,366,000   9.2% 0.56 0.24 0.14
Indianapolis   $130,700   10.9% 2.18 1.85 1.67
Austin, Texas   $350,200   7.9% 1.43 1.15 0.73
Fort Worth   $185,200   10.4% 2.62 2.09 1.36
Columbus, Ohio   $147,000   9.0% 2.00 1.62 1.27
Memphis   $83,300   8.3% 3.13 2.88 2.53
Charlotte, N.C.   $213,400   11.0% 2.03 1.58 1.21
El Paso   $124,200   3.7% 2.72 1.78 1.69
Boston   $588,000   6.3% 1.01 0.46 0.26
Seattle   $753,600   8.1% 1.03 0.47 0.28
Baltimore   $117,100   33.2% 2.88 1.21 1.33
Denver   $416,100   7.6% 1.33 0.79 0.41
Washington, D.C.   $569,100   5.0% 1.33 0.41 0.28
Nashville   $256,700   10.1% 2.12 1.47 0.92
Milwaukee   $114,800   10.6% 2.40 1.33 1.50
Tucson   $181,000   7.5% 2.18 1.16 1.19
Portland, Ore.   $424,700   0.9% 1.47 0.73 0.48
Oklahoma City   $126,400   2.3% 3.51 2.12 1.71
Omaha   $167,900   7.6% 1.92 1.53 1.15
Albuquerque   $194,300   6.2% 1.76 1.07 1.06
Fresno, Calif.   $231,700   7.1% 2.40 1.07 0.97
Sacramento   $318,900   7.3% 1.97 0.97 0.65
Mesa, Ariz.   $240,200   7.8% 2.09 1.19 0.96

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