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.
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