How much space can one get for the median $400k home?

Sizes range from 5,000sq ft in Detroit and Cleveland to a puny 267sq ft in Manhattan

How much space can one get for the median $400k home?

It’s long been said that everything is bigger in Texas. While that may largely be true, there are marked disparities among cities in the Lone Star State as it relates to how much space $400,000 would buy.

The $400,000 control refers to the national median home price of $405,000 that was achieved for the first time in March – an all-time high. Point2 analysts sought to find how much space $400,000 would buy in the nation’s 100 largest cities.

Let’s take a gander at Texas first. Some takeaways from the Point2 study:

  • Lubbock and El Paso are among the top 20 largest cities with the most affordable square footage, providing more than 3,000 square feet of living space for $400,000;
  • Among the top 10 most populous cities, Houston and San Antonio both stand out with a generous 2,400 square feet for the national median;
  • To put things into perspective, the cost per square foot is at least 10 times less expensive in 11 Texas cities compared to the most unaffordable markets on the list like San Francisco and Manhattan where the cost per square foot starts at $1,000;
  • Although providing less space for the new median, Austin and Dallas still offer more than 1,000 square feet, similar to cities like Reno, Nev.; Saint Petersburg, Fla.; Portland, Ore.; and Sacramento, Calif.
  • Texas really leads when it comes to space as $400,000 buys more than 2,000 square feet of living space in 11 cities, analysts found.

The median home price hasn’t been the only thing to rise. Also on the rise is the average square footage of new single-family homes. According to the National Association of Home Builders, the pandemic reversed the previously downward trend in home size, with the average square footage for new single-family homes expanding to 2,561.

Read more: Median priced homes not affordable in 74% of US housing markets

“Existing homes, however, cannot grow in size to accommodate their owners’ growing needs,” Point2 analysts wrote. You can bet the farm on that, as Texans are fond of saying. Come to think of it, a house that grows on its own would be rather unsettling. As Texans would say, that would be as welcome as a porcupine at a nudist colony. Or, if you prefer, as welcome as a skunk at a lawn party.

The aphorisms prompt a cue to examine square footage outside of Texas. So where in the US can one get the most and least space for the new median home price? Again, that median home price is $405,000. To answer the question, Point2 analysts looked at how many square feet $400,000 would buy in the nation’s 100 most populous cities:

  • Detroit and Cleveland are in a league of their own, with both cities boasting more than 5,000 square feet for the national median.
  • Toledo, Ohio, is hot on their heels, with an equally impressive 4,444 square feet for $400,000.
  • In the top 10 markets with the most expensive square footage in the nation, the median home price buys less than 600 square feet, with six of these cities offering less than 500 and Manhattan unsurprisingly coming in last with a puny 267 square feet.
  • At $1,500 and $1,000, respectively, Manhattan and San Francisco have the highest costs per square foot. At the other end of the affordability spectrum, the median price per square foot in Detroit, Cleveland, and Toledo is less than $100.

The cities that complete the infamous top 10 list of places with the least amount of space for the median price boast just slightly more space than the previous six: In San Jose, Calif.,; Honolulu; Irvine, Calif.; and San Diego, Calif., buyers could afford between 500 and 600 square feet of living space, on average, analysts found – if they had $400,000 at their disposal.

Read next: Median home price is more affordable than in the 90s says Arch MI

Among the 25 markets offering the least amount of space for the median home price, four cities are more generous: Miami; Denver; Riverside, Calif.; and Bronx, N.Y., home seekers could get a tad more than 1,000 square feet – almost four times the space they’d get in Manhattan.

Why, that’s no bigger than moles on a chigger. That’s all she wrote, folks.

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