What can $300 000 get you in real estate?

With housing prices still deeply depressed throughout the world, I thought i’d take a look and see what $300 000 could afford someone in several of the major cities around the United States (give or take a thousand dollars or so).  Home prices have dropped considerably in some areas (such as Miami) while staying relatively stable (such as Boston).   The difference in quality might just amaze you!  Note that all these listings are in the city proper.  As well, also note that the listings will likely only be up for a few days or weeks.  Therefore, I created a small description of the property along with the link.

Miami: 3 bedroom, 1 bath single level  detached home. with large front yard  1216 square feet – http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/4465-Southwest-13-Terrace_Miami_FL_33134_M51691-35445

Cleveland: 3 bedroom, 3 bath luxury townhome close to the shore of Lake Erie.  2205 square feet – http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/7420-Goodwalt-Ave_Cleveland_OH_44102_M36987-55595

Boston: 1 bedroom, 1 bath apartment in a late 1800′s condo complex.  380 square feet – http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/60-Myrtle-St-Unit-5_Boston_MA_02114_M43540-59341

San Francisco: Studio apartment with large windows  access to a deck.  531 square feet – http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/83-85-Brady-St-Unit-2_San-Francisco_CA_94103_M29615-58768

Chicago: Two bedroom, 2 bath condo in a highrise complex built in the 70′s and including a communal pool. 1300 square feet –http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/1415-North-Dearborn-Street-Unit-11b_Chicago_IL_60610_M87440-01602

Honolulu: 1 bedroom, 1 bath condo in a highrise complex with a view of downtown Honolulu and the ocean.  1000 square feet –http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/1221-Victoria-St-Unit-1803_Honolulu_HI_96822_M70822-90298

Housing + Transportation Index

The Chicago based Center for Neighbourhood Technology is changing the way we look at housing affordability in American cities.  Traditionally, one would base the affordability of housing in a neighbourhood on the percent a family spends on their housing.  A neighbourhood in which the average family spends 30% or less was deemed affordable.    However, the Center for Neighbourhood Technology is redefining how we look at affordability.   The new measure of affordability takes both housing and transportation into consideration.   With the new measurement of affordability, a neighbourhood in which the average family spends 45% or less on housing and transportation is considered affordable.  While one might expect that roughly the same number of American neighbourhoods would be considered affordable under both scales of affordability, the rather alarming part is these numbers are not even close.

Under the old measurement, 69% of U.S. communities are considered affordable.  However, shockingly, by factoring in both housing and transportation, that number shrinks to 40%.  Does anyone else find this down right scary?  Less than half of American neighbourhoods are considered affordable.

One might automatically blame the high transportation costs for such a decrease in affordability.  But it seems to be more complex than that.  For instance, traditionally, the farther one travels from the center of the city, the cheaper the housing costs.  Yet, moving away from the center of a city means that the transportation costs increase, perhaps more rapidly than the housing prices decrease causing an imbalance.

However, this blog post suggests that there is good news to all of this:

The good news is that many federal policymakers understand the impact of transportation on land use, housing, environment and affordability.  First, a new partnership between USDOT, EPA and the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development to coordinate and invest in sustainable development is included in President Obama’s 2011 budget.   Second, Senator Dodd (D-CT) and Representative Cohen (D-TN) have both introduced livability bills that would establish offices of sustainability in HUD and DOT that would provide competitive grants for transit-oriented development projects throughout the country.  Third, the next federal transportation bill could provide even more funding and incentives to increase transportation choices and greater proximity between housing, transit and jobs.

To learn more about the Housing and Transportation Affordability Index, you can check out their site: Housing and Transportation Affordability Index.

Need any statistical information on any U.S. city? Look no further.

For some reason, comparing statistics such as the property values or the crime rates in cities fascinates me.  Statistics provide a very informative way of evaluating where to move or where to vacation or other numerous decisions.  I recently came across a rather informative site that acts as a great resource for all the major communities in the United States.  The site covers a wide array of useful topics, stays current and includes a very busy and engaging forum of discussion.  You can visit the site at www.city-data.com.  Hopefully, with time the site will continue to expand and include information outside of the U.S. borders.