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How much house $200K can buy you in 30 major cities

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How much house $200K can buy you in 30 major cities

After maintaining a somewhat steady rise for the last decade, the U.S. housing market is in a state of slowdown. And even though young job-seekers continue to flock to the nearest respective urban hub, real estate markets in various cities across the country have similarly weakened in their momentum. That’s bad news for sellers and agents, but for potential homeowners, this all might come as something of a relief. After all, urban real estate prices were getting quite high; especially in places like San Francisco that seem to remain feverishly expensive regardless of circumstance.

Despite market trends, one thing generally holds: $200,000 doesn’t buy as much house as it did in the immediate wake of the 2008 financial crisis. After global markets crashed because of low mortgage lending standards, real estate prices dropped precipitously. The good news is while the warning signs of the next recession are already here, housing prices will probably be fine even if the economy takes a turn for the worse. 

The bad news is that housing prices are still out of reach for many working-class Americans. Some mid-size cities and states are experimenting with updating their zoning policies to allow for more construction, which in turn eases the upward pressure on rents. Democratic candidates have several ideas to help renters and buyers, from an expansion of public housing construction to tax credits for renters. 

But just how much house does $200,000 buy, exactly? For the answer, Stacker headed over to Zillow, the internet’s foremost real estate database that uses nifty algorithms to track new and existing home sales across the country.

Using Zillow research data, Stacker determined how much $200,000 could buy in certain major cities by obtaining the median listing price for a home in each city, as well as the city’s median listing price per square foot. Stacker then used that information to determine the amount of square footage of a home that $200,000 could buy there.

From the least amount of square footage to the most, here is how much house one can get for $200,000 in 30 major cities.

You may also like: Best cities for house flippers

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#30: San Jose, CA

- Estimated square footage $200,000 can buy: 295 square feet
- Median listing price: $1,089,900
- Median listing price per square foot: $678

Like San Francisco, San Jose is another California city that’s seen rapid economic growth due to the tech industry. Should one arrive here with $200,000 to spend on a house, they’ll be disappointed to find 295 square feet is all their budget would allow—which is equivalent to an extra-small apartment.

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Laurin // Shutterstock

#29: Los Angeles, CA

- Estimated square footage $200,000 can buy: 373 square feet
- Median listing price: $849,000
- Median listing price per square foot: $536

While housing prices continue to rise in Los Angeles, 2018 has still brought some cooling-off periods, with the potential for more on the horizon. Nevertheless, it ranks among the most expensive places to live in the country, where one can get about 373 square feet of property for $200,000. Theoretically, that square footage is the size of a tiny house.

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#28: San Francisco, CA

- Estimated square footage $200,000 can buy: 397 square feet
- Median listing price: $825,000
- Median listing price per square foot: $503

No modern city encapsulates the urban boom more than San Francisco, which has undergone dramatic economic changes over the past few decades. Not only is the city just a 45-minute drive away from Palo Alto and Silicon Valley—respective homes to some of tech’s most well-known companies—but it’s a thriving economic hub on its own. Here, $200,000 will get one a meager 397 square feet of house, which is basically the size of a giant walk-in closet. 

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#27: San Diego, CA

- Estimated square footage $200,000 can buy: 521 square feet
- Median listing price: $655,000
- Median listing price per square foot: $384

The average annual temperature in San Diego is a breezy 64 degrees Fahrenheit, making this Southern California city a desirable place to live for people from all walks of life. Nevertheless, San Diego has been in a slump of sorts, with lagging gross domestic product growth and a shaky housing market. Today $200,000 will reportedly fetch about 521 square feet.

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#26: Boston, MA

- Estimated square footage $200,000 can buy: 662 square feet
- Median listing price: $539,999
- Median listing price per square foot: $302

An influx of young city dwellers and a lack of new construction are just two reasons as to why Boston’s real estate market has soared to epic heights in recent years. As a result, $200,000 will get someone a median 662 square feet, which means no house at all—barely a one-bedroom apartment. On the bright side, one can own a sweet parking spot for half as much.

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Artazum // Shutterstock

#25: Seattle, WA

- Estimated square footage $200,000 can buy: 677 square feet
- Median listing price: $525,000
- Median listing price per square foot: $295

As the home to Amazon, Microsoft, and a slew of other big names in tech, Seattle is yet one more city to experience rapid economic growth in recent years. According to one report, there were 136,910 tech jobs in Seattle in 2017, with employees earning an average of $113,906 per year. For $200,000, one can potentially afford 677 square feet of property, which is about the size of a small houseboat or condo.

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#24: Denver, CO

- Estimated square footage $200,000 can buy: 742 square feet
- Median listing price: $450,000
- Median listing price per square foot: $269

Thanks to a robust, diverse economy and a low unemployment rate, Denver is the country’s fifth fastest-growing city in terms of economic growth. Meanwhile, young, educated hipsters continue to flock to Colorado’s capital in droves. As a result, living in the Mile High City has become more desirable and, naturally, more expensive. For $200,000, one can get a 742-square-foot condo.

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719production // Shutterstock

#23: Minneapolis, MN

- Estimated square footage $200,000 can buy: 752 square feet
- Median listing price: $314,900
- Median listing price per square foot: $266

Despite losing its most iconic star in 2016, the city of Minneapolis has been growing at its fastest rate since 1950. Indeed, it seems that no amount of cold winter weather is going to cool down this hot market, where $200,000 fetches about 752 square feet of property—although, there are some charming older houses for sale at under $200,000.

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#22: Washington D.C.

- Estimated square footage $200,000 can buy: 842 square feet
- Median listing price: $444,900
- Median listing price per square foot: $238

There’s more money in politics now than ever before, which might help explain Washington D.C.’s exorbitant cost of living. The nation’s capital is also known as one of the best “tech cities” in the country, and where there’s new tech, there’s a hot real estate market. Meanwhile, the federal Height Act, a restrictive building-size policy dating back to 1910, is sometimes pointed to as being partly responsible for the city’s lack of available housing. Whatever the case, $200,000 is good for about 842 square feet of real estate in Washington D.C.

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hbpictures // Shutterstock

#21: Miami, FL

- Estimated square footage $200,000 can buy: 902 square feet
- Median listing price: $89,900
- Median listing price per square foot: $222

Some scientists predict that Miami will experience chronic flooding in less than 30 years, but that hasn’t stopped people from moving there. As such, it’s a somewhat expensive place to live, where $200,000 snags about 902 square feet of property on average. The good news is that there are condos for sale at under $200,000 this very minute. The bad news is that whole “impending flood” issue.

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Trong Nguyen // Shutterstock

#20: Dallas, TX

- Estimated square footage $200,000 can buy: 952 square feet
- Median listing price: $399,000
- Median listing price per square foot: $210

Look out, Austin, because Dallas is another Texas town growing at a breakneck pace, namely thanks to a thoroughly healthy job market. Presuming one doesn’t mind the occasionally sweltering heat, they can move here and find a 952-square-foot house, townhouse, or condo for $200,000, if not less.

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Jon Bilous // Shutterstock

#19: Baltimore, MD

- Estimated square footage $200,000 can buy: 1,055 square feet
- Median listing price: $319,995
- Median listing price per square foot: $190

Baltimore is a city overflowing with history, culture, and cuisine, but it’s also well-known for its violent crime rate, which apparently has changed little since the days of HBO’s “The Wire.” That might explain why the city’s housing market continues to be affordable although Washington D.C. is just an hour’s drive away. Baltimore mostly comprises townhouses, and some spacious, multi-leveled ones at that. For $200,000, one can get about 1,055 square feet of real estate, with over 2,000 residences to choose from.

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#18: Chicago, IL

- Estimated square footage $200,000 can buy: 1,173 square feet
- Median listing price: $294,900
- Median listing price per square foot: $170

Arguably the foremost city in the Midwest, Chicago delivers a flourishing culture that’s offset by its thriving crime rate. However, should one stick to the safer areas, they will find an urban hub that’s as friendly as it is windy, and generally more affordable than, say, Manhattan or Los Angeles. Here in Chicago, $200,000 can buy a median 1,173 square feet of property, which typically equates to a roomy condo or a small house in one of the city’s less-desirable neighborhoods.  

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trekandshoot // Shutterstock

#17: Las Vegas, NV

- Estimated square footage $200,000 can buy: 1,178 square feet
- Median listing price: $309,900
- Median listing price per square foot: $170

After getting hit hard by the 2008 financial crisis, Las Vegas is back and stronger than ever, with a healthy real estate market to show for it. That said, the housing here is still affordable, especially when compared to several major cities. Should someone be up for living amid desert weather and ubiquitous slot machines, they could drop $200,000 and get about 1,178 square feet of house in return. That equates to spacious condos, elegant townhouses, and regular homes alike. A house with a pool, however, might cost a little extra.

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eakkarat rangram // Shutterstock

#16: Nashville, TN

- Estimated square footage $200,000 can buy: 1,209 square feet
- Median listing price: $334,900
- Median listing price per square foot: $165

Synonymous with tasty hot chicken and decades of classic country music, Nashville still knows how to draw a crowd—making it one of the strongest economies in America. With $200,000 at one’s disposal, they can afford approximately 1,209 square feet of property, including a range of nice, quaint homes.

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DCA88 // Shutterstock

#15: Phoenix, AZ

- Estimated square footage $200,000 can buy: 1,230 square feet
- Median listing price: $305,000
- Median listing price per square foot: $163

For those who want to soak in that warm desert weather, but find places like Las Vegas to be a little too remote, then Phoenix is worthy of consideration. Home to over 1.6 million people, the city is currently in the midst of rapid economic growth. For $200,000, Phoenix delivers the full middle-class package, complete with a variety of picturesque homes, townhouses, and condos.

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Roschetzky Photography // Shutterstock

#14: Austin, TX

- Estimated square footage $200,000 can buy: 1,261 square feet
- Median listing price: $335,983
- Median listing price per square foot: $159

According to recent reports, Austin doesn’t just have the strongest economy in the state of Texas, but the strongest metropolitan economy in the entire country. A veritable hub for the young and hip, the city offers a bevy of jobs, restaurants, cultures, and festivals. It also offers about 1,261 square feet of property for $200,000. While there are both condos and small houses available at that size, the nicer ones in the better areas will obviously fetch a higher price.

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CEW // Shutterstock

#13: Philadelphia, PA

- Estimated square footage $200,000 can buy: 1,311 square feet
- Median listing price: $269,900
- Median listing price per square foot: $153

Known as the City of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia doesn’t always live up to its built-in reputation. Nevertheless, it’s still a place that offers history, culture, cuisine, and personality in equal measure. Plus, Philly is quite affordable, with $200,000 buying a median 1,311 square feet of property. Most of that real estate comes in the form of townhouses, which seem to populate every spare corner of the city.

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zimmytws // Shutterstock

#12: Raleigh, NC

- Estimated square footage $200,000 can buy: 1,397 square feet
- Median listing price: $324,900
- Median listing price per square foot: $143

With cities like San Francisco and Seattle hogging the spotlight, now might be the perfect time for aspiring coders, developers, and entrepreneurs to move to Raleigh, which has been quietly cultivating its own tech scene. And while $200,000 isn’t enough for essentially a small room in San Francisco, it can buy a full-blown three-bedroom, two-bathroom house in Raleigh. On average, that house will be approximately 1,397 square feet in size.  

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L Barnwell // Shutterstock

#11: Jacksonville, FL

- Estimated square footage $200,000 can buy: 1,449 square feet
- Median listing price: $269,900
- Median listing price per square foot: $138

Named for former President Andrew Jackson, Jacksonville sits at the northeastern end of Florida, where the St. Johns River meets the Atlantic Ocean. In addition to epic beaches and killer seafood, the city is also known for its annual Singing the Blues festival, one of the longest-running blues festivals in the country’s history. Sealing the deal is some downright affordable housing, with $200,000 being good for 1,449 square feet of property, on average.  

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Rungtiwa P // Shutterstock

#10: Detroit, MI

- Estimated square footage $200,000 can buy: 1,457 square feet
- Median listing price: $219,900
- Median listing price per square foot: $137

In the wake of declaring bankruptcy, Detroit, Michigan, has crawled its way out of the muck, namely thanks to a legion of new developers, innovators, and businesses. However, Motor City still suffers from prolonged periods of economic stagnancy, and thus has a long way to go. Until Detroit lands firmly on its feet, it will remain a true buyer’s market, with $200,000 fetching 1,457 square feet of property, on average. Fixer-uppers in particular are still going for peanuts.

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Elizabeth Foley // Shutterstock

#9: Charlotte, NC

- Estimated square footage $200,000 can buy: 1,493 square feet
- Median listing price: $305,000
- Median listing price per square foot: $134

Head west from Raleigh to arrive in Charlotte, where $200,000 is similarly good for a house of considerable size. Like Raleigh, the weather in Charlotte is nice, and the city is also an absolute haven for sports fans, being the birthplace of NASCAR and home to both the NFL’s Panthers and the NBA’s Hornets.

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Photography by Ace // Shutterstock

#8: Atlanta, GA

- Estimated square footage $200,000 can buy: 1,527 square feet
- Median listing price: $293,990
- Median listing price per square foot: $131

In 2018, Atlanta is still growing—and it’s growing fast. Bolstered by affordable housing, warm weather, a high employment rate, and an increasingly diverse populace, the city continues to draw in legions of young people from all over the country. Smattered throughout the city are a range of condos and small homes, many of which come in at $200,000 or less. On average, those condos and small homes are 1,527 square feet in size.

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Fariz Abasov // Shutterstock

#7: San Antonio, TX

- Estimated square footage $200,000 can buy: 1,557 square feet
- Median listing price: $268,925
- Median listing price per square foot: $128

“Remember the Alamo!” is a phrase enshrined in Texas history, and San Antonio is where that memory—and its associated fort—is preserved. The city also hosts the NBA’s Spurs, a legion of popular restaurants, the Riverwalk tourist district, and a vibrant music scene. What’s even better is that for $200,000 in a house that’s approximately 1,557 square feet in size.

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Trong Nguyen // Shutterstock

#6: Fort Worth, TX

- Estimated square footage $200,000 can buy: 1,587 square feet
- Median listing price: $262,945
- Median listing price per square foot: $126

Everything is bigger in Texas, including the houses—which can be quite affordable in cities like Fort Worth (aka “Where the West Begins”). Here, one can score a three-bedroom, two-bathroom, 1,977 square-foot home for less than $200,000, even if the median amount of square footage for that price is 1,587. In other words: don’t be afraid to shop around.

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All Stock Photos // Shutterstock

#5: Houston, TX

- Estimated square footage $200,000 can buy: 1,624 square feet
- Median listing price: $294,900
- Median listing price per square foot: $123

Houston is home to the Johnson Space Center, rodeos, friendly neighbors, and museums. It’s also where the air conditioner was invented, which makes sense given the downright scorching heat. What can one buy for about $200,000 here in Houston? About 1,624 square feet of property—in other words, a full spectrum of homes, townhouses, and condos.  

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Lindasj22 // Shutterstock

#4: Oklahoma City, OK

- Estimated square footage $200,000 can buy: 1,709 square feet
- Median listing price: $224,560
- Median listing price per square foot: $117

Not only is Oklahoma City indisputably affordable, but it’s also one of the most recession-proof cities in the country. That means the house one buys for $200,000 today could theoretically hold its own against a market crash. Plus, it will be approximately 1,709 square feet in size, which is nothing to scoff at.

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Matthew Schaefer // Shutterstock

#3: Indianapolis, IN

- Estimated square footage $200,000 can buy: 1,761 square feet
- Median listing price: $234,000
- Median listing price per square foot: $114

Another city beloved by sports fans, Indianapolis is home to the Indy 500, the Hoosiers, the Pacers, and the Colts. It’s also considered the “Crossroads of America,” with six interstate highways passing through its borders. Put this all together, and throw in a whopping 1,761-square-foot house for $200,000, and it could be a dream for a sports fanatic who enjoys road trips.

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Denise Kappa // Shutterstock

#2: Cleveland, OH

- Estimated square footage $200,000 can buy: 1,804 square feet
- Median listing price: $184,900
- Median listing price per square foot: $111

Despite losing LeBron James (twice), and suffering from a long-standing recession, Cleveland is keeping its chin up and experiencing economic growth as a result. For $200,000, one can buy a 1,804-square-foot house or condo. Plus, the city is overflowing with foreclosed homes and paltry real estate values, meaning $200,000 can fetch significantly more house than even the median would suggest.

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Paul B. Moore // Shutterstock

#1: El Paso, TX

- Estimated square footage $200,000 can buy: 1,992 square feet
- Median listing price: $179,850
- Median listing price per square foot: $100

Perched at the foot of the Franklin Mountains and alongside the Rio Grande, is the town of El Paso, where one can get some serious bang for their buck. $200,000 will buy 1,992 square feet worth of house, on average. Meanwhile, Juárez, Mexico, is right across the river, although it may not be the safest destination for the casual traveler.

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