Real estate inventory may be low across the country, but not every housing market is experiencing rising home prices and has bidding wars breaking out. According to a recent study from Coldwell Banker, outside of the nation's most pricey housing markets, the average price for a four-bedroom, two bathroom home is $301,414.
"There continues to be significant affordability," says Budge Huskey, president and chief executive of Coldwell Banker. "These are generally not starter homes given the size." He says a $300,000 home with a moderate down payment costs $1,500 a month in principal and interest in the current interest rate environment.
Every year real estate company Coldwell Banker releases its annual home listing report, which is an apple-to-apples comparison of four bedroom, two bath homes across the country. This year, the bank evaluated 1,900 markets and 52,000 listings to come up with their numbers. Not surprisingly, California is home to 13 of the 25 most expensive markets across the country.
"If you look at the overall history of the index, California has always been the most expensive state overall," says Huskey. "Anytime you move into a coastal market you'll find there's going to be higher prices." Indeed, Malibu came in as the most expensive neighborhood to buy a home in with a sample-size house costing more than $2 million.
Rounding out the top five markets were: Newport Beach, Calif.; Saratoga, Calif.; Los Gatos, Calif.; and San Francisco (where the home pictured above is now for sale). According to Coldwell, a sample-size home in Newport Beach costs around $1.8 million while homes in Saratoga go for around $1.7 million. A four bedroom, two bath home in Los Gatos will cost buyers around $1.36 million and $1.3 million in The City by the Bay. [In the slideshow below, see the priciest homes now listed in those markets .]
In contrast, the survey found the cheapest neighborhood to buy a four bedroom, two bathroom home is in Cleveland, where a sample size house sells for $63,729 on average. In fact, 15 of the 25 cheapest housing markets are in the Midwest. "You are dealing with areas that were economically depressed in the past," says Huskey. "These areas offer a very good lifestyle at an affordable cost."
Rounding out the top five most affordable markets in the U.S. was Garfield Heights, Ohio, where buyers can purchase a four bedroom, two bathroom home for around $66,000, Flint, Mich., where the same size house goes for roughly $84,000, and Saginaw, Mich., where homes go for about $87,000. Houses in the sample size in Jackson, Miss., sell for around $94,000.
New York stood out on the list because it is home to some of the priciest neighborhoods as well the most affordable. For instance, Great Neck, N.Y. ranked 13 in terms of most pricey homes, with a four bedroom, two bathroom home costing $1.1 million. But on the flip side, home buyers can get the same-sized home in Buffalo for a little more than $100,000.
HIGHEST PRICED HOMES IN AMERICA'S MOST EXPENSIVE HOUSING MARKETS:
Designed by noted architect Frank Gehry, this six-bedroom, 10-bathroom hoom is described in its listing as an "architectural connoisseur's dream." The 11,000-square foot home is set on "just over one acre with an unprecedented 160 feet of beachfront." There's also a tennis court and lap pool.
Address: 2 Bay Island, Newport Beach, Calif., 92660
Price: $27.9 million
This five-bedroom, 5,415-square-foot home on Newport Beach's tiny Bay Island is one of less than two dozen residences there. No automobiles are allowed on the island, and its only land access is via a footbridge.
Address: 14599 Deer Spring Court, Saratoga, Calif., 95070
Price: $4.788 million
Built in the style of French chateau, the 6,200-square-foot home is a gated community was built "entirely of steel framing," its listing boasts, "to stand the test of time and possesses an exquisite level of finish complete with imported Italian tiles, meticulously crafted woodwork, soaring ceilings, and more."
Address: 17525 Santa Cruz Highway, Los Gatos, Calif., 95033
Price: $8.95 million
The listing for the "Cats Estate" says "There may be no more famous property in all of Northern California." The 75-acre site that's gated -- and guarded by the intimidating statues of two felines -- includes spectacular views of the Santa Clara Valley, biking trails, an amphitheater, a gatehouse and "Poet's Cottage."
Address: 2724 Pacific, San Francisco, Calif., 94115
Price: $30 million
This elegant, 13,500-square-foot, seven-bedroom Victorian house was built in 1894. Along with its well-preserved architectural details, and its views of the city and the bay, it also has one of the things that San Franciscans prize most -- garage space.