Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Cost of Living II: Home Prices

Written By: Jason Shafrin - Feb• 13•09

Be it rent or mortgage payments, paying for shelter is the largest after-tax expense for most people.  Differences in housing prices can greatly affect your purchasing power.  If you earn $50,000 in Wausau, Wisconsin, you will be able to afford a much larger house than if you lived in San Francisco.   Of course, living in San Francisco offers more job opportunities and amenitities than does Wausau.  

What is the price of a typical house in your metro area?  This chart reveals the median home price for 158 metro areas.  The prices are divided up between single family homes (SFH) and condominiums.  

Which cities have the most expensive median home prices?  Below are my rankings:

The most expensive metro areas to buy a home or condo are: San Francisco; Los Angeles; San Diego; New York; Washington, D.C.; Boston; Seattle; Boulder, CO; Miami.

The New York Times also has a nice graphic that better incorporates the recent downturn in housing prices, but is only available for select markets.  The data is derived from the Case-Shiller home price index.

Data Source:

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3 Comments

  1. Daniel says:

    I’m curious – why is there so much missing data for condo prices?

  2. Jason Shafrin says:

    I am not sure why this is the case. It is likely, however, that small cities have fewer condominiums thus making reliable condo price estimates less reliable.

  3. Jason Shafrin says:

    I am not sure why this is the case. It is likely, however, that small cities have fewer condominiums thus making condo price estimates less reliable.

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