How Much House $350K Can Buy in Major U.S. Cities

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One of the COVID-19 pandemic’s most undeniable economic effects has been the red-hot real estate market. In cities across the country, homes are getting snapped up in just days on the market, with multiple offers, sales above asking price, and many seller-friendly conditions.

One of the key factors at play on the demand side is that the Millennial generation—the largest by population—are mostly in their late 20s and 30s, which is a period when many people begin to buy homes for the first time. This trend has been accompanied by factors that have given more people the means to buy since the pandemic began, including low mortgage rates, strong government stimulus to households, increased savings during the pandemic, and excellent stock market returns over the last year. Together, these conditions have allowed many households to accumulate the financial resources needed for a down payment and mortgage.

Unfortunately for these would-be buyers, the inventory of homes for sale has remained at or near all-time lows throughout most of the last year. Many would-be sellers have opted to stay in their current homes rather than enter a competitive market. Meanwhile, disruptions to global supply chains have created some lags in the construction of new housing stock and raised prices for building supplies like lumber. This combination of high demand and low supply has pushed prices higher throughout the pandemic.

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Prices had already been on a steady upward trajectory since the 2008 recession, but the trends that hit the market since the beginning of 2020 represent an even more significant jump. According to data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the median sales price of a U.S. home went from a post-recession low of $208,000 in January 2009 to $329,000 in January 2020, an average increase of $11,000 per year. By January 2021, the median sales price was $347,500, which represented an $18,500 increase over the year prior.

However, the median $350,000 sale price does not buy the same size or quality home in every location. The hot market overall means that many homebuyers are looking for good value—and with prices inflated in markets nationwide, good value can be hard to find. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has made it easier for many professionals to work remotely, and many more have come to value affordable and plentiful living space over proximity to work and amenities found in high-demand urban locations. According to data from the National Association of Home Builders, 21% of homebuyers would now prefer a larger home, and 30% would prefer to live in an outlying suburb post-COVID.

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As homebuyers search for good deals on real estate, most of the states where their dollar will go furthest are found in Southern and Midwestern states with low cost of living. At the top of the list, according to data from Redfin, is Arkansas, where a $350,000 home would be 3,349 square feet based on median price per square foot, with Indiana (3,167) and Oklahoma (3,049) also topping the 3,000 square foot threshold. In contrast, the states with the worst ratios are highly competitive, expensive housing markets including Hawaii (644), California (798), New York (922), and Massachusetts (1,052).

Similar trends hold for many of the cities where $350,000 will buy the most space. The majority of leading locations are Rust Belt cities in the Midwest and other locations with lower cost of living and where there is already a good supply of housing or where housing is fairly easy to build.

To find the locations where homebuyers can get the most for their money, researchers at Inspection Support Network (ISN) used data from Redfin to calculate the hypothetical size of a $350,000 home based on each location’s median price per square foot. ISN also collected data on median sale price, median days on the market, and average sale to list price ratio for each market.

Here are the cities where buyers get the most space for their money.

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Large Cities Where Buyers Get the Most Space for Their Money

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15. Fort Worth, TX

  • $350k home size (based on median price/sq ft): 2,482
  • Median price per square foot: $141
  • Median sale price: $274,000
  • Median days on market: 21
  • Average sale to list price ratio: 100.2%
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14. Jacksonville, FL

  • $350k home size (based on median price/sq ft): 2,482
  • Median price per square foot: $141
  • Median sale price: $236,750
  • Median days on market: 32
  • Average sale to list price ratio: 98.6%
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13. Baltimore, MD

  • $350k home size (based on median price/sq ft): 2,518
  • Median price per square foot: $139
  • Median sale price: $196,500
  • Median days on market: 34
  • Average sale to list price ratio: 101.7%
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12. San Antonio, TX

  • $350k home size (based on median price/sq ft): 2,593
  • Median price per square foot: $135
  • Median sale price: $247,250
  • Median days on market: 28
  • Average sale to list price ratio: 99.3%
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11. Houston, TX

  • $350k home size (based on median price/sq ft): 2,612
  • Median price per square foot: $134
  • Median sale price: $270,000
  • Median days on market: 30
  • Average sale to list price ratio: 98.1%
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10. Omaha, NE

  • $350k home size (based on median price/sq ft): 2,823
  • Median price per square foot: $124
  • Median sale price: $218,500
  • Median days on market: 7
  • Average sale to list price ratio: 101.5%
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9. Louisville, KY

  • $350k home size (based on median price/sq ft): 2,823
  • Median price per square foot: $124
  • Median sale price: $198,000
  • Median days on market: 29
  • Average sale to list price ratio: 98.4%
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8. Oklahoma City, OK

  • $350k home size (based on median price/sq ft): 2,846
  • Median price per square foot: $123
  • Median sale price: $218,250
  • Median days on market: 14
  • Average sale to list price ratio: 99.4%
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7. Milwaukee, WI

  • $350k home size (based on median price/sq ft): 3,125
  • Median price per square foot: $112
  • Median sale price: $159,750
  • Median days on market: 52
  • Average sale to list price ratio: 99.9%
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6. El Paso, TX

  • $350k home size (based on median price/sq ft): 3,182
  • Median price per square foot: $110
  • Median sale price: $189,750
  • Median days on market: 26
  • Average sale to list price ratio: 99.4%
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5. Memphis, TN

  • $350k home size (based on median price/sq ft): 3,302
  • Median price per square foot: $106
  • Median sale price: $164,500
  • Median days on market: 32
  • Average sale to list price ratio: 99.0%
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4. Indianapolis, IN

  • $350k home size (based on median price/sq ft): 3,333
  • Median price per square foot: $105
  • Median sale price: $186,500
  • Median days on market: 9
  • Average sale to list price ratio: 99.1%
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3. Tulsa, OK

  • $350k home size (based on median price/sq ft): 3,365
  • Median price per square foot: $104
  • Median sale price: $195,250
  • Median days on market: 17
  • Average sale to list price ratio: 98.3%
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2. Cleveland, OH

  • $350k home size (based on median price/sq ft): 4,930
  • Median price per square foot: $71
  • Median sale price: $102,500
  • Median days on market: 38
  • Average sale to list price ratio: 96.8%
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1. Detroit, MI

  • $350k home size (based on median price/sq ft): 6,604
  • Median price per square foot: $53
  • Median sale price: $66,500
  • Median days on market: 41
  • Average sale to list price ratio: 95.7%

Methodology & Detailed Findings

The data used in this analysis is from Redfin.com’s Home Prices, Sales & Inventory dataset. To determine the cities where you can get the most for your money, researchers calculated the hypothetical size of a $350,000 home based on the city’s median price per square foot. In the event of a tie, median sale price was considered. All data reflects 2021 averages. To improve relevance, only cities with at least 100,000 residents were included. Additionally, cities were grouped into cohorts based on population size: small (100,000–149,999), midsize (150,000–349,999), and large (350,000 or more).

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