It’s safe to say that for the most part, buying a house is what the average person in America aspires to do. Purchasing your own home is sort of like an unofficial stamp of approval in life as an adult. This is especially true if you buy the home of your dreams, which not everyone gets to do. Some folks find themselves settling for a house they like, but don’t love. This can happen for a number of reasons: the budget is not quite as high as one would like, the area in the city might present some challenges, the monthly payment is a setback or it could boil down to the city you live in. Some cities offer incredible housing while others make it a bit more difficult to get to that dream house.
Real estate varies from state to state across the country with some pretty drastic degrees of difference between them. What you can get in California for a set price is going to be significantly different than what that amount buys you in Georgia.
There are a number of reasons why this is true, but it even applies to cities within states. Some cities simply have a better housing market than a sister city only a hundred miles away. Population, economy, city land size and a whole list of other criteria drive the real estate market so it’s always great to be aware of what goes into this when looking for a home.
Here’s what $250,000 gets us in the biggest cities in these 22 states.
22 New York City, New York - 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms (better than expected)
New York City has long been known as one of the most expensive cities in the world and that hasn’t changed at all over time. In fact, its real estate continues to become more exclusive, driving up prices higher than ever before. Although no longer the most expensive city in the US (that title now belongs to San Francisco), it’s still up there as can be seen in this photographed home.
For $250k, buyers can purchase a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom 750 square foot condo in the heart of Manhattan. That’s actually not the worst deal imaginable based on the incredible location, but still pales in comparison to some of the houses that can be bought elsewhere in this country. The home is situated in a fairly older building without all of the nice upgrades and amenities one would hope for.
This is more of a “what you get is what you see” situation with the location as the primary selling point.
21 Los Angeles, California - 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom (Teeny tiny)
Los Angeles isn’t the most expensive city in California when it comes to real estate, coming in behind San Francisco, but it’s still one of the highest priced in the country either way. $250k isn’t going to get you very far in the City of Angels relative to other cities across the country, but it’s a start.
For that price, you can purchase a newly remodeled condo only minutes away from downtown LA, which is a huge plus. The complex is also pretty nice and the home comes with updates throughout. The only downside is the condo is a mere 683 square feet with only 1 bedroom and a bathroom.
20 Chicago, Illinois - 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms (waterfront location)
For right under our benchmarked price, this condo which resembles a townhouse is situated in Uptown Chicago facing the incredible Lake Michigan, making this a pretty fantastic deal. The home is a decent size at 1,050 square feet and has 2 bedrooms and 2 baths to go along with almost everything completely remodeled, giving it a new home quality.
Although the size is a bit underwhelming, the beautiful high residential building, updated amenities and waterfront location make this a pretty great deal in what is one of the most incredible cities in the country.
19 Houston, Texas - 5 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms (massive property)
The largest city in Texas and fourth in the country, Houston has some of the best housing in the United States with a market that spoils its residents. What makes the city stand above so many others is the incredible housing that can be found here at low prices resembling smaller markets which are more typical of smaller towns, while being a huge metropolis at the same time.
For $250k, Houstonians can purchase this 5 bedroom, 3 bathroom home at 2,508 square feet, making this property pretty massive for the price. In fact, it is pretty normal to find houses of this size and quality at that amount in the city, so if the budget doubles, people are practically buying small mansions!
18 Phoenix, Arizona - 3 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms (a fantastic deal)
The largest city in the state of Arizona and the fifth most populated in the US, Phoenix has a very strong housing market. With large sized houses and very affordable prices, residents of the city can stretch $250k a pretty long way.
At this price, buyers can snag this 1,639 square foot home with 3 bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms. This home is newly renovated and features pretty sleek flooring and architectural design throughout, making this a fantastic deal!
17 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms (but small)
Pennsylvania’s largest city and one of the country’s most beloved, the City of Brotherly Love is one of those that sort of falls in the middle when it comes to the housing industry.
It is considered a large-scale city so it comes with big city prices, but not quite so high as the New York’s and LA’s of the world. But it’s also not so affordable that you get into the range where you can buy the home of your dreams on a smaller than average budget. It’s affordable, but you’ll have to make some concessions.
A perfect example is this 891 square foot Philly home with 3 bedrooms and 2 baths. The home is quaint and has a great look to it, but it’s also on the smaller side, so the homeowners will have to cozy up.
16 Miami, Florida - 2 bedrooms, 1.5 bathrooms condo (those views though!)
Miami has long been known as a city with some fairly expensive real estate. Home to some of the most sought-after lands in the country like South Beach, getting a hold of a home in certain areas is going to cost you. The further out you move away from downtown and Miami Beach, homes become more affordable, but the location begins to turn into a downside.
For $250k, homeowners can purchase this 1000 square foot, 2 bedroom, 1.5 bath condo in a high rise residential tower in downtown. The home is newly built so it comes with all the features and amenities of a high end tower and is situated right next to some of the city’s best restaurants and nightlife.
15 Indianapolis, Indiana - 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms (with lots of land)
With a population in the millions, Indianapolis is a large metropolitan city but has managed to maintain a small town feel in many ways. Its housing is a reflection of that with its residents enjoying spacious homes to go along with great prices.
This Indy home is a 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom 2,000 square foot house with a garage that houses 4 cars, resembling a Cape Cod style design. The best feature of the property is the half an acre of land it sits on, giving the owners an expansive and beautiful green space to enjoy.
14 Columbus, Ohio - 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms (Victorian style)
Ohio’s largest city, to most people’s surprise, is not Cleveland, but instead, Columbus. At right under a million residents, the city doesn’t feel quite as big as it truly is, but they do get to enjoy some great housing to go along with big city living.
For right under $250k, folks from Columbus can purchase a Victorian style 1,700 square foot house with 3 beds and 3 baths. The home is on the newer side in an ideal upper middle class residential neighborhood, making this a steal.
13 Charlotte, North Carolina - 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms (with change to spare!)
The southern charm is in full effect in this Charlotte home even though North Carolina isn’t technically in the real south. But it has the same southern aura that its other Carolina sister state has so it gets the pass. In this affordable housing climate, North Carolina’s largest city offers some great homes with the famed wrap around porches and old style colonial designs.
This 1,856 square foot home with 4 beds and 3 baths is a valuable purchase at only $225k!
12 Seattle, Washington - 0 Bedrooms! (but great views)
There are few homes listed for under $250k in Seattle, Washington as the city is well known for its expensive housing. So when someone is in the market for a home with that budget, they should temper expectations and be prepared to find only condos for the most part. And those condos are not spacious.
This apartment home for sale, listed right under our benchmark price, is only 444 square feet and is considered a studio layout with no bedrooms.
The silver lining is that the area is incredible with breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean and the building is a high-end residential tower with all of the great amenities one can hope for. It definitely costs to live in Seattle!
11 Denver, Colorado - 3 bedroom 'cookie-cutter home'
Colorado’s largest city is one of the country’s most beautiful. With some of the most scenic views imaginable as the Rocky Mountains are often in the distance, backyards in Denver are what dreams are made of. The city is gorgeous and sometimes it costs to be able to enjoy the beauty that surrounds Denver. The housing market is neither off-the-charts incredible nor is it so expensive that it’s crippling to one’s finances.
It’s pretty middle-of-the-tier as $250k will get homeowners a fairly standard house, some would even call “cookie cutter” like the one above which is a 1,500 square foot 3 bedroom home. There are, of course, exceptions to the rule and that budget can find you some pretty great steals if you look hard enough.
10 Boston, Massachusetts - 3 (outdated) bedrooms
One of America’s most beloved cities, Boston is full of history that could fill up countless books. The city is well known for its old charm feel, cobblestone streets, but very modern update throughout, combining for a perfect aesthetic. But living in such a historic city doesn’t come cheap though.
At $250k, you aren’t going to get all that far. With this budget, you’ll find an apartment for sale at 842 square feet and 3 bedrooms which isn’t terrible, but the upkeep on the building isn’t anything to write home about. If you are looking to find more modern and updated condos or townhouses in a city full of them, the cost will have to at least double.
9 Detroit, Michigan - 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms (old world charm)
Michigan’s Motor City, often seen as a city with its best days behind it, has some pretty affordable housing. Detroit, long known for its place in US history as the birthplace of the auto industry suffered through serious economic times after production was moved overseas which also caused trouble for all other parts of the economy including housing. Since then, the city has seen a recovery and has rebounded with decently priced homes with fair value.
This home is a 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom 1,600 square foot two-floor house with an old charm to it, making it a solid purchase.
8 Nashville, Tennessee - 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms (a great investment)
Tennessee’s largest city by the slimmest of margins ahead of Memphis, Nashville is a fantastic city known for its live music and large presence in the country music scene as well. With a big city feel combined with old southern charm, Nashville offers some great housing for its residents.
For $250k, buyers can find a nearly 1,700 square foot home with 3 bedrooms and 2 baths on an expansive piece of land, covered in green. The home is newly built so it is a great investment for the price for years to come.
7 Portland, Oregon - 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom (with distinct designs)
Oregon’s largest city is a unique one in many ways. Portland offers some very quirky and different style homes as it is known to the rest of the country as a city with its own identity.
The real estate market is pretty average compared to other major cities, but where it stands out is the distinct designs and types of homes found in the city. A perfect example is this 834 square foot home with 1 bed and 1 bath for $250k. But this house separates itself from the rest as it sits on a pontoon float on a lake with incredible views of the calming waters with floor to ceiling windows made especially for this reason.
6 Oklahoma City, Oklahoma - 4 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms (absolutely huge)
With some of the best real estate available of any city in the country, Oklahoma’s largest city makes its mark on our list with some very impressive homes.
Oklahoma City is not often considered a major city, but for those who are able to get to a budget of $250k, they are moving into territory that means you are of the wealthier class. This is a major advantage because a similar budget in other cities could mean the opposite.
For this price, an absolutely massive 3,200 square foot house with 4 beds and 4 baths is not out of the question.
5 Las Vegas, Nevada - 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms (and entirely remodeled!)
Sin City is where most of the country goes to lose their money. But if you live in Las Vegas, you could actually put that money to great use by purchasing some real estate in the desert.
Homes in Nevada’s largest city are very affordable, many of which are newly constructed. This 1,300 square foot house with 3 beds and 3 baths is newly renovated and entirely remodeled inside with some high-end features that truly make this home stand out.
4 New Orleans, Louisiana - 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom (with an unbeatable location)
New Orleans is famous throughout the world for its vibrant nightlife and unique brand of Southern charm mixed in with French cooking and Zydeco music. It’s distinct in more ways than one and that includes the real estate in the city as well. The heart of Louisiana is known for its older homes, many of which were built in the Victorian style seen throughout the city.
For those looking to stay in the middle of all of the New Orleans action and fun, this condo in the middle of the French Quarter is real estate that is simply too good to be true. Listed well under the $250k mark, this home is a 1 bed, 1 bathroom 608 square foot property that doesn’t tout its size, but more so its unbeatable location.
3 Baltimore, Maryland - 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms (stunning!)
In a city known throughout America for its grit and toughness, the homes are a stark contrast with some very beautiful facades. Many homes in Baltimore were built decades ago, but have gone through some serious internal renovations within the walls. Once you step into some of these houses, the interiors can be breathtaking.
For our listed price, this 2,400 square foot home with 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms is stunning in its beauty. This is common for those looking to purchase a home with a $250k budget or more.