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Can You Really Buy Two NY Homes for the Price of One in SF?

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It's a familiar game: How much house would San Francisco's dizzying prices buy somewhere else? Yesterday, CityLab posted some very apropos graphs comparing median home prices in cities across the US. From the looks of things, the kind of money that people regularly sink into a, what, bungalow in San Jose goes far enough in LA to buy two—or, if you want to head all the way out to Youngstown, Ohio, 11. The numbers, which come from the second-quarter report on existing single-family homes (PDF) by the National Association of Realtors, put the San Francisco median home price at $769,000, trailing San Jose's $899,500. Both of those sound low, don't they? New York, meanwhile, comes in at $466,200. By this count, a theoretical buyer could nab a New York home plus a condo (median: $271K) for less than the price of one San Francisco house.


The National Association of Realtors' data pulls from metropolitan regions, which makes the price imbalances look scarier than they are. There's no question the Bay Area market is going gangbusters (sigh)—it's just that the New York metropolitan area includes large swaths of suburban New Jersey and New York State, not to mention the Bronx, all of which serve to make New York look artificially cheap. Meanwhile, San Francisco's region includes Oakland and Fremont, which are less expensive, but also San Mateo and Marin counties, which are not exactly making headlines for bargains these days.

With the caveat out of the way, please enjoy this game of "What percentage of Ohio can I buy?" and "How much square footage will this get in New York?" with the understanding that some of that bounty may turn out to be in White Plains Paterson, New Jersey.

· How Many Houses Can You Buy in Other Cities for the Price of One in Silicon Valley? [CityLab]
· Median Sales Price of Existing Single-Family Homes for Metropolitan Areas (PDF) [National Association of Realtors]
· San Francisco Median House Sale Price This Spring Was $1.1M [Curbed SF]
· Median Sales Price of Existing Apartment Condo-Coops Homes for Metropolitan Areas (PDF) [National Association of Realtors]
· Even During the Summer Lull, Home Prices Continued to Rise [Curbed SF]
· May 2013 Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Area Definitions [Bureau of Labor Statistics]
· Paterson Market Overview [Zillow]