What You Can Get for $200,000 in Houston, Columbus, and St. Louis
Presently, the median value for a home in the U.S. hovers around $186,500, according to the Zillow Home Value Index. That is the mid-point of home values and means that exactly half of the home values in the U.S. are above this figure and half are below. While in some regions home values are significantly higher — New York, San Jose or Seattle, for instance, in other areas — like Oklahoma City, Cleveland or Tulsa — homes values are far less. Each location is different and home values ebb and flow depending on availability of jobs, city infrastructure, and price of living; all of these issues can impact an area’s median home value.
With that in mind, we took a look at homes in three cities for the price point of $200,000 (rounded up to this figure) to see what you can buy at this midpoint price, and researched factors driving home prices up or down in each metropolitan area.
According to 2010 Census data, Houston grew 7.5 percent, up to a population of 2.1 million, to sit secure in its spot as the fourth-largest city in the U.S. — right behind Chicago, which has a population of 2.7 million. Houston’s sprawling metropolitan area — which now includes 10 counties — surged to a population of 5,946,800. Suburban areas just outside of Houston that were once pasture, are now populated by developments.
“There are lots of jobs [here] due to the energy corridor and the price of living is pretty good,” said real estate agent Scott Laird of Icon Real Estate.
While the recession has pushed the Houston housing market down, Laird believes it’s more stable than other parts of the country, explaining that the ability to expand has left Houston home values comparable to other metropolitan areas. Despite Houston’s rapid growth, $200,000 still gets a homeowner quite a bit of bang for their buck. For example, Clear Lake real estate is highly desirable.The 4-bedroom, 2.5 bath home below is located on a cul-de-sac lot and is listed for $199,900. It includes a large backyard, granite countertops, new floors and a new roof.
1807 Heather Cove Ct Houston, TX 77062 (below)
For Sale — $199,900
Like Houston, Columbus experienced rapid growth in the past ten years with a population increase of 10.6 percent, according to 2010 Census data, yet Columbus home values have remained fairly stable. As a matter of fact, Columbus has enjoyed a 10 percent month-over-month increase in home values. Much of the growth is attributed to jobs. As the state capitol, Columbus continues to attract government workers as well as being home to one of the country’s largest colleges, Ohio State University, another strong employer. In addition to the draw of employment, real estate agent Joshua Zimmerman of Coldwell Banker believes that Columbus’ city infrastructure is another incentive for people to live within its limits.
“The unique part of Columbus is that there’s no sprawl; it’s compact. You can get to popular neighborhoods in 5 to 10 minutes,” Zimmerman said. “Walkability and bikeability are really increasing, so people are trying to move into areas where there are grocery stores and coffee shops.”
To look at one Columbus neighborhood, Clintonville real estate is highly desirable because it’s “very walkable” (it boasts a Walk Score of 71) and is located near a bike path. The 3-bedroom, 2 bath home below also has a new kitchen, new bath and recently added back deck and patio.
104 W Lakeview Ave Columbus, OH (below)
For Sale — $199,000
As the oldest city of the bunch, Saint Louis has had declining population growth since the 1950s and its population now hovers around 320,000 — just “slightly above its post-Civil War population levels.” According to St. Louis Post-Dispatch business writer Tim Logan, one of the biggest contributors to the population decline is the movement of families with kids out to the suburbs. Census data shows that the city lost one-fourth of its under-18 population. But not all population decline is a bad thing for a city. The metropolitan area has slowly revitalized in the past few years with renovations of old apartments into condo buildings, and in one particular case, a conversion of an old church into an advertising, design and marketing firm. While there may be less people living in the city, business development has flourished and the city continues to attract typical urban dwellers: singles and empty-nesters.
Saint Louis home values hover around $110,000 and for $200,000, a buyer can get a condo downtown or, for a nearby St. Louis neighborhood, South Hampton real estate offers this renovated 2-bedroom, 1.5 bath home for $193,900.
5515 Itaska St. Saint Louis, MO (below)
For Sale — $193,900