What a Million Dollars Buys in the Housing Market

For anyone with $1 million to spend on a house, the best return on investment in terms of the size of the house itself lies 90 minutes northwest of Columbus, Ohio, according to a report by HouseCanary. The average $1 million home in the town of Lima, Ohio, is a little more than 9,400 square feet and sits on four acres.

For $106 per square foot, that four-acre property in Lima will, on average, come with five bedrooms and five parking spaces. HouseCanary found similar ROI in Anniston, Alabama, roughly an hour and a half northeast of Birmingham. There, $1 million can buy about 8,300 square feet on five acres, with three bedrooms and five parking spaces. That comes to $120 per square foot.

The biggest ROI in terms of land for $1 million is north of Dallas, in Wichita Falls, Texas. There, $1 million will buy 7,800 square feet of house on 60 acres. While homeowners in Lima and Anniston pay, on average, 17 percent of their income to home expenses, residents of Wichita Falls pay 14 percent, according to the report. In all three towns, the median household income is just above $45,000.

By comparison to the median million-dollar market, most metros will provide an average of 4,300 square feet for the price, the report stated. One example in the exact middle is Nashville, where $1 million will get four bedrooms, 4,300 square feet, and three parking spaces, sitting on just shy of an acre. Nashville is also typical in terms of how much homeowners spend on their houses—about 30 percent of annual income.

On the other end of the spectrum, $1 million will buy you the least in San Jose. There, the report found, $1 million gets 1,500 square feet on about a tenth of an acre. That comes to $635 per square foot. The property also will likely come with three bedrooms and a pair of parking spaces, but the upkeep could prove daunting. Residents in San Jose typically spend three-quarters of their money on their housing expenses every year.

Santa Clara and San Francisco put up similar numbers, according to the report. Outside the Bay Area, Honolulu offers the least size and room for the money. The average million-dollar home there is about 1,800 square feet on a 0.15-acre lot, with four bedrooms, two bathrooms, and two parking spots. The price per square foot comes to $542. Residents typically spend two-thirds of their annual salaries on home expenses.

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