SAN FRANCISCO --Just about everyone agrees that the Bay Area is a very expensive place to live. Rents are rising. Home prices are soaring. In some parts of the Bay Area, the home prices have climbed so fast, that the dream of owning a home has gone bust.
The economy is leaving many people wondering if the only hope of ever owning property means moving out of the Bay Area. So ABC7 News decided to check and see just what $1 million would buy you across the country.
San Francisco's housing market is on fire. Would you pay nearly $1 million for a four bedroom, two bath, "fixer upper" in Bernal Heights? How about dropping almost $1 million for a 960 square foot, two bedroom, one bathroom condo in Mission Bay? Someone did.
Coldwell Banker agent John Kirkpatrick recently listed a house near Twin Peaks. Four Bedrooms and two baths, with a "lovely living room and dining room area with views out to the ocean."
"It's a single-family home. It's on the market for $999,000, just about $1 million," he said.
The house sold in just seven days. Three offers bumped the price up to $1.1 million.
The median price for a single family home averaged just over $1 million since the beginning of this year. According to the San Francisco Association of Realtors, the median home price of a single-family home in San Francisco is a whopping $1,016,250. A condo is running $940,375.
So what does that same money buy you outside of the Bay Area? In some places more, in others about the same.
Drop $1 million in in the "Windy City" and you'll get a million dollar view.
"What's really nice about the unit is that it has these unobstructed views of Millenium Park and the lake front," Matt Farrell of the Chicago Association of Realtors said.
In downtown Chicago, $1 million will buy you a three bedroom, 2.5 bath condo that has all the trappings of luxury living in downtown Chicago.
If you are willing to move just out of downtown, you'll get a lot more space. We found a house in the woods listed for just under $1 million with five bedrooms, three full baths and two half baths. The home also has a walk-in closet the size of some apartments in San Francisco.
Agent James Votanek is with @Properties. He pointed out that the home also has a "service space for the home...which includes a four and a half car garage...and an adjacent walk in storage room."
In New York, $1 million will go about as far as you might expect in San Francisco. You can get two bedrooms and two bathrooms in Gramercy Park.
"It is nice; it is quiet, it's private and it is extremely sunny," agent Lisa Maysonet of Sotheby's International Real Estate said.
The building comes with a doorman and dramatic city views from a shared roof deck.
"At night time it's just spectacular," Maysonet added.
Relaxing is what comes to mind if you are willing to spend $1 million in the Lone Star State. ABC7 News found a palace in the Houston area.
Agent Jennifer Hamp of Hamp Team Real Estate, toured through a mansion, with a huge kitchen island.
"This is a great kitchen, you won't walk yourself to death, and it has a great artisan countertop," she said.
The brand new 5,500 square foot home can be customized with five or six bedrooms and bathrooms. Everything is top of the line in this house it includes a game room and a home theater too.
But you don't have to leave California to get more for your money.
"This home was built in 2007 and it is just under 4,300 feet," said Anthony Gamber of Realty Concepts in Fresno.
It comes complete with a swimming pool and private putting green. Step inside and you'll find solid walnut floors, custom made cabinets and plenty of space to relax.
"Some of the taxes in the Bay Area are more than mortgage payments are here for most people," Gamber said.
That's true, but what is the trade off? No matter how you look at it, there is still no place like home, even if it comes with a steep price tag.
Written and produced by Ken Miguel