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What Can You Get for About Half a Million Dollars?

I thought it would be fun to compare what you can get for half a mill and change in various areas – then look back at this again a year from now to see what’s what. I searched for homes around 550 K or near that general overpriced area.
Culver City (where I live)

MLS ID#: 06-131979
2 bedroom, 1 bath – they neglect to mention square footage, which is often conveniently left out of ads when the number is laughably low – I’m going to guess this is under 900 square feet. Purdy huh? Bring your bucket o’ money or your toxic loan!
If you put down $110,000 (20%) your monthly payment will be around $2700.

Austin Texas
Austin Texas – 5 br, 4 bath, 4200 sq feet. Also 550K. Hmmm, but you do have to live in Texas…but then Austin is an artsy community and much more blue than the rest of the state. You can fit four and a half of the Culver City houses in this one. And it’s much purdier I must say.

Clearwater Florida
Clearwater Florida (near where I grew up). 4 br, 3 ba – 2787 sq feet. Also 550 K. A bit McMansiony, and it’s in Feather Sound. If I recall correctly that’s an evacuation zone for hurricanes – low ground – so homeowner’s is gonna run you about 5K a year.
Wait, there’s more…

Wilmington Massachusetts
Wilmington Massachusetts (where my roommate grew up). 5 bedroom, 2 and a half bath. Funky style, but big.

Katy Texas
Katy, Texas, one of the most underpriced areas (suburb of Houston) gets you over 5000 square feet of McMansion for $535,000 (couldn’t find anything for 550K exactly).

Phoenix Arizona
Phoenix, Arizona gets you a 4 br, 3 bath WITH A POOL.

Asheville North Carolina
This sweetie is over 3000 square feet on more than 1 1/2 acres of land in Asheville, North Carolina. Asheville is an artsy town – very pretty area. And you get a mountain view!

Chicago gets you a 5 br, 3 ba with cathedral ceilings and a hot tub to boot. Quite a few listings at this price are two-unit buildings – so you could earn rent on the second unit to help pay the ungodly mortgage.

Taos New Mexico
Taos New Mexico gets you an acre of land and a very authentically adobeish 2500 sq feet (3 br, 2 ba) on an acre of land – and you are near great winter skiing. A little barren for my tastes, but this is supposed to be a pretty hot, artsy town to live around.

If cozy is more your taste check out this steal:

San Francisco
In San Francisco, an inviting 608 square feet, 1 bedroom, 1 bath with a “rustic” feel for $550K.
Are you laughing as hard as I did when I saw this?

NYC not as bad as I thought – you can actual get a separate bedroom in the 550K range 😉
It’s a one bedroom, 1 bath, 700 sq feet and the West End Ave location isn’t bad (except the haul to the subways on Broadway and the brutal winter breezes coming off the Hudson).

Boca Raton Florida
In sunny South Florida – Boca Raton – you can get this 3 bedroom, 2 1/2 bath for 550K

Washington DC
Washington DC, Hillcrest, a 4 br, 3 1/2 bath for 550K

Seattle Washington
Cute place on Bainbridge Island – Seattle, WA for $545K, 2500 square feet. Shoot, when you live in California this sounds like a steal, but really WHO ARE ALL THESE PEOPLE who can afford $3000 mortgages?

Did a little search for Aspen, Colorado – nada between 500 and 550 – had to jump to 650K to find a listing here for a single family home. And look at this miserable pile of wood:

Next one up was $729K – sheesh. Of course, this a playground for the rich and famous, so I moved my search to Denver.

A 5 bedroom, 5 bath in the Columbine Valley gives you 3800 feet of living space.

Las Vegas

Do you prefer the flashy life? For 550 K you can live on Flamingo Road in Las Vegas in this mega-tacky condo development that looks like something the Venetian puked up after a long night of drinking and gambling and rough sex with the Aladdin Hotel – 2 bedroom 2 bath, 1285 square feet.


San Diego is already showing big cracks in prices, so I wish I’d looked here earlier, but the fact they give a price RANGE, yes, you read that right, a RANGE, shows they want to be, well, flexible.

For 550K – 599K you can get this 2 bedroom, 1 bath (no square footage given, but it looks small – so maybe 800-900 square feet). Eeek.


Now 49K is a pretty wide range. Sign of times to come I’d say.

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