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Kindred Cities: Affordable Alternatives to Your Favorite Pricey Places

America’s premier cities seem to have it all: Instagram-able park and city views, edgy bars, oodles of culture, a vibrant and weird street life, shops that sell cookie dough by the scoop. All that awesomeness comes at a steep price. The harsh reality: Buying or renting in urban meccas like New York, San Francisco or Denver is increasingly out of reach for many folks.

That’s why so many city-centric millennials, empty nesters, and everyone in between are finding themselves in a gut-wrenching double bind: Should they continue to fork over ludicrously high portions of their paycheck for housing, or throw in the towel and decamp to the suburbs?

Why not search out affordable alternatives for urban living—far cheaper cities with many of the same features that made you fall head over heels in the first place? Enter the realtor.com® data team.

We distilled the true character of some of the nation’s most expensive metros to find budget-friendly—and unexpected—counterparts around the country. Think of them as Metro Matchups™—places that link up to the nation’s urban meccas in critical ways, but where you can buy a home for less than $350,000. Less than $350k!

If you’re leaving one of the U.S.’ biggest cities, you’re probably not going to move off the grid to somewhere without a reliable Wi-Fi signal (unless that’s your thing). So we limited our ranking to the 150 largest metros. All have median home prices below $350,000, plenty of gigs, and some ethnic diversity. We factored in housing stock, occupations, weather, nightlife, and a whole host of other criteria that help define an urban center’s unique personality:*

  • Percentage of stand-alone, single-family homes, condos, townhouses, and co-ops listed on realtor.com
  • Average days of sunshine per year
  • Dominant employment sectors (finance, government, tourism)
  • Dominant occupations
  • Restaurants per capita
  • Bars and nightlife venues per capita
  • Art galleries per capita
  • Number of pro and amateur sports teams
  • Car ownership rates

Some of our Metro Matchups pair up as you might expect. Others might make your jaw drop. But hey, we’ve got the data to back it all up! So let’s get going.

San Francisco, Calif.
Median home list price: $868,000
Matchup: 
Raleigh, N.C.
Median home list price: $339,200
Matching metrics: Tech jobs, tech jobs, and did we mention tech jobs?

Let’s be real: There is only one City by the Bay! But if even thinking about your monthly rent or mortgage bill makes you reach for the anti-anxiety meds, you might want to consider Raleigh.

Hear us out. The metro has the fifth-highest concentration of high-tech jobs in the nation. And the cost of living is just a fraction of that in San Francisco—or any of the other elite urban tech hubs like Boston or Seattle.

Runner-up: New Orleans, La., with its food and nightlife

Los Angeles, Calif.
Median home list price: $699,600
Matchup: 
Savannah, Ga.
Median home list price: $249,900
Matching metrics: Movie production and beaches

Next time you’re eating butter-doused popcorn at the movies, just remember that film could very well have been made in Savannah. Yep, you heard us right: This is the Hollywood of the South. Savannah ranks No. 3 nationally in actor, producer, and director jobs.

The recent “Baywatch” movie, starring Zac Efron and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, was filmed in the Gothic Southern city, as was Robert De Niro’s “Dirty Grandpa.” Please don’t blame Savannah for those! Let’s focus instead on Ben Affleck’s “Live by Night” or Channing Tatum’s “Magic Mike XXL.” Or “Forrest Gump”!

But it wouldn’t be truly Hollywood-esque without a good, old-fashioned celebrity arrest. “Transformers” actor Shia LaBeouf was booked in Savannah for disorderly conduct and public intoxication while on a production break this summer.

The city’s popularity with filmmakers is in part thanks to a tax credit the state began offering in 2008. From 2010 to 2014, filmmakers spent $58 million to produce movies in Savannah, says Trip Tollison, president and CEO of the Savannah Economic Development Authority. They spent $60 million in 2016 alone.

If you plan to relocate, don’t forget to pack your sunscreen. Savannah has some fantastic beaches at Tybee Island.

Runner-up: Las Vegas, Nev., with a star-studded nightlife that never stops

Honolulu, Hawaii
Median home list price: $695,000
Matchup: 
Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Median home list price: $235,000
Matching metrics: Gorgeous beaches, scads of tourism jobs

Want to escape the high cost of the 50th state but keep your swim trunks handy?

Myrtle Beach was named one of the top 25 favorite beach towns of 2016 by Travel & Leisure and one of the best family beach vacation spots by U.S. News and World Report. It has a beautiful 60-mile string of beaches dotted with hotels, mini golf courses, and boardwalks.

You might miss the luaus, the sublime surfing, and the soy-and-sesame-bathed raw fish in poke bowls, nut you’ll have plenty to do here, and lots more money to do it with. That’s probably why Myrtle Beach welcomed more than 18 million visitors over the summer of 2016.

And if you’re a business owner, you know that vacationers keep the lights on. Myrtle Beach has tons of tourists, with holes burning in their wallets. They’re well-advised to hold on tight to those wallets, as the city is known to have a higher-than-average crime rate. But things are getting better, and the place is growing.

Runner-up: Orlando Fla., with off-the-charts tourism, Disney-style

Denver, Colo.
Median home list price: $499,500
Matchup:
 Kansas City, Mo.
Median home list price: $245,800
Matching metrics: Hipster scenes and car culture

Kansas City is no longer a stodgy Midwestern metropolis. The city’s downtown has been transformed over the last few years, and now it’s home to about 20 breweries. Heck, Kansas City was even the first market to get Google Fiber’s broadband service in 2012, which gave its small tech sector a turbo boost.

Looking for a hipper-than-thou bar? Head out to the Crossroads neighborhood, where you’ll find the Manifesto, a historic watering hole dating to Prohibition that’s now known for its wildly creative mixology. Or try Swordfish Tom’s, named after singer-songwriter Tom Waits.

Now that you have a few cocktails in you, head over to the First Fridays outdoor event to enjoy street music, sidewalk vendors, food trucks, and art exhibits.

Denver refugees don’t have to give up the great outdoors, either. They can hike the Little Blue Trace Trail at Fleming Park, which runs alongside the Little Blue River.

When you’re packing for the move to Kansas City, just make sure to leave behind any uneaten brownies. (Wink, wink.)

Runner-up: Omaha, Neb., with its numerous jobs in finance

Boston, Mass.
Median home list price: $489,500
Matchup: 
Philadelphia, Pa.
Median home list price: $249,400
Matching metrics: Historic brownstones, tech and finance gigs galore

We’ve got bad news for Bostonians: It doesn’t matter how many healthy dishes New England Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady prepares from his fancy new cookbook, the man can’t play forever. Don’t worry: You’ll get some brotherly love where you’re going.

So what if Philadelphia doesn’t win the Super Bowl every year? It’s a darned good sports city in its own right. Indeed, the city is sixth in the nation for pro sports championships, four spots behind Boston. Plus, there’s nothing like eating a Philly cheesesteak at a Phillies game.

Built in a similar colonial era, Philadelphia has housing and city architecture that many a Bostonian would appreciate. The Philadelphia cityscape is a mix of Georgian, Greek Revival, and Victorian architecture.

Rest assured, you wouldn’t be the first Bostonian to leave for Philadelphia. Mr. Hundred-Dollar Bill himself Benjamin Franklin did the same almost 300 years ago.

Runner-up: Chicago, Ill., another city that goes gaga over its sports franchises and St. Paddy’s Day parades

Seattle, Wash.
Median home list price: $485,000
Matchup:
 Minneapolis, Minn.
Median home list price: $311,300
Matching metrics: No shortage of condos, tech jobs, and music legends

Seattle had Kurt Cobain. Minneapolis had Prince. And while these luminaries are gone, their songs live on, just like each city’s music scene.

Live-music aficionados can check out the Soundset Festival in Minneapolis, which draws more than 35,000 fans each year. This year, the event featured performances from Ty Dolla $ign, Travis Scott and Gucci Mane.

And that’s not where the similarities between the cities end. Minneapolis is a bona fide start-up Eden.

Runner-up: Philadelphia, Pa., with its aerospace industry and fondness for damn good coffee

New York, N.Y.
Median home list price: $472,500
Matchup: 
Chicago, Ill.
Median home list price: $279,700
Matching metrics: Unbeatable nightlife, financial capitals, pizza obsession

You’d think a city with more than 8 million inhabitants crammed into tiny apartments paying astronomical rents might have lots of folks eager to move. But if they did, they’d be giving up so much: Central Park, daily celebrity sightings, 77 Michelin-starred restaurants…also 24-hour subways that keep passengers waiting for ungodly stretches, cat-sized rats, ill-tempered hot dog vendors. OK, maybe there is a reason to leave the Apple. But once you’ve tasted it, where else can you go?

There really is only one more affordable city that could hope to do the city justice: Chicago.

Even the most stubborn New Yorker might be won over by Chitown. The Chicago skyline is gorgeous, with Willis Tower doing a fine Empire State Building impression. Once a laggard in the foodie department, it’s now home to some of the best America has to offer. They’re just cheaper. And yes, the city also has its own public transportation system. (Sorry, it, too, tends to keep you waiting.)

The two cities are also known for their mob roots. New York had the Five Families. Chicago had the Chicago Outfit and Al Capone. You decide if this is a good thing.

Runner-up: Baltimore, Md., a port city with lots of condos

Portland, Ore.
Median home list price: $450,000
Matchup: 
Columbus, Ohio
Median home list price: $241,300
Matchup metrics: Hipster havens

 The warning signs were there: man buns, artisanal pickle shops, and rooftop bars. So the Buckeye State shouldn’t be too surprised that hipsters have invaded their state capital. Yep, Columbus has even fallen for avocado toast.

Nearly 20 craft breweries have opened in Columbus over the past five years. Want a taste? Attend the Columbus Ale Trail, where you’ll try suds from the 37 total breweries located in the city.

Runner-up: Madison, Wis., a college town with a funky food and nightlife scene

Washington, D.C.
Median home list price: $429,500
Matchup:
 Trenton, N.J.
Median home list price: $290,000
Matchup metrics: Government jobs rule the roost

On a weekend walk through the nation’s capital, you’ll see the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial. They’re beautiful. But are they worth the high price tag you’ll pay each month in rent or for your mortgage? Hey, it’s not easy on many government salaries!

That’s why folks may want to consider Trenton. We know it’s a stretch. But the city has government and nonprofit jobs to spare: Nearly one in three jobs here is in the government sector. It may not have D.C.’s museums or a “House of Cards” power scene, but does the nation’s capital have an annual Pork Roll Festival? (We honestly don’t know.)

Keep in mind it’s only 26 minutes to Philadelphia, about an hour from New York…and if you get really homesick, two hours from D.C. on Amtrak.

Runner-up: Tallahassee, Fla., an even more unlikely government-driven economy

Miami, Fla.
Median home list price: $387,500
Matchup: 
Phoenix, Ariz.
Median home list price: $317,200
Matchup metric: Sunshine and baby boomers baking in it

Hurricanes are becoming more frequent—and the cost of flood insurance isn’t going down, so maybe you’re a little less adamant about keeping your beachfront abode. If that’s the case, give Phoenix a look.

Despite lots of development, Phoenix still has some reasonably priced cribs. And nearby Scottsdale has grown its tourism in recent years and is trying to market itself as a party-seekers’ destination.

Another perk? Phoenix has much lower humidity. Hair problems solved.

Runner-up: Virginia Beach, Va., with its oceanside fun

*Data sources: realtor.com, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Census Bureau, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Nielsen, Google Trends, Yelp.com

A version of this article originally appeared on realtor.com®.

 For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

The post Kindred Cities: Affordable Alternatives to Your Favorite Pricey Places appeared first on RISMedia.

Zillow: 1.9 Million Homes Underwater by Year 2100

Flood damage as a result of rising sea levels over the next 100 years, are expected to impact over $900 billion worth of homes in the U.S. This, according to a recent report by Zillow that analyzes the types of homes that could be underwater by 2100, based on recent climate change estimates.

According to the report, less affluent homeowners stand to lose significantly more if their homes are damaged from flooding when compared to their wealthier neighbors. Zillow predicts that 1.9 million homes will be underwater by 2100 if the oceans rise six feet, and more than a quarter of these homes are in Miami.

While those with more valuable homes will lose out in dollar amount, a third of the homes in the bottom tier of their metros (32 percent) can potentially suffer a $123 billion loss. This could be life altering for the low-income population whose funds mostly go towards mortgage payments and other bills, making preventative measures against flooding an unaffordable expense. In the next 100 years, we can expect rising sea levels to impact $916 billion worth of homes, most of which are low- to medium-value properties.

Top-value homes are at risk in rural and suburban areas, while bottom-value homes are more likely to be impacted in urban areas. Here are the 10 metros that will be hit the hardest:

  1. Miami, Fla.
  2. New York, N.Y.
  3. Tampa, Fla.
  4. Fort Myers, Fla.
  5. Boston, Mass.
  6. Upper Township, N.J.
  7. Salisbury, Md.
  8. Virginia Beach, Va.
  9. Bradenton, Fla.
  10. Naples, Fla.

“We’ve seen the enormous impact flooding can have on a city and its residents,” says Dr. Svenja Gudell, chief economist at Zillow. “It’s harder for us to think about it on a long-term timeline, but the real risks that come with rising sea levels should not be ignored until it’s too late to address them. With organized and committed planning, cities can help protect both current and future residents. Living near the water is incredibly appealing for people around the country, but it also comes with additional considerations for buyers and homeowners. Homes in low-lying areas are also more susceptible to storm flooding and these risks could be realized on a much shorter timeline as we have seen time and time again.”

View more from the report.

For more information, please visit www.zillow.com.

Liz Dominguez is RISMedia’s associate content editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at ldominguez@rismedia.com.

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

The post Zillow: 1.9 Million Homes Underwater by Year 2100 appeared first on RISMedia.

Ghostly Listings: What It Costs to Own a Famous Haunted House

Editor’s Note: This was originally published on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall. See what else is cookin’ now at blog.rismedia.com:

After purchasing a house, learning that your new home has a grisly past would be a real-life nightmare for most people. For horror movie fans and those interested in the macabre, these homes are sought out for photos and bragging rights that you actually saw the haunted house.

However, despite drawing the public’s interest, residences that have inspired Stephen King novels or classic scary movies often sit on the market for a long time and fetch far less than the asking price. Below are examples of iconic haunted houses and what they sold for (if they were sold at all).

amityville1508275864329

 

 

 

 

 

 


Image Credit:
Newsday

Amityville Horror House (Long Island, N.Y.) – Sold in 2017 for $605,000

The basis of the book and subsequent film series went on the market last summer for $850,000 and sold earlier this year for more than $200,000 less than the asking price. With other homes in the Amityville neighborhood of Long Island regularly fetching upwards of $1 million, the home’s past is likely to blame for the price drop.

conjuring

Image Credit: Jezebel

The Old Arnold Estate (Harrisville, R.I.) – Listed in 2015 for $400,000

The owners of this 14-room farmhouse in Rhode Island threatened to sue Warner Bros. following the release of The Conjuring (2013). Their property, which is the basis for the film, was constantly trespassed upon after the film became a hit. It eventually became too much and they listed the house themselves. It has since been taken off the market.

petcem

Image Credit: Associated Press

Pet Sematary House (Orrington, Maine) – Listed in 2017 for $255,000

This is the home that Stephen King and his family rented in the late 1970s where he thought of the idea for his novel Pet Sematary. Not only was his daughter’s cat hit by a truck in front of the home, but children in the neighborhood constructed an actual pet cemetery behind the four-bedroom Maine home that is still there today.

dakota

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image Credit: StreetEasy

The Dakota (New York, N.Y.) – Sold in 2017 for $21,000,000

Probably most well-known for being the Manhattan co-op in front of which John Lennon was killed, The Dakota has a storied supernatural history. The most famous ghost in the building is the Crying Lady who is said to walk the co-op’s halls. Also, the film Rosemary’s Baby (1968) was set in “The Bramford,” which was actually The Dakota, where most of the movie was filmed. This year, a three-bedroom went for the stunning price of $21 million.

sowden

Image Credit: realtor.com®

The Sowden House (Los Angeles, Calif.) – Listed in 2015 for $4.79 million

In 1947, this house was made famous because of the Black Dahlia murder. The home, built in 1927 and designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, was allegedly where local physician Dr. George Hill Hodel dissected the body of Elizabeth Short. Years later, in the early 2000s, Hodel’s son Steve brought a cadaver dog into the home’s basement and claims it detected the scent of decomposed human remains. There have also been reports of people hearing voices and chains being dragged.

Jameson Doris is RISMedia’s blog and social media editor. Email him your real estate news ideas at jdoris@rismedia.com.

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

The post Ghostly Listings: What It Costs to Own a Famous Haunted House appeared first on RISMedia.

The Most (and Least) Valuable States in America

Editor’s Note: This was originally published on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall. See what else is cookin’ now at blog.rismedia.com:

Everyone knows location is the most important part of real estate. You can’t change where your house is (all things being equal). You have to consider school districts, crime rates, commute times—the list goes on and on. It can be much simpler when you’re considering buying a home to compare apples to apples so you can see how the real estate market differs according to location, so HowMuch.net created a new visualization showing land and housing prices at a glance.

most_valuable_states_infog

The blue dots represent the value of an acre of land, and the red circles indicate the median value of a home. The bigger the blue dot and the larger the red circle, the more expensive it is to become a property owner. Small circles and dots likewise indicate a very low cost of purchasing property. The home values are from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2015 American Consumer Survey, and the numbers behind the land values come from the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Several things stand out in the illustration. An acre of land is much more valuable in the Northeast compared to any other part of the country. This is partly because the Eastern seaboard is a very densely populated area with several large cities, most notably New York. New York and Massachusetts have some of the oldest modern structures anywhere in the U.S. In other words, Eastern cities are a lot older than Midwestern cities, so there isn’t a lot of farmland for suburban expansion anymore. In terms of geographic size, these are some of the smallest states in the country. As a matter of fact, the three states where the cost of an acre of land is greater than the median price of a house are all located on the East Coast, and they happen to be some of the smallest states in the Union (Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New Jersey).

Median home values (the red circles) are a different and more complicated story. California has the most expensive houses by far ($449,100). Oregon and Washington boast similarly high housing valuations, as well ($264,100 and $284,000, respectively). It is also expensive to buy a home on the East Coast, with six out of the top 10 states with the most expensive median home values.

There’s a noticeable dip in both housing and land prices in Southern and Midwestern states. Prices slowly rise the further you move from east to west. This highlights unique economic developments over the last several years, including the boom in oil exploration in North Dakota and the growth of Western cities, like Denver, thanks to young people. Snowbirds also tend to move to Florida and Arizona when they retire, which also pushes up housing prices in those places.

Top 5 Most Expensive States to Buy a Home

  1. California
    Value per Acre: $39,092
    Median Home Value: $449,100
  1. Massachusetts
    Value per Acre: $102,214
    Median Home Value: $352,100
  1. New Jersey
    Value per Acre: $196,410
    Median Home Value: $322,600
  1. Maryland
    Value per Acre: $75,429
    Median Home Value: $299,800
  1. New York
    Value per Acre: $41,314
    Median Home Value: $293,500

Top 5 Cheapest States to Buy a Home

  1. West Virginia
    Value per Acre: $10,537
    Median Home Value: $112,100
  1. Mississippi
    Value per Acre: $5,565
    Median Home Value: $112,700
  1. Arkansas
    Value per Acre: $6,739
    Median Home Value: $120,700
  1. Oklahoma
    Value per Acre: $7,364
    Median Home Value: $126,800
  1. Kentucky
    Value per Acre: $7,209
    Median Home Value: $130,000

All this shows that the laws of supply and demand are alive and well in the real estate market. You can easily find cheap acres of land where they are plentiful and un-useful (sorry, Nevada), but owning property is a lot more expensive in smaller places crowded with lots of people. As always: location, location, location.

A version of this article originally appeared on HowMuch.net.

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

The post The Most (and Least) Valuable States in America appeared first on RISMedia.

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