What $300,000 buys in homes across America

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There’s good news for Americans thinking about buying a new house. Sure, the real estate market continues to struggle. But the median sale price for a single-family home is 22% lower than it was at its 2006 peak, and would-be buyers who’ve saved up a nest egg can get themselves some real bargains.

Some experts are still bullish on a housing recovery. But meanwhile, many American families have been unable to get financing as banks tighten lending standards, or are purposefully waiting out the market. That means there’s pent-up demand, says Dr. Richard Green, director of the Lusk Center for Real Estate at the University of Southern California, “but you can still get about 33% more house than you could at the peak.”

The bargains are better in some cities than others. A dollar buys a lot more in cities that were particularly hard-hit by the bursting real estate bubble–and you could spend the same on a tiny apartment in New York than you might for a five-bedroom manor in Florida.

In order to compare what you can get for your money across the country, we asked to look at 10 large U.S. cities and find a typical $300,000 single-family home in each. We chose $300,000 because it’s a price that, depending on where you live, either barely scratches the low end of the market, or soars above the median price. In most cities, buyers can find a respectable house at that price–but the homes’ features, size and proximity to the city center vary dramatically depending on geography.

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