Real Estate News & Commentary

Top 10 Markets Where Spacious Homes Are Most Affordable in 2020

Expertise: Real Estate Deal Analysis & Advice, Real Estate News & Commentary
23 Articles Written

As if Americans didn’t already spend a lot of time inside during winter, this year, cabin fever will be at an all-time high as COVID-19 continues to spread. It’s leading to a trend no one saw coming: big homes are back.

New data from Realtor.com suggest that Americans crave more space in their homes, despite recent trends toward smaller homes that are more environmentally friendly. That’s why, now more than ever, shoppers in the real estate market are taking a closer look at the price per square foot of the houses they’re considering.

“[A]reas just outside of the urban centers of the largest metros offer homebuyers more space for the money. Potential buyers who’ve been dreaming of more space for work and play don’t have to look far to save 29% per square foot on average or get 25%-65% more square footage for the same price as a home closer to downtown,” said Realtor.com Chief Economist Danielle Hale. “For a 2,000-square-foot home, this could mean 500-1,300 additional square feet.”

In an effort to stretch out, here are some of the best suburbs outside of the largest cities in the U.S. that will get you the most room for your buck.

Related: Housing Markets Post-COVID: Which Ones Win? Which Lose?

The Spacious 3: Where Big Homes Are Most Affordable

Homeowners seeking value and size should look no further than Illinois, Texas, and New Jersey. Suburbs in these states placed in the top three according to Realtor.com when comparing listing prices to the median price per square foot.

Chicago downtown skyline at twilight with highway and traffic.

3. Palos Hills, Illinois

  • Median listing price: $379,000
  • Price per square foot: $139

If you’re living in America’s third-largest city and looking for space, you might come up empty-handed. However, take a trip southwest and you’ll encounter beautiful Palos Hills. This Chicago suburb has a median listing price of nearly $380K with a median price per square foot of just under $140. Expect savings of around 24% when purchasing a home here.

The town is a huge draw for young professionals due to its recreational activities, density, and nightlife options—not to mention its proximity to the economic powerhouse Chicago. Palos Hills offers a unique mix of convenience, diversity, strong education, and most of all, space.

Related: Is It Still Possible To Find a Good Deal on the MLS? Maybe.

2. Cedar Hill, Texas

  • Median listing price: $352,000
  • Price per square foot: $124

Travel south to Texas and you’ll come across Cedar Hill. Located on the southwestern side of Dallas, “the city in a park” features a median listing price just over $350K, as well as a suburban price per square foot of about $125, accounting for 23% in average savings. Cedar Hill has extensive shopping, lots of dining options, and a strong job market boasting a $76,600 median income.

As such, it’s become a major attraction for nature enthusiasts, hikers, bikers, and others who want to escape the noise of Dallas.

1. Sicklerville, New Jersey

  • Median listing price: $282,000
  • Price per square foot: $118

Topping the list was Sicklerville, New Jersey, just a 30-minute commute southeast of Philadelphia. Sicklerville’s median listing price is just north of $280K with an impressive suburban price per square foot of nearly $120, totaling an average savings of roughly 20%. Wages are high here, with the median income pushing almost $90,000.

That said, Sicklerville is a great place for families looking to grow.

Related: Where Investors Are Buying Down South in 2020 (& Why It’s a Solid Bet)

Top Suburbs That Offer the Most Affordable Space Near the Nation’s 10 Largest Metros

How Should Investors React?

As investors, it’s important that you understand your local market’s median price per square foot. Finding this data can be as easy as looking at your market’s statistics on Realtor.com. But with the growing number of families searching for homes that offer them increased space, this gives investors the opportunity to capitalize on larger units with higher price tags, leading to higher cash flows.

My advice is to not shy away from larger units. A bigger price tag usually means higher rents. In the COVID-19 era, the challenge of finding tenants to fill those higher-priced units isn’t likely to be an issue if advertised as roomy.

Don’t let up this winter. Instead, create more financial “space” in your life by capitalizing on this data-backed trend.

Access Realtor.com’s full report here.

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Have you observed buyers and renters leaning more toward larger homes? Are you using it to your benefit as an investor? 

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    Tim Parker Investor from Bremerton, Washington
    Replied about 2 months ago
    Good luck to anyone who chooses to live in Illinois or New Jersey. Taxes will kill you as their governments go belly up.
    Michael Mondini from San Diego
    Replied about 2 months ago
    What the article didn’t explain was that New Jersey and Illinois rank #1 and #2 in highest property taxes. Texas is #7, which is why the median house $ is so low.
    John Murray from Portland, Oregon
    Replied about 2 months ago
    I grew up in NJ and joined the Army at 18. Never lived there ever again and did OK. I became a multimillionaire not because I stayed in NJ but I left. Not that cannot become a multimillionaire in NJ but it is more difficult as with most metro areas on the west and east coast. Find a place where there is a housing shortage and people want to live, and the most important factor government restricted growth in the past. Limited supply of land and crystal ball to look 5 to 25 years into the future. That's what I did and won.
    Paul Moore Investor from Lynchburg, VA
    Replied 12 days ago
    Great article. Thanks for putting out this great info, BP!