Finding your diamond in the sky

A house for $500,000 : Vancouver vs. 25 other cities

In 2013, The Economist ranked Vancouver as the most expensive place to live in North America. With real estate prices still on the up and up, this is great news for people who already own their homes, but what about those of us looking to enter the real estate market?

Many young families still have the dream to live in a detached home with a yard. Apartment-living isn’t for everyone, especially those expanding their families, and the cost of a city apartment big enough to house a family of four is pretty hefty.

A lot of us grew up in a Vancouver where owning a three-bedroom home close to the city and other amenities was not too hard. When my parents had children and bought a house in North Vancouver, the average price of a detached home here was only around $150,000. Today, it is $1.2 million.

If you’re feeling kind of nauseous right about now, you’re not the only one. I’m going to have to go watch Love Actually five times to reverse the stress of writing this article.

That being said, I thought I’d find some solace by searching real estate in other North American cities. I don’t have plans to move to St. Louis, but if I ever do, I sure won’t have a problem affording a house there.

So here was my query: What can you get for approximately $500,000 in other North American cities? My criteria for the search was based on the qualities of a starter home:

  • a detached home
  • minimum three bedrooms
  • a yard
  • close to the city
  • in a decent neighbourhood

Upon selecting these homes, I tried my best to choose homes the average person wouldn’t mind living in. When there was lots of selection, neighbourhood and quality of home took precedent. When there wasn’t much choice, proximity to the city was number one.

Read the full story here.