$170,000 is an affordable house

Granted, the area median household income around here is $76,700 (which must mean that almost everyone is a two income household), but still, this seems ridiculous to me.

And I, for one, am surprised by how little house you get for $170K. My mother-in-law’s neighbor sold his crappy little two-bedroom for $175K, which makes my mother-in-law’s house worth roughly the same, and it ain’t all that much house.

We bought our first for $83,000. I am betting it would go for $150,000 if we wanted to buy it today. With only one bathroom and two bedrooms and an unfinished basement. Nice woodwork, though.

I expect people’s expectations of what they want in a house have increased over the last thirty years, as well.


$170,000 sounds quite reasonable to me, but then again I live in Brooklyn. I have resigned myself to the fact I will never be able to afford a house in the city.

It’s all relative, I guess.

There are some nice two bedroom homes here in Cabridge for, oh, over a million dollars.

Of course, that should be Cambridge. Sheesh.

But the cost of housing seems to be so vastly different from the actual cost it takes to build a house. Real estate is very interesting.

Bloomington, Indiana here. $170000 would be a pretty nice house, but nothing overboard.
When we were househunting 5 years ago, we tried looking in the $100K range, and wow–what an eyeopener that was.
Finally found the house we bought: $120000, 3 bedroom, 1/5 bath, 2/3 acre. The house is about 35 years old, and it had the lovely requisite dark paneling, dark carpet, and orange and green decorating scheme. Lovely! :slight_smile:
50 miles away from here, in one of the small towns, our house might sell for $80000, probably less. sigh

My mom is in real estate, Westchester county, NY. Basically anything below $400,000 in a decent neighborhood is classified by her as a “dump”. Below $200,000 is barely livable, or a cottage. People regularly spend $170,000 for condos.

Location, location, location.



Here in the Bay Area, the average home goes for roughly $370,000 ( you can get cheaper - like, say $225-250,000 - If you don’t mind commuting an hour and a half or living in a warzone ) and mean household income is around $85,000 ( average personal income I beliueve is around $47,000 ).

I’d kill for a decent home in the $170,000 range :slight_smile: .

  • Tamerlame

My god… it’s like we exist on different planets.

$170,000 would maybe buy a crapola condo in a very rough neighborhood in LA… my SO and I talk all the time about what we want/need in a house, and the big argument is that he’s willing to move into some junk house in an icky location for $300,000 and I’d rather keep renting that buy for less than $450,000 where I want to live, and I’ll be incredibly lucky if I can get that. (Most of the houses that really fit my idea of what I want in terms of both house and location start at about $650,000)

LA Girl
Yeah, I could live like a queen in most anywhere else since I work at home, but I’d hate it and I’d be apart from everyone I care about.

In three years I am yet to see a house of any sort in Santa Cruz sell for less than $500,000…although I did see a trailer go for $300,000 once.

And the average household income around here is $60,000.

$170,000 would be considered more than reasonable, but you’ll never ever find a house that price here. Even a one room trailer with no roof in a bad neighboorhood out in the hills will cost you more than that.

You have to account for the cost of the land, too. And in some places, that’s the most expensive part.


Where I work, in Rancho Palos Verdes (third wealthiest zip code in America! But as you can see to the left, I don’t live there), $170,000 might buy you a nice treehouse, or, at best, a room over someone’s garage. It wouldn’t even get you close to a condo. From newspaper ads I reckon the average condo runs $300-400,000; average houses, a million or more.

I did think briefly of trying to live in RPV, 'till I saw that a two-bedroom apartment runs to about $2,500 a month. Insane? You bet. Is RPV trying to build affordable housing? Are you kidding? The second anyone tries to even hint at this, a group called “Concerned Citizens for RPV” starts hollering about “increased traffic, crime, and pollution.” (Of course, we all know that rich people don’t cause any traffic, crime or pollution, so it’s OK for them to move in.)

And they say there’s no class system in America. Hmph.

Moderator’s Note: The high cost of housing is a result of the capitalist conspiracy to oppress the toiling masses! Should there be a Constitutional Right to housing? If Lyndon Johnson hadn’t tried to fight the Vietnam War at the same time, his Great Society programs would have provided affordable housing for everyone! What is housing? What is beauty? What is a beautiful house? Consider: If you were walking through the woods and you came across a house, you would obviously know that the house had had an Architect


Off to IMHO.

My god.


walks off muttering about the benefits of rural living…

I just did a quick search on available homes in my neighborhood (Montrose area in Houston). The lowest price I found was $230K for a not very exciting 1326 sq. ft. house, and there were a couple at $650K, one with 3500 sq. ft. The bulk were 2000-2400 sq. ft. running from $250K to $350K. I’m going to go look at one of them in a little bit.

This area’s property values started climbing in the mid-'90s when developers picked up the pace of their demolishing of single family dwellings that they replaced with 3-4 townhomes on the lot.

My sister and I sold the house we inherited in Westminster (Orange Co., CA) last year for $275,000. About 45 years old, 3-br, 1 bath, garage and yard.

Right now I’m looking for a house in upstate Washington. A friend of mine bought a 3-br, 1-bath house in Birch Bay on a quarter acre for $60,000. A friend in Hoquiam bought her 2-br, two storey, 1 bath house for $42,000 just a few years ago. (Replacement cost is about $80,000, she said she’d sell it to me for $58,000.) Houses I’m looking at in Bellingham are running in the $80,000 - $90,000 range for a 2-br. If I buy in Bellingham, I’m hoping to rent it out for $750/month (what my friend’s rent would have been if he had stayed in his rented 2-br house) – compared to $733/month I’m paying for my 1-br apartment in L.A.

It’s all about location. Hoquiam is about 50 miles or so from Olympia. Bellingham is 80 miles from Seattle. Birch Bay is 100 miles from Seattle (but only about 25 miles from Vancouver, B.C.). I could buy a small (900 sq. ft.) 3-br house with a yard for $70,000 in L.A. County – in Lancaster, which is 65 miles away. Here in the city? I haven’t even looked.

$120,000 sounds downright reasonable compared to L.A. It would buy a nice place in Bellingham. If I weren’t looking for an income property I’d probably look in that range. (Maybe after I get a job up there.)

We were recently considering building. Live in Glen Ellyn, west of Chicago. Buildable lots within a mile of the train station are around $300G. Anything less than that is a tear-down.

We decided we did not want to be that house-rich and cash-poor. So we paid off our mortgage, and now feel like Mr. and Mrs. Gotbucks. Make sure you let me pick up the tab!

Well, well. I work for a RE company, too . In Pacific Grove, California we can get you a three bedroom for $2.5M near the beachbut not next to it, & they said you can live in it while you build your dream house next to it in the ad. Also, A dirt lot, about a quarter acre, no water & no permits, going for a paltry $979,000 on Asilomar. We don’t have water for new construction.

RE prices are actually down about 15% in Pacific Grove, but Monterey, its actually down about 30% from a year ago. Also in Carmel, which is near Pacific Grove, the average price about a year & a half ago, was $1.2M, but dropped to about $625,000 in summer of 2001. lol

My parents’ three bedroom house cost them $175,000 about five years ago, I think. It’s in a moderately nice suburb northeast of LA, but it’s also between two major streets and half a block from heavily travelled train tracks. Definitely not in the middle-class neighborhood.

Then again, the rent on my Student Slum apartment is a few hundred dollars more than my parents’ mortgage, so mileage varies.

Hey, Eris, did you know that we both live in the **2nd most expensive area ** in the U.S.? The San Francisco Bay area’s 1st, and New York’s crawling up our backs as I write this…

There was an article in The Boston Globe a few weeks ago which addressed the ridiculousness of housing prices here. Basically what it’s coming down to is a “brain drain” – those who have the talent and experience in such fields as technology and academics are leaving this area in droves because they can’t afford to live here…sigh.