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The median cost for a new home in America: $309,700.

That’s based on October sales numbers for new single-family homes. The report revealed that 544,000 homes were sold — about 8.9 percent lower than September’s rate.

Comparatively, the median cost for existing homes is around $255,400, according to Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors.

While Yun said he’s optimistic about the housing market in the long term, housing prices have consistently outpaced people’s incomes for the past five years and mortgage rates are rising — always negative news for the market.

Housing is the biggest driver of wealth and debt for most families in America and is linked to the health of the economy.

“Over the short term, I think there are challenges and uncertainty,” Yun said.

And of course, the circumstances you face depend on factors like where you live: having 300 grand can go a little or a long way based on the market you’re talking about.

Yun joined us to discuss what this amount of money can buy you in different markets across the United States based on the median prices of all home sales in those regions.

Markets where you can buy a house for about $310,000

Las Vegas, Nevada: $294,000

Providence, Rhode Island: $305,000

Colorado Springs, Colorado: $315,000

An aerial view of neighborhoods in Las Vegas.
An aerial view of neighborhoods in Las Vegas. - 

Yun pointed out that Las Vegas, Providence and Colorado Springs are close to expensive areas like California, Boston and Denver, respectively (yet just far enough away to be more affordable).

Homebuyers may view them as “second-chance opportunities,” he said.

Las Vegas is one of the most popular destinations for people leaving California, and some see it as an opportunity for a “middle-class life,” the Los Angeles Times reported last year.

Companies may be thinking similarly and want to expand their office operations in these regions. 

Cheap housing markets

Buffalo, New York: $163,000

Columbia, South Carolina: $174,000

Indianapolis, Indiana: $190,000

A view of the Lakeview suburb in Buffalo, New York.
A view of the Lakeview suburb in Buffalo, New York. - 

Generally speaking, the Midwest will have more affordable housing because the land is cheaper, making it easier to build homes, Yun said.  

But Buffalo is on the list, even though housing can be very expensive in some of the state’s cities, like the greater New York City area, whose median house price is $433,000.  

“[Buffalo is] much closer to Cleveland and Detroit based on geographic distance,” Yun explained. “It more resembles the Midwestern blue-collar economy.”

Expensive housing markets

San Diego, California: $650,000

Honolulu, Hawaii: $822,000

San Francisco Bay Area: About $1 million

A view of homes near the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.
A view of homes near the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. - 

So here are areas where you'd be out priced. The San Francisco Bay Area, which has been plagued with affordable housing shortages, has one of the nation's highest median housing prices. 

Meanwhile, regions like Honolulu are "just desirable" and may attract people with some extra cash who can afford to buy a second home, Yun said. 

He added that the incomes of an area's residents also influence housing prices, and San Diego and San Francisco have higher-paying jobs, in general, than people working in middle America. 

The median income for a household in the San Francisco metro area is $96,677, compared to a nationwide median of $59,039

You can hear more about the October sales report from reporter Amy Scott in the audio above.

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