Life in California is pretty great right? We've got perfect weather, access to great beaches, and entertainment options like movie theaters, amusement parks, and museums available to everyone here in the Golden State.
Admittedly, residents here know those advantages come with a 'sunshine tax' that raises the cost of living for people in California. Everything - especially home prices - are generally more expensive than the rest of the country. Stagnant incomes and a lack of housing construction in California also makes it difficult for some people to ever envision buying a home at all here.
A new study that looked at how much home $200,000 buys you across the U.S. from Property Shark really puts the 'Sunshine Tax' in perspective.
When it comes to real estate, the rule is always: Location, Location, Location. That holds especially true when it comes to how far your dollar will go when purchasing a home. For example, a $200,000 budget for a home in Los Angeles would only get you around 501 sq. ft - not exactly a place where you can stretch out or host dinner parties.
On the other hand, taking your $200,000 to Cleveland, Ohio could get you a massive 3,700 sq. ft. home - a place so big, you could fit your L.A. place in there seven times over and still have room to host Thanksgiving dinner.
Of course, it's all a matter of perspective. On the other side of the spectrum, a 501 sq. ft. place in L.A. is practically a McMansion compared to what you can find for $200k in Manhattan (201 sq. ft.), San Francisco (260 sq. ft) or Boston (371 sq. ft.).
Your dollar goes a lot farther the further south you go. They say everything is bigger in Texas and that could include your home too. With 200k burning a hole in your pocket, you could buy an enormous home in San Antonio (3,249 sq. ft.) a huge one in Dallas (1,824 sq. ft) or a normal-sized one Austin (1,341 sq. ft.). All three cities have their own charms, vibrant economies, and great entertainment options, so it really depends on whether you're interested in dealing with the hot weather during the summer.
Comparing home prices in what you could get in Los Angeles vs the rest of the country can trigger itchy feet, but with a higher quality of life than other states, California is still the best state for Millennials to live in, even as homeownership rates are down.
It's safe to say that if you're looking to buy a home in Los Angeles you're better off inheriting a large amount of money or winning the lottery before buying a home here. One study showed that housing afforability in California has hit a ten-year low and that residents in the Golden State need to make an average annual income of $112,100 to even qualify for the purchase of a median priced single-family home in California.
Happy house hunting everyone!
Photos: Getty Images and PropertyShark.com