Guess How Much These Houses Cost

Posted by: Peter Coy on July 5, 2005

How much do these two four-bedroom houses cost?
Clue #1: They’re in different cities.

youngstown.bmp

saratoga.bmp

Clue #2: The house in the big picture on top is in Youngstown, Ohio, which is listed by the National Association of Realtors as the cheapest metro area for housing in the U.S.

Clue #3: The house in the little picture on the bottom is in Saratoga, Calif., which is in the San Francisco Bay area, which the NAR says is the metro area with the most expensive housing in the country.

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Youngstown house: $49,900, listed by D'Amico Agency
Saratoga house: $3,999,000, listed by Intero Real Estate Services

Hmmmm. Which to buy? On the one hand, just the 5% commission on the Saratoga house would be enough to buy the Youngstown house four times over. On the other hand, it's a long commute from Youngstown to the Bay Area. On the other other hand, the most you can possibly lose on the Youngstown house is $49,900. Tough call ....

Reader Comments

JLP at AllThingsFinancial

July 7, 2005 1:23 PM

$49,900 for the Youngstown house seems really cheap. There must be something seriously wrong with it.

Audiorich

July 7, 2005 6:56 PM

The reason the Youngstown house is so cheap is that Youngstown is the former home of the steel mills. There aren't many jobs there, anymore. House prices anywhere are determined by what people living in the area can afford to pay.

Peter Coy

July 8, 2005 12:18 AM

JLP and Audiorich are both right.

The Youngstown house has just one bathroom, for starters. And incomes in Youngstown are much lower than in the Bay Area.

Still, the idea that you could buy 80 of the Youngstown houses (80 families) for the price of one Saratoga house (1 family) is pretty amazing.

linda

December 3, 2005 10:50 PM

another reason the houses in youngstown is so inexpensive is the high crime rate..and the bleak surroundings.i grew up in a suburb near younsgtown..and it's not a safe place to be after dark.

Darren

February 15, 2006 9:24 AM

The Youngstown Area may be Dangerous but within the past 2-3 years the area as began to look up, the cities has began to partake in many public works projects and a beautiful house like the one pictured could be a lovely place to call home within the next 5 years considered the continuation of the Government and people to revitilize this once great city

Gerry

February 17, 2006 11:50 PM

How about a 5 bedroom, 1850 stone-built chateau with two balconies, five bedrooms, limestone trim, fully updated and in perfect shape in the beautiful Lot River Valley, 3 hours from the Pyrenees, Biarritz, and Provence for US $360,000 (marty-serge.idimmo.net)?

Southwest France is as good as life gets, and prices are rising 10% per year while the economy is improving.

ellen

November 20, 2006 8:40 PM

We live in Youngstown and love it. My husband commutes to Cleveland every day (a 1 hour drive) where jobs are plentiful and salaries decent. (Many others commute to Pittsburgh from here, another 1 hour drive to the east).
Our house is in a safe, beautiful neighborhood, and we owe 69,000 on it. Our payments are 500 bucks a month. It is an absolutely gorgeous 2300 square foot tudor style home with an upstairs apartment that we use for a business. Has all the trimmings, multiple bathrooms, sunroom, dining, hardwood, 4 bedrooms, breakfast nook, etc.
My husband lived in the Bay Area for one year in 1998 when he was single, and life was so expensive there that he drove himself into serious debt. Good thing that we can work our way out of it because our expenses in this neck of the woods are manageable. The crime...well, isn't it in every urban setting??
DON"T KNOCK YOUNGSTOWN!!!! There are many wonderful things going on here: CLEAN AIR, a breathtaking, top rated metropark (Mill Creek Park http://www.millcreekmetroparks.com/), a newly thriving downtown district, an excellent university, great medical facilities, and small business opportunities galore because we are growing again finally. (My own business has exploded, and I was able to quit my teaching job to do it full time.) Let's not forget that Youngstown has the best Italian restaurants around.
So go on and pay 4 million bucks for a house in crowded, smoggy, earthquaked California...we are quite content to live in good old Y-town and take full advantage of its low cost of living and new prosperity.

ed

December 23, 2006 4:01 AM

Im also from youngstown and i love it.
I moved to out of state thinking things were better some where else like winston salem nc,virginia beach va,and lexington ky,but found youngstown is really a good place to live.Lots of lakes shopping and pretty much of everything. and I have a good job.Crime not so bad if you stay away from drugs.

april martinez

November 8, 2007 3:36 PM

I'm finding a cost of a house here in El Paso tx

Daniel a myers

December 28, 2007 10:46 AM

What are any sighns of jobs ever coming to youngs town ?and why? why here?Then once you got a high crime rate how long before that changes ...i live in loveland oh very low crime 1 school dist but i grew up in price hill a neighbor hood in cincinnati it went down do to crime only and bad planing it has done nothing but get worse over the last past 10 years due to bad ideals that dont work like neighborhood watch ...rec centers...new parks and nothing impacting the real reson crime ..people go to jail then come back home..people need to be ban from these areas and severly prosacuted if caught in these areas its the only way also some incentives for investors to rebuild and not to produce super low housing and rent rates where it will atract people fresh out of jail with no money...also a better police force

Rich Wyant

July 16, 2008 9:48 PM

I too reside in Youngstown (well technically Boardman Township)I am ok with it. Hell..if you can't make it here n youngstwn you can' make it anywhere. I think the crime issue is a little overated. You should take closer look at who the supposed "victims" are. I think it's usually criminal-on-crimnal violence. Let' face it....when if ever was the last time you heard of some "innocent" person gettig robbed in youngstown? NEVER! If you view the police blotter,the reports are after 1am. What kind of people are out at that hour and why? Youngstown is fine, it has a few bad areas, but overall I think it's great.

amarri

October 23, 2008 3:03 PM

your houses cost to much

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BusinessWeek editors Chris Palmeri, Prashant Gopal and Peter Coy chronicle the highs and lows of the housing and mortgage markets on their Hot Property blog. In print and online, the Hot Property team first wrote about the potential downside of lenders pushing riskier, "option ARM" mortgages and the rise in mortgage fraud back in 2005—well ahead of many other media outlets. In 2008, Hot Property bloggers finished #1 in a ranking of the world's top 100 "most powerful property people" by the British real estate website Global edge. Hot Property was named among the 25 most influential real estate blogs of 2007 by Inman News.

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