Housing Stats: Seattle vs. Other Big Cities

Building on the data that was presented yesterday, here’s a sortable table of some more detailed housing stats for the 25 largest US cities by population. Included below are population, density, median sale price, median price per square foot, median rent, median household income, median list price, and some ratios of sale prices to rents and incomes. Unfortunately sale prices are not available in Texas or Indiana (which is why I went with list price in yesterday’s post).

Click on any column header to sort by that column. Enjoy!

City State Pop. Density Med. Sale Med. $/sqft Med. Rent Med. HH Inc. Sale/ Rent $/Sqft/ Rent Sale/ Inc. Med. List
New York NY 8,363,710 27,440 $471,200 $339 $985 $48,631 39.9 0.34 9.7 $449,900
Los Angeles CA 3,833,995 8,205 $442,800 $293 $986 $47,781 37.4 0.30 9.3 $447,000
Chicago IL 2,853,114 12,649 $255,500 $199 $832 $45,505 25.6 0.24 5.6 $276,000
Houston TX 2,242,193 3,828 $749 $40,856 $187,000
Phoenix AZ 1,567,924 2,938 $158,600 $96 $797 $48,061 16.6 0.12 3.3 $160,000
Philadelphia PA 1,447,395 10,721 $150,600 $122 $770 $35,365 16.3 0.16 4.3 $169,000
San Antonio TX 1,351,305 2,809 $698 $41,593 $159,900
Dallas TX 1,279,910 1,427 $737 $40,986 $215,000
San Diego CA 1,279,329 1,612 $394,800 $284 $1,209 $61,863 27.2 0.23 6.4 $427,000
San Jose CA 948,279 2,223 $486,800 $322 $1,249 $76,963 32.5 0.26 6.3 $499,000
Detroit MI 912,062 6,378 $51,600 $37 $704 $28,097 6.1 0.05 1.8 $16,500
San Francisco CA 808,976 17,323 $728,200 $579 $1,192 $68,023 50.9 0.49 10.7 $800,000
Jacksonville FL 807,815 1,062 $155,600 $95 $831 $48,699 15.6 0.11 3.2 $160,000
Indianapolis IN 798,382 2,152 $668 $44,325 $112,500
Austin TX 757,688 2,396 $829 $48,966 $253,000
Columbus OH 754,885 3,556 $137,300 $93 $703 $42,253 16.3 0.13 3.2 $129,900
Fort Worth TX 703,073 1,828 $753 $47,104 $155,000
Charlotte NC 687,456 2,516 $174,800 $101 $786 $52,690 18.5 0.13 3.3 $189,900
Memphis TN 669,651 2,327 $124,200 $72 $719 $35,143 14.4 0.10 3.5 $103,500
Baltimore MD 636,919 7,889 $169,300 $137 $778 $36,949 18.1 0.18 4.6 $149,900
El Paso TX 613,190 2,447 $564 $35,646 $149,900
Boston MA 609,023 12,561 $356,100 $365 $1,107 $50,476 26.8 0.33 7.1 $389,000
Milwaukee WI 604,477 6,296 $138,100 $118 $689 $35,281 16.7 0.17 3.9 $129,900
Denver CO 598,707 3,905 $229,500 $169 $726 $44,444 26.3 0.23 5.2 $275,000
Seattle WA 598,541 7,179 $386,500 $283 $881 $57,849 36.6 0.32 6.7 $450,000
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About The Tim

Tim Ellis is the founder of Seattle Bubble. His background in engineering and computer / internet technology, a fondness of data-based analysis of problems, and an addiction to spreadsheets all influence his perspective on the Seattle-area real estate market. Tim also hosts the weekly improv comedy sci-fi podcast Dispatches from the Multiverse.

23 comments:

  1. 1
    AMS says:

    That’s it! I am going to buy at the median list price in Detroit, and sell at the median sale price–it’s a sure way to make quick cash.

  2. 2
    Indy says:

    Detroit is a strange puppy. I know it’s in tragically bad shape, but the data seem distorted. This is why Case-Shiler stopped including Detroit and Cleveland in their tiered reports – too much chaos lately.

    Median $704 rent is close to Denver. Really? For two years worth of median rent payments I can own the median house? That’s like a 50% interest rate on capital expenditures if you become a landlord investor.

  3. 3
    AMS says:

    RE: Indy @ 2 – My point was more along the lines of we need to consider the original asking price of the homes that sold, not all the homes in the market. Does it matter that there are hundreds of homes listed for under $5,000 when none of them sell? The same is true on the upper end, but the problem is that the bottom end has far more homes, thus the median asking price is skewed lower than the median asking price of the sold homes.

    Anytime you have a different mix of sold versus available for sale, there will be problems with analyzing the data.

  4. 4
    Ray Pepper says:

    Dang, that looks like alot of work…………Tim deserves a raise!

  5. 5
    patient says:

    Great table The Tim, thanks! I hope you will consider an update every 6 months. I suspect we will move down the list as our delayed correction continues.

  6. 6
    Cheap South says:

    I believe Miami and Tampa should be on that list too.

  7. 7

    Excellent Job Tim: Perhaps Now Add Job Loss/Gain Per State for 2009

    The US Bureau of Labor and Statistics omits this data [I wonder why….LOL], but it is at least partially available in sites.NPPD.com. In fact, here’s some states job loss/gain data in the NPPD 9/21/09 news article in part:

    “….Forty-two states reported job losses in August, with 14 states reporting unemployment rates of 10 percent or above, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, The heaviest losses came in Texas, which lost 62,200 jobs in August, with the manufacturing, construction, and leisure industries combined reaching 35,500 losses. In Michigan, 42,900 jobs were lost, with 25,000 of them in manufacturing; the state’s unemployment rate rose to 15.2 percent, the highest in the United States. Georgia and Ohio had the third- and fourth-highest losses in August, with 35,000 and 30,100 jobs lost, respectively. Nevada had the second-highest unemployment rate at 13.2 percent, with Rhode Island third at 12.8 percent and California and Oregon tied for fourth with 12.2 percent. Six states had increases in employment in August: North Carolina saw the biggest gains with 7,000, followed by Montana with 5,100 and West Virginia with 2,800. North Dakota, South Dakota, and Nebraska had the lowest unemployment rates in August, at 4.3 percent, 4.9 percent, and 5.0 percent, respectively….”

    The rest of the URL:

    http://www.areadevelopment.com/newsitems/9-21-2009/state-unemployment-statistics-august-2009.shtml

    BTW, I went ahead and used this news article for Dr. Roubini’s bunch and gave my technical estimate for August 2009 job losses in America. States 5-47 were not in the data above, so I estimated an average for the missing states; based on the top 4 states with job losses and the bottom 3 states with job gains.

    I came up with 742,000 estimated job losses in America for Aug 2009….makes that 216,000 wild guess [IMO] BLS number that mainstream news is using look like a complete joke, especially since BLS state to state job loss/gain data is conveniently omitted, not allowing an accuracy check.

    I hear from Numbersusa sources that Wash St had a 92,000 monthly job loss in Aug 2009….Hades, that’s not even in the NPPD data, let alone the omitted BLS wild guess. Wowza.

  8. 8
    Aubrey Cohen says:

    This validates my thought that looking at $ per square foot makes more sense. Do that sort, and Seattle’s cheaper than San Francisco, Boston, New York, San Jose, Los Angeles and San Diego, although it’s still pricier than Chicago.

  9. 9
    patient says:

    Sqft could possibly be worse than the median price as a comparison. Is a 2000 sqft home in Seattle worth more or less than than a 1000 sqft loft on Manhattan or a 1000 sqft bungalow on the beach in La Jolla?

  10. 10
    WestSideBilly says:

    This paints a more accurate picture than yesterday’s post. It also points at how delusional many Seattle sellers are, how bad of a time it is to invest in rentals here, and how crazy overpriced San Francisco really is.

    By Aubrey Cohen @ 8:

    This validates my thought that looking at $ per square foot makes more sense. Do that sort, and Seattle’s cheaper than San Francisco, Boston, New York, San Jose, Los Angeles and San Diego, although it’s still pricier than Chicago.

    As I said yesterday, the city limits of Chicago include a lot of very unseemly areas where typical sales prices are very low (not quite Detroit low, though).

  11. 11
    DrShort says:

    By Indy @ 2:

    Detroit is a strange puppy. I know it’s in tragically bad shape, but the data seem distorted. This is why Case-Shiler stopped including Detroit and Cleveland in their tiered reports – too much chaos lately.

    Median $704 rent is close to Denver. Really? For two years worth of median rent payments I can own the median house? That’s like a 50% interest rate on capital expenditures if you become a landlord investor.

    One thing that could distort these numbers is the local neighborhood demographics. In some cities like, like San Francisco and even Seattle, there are lots of affluent areas within the city limits. In others, and I’m guessing this describes Detroit, people with money buy outside of the city in the suburbs. I think looking at the housing prices of the larger metro area might be less prone to the wide swings we see in this data.

  12. 12
    The Tim says:

    I hear what people are saying about looking at prices for the larger metro areas. If someone could point me toward a source where I can find metro-wide median prices or prices per square foot, I’d love to write something up on that as well. Unfortunately I don’t even know of a good place to find that kind of broad-based information for the Seattle metro, let alone 24 other metros around the country.

  13. 13
    WestSideBilly says:

    Tim, I don’t think anyone expects that kind of data assembly. You’d be looking at ~100 counties, maybe more. You would need a staff to do it – you know, like the various housing bureaus in the federal government.

    But while this is interesting, it’s ultimately misleading without being familiar with all the cities. (These are really broad generalizations!) Seattle is mostly middle class; the upper middle and rich mostly live in Bellevue and its suburbs (Medina, etc). Chicago is upper middle class and poor; the middle class and working class live in suburbs, the rich tend to either life in a couple neighborhoods downtown or in distant suburbs. NYC encompasses the rich (central Manhatten) and much of the working poor. Large portions of the middle class live in Jersey and other suburbs. San Antonio and El Paso have annexed everything around them and encompass the full range of incomes. Indianapolis and Milwaukee have annexed everything except the wealthy suburbs around them, skewing their numbers down. So on and so forth…

  14. 14
    Packet says:

    What kind of apartment is actually classified for median rent? I know in san francisco I was paying significantly more for a 1 bedroom in a basement than they have listed as ‘median’. No one I knew had a rent anywhere near that low unless they had been in a building for 20 years and hadn’t moved.

  15. 15
    DrShort says:

    By WestSideBilly @ 13:

    Seattle is mostly middle class; the upper middle and rich mostly live in Bellevue and its suburbs (Medina, etc).

    Queen Anne, Capitol Hill, Wallingford, North Admiral, Madrona, downtown, and all along Lake Washington are mostly upper class when it comes to housing prices. A decent house in any of those areas starts at $650K.

    I don’t think Tim’s data is at all misleading; it just isn’t precise with the data he has at his disposal. But I don’t think being precise was the point. Seattle is, compared to other major cities in the country, exceedingly expensive and has become more so over the past couple of years as many other areas like San Diego have seen their housing prices drop much more than Seattle’s.

    If there is some fundamental relationship between housing prices in various cities (such as Seattle 1.2x Minneapolis, .75x San Francisco), then that is currently out of whack. Either those cities are currently underpriced, Seattle is overpriced, or some combination of the two.

    I remember in the 1980s and 1990s there was all this talk around here about Californians coming to Seattle with bags of money from their home sales back in California. Those days are over and that should impact prices here.

  16. 16
    Jonness says:

    Great chart Tim! I especially appreciate the cool sortable columns.

    Apartment in Detroit $704/mo.
    Apartment in Seattle $881/mo.

    704/881 = 80%

    House in Detroit $51,600
    House in Seattle $386,500

    51,600/386,500 = 13%

    So rent in Detroit is 80% of that in Seattle, but a home in Detroit costs less than a downpayment?

  17. 17
    Packet says:

    RE: Jonness @ 16

    Keep in mind the statistics for a house in detroit includes MANY houses that aren’t livable. They’re tear-downs listed for a couple grand that no one is going to buy. Rent however is a habitable apartment. Take out the bottom end of the Detroit market and you’ll probably get a bit closer.

  18. 18
    truthtold says:

    Med. rent of $881 in Seattle…gotta be too low?

  19. 19
    Back to Basic says:

    When we talk about Detroit, we are talking about the metro Detroit which includes a large area 50 mile radius. Most people working for Big 3 auto company and suppliers. The wage and benefit in manufacturing industry are higher than service industry thanks to union contract. Of course these days are gone. However, Tim’s data includes the a large population in Detroit city which has a lot of jobless and homeless. The house in downtown area often sells for $1 if you can pay the property tax and not afraid to be robbed and shot during night time. In the surburb, there is different scene. Most people working for auto industry make good wage and housing is very reasonable. A 3000 sf cooke cutter will ring your $300k which is about 3x of a working couple income. The land supplier has no limit and it’s hard to speculate housing and expect high profit in a short peroid of time. Unlike Seattle which is much more service industry (MSFT, *buck, WAMU, COSTCO etc), the mild weather, nature attract and new service job many people to live here. Land supply is limited and money is everywhere in dot.com boom, coffee and sub-prime loan boom. It is not uncommon to see people buying several house and make huge profit in a very short time. Due to following reason: 1) low property tax (almost 1/2 of metro Detroit, flat tax if you own several properties, in metro Detroit you pay 150% tax for second house) 2) General coast area (CA, NYC, FL), house is not only use as shelter but a trade tool to make instant profit. Now you see what happened. The tax revenue is crashed (thanks to 0% income and generous property tax) and exploded public program (include the metro bus system). The house price has to be back to norm to reflect the income growth and affordability. The tax system has to be reformed to tax the 2nd home owner to curb real estate speculation. The tax revenue system has to reformed to include income, property and sales tax. The public program has to be cut to reflect the tax revenue. Until these thing being done, Seattle can not claim the most liveable city tile we lost many years ago.

  20. 20
    TJ_98370 says:

    .
    According to Coldwell Banker, Bellevue, with an average home sale price of $781,825, is the most expensive place in the state of Washington (big surprise) and Tri-Cities is the most affordable with an average home sale price of $224,475.
    .
    2009 Coldwell Banker Home Price Comparison Index

  21. 21
    patient says:

    RE: TJ_98370 @ 20

    Interresting, most expensive cities by state from that report.

    1. La Jolla, CA
    2. Grenwich, CT
    3. Boston, MA
    4. Key West, FL
    5. Ridgewood, NJ
    6. Queens, NY
    7. Bellevue, WA

  22. 22
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    I just read that Chicago’s school district has more than 400,000 students! That’s almost 80% of Seattle’s entire population.

  23. 23

    […] find any info on current price-to-rent ratios around the country, so I thought I would update the list I put up back in September with some more up-to-date information.This time I was able to locate sold price info for Texas and […]

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