Average U.S. Home Prices Are Highest In California

By Kirstin Downey
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, September 24, 2005

Washingtonians have been singing the blues over rising housing prices, but if misery loves company, there's plenty in California: According to a new survey of average home prices in 319 U.S. markets by real estate firm Coldwell Banker, you've got to be a millionaire to be middle-class in the Golden State.

Of the top 10 most expensive places to buy a relatively basic, 2,200-square-foot, four-bedroom, two-car garage house, nine are in California, with the priciest town being La Jolla, where that kind of home costs $1.88 million. It would cost $1.77 million in Santa Monica and $1.27 million in San Jose, No. 9 on the list. In Greenwich, Conn., the only town outside California to make the top 10, it would cost just under $1.27 million.

In contrast, not a single town in the Washington area makes it into the top 25, and people who are willing to commute a ways can find even better deals. The standard house in Bethesda/Chevy Chase, the highest-ranked locale in the region, will set a buyer back about $829,750. A similar home in Hagerstown, however, can be had for $283,175. In Alexandria, buyers have to fork over $766,399, but in Roanoke, the least expensive area measured in Virginia, that house costs about $220,942.

Looking for some cheaper digs? There are plenty of choices. The price tag on that nice middle-class house is $137,875 in Beckley, W.Va., or $133,266 in Minot, N.D.

Rock bottom in Killeen, Tex., where the average price is $131,328, according to Coldwell Banker.

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