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.