Live Large for Less: The 10 U.S. Cities With the Cheapest Mansions for Sale in 2022

Where To Find The Most Affordable Mansions In 2022

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The very word “mansion” drips with subtext: Wealth, luxury, success.

Mansions, of course, have long played a special role in the American psyche—from Gilded Age monuments to egregious affluence in New York, from futuristic edifices for the West Coast tech elite to the larger-then-life residences of comic book titans Richie Rich, Scrooge McDuck, and Batman.

For most Americans, the idea of living in a mansion falls squarely in the realm of the daydream—one perhaps indulged while watching “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills,” or for those old enough to still hear the unmistakable enunciation of Robin Leach ringing in their ears during an episode of “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.”

But here’s the reality: Even in today’s fraught, price-squeezed housing market, you don’t actually need to be rich or famous to afford a sprawling home. You just need to know where to look. For those ready to make their reveries a reality, Realtor.com®’s data team has scoured the country to pinpoint where buyers can find the best deals on oversized abodes.

A reality check: The lower price tags on many of these homes are due to their age and condition. Some are in desperate need of a little TLC. So if you’re on the prowl for truly affordable mansions, get ready to roll up your sleeves.

But you also may be surprised at what you can get. During the height of COVID-19, bigger was better when it came to real estate. Stir-crazy homebuyers went on a tear buying up larger homes in which to ride out the pandemic. Now that the world is getting back to something resembling normal, these larger homes could be especially ripe for the right buyers as the housing market cools, says Robert Dietz, economist at the National Association of Home Builders.

Plus, it takes a special buyer to want to take on a massive fixer-upper—even at an attractive price.

“You might think that with higher interest rates, and the typical buyers priced out, investors usually come in,” says Dietz. “But now, even they’re stepping to the sidelines a bit.”

The best deals can be found in the South and Midwest, where land and homes are typically cheaper, says Mark Zandi, the chief economist at Moody’s Analytics. They’re typically a mix of smaller cities, as well as towns within commuting distance of larger urban areas.

We defined mansions as single-family homes clocking in at 5,000 square feet and above. We limited our list to cities with median prices for these larger abodes at or below $1 million and only included metros with at least 20 such listings in the last week of July. In addition, only the most affordable city from any state was included in the list, to ensure geographical diversity.

Ready for some champagne wishes and caviar dreams—on a budget? Here’s where to head.

The best deals can be found in the South and Midwest, where land and homes are typically cheaper.

Realtor.com

1. Chicago, IL

Chicago, IL

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Median mansion price: $449,000
Median mansion price per square foot: $89

The Windy City tops the list for affordable mansions, with a median mansion listing price of just $89 per square foot—less than half the overall price per square foot in the metro.

Chicago’s offerings range from sprawling, mid-century, single-story houses in The Second City’s suburban periphery to pricier, multi-story, brownstones in the historic urban core.

Many cry out for renovations, including new floors or kitchens or bathrooms. They’re what Nancy Nugent, the global real estate advisor and senior vice president at Jameson Sotheby’s International Realty, calls “high-value rehab opportunities.” These are true luxury fixer-uppers.

“Buyers used to love to get a good value proposition on a rehab property like these,” Nugent says. “But not so much anymore. You have supply chain issues, so the cost of renovations are up. And then you have the delays. If you need a new refrigerator or a new washer and dryer for these properties, you might be waiting months and paying more than what you expected.”

That dynamic—combined with the increased cost to borrow—means more of these properties are left sitting on the market longer than normal, Nugent says. So there are more options for the right buyer.

2. Conyers, GA

A home for sale in Conyers, GA

MLS / Realtor.com

Median mansion price: $624,450
Median mansion price per square foot: $105

About 35 minutes southwest of downtown Atlanta is Conyers, a modest but storied suburban neighborhood, with plenty of bigger homes.

“I see buyers from out of state who are looking for more land or a bigger property, and this is a great option for them,” says Tim Hur, a real estate agent and managing broker at Point Honors and Associates in Duluth, GA.

The area has historically had a small-town feel, Hur says. But Conyers’ downtown has been revitalized and become more demographically diverse, attracting families looking for the “live, work, play” lifestyle.

What stands out most is the relative affordability. Buyers can score a nearly 6,400-square-foot, five bedroom, five-and-a-half bathroom house for just $710,000.

“You’re going to get a lot more bang for your buck,” Hur says. “Something comparable would cost a million or a million and-a-half in the center of Atlanta or another metro.”

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Watch: The 10 Most Affordable Lake Towns in America in 2022

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3. Houma, LA

A home for sale in Houma, LA

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Median mansion price: $599,999
Median mansion price per square foot: $106

Houma, LA, about an hour southwest of New Orleans, has had a string of bad luck. It was smashed by Hurricane Ida last year, damaging the area’s homes and businesses. That’s on top of the decline of the oil and gas industries, leading to scores of local layoffs.

When there was lots of off-shore drilling, the area was flush with cash, and people built larger, lavish homes, says Kelli Guidry, an associate real estate broker at Bayou Region Home Team at eXp in Houma. When the industry started hurting in the years leading up to the pandemic, people left, leaving mansions without buyers.

Selling a home for up to $450,000 is still doable, Guidry says, but anything higher is hard to move.

“For the few people who are shopping in that [$500,000 or higher] price range, they have their pick,” she says. “It’s a buyer’s market.”

4. Cleveland, OH

Cleveland, OH

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Median mansion price: $670,000
Median mansion price per square foot: $110

Cleveland has one of the most fascinating histories in the upper Midwest. It was an industrial boomtown in the late 19th century, with massive investments from the era’s titans of industry, including John D. Rockefeller, whose Standard Oil Company originated there. Other rich folk of the era flocked to the city as well, giving name to its “Millionaire’s Row,” where industrial magnates took up residence. At the time, it was considered among the grandest and most luxurious neighborhoods in the country.

Because Cleveland’s wealthy residents invested heavily in the city, it became as rich culturally as it was materially, boasting grand museums, gardens, churches, and performance venues. And because the city was built before the era of mass automobile transportation, the urban core is highly walkable, reminiscent of European cities.

The second half of the 20th century saw the area falter, like other industrial hotspots of the time. But downtown Cleveland is still a vibrant center of culture, and the housing market is full of opportunities for those looking for a bargain mansion.

The suburbs on the edge of the city’s downtown is where to find them, says David Sharkey, the president of Progressive Urban Real Estate. A lot of the best deals on big homes are in old, diverse neighborhoods, where homes built in the 1910s and 1920s offer buyers a wide range of options.

Lakewood, Lindale, Cleveland Heights,” are the neighborhoods and nearby suburbs to look in,” Sharkey says. “I see these big buildings, with 2,000-square-foot units, and people are buying them, combining the units, finishing the attic, and now they have a 5,000-square-foot, custom home.”

Sharkey believes discounted mansions will continue to be a trend in Cleveland for the foreseeable future. This 5,200-square-foot, century-old home in Lakewood, OH is for sale for just under $600,000.

5. Joplin, MO

A home for sale in Joplin, MO

MLS / Realtor.com

Median mansion price: $627,500
Median mansion price per square foot: $110

About two and a half hours straight south from Kansas City, MO—right at the intersection of Kansas, Oklahoma and Missouri—sits the small town of Joplin, MO.

Joplin was a lead and zinc mining powerhouse in the 19th century but most of the mines were closed after World War II. Since then, the area has struggled to recover, with nearly one out of every five residents living below the poverty line, according to the 2021 Census.

Large homes in Joplin are a steal. Buyers can find massive, recently constructed, multi-bedroom homes for well-under the price of a top-dollar condominium in Kansas City that’s only a fraction of the size.

Several of the city’s sprawling, stone-constructed homes have had their listing price drop recently.

6. Tulsa, OK

A home for sale in Tulsa, OK

MLS / Realtor.com

Median mansion price: $764,500
Median mansion price per square foot: $120

Tulsa, OK, known for most of the late 20th century as “The Oil Capital of the World” is now one of the most affordable places to find an oversized, luxury home.

Like other cities on our list, Tulsa was once a booming center of industry, attracting oil barons who built sprawling estates and brought healthy financial investments to the area. The city was a hub for early jazz and blues, and became known for its cultural cachet (as well as the tragic destruction of its once thriving “Black Wall Street”).

But expansion in Tulsa stagnated in the 1980s, as the oil industry moved to Houston—leaving Tulsa with negative population growth in the early part of the 21st century.

While the city’s slump was a hindrance to economic growth, it also became known as a great place for real estate investment. For those looking for large single-family homes at low prices, Tulsa—especially the southern half of the city—offers stately, newer construction on large lots, along with oversized homes in older, more conventional neighborhoods, at low prices.

This five-bedroom, four-and-a-half bathroom house with a wet bar, game room, and sunroom on nearly half an acre is on the market for $749,000.

7. Indianapolis, IN

Indianapolis, IN.

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Median mansion price: $746,000
Median mansion price per square foot: $121

Indianapolis, known as the “Crossroads of America,” has more mansions under $1 million than any other city on the list. There are dozens for sale, many with reduced asking prices, as the market shifts toward buyers.

But the inventory increase in high-end real estate in the area might be deceptive, says Kristie Smith, the managing broker at Indy Homes, who specializes in luxury home renovations and sales.

“The biggest thing right now,” she says, “is that buyers looking to spend this kind of money on their home here want it to be turnkey.”

With higher interest rates making mortgages more expensive, more buyers are taking their time and don’t feel pressured to compete with multiple offers as soon as a listing comes online.

“It’s a limited buyer who has the means, the time, the temperament, and the knowledge to take on a high-end home if it still needs work done,” says Smith.

8. Louisville, KY

A home for sale in Louisville, KY

MLS / Realtor.com

Median mansion price: $769,950
Median mansion price per square foot: $129

Red brick and stone mansions at a reasonable price are abundant in Derby City.

While Louisville saw home values climb in recent years, the area’s home prices have stayed well below the median price nationally. And in just the past few months, Louisville’s median listing price has dropped by almost 5%—and the number of listings has hit a two-year high.

The current mansion listings in the area include a wide variety of homes, reflecting the unique history of Louisville. The city boomed in the 1800s, after the advent of the steamboat, making its position on the Ohio River a prime spot for commercial action.

After cars and modern transportation made commuting possible, the area’s rich and famous began moving further from the city center. Now that’s where sprawling newer homes on Louisville’s outskirts for just under $1 million offer a turnkey luxury experience.

9. Fredericksburg, VA

Fredericksburg, VA

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Median mansion price: $749,900
Median mansion price per square foot: $132

Just an hour south of the nation’s capital lies the historic city of Fredericksburg, the childhood home of President George Washington.

Today, Fredericksburg’s proximity to Washington, DC, makes it an especially attractive prospect for people who have the work flexibility to leave the density and congestion of the area behind.

Mansions can be found for a steal in the city, compared to the sky-high prices in the nation’s capital or even Virginia’s capital of Richmond. And there are far more of them in Fredericksburg than in the next closest population hub of Baltimore.

For what a three-bedroom condo in DC runs—about $1 million—buyers can get a six-bedroom house on two acres of land, in Fredericksburg.

10. Birmingham, AL

3172 Highland Dr, Birmingham, AL 35205

MLS / Realtor.com

Median mansion price: $877,000
Median mansion price per square foot: $140

Birmingham has the highest per-square-foot cost for high-end real estate on the list, but is still well below the national average.

After becoming known as “The Pittsburg of the South,” because of the heavy industrial presence in the city in the early 20th century, Birmingham saw a population boom that earned it another nickname:“The Magic City.”

But after the civil rights movement of the 1950s and ‘60s, Birmingham saw its population decline since from the 1960s due to “white flight.”

But the contracting population has a silver lining, as its kept real estate prices low. Buyers can pick up a 8,700-square-foot, century-old, brick house for just $629,900.

The post Live Large for Less: The 10 U.S. Cities With the Cheapest Mansions for Sale in 2022 appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Minnesota Midcentury Home Floating Above a Creek Is the Week’s Most Popular Listing

Minnesota midcentury most popular

Realtor.com

Appearing to float in midair, a stunning midcentury modern home in Minnesota is this week’s most popular listing on Realtor.com®.

Built in 1959 atop a steel bridge over a creek, this three-bedroom home is expected to go on the market soon for $750,000. With no interior photos yet available, the home managed to captivate the internet. We’re intrigued, too, because the listing says it also comes with an indoor pool.

Aside from the unique home in Minnesota, you also clicked on other interesting abodes, including a log cabin on state-owned property in Pennsylvania, an Acadian-style home in Louisiana, and an iconic house on a Michigan island.

For a full look at this week’s 10 most popular homes, simply scroll on down.

10. 9 Cooper Rd, Barrington, NH

Price: $350,000
Why it’s here: 
This adorable and affordable farmhouse sits on more than 3 acres and boasts quite a bit of history.

Built in 1795, the four-bedroom home has been completely renovated. Yet, much of its historic charm remains, including the hand-hewn beams and wide-plank wood floors.

The primary bedroom is on the first floor, and it features a spacious bathroom with a claw-foot tub.

Barrington, NH

Realtor.com


9.1612 Orchard Ln, Niles, MI

Price: $100,000
Why it’s here: 
Available for an almost unheard of price, this downtrodden midcentury home comes with an indoor swimming pool in need of serious cleaning.

In fact, the whole four-bedroom home will need work—but if you have time and money, this place could be transformed into a real beauty. Built in 1963, the home features the original carpeting. A second-floor primary suite comes with a wall of windows that overlook the not-so-scenic pool.

Niles, MI

Realtor.com


8. 23 Catherine St, Lyons, NY

Price: $99,900
Why it’s here:
Bargain alert! This historic home comes with a five-figure price tag.

Built in 1850, the five-bedroom home will need some updates. Period details like the grand foyer with a staircase, built-in shelves, and wood paneling remain intact. An oversized eat-in kitchen features lots of cabinets, a walk-in pantry, and a separate mudroom.

Lyons, NY

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Watch: Here’s the Skinny on the $3.5M Narrow House in Washington, DC

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7. 230 Dummyline Rd, Madisonville, LA

Price: $1,850,000
Why it’s here: 
This huge home on a 6-acre parcel comes with a studio apartment. It’s ideal for a multigenerational family or perhaps as a revenue stream.

Built just two years ago, the five-bedroom house with high ceilings and concrete floors features a bright and open floor plan. There’s a double-sided, floor-to-ceiling fireplace that separates the living area from the kitchen, which is highlighted by a double wall oven. You can enjoy the views from the covered patios out back.

Madisonville, LA

Realtor.com


6. 148 Rocky Mountain Rd, Fayetteville, PA

Price: $110,000
Why it’s here: 
This rustic log cabin sits on state-owned property in the Michaux Forest.

Designed for seasonal use, the two-bedroom vacation home comes with a wood-burning stone fireplace and a cozy kitchen. You can enjoy the peace and quiet of nature on the balcony off the upstairs bedroom or the screened-in porch in the back.

This cabin will accept only cash offers, and the buyer must be a full-time resident of Pennsylvania.

Fayetteville, PA

Realtor.com


5. 3127 W Wisconsin Ave, Milwaukee, WI

Price: $395,000
Why it’s here: 
This Queen Anne mansion features an abundance of historic details at an affordable price.

From a spectacular handcarved staircase to the ornate fireplace details, vintage charm is evident throughout. Built in 1889, the nine-bedroom home will need some TLC, but it still features original cladding along with an asymmetrical one-story porch. A bright and spacious primary suite upstairs has a cozy fireplace for when the temperatures dip.

Milwaukee, WI

Realtor.com


4. 3629 Mills St, Carencro, LA

Price: $549,500
Why it’s here: 
This four-bedroom, Acadian-style home features antique wood beams, two fireplaces, and a modern interior. There’s also a guest suite, workshop, and pool.

The 3,000-square-foot house on a parcel of 1.25 acres was built in 1994. The first-floor primary suite features French doors, which open to the front porch. Three upstairs bedrooms each feature oversized walk-in closets.

Carencro, LA

Realtor.com


3. 31765 Franklin Fairway St, Farmington Hills, MI

Price: $899,000
Why it’s here: 
The Arthur Beckwith House is a well-preserved home from the Atomic Age.

Built in 1959, this five-bedroom residence features a living room with a stainless-steel fireplace surrounded by Norwegian black granite. In the kitchen, you’ll find original walnut cabinetry. A lower level designed for guests comes with a full bathroom and separate bedroom. The home’s 1.21-acre lot includes a lily pond, a pool, and a pool house.

Farmington Hills, MI

Realtor.com


2. 7575 Main, Mackinac Island, MI

Price: $5,900,000
Why it’s here: 
This stunning mansion is one of the most recognizable homes on Mackinac Island. And though it looks like something out of the Gilded Age, it’s a relatively recent build.

The three-bedroom, cedar-sided “Boardwalk Cottage” was built in 1980 for the previous owners of the Hotel Iroquois. Each en suite bedroom comes with a sitting area and walk-in closet. There’s no garage, and fittingly, the island doesn’t allow cars.

Mackinac Island, MI

Realtor.com


1. 3328 E Superior St, Duluth, MN

Price: $750,000
Why it’s here: 
It’s easy to see why this home on stilts stood above the competition this week. In the listing photos, the house surrounded by trees appears to hover magically above the ground.

Built on a steel bridge atop a creek that feeds Lake Superior, this feat of midcentury ingenuity captivated real estate gawkers—despite the fact that there aren’t any photos of the interior.

Built in 1959, the home needs TLC, according to the listing. It is “ready to be restored and polished.”

Duluth, MN

Realtor.com

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Exclusive: The ‘Inside Out’ Stars Reveal the One Thing Homebuyers Don’t Want—and Won’t Do—Anymore

Mike and Carmine

HGTV

Today, a home’s outdoor space is as important as what’s inside—so it’s no wonder that the HGTV show “Inside Out” has returned for Season 2, starring interior designer Carmine Sabatella and landscape designer Mike Pyle.

And this season (which premiered in August and airs on Mondays), these experts are seeing their clients willing to invest in bigger budgets and more daring choices.

Curious to learn more about how home styles have changed, we asked these pros about bringing the inside out, and the outside in.

Season 1 inspired homeowners to improve both their interiors and exteriors. Is there anything new viewers should be looking out for in Season 2?

Carmine Sabatella: We have bigger budgets. The scope of work is a lot larger. We are pushing the envelope a little bit harder. We’re thinking outside the box, and the clients are actually trusting us a lot more. So we have a lot more creative control.

For instance, in the first episode, the client wanted to put terrazzo floors in the primary bathroom. So we found a manufacturer who does a custom-style terrazzo floor, and it’s made out of a material like an epoxy. We actually created and handmade our own terrazzo floor, which was so cool. Stuff like that just didn’t happen in Season 1.

Mike Pyle: Yeah. In Season 2, it’s all bigger and better.

Mike, what’s your all-time favorite yard feature?

Pyle: I’m biased toward fire pits. It’s not like a fireplace, because a fire pit is a much better gathering place. People surround it and have cocktails, appetizers, s’mores, whatever it may be. It’s just a great conversation piece, and I try to fit one in every project if I can.

Mike and Carmine
Mike Pyle and Carmine Sabatella are all smiles on HGTV’s “Inside Out.”

HGTV

Carmine, do you have a favorite interior update on the show?

Sabatella: Yes, there is one feature that we did on the Burbank episode, where we added some square footage off the primary suite. We ended up adding the square footage off the back of the house to accommodate their new primary bathroom, and this bathroom is really incredible. It has a picture window that looks out onto a private garden that’s probably 8 feet tall by 8 or 10 feet wide. It’s massive, and it sits in the shower.

So you’ve got this big, beautiful shower with this massive window that looked out onto this private garden. I’ve never done anything like that. It’s very kind of Balinese, something you would see in a resort more than in a residence, but it just works really, really well.

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Watch: Home Staging Secrets from the Stars of HGTV’s ‘Unsellable Houses’

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How else can homeowners introduce natural elements to indoor spaces?

Sabatella: I love wallpaper installations, and I’m a big fan of scenic wallpaper. So that can be landscape image—florals, plants, leaves. I love that. I also like to use treated cedar when I can on ceilings and bathrooms and walls.

Anytime that I can use any sort of natural element, like even a reclaimed wood or a live-edge wood shelf in the interior of a space, I try to incorporate that, because I feel like, from an organic standpoint, it just makes it feel like it’s part of the yard. It makes it feel like it’s all … cohesive throughout the whole property.

And I’m obsessed with houseplants. You’ve just got to make sure you do your research and know how to take care of them. Something like 90% of the people throw their houseplants away after, like, two months.

Do you have tips for a water-smart yard?

Pyle: You don’t necessarily have to have grass. There are other products. You can expand your space and have decomposed granite out there and create a seating area and save on water that way.

Obviously, it’s important to implement tolerant plants. Succulents are pretty. There’s a lot of great species out there, and cactus are great, too. They don’t need as much water, obviously. You soak them once a week, and they’re good to go. You can neglect them, and they tend to thrive. So that’s always something great to implement within your space.

Sabatella: The outside can affect the inside a considerable amount, especially in Southern California because of the heat. … When Mike does his exterior, he’ll oftentimes plant mature trees around windows, so that when they do grow after a few years, you got some shade coming into the interior spaces. You’re not having a lot of heat, which is ultimately going to affect how often you’re running your AC. It’s kind of nice to think about those things because they can affect the interior as well.

Mike and Carmine
Sabatella and Pyle reveal a finished home.

HGTV

The market has cooled a lot in recent months. Has that affected how people buy and renovate?

Sabatella: I’m a real estate agent as well. The shift in the housing market has affected people’s budgets. People were spending close to $1,000 per square foot … in certain areas for something they haven’t completely renovated. And now that the market has slowed a little, people say, “No, I’m not going to do that anymore.” Like, they’re still willing to pay top dollar, but it has to be for something that’s more finished.

So I think that the more budget-conscious people are saying, “OK, we can pay more now and spend less money for a renovation”—rather than buying something and spending so much money on it and then having to wait five years to do the renovation.

People are actually able to go in, purchase a home for a price that they feel is fair, or close to it, and then budget out their renovation.

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The U.S. May Already Be in a Recession: Will the Housing Market Collapse Again?

The U.S. May Already Be in a Recession: Will the Housing Market Collapse Again?

Photo Illustration by Realtor.com. Source: Getty Images

The economy is shrinking. Inflation is soaring, and the stock market is losing value. Searches for “Is the U.S. officially in a recession?” are now trending on Google. If the nation isn’t already in a recession, it might well be on the precipice of one. And it’s left those with PTSD from the Great Recession of the late aughts wondering if another downturn could sink the hot housing market as well.

The last time around, housing was largely to blame for the most prolonged, financial bloodbath in recent memory. When the bad mortgages imploded, the nation was left with scores of foreclosures, countless new homes sat empty, and millions of Americans suddenly found themselves financially underwater. Unemployment soared. Businesses shuttered.

Most Americans don’t want to experience a repeat of those 18 months of misery. The housing market’s meteoric rise over the past two-plus years, with soaring prices, bidding wars, and an influx of investors, has drawn plenty of parallels to that earlier ramp-up period. However, this time the housing market won’t be the cause of any downturn—and might even help nudge the nation out of one.

“Housing leads the economy,” says Robert Dietz, chief economist of the National Association of Home Builders. “Housing is often the first sector to experience weakness during a recession, but it’s often the first sector to rebound as well.”

Most real estate experts do not think the housing market is in a bubble or is a threat to the sputtering economy, despite home prices rising nationally by more than 31% in just two years. (The Realtor.com® median list price data is from June 2020 to June 22.) This time around, there are far more buyers in the market than there are homes available—a complete reversal of what happened in the 2000s. Bad mortgages have mostly been eradicated. Lenders have much tighter qualifications for borrowers.

But that doesn’t mean the economy is recession-proof. Typically, two quarters in a row of negative U.S. gross domestic product, aka GDP, portends an economic downturn. GDP dropped 0.9% in the second quarter of the year, preceded by a 1.6% drop in the first quarter, according to the U.S. Commerce Department. (The latest GDP report was released on Thursday by the U.S. Commerce Department.)

However, unemployment is still very low, at just 3.6% in June, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Despite more companies rolling out hiring freezes and laying off workers, there are plenty of others still jockeying for employees. If the nation was in a recession, many more people would likely be out of a job—and businesses wouldn’t be complaining they can’t find enough candidates to hire.

“Recessions tend to coincide with shrinking economies. We have seen some shrinking,” says Realtor.com Chief Economist Danielle Hale. However, she points out that it’s a very mild contraction. When the data is revised, which typically happens each quarter, the GDP might even be positive. “We haven’t seen job losses yet, which is why whether we’re in a recession is up for debate.”

U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell has said the nation isn’t in a recession, a sentiment echoed by President Joe Biden.

“I do not think the U.S. is currently in a recession, and the reason is there are too many areas of the economy that are performing too well,” Powell said at a press conference on Wednesday.

The National Bureau of Economic Research’s Business Cycle Dating Committee, and the eight economists who sit on it, is the official arbiter of whether the economy has entered into a recession. It has yet to make a determination.

“We’ll wait and see,” says Hale. Whatever happens, “I don’t expect another housing crash.”

The housing shortage is just too severe as there are far more people looking for homes to buy and rent than there are homes available. The mortgage industry also did crack down on loans that balloon in size or were designed for homeowners to default on. And only very qualified buyers, with steady, verified income, can qualify for mortgages.

Even if a downturn comes to pass, economists don’t expect to see the widespread unemployment that was a hallmark of the Great Recession. They also expect it to be a relatively brief recession. That means there won’t be scores of homeowners who can no longer pay their mortgages. Those who are struggling might choose to sell their homes, potentially even for a profit they can pocket, rather than lose them to foreclosures and short sales.

Without a lot of cheap homes flooding the market, home prices should remain strong.

“I don’t expect a ton” of foreclosures, says Hale. “The housing market was very different during the Great Recession.”

That doesn’t mean the market isn’t undergoing seismic shifts in the meanwhile.

As mortgage interest rates have steadily been climbing into the 5%-plus range, many tapped-out homebuyers are taking a step back. Some can no longer qualify for a mortgage large enough to buy the kind of home they’re seeking. Others can’t afford the higher rates and higher prices or don’t want to buy at the peak of the market. And some are so worried about a recession that they’re taking a wait-and-see approach.

The result is fewer homes are selling, bidding wars are dissipating, and offers over the asking price are dropping. Many sellers have been forced to slash their prices. And home inspections and contingencies are back.

If the economy goes bust, mortgage rates are expected to fall again. That should bring buyers who remained employed back into the housing market. When home sales tick up, it will give the overall economy a boost. That could help the nation claw its way out of a recession.

“In today’s housing market, we have a decade’s worth of underbuilding, which means there’s a lot more demand than supply,” says Hale. That imbalance should keep home prices stabile. “It’s unlikely we will see big home price declines like we saw in the late 2000s.”

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Is the Housing Market in a Recession? Here’s What Economists Are Saying

Is the housing market in a recession? Here’s what economists are saying

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The housing market is cooling off. After two years of red-hot sales, economic data paints a tale of a market that’s seeing weaker salesplunging sentiment among homebuilders, and rising mortgage rates.

But economists are divided over whether the U.S. housing sector is in a recession.

Some economists say it is.

Given that the decline in housing activity is across the economy and has lasted for more than a few months, “many housing indicators do point to a recession in the U.S. housing market,” Selma Hepp, deputy economist at CoreLogic, told MarketWatch.

Just like how Freddie Mac’s Len Kiefer predicted in early June, the housing market has contracted significantly.

With the Federal Reserve hiking interest rates, housing starts and existing home sales have fallen by 20% this year compared to 2021, Hepp noted.

‘All of this does point to a growth recession in housing, though outright recession … is still unlikely.’

Selma Hepp, deputy economist at CoreLogic

Sellers are adjusting list prices to reflect demand: About a third of homes listed for sale on Realtor.com in some markets like Reno, Nevada, and Austin, Texas, are having prices cut due to weakening demand.

And with home builder waning as well, “residential investment, the measure of housing-related activity included in GDP, declined at about 12% annual rate in the second quarter” and is likely to fall again in the third and fourth, Hepp said.

“All of this does point to a growth recession in housing, though outright recession … is still unlikely,” she added.

Chris Low, chief economist at FHN Financial, felt more strongly that housing was in a recession.

“Housing is a leading indicator of the broad economy. I would say housing is in a recession, and that likely means the rest of the economy will be in a recession soon,” he said in an email to MarketWatch.

But deciding that the housing market is in a recession is not common practice, Nancy Vanden Houten, lead U.S. economist at Oxford Economics, said.

“We are seeing weakness right now in the major housing indicators and we expect the residential sector to be a drag on GDP growth over the next several quarters,” she said, “but we don’t declare on the basis of that, that the housing market in isolation is in recession.”

Richard Moody, SVP and chief economist at Regions Financial Corporation, agreed with her assessment.

“I’m not really sure what it means to say ‘the housing market is in a recession’,” he said.

Normalizing vs. collapsing

While the data has been weaker, demand hasn’t dissipated, he pointed out. So it could be that the “market is simply normalizing,” Moody said, “rather than collapsing.”

Besides, the housing market is undersupplied.

For instance, existing homes listed remained on the market for 14 days, according to the National Association of Realtors. That’s a record low, according to the realtors, since they began tracking it in 2011. That may mean that there are buyers on the sidelines who may be waiting for opportunities now, despite higher borrowing costs.

These data points suggest that rather than the housing market collapsing, Moody stressed, the market is more likely normalizing. Unless that re-stabilization overshoots.

Recession or no recession, that doesn’t reflect on how home prices will grow (or not) over the next few months, one economist said.

“I wouldn’t say we’re in a housing market recession,” Sam Hall, assistant property economist at Oxford Economics, said.

But the data adds “to the evidence that house-price growth has peaked,” he added. “We are forecasting a small fall in prices, with house-price growth bottoming out at -5% [year-over-year] by mid-2023.”

Given that home prices in the 20 biggest cities in America grew 20.5% year-over-year in May, according to the Case-Shiller index, which despite slowing is still a big increase, a drop of 5% is a big reversal.

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The 10 Best—and Most Affordable—Places To Retire in America, 2022 Edition

The 10 Best Affordable Places to Retire, 2022 Edition

Photo Illustration by Realtor.com. Source: Getty Images/MLS

After a lifetime of hard work, two-plus years of dealing with COVID-19, and the current uncertain stretch of economic rockiness right around the curve, many older adults are chomping at the bit to exit the 9-to-5 hustle. Pronto.

But, for more Americans, the idea of retirement seems like it could be a long way off. Housing prices have skyrocketed since the start of the pandemic—making the time-honored strategy of selling the family home, downsizing into a cheaper forever abode, and banking the extra equity way less assured. Stocks and bonds have dropped significantly, also eroding many nest eggs, and inflation is rising at the fastest pace in more than 40 years.

Those compounding factors have led some experts to say that 2022 is a “dangerous time to retire.”

This year, about 59% of older Americans expected to delay plans for retirement and work longer, according to a survey by Edward Jones and Age Wave. That was a significant uptick from the previous year when about a third of those surveyed felt similarly. Harsh economic realities are making it harder to stretch a fixed income.

But for those who are ready to make a move sooner rather than later, there are options—and we set out to find them.

There are some alluring places where younger baby boomers and older Gen Xers can still retire comfortably—with reasonable home prices, lots of folks over 55, and plenty of amenities and fun things to do. The data team at Realtor.com® rounded up the best places for retirees to enjoy their golden years—without draining their savings.

But there’s more to modern retirement than Bingo games in dimly lit urban senior centers or the frenetic, sprawling Florida 55-plus communities of yore. Today’s older Americans are finding active, hobby-filled lifestyles in destinations all across the country. The list of retirement priorities is just as varied as the diversity of the population.

“For some, living in a sunny location with great weather—like Florida, California, or Arizona—is [still] a must-have,” says George Ratiu, manager of economic research for Realtor.com. But those popular retirement meccas are less affordable than ever. In fact, California and Arizona didn’t make the top 10 because home prices were so prohibitively high in these states.

To scope out the top retirement destinations, our team of data wizards scoured Realtor.com data in May for the 300 largest metros. (Metros include the main city and the surrounding towns, suburbs, and smaller urban areas.) We looked for places with the most senior-friendly amenities in local homes for sale, including universal design and aging in place. For affordability, we factored in a year’s worth of median list prices from June 2021 through May 2022.

To figure out places already popular with retirees, we focused on metros with the highest populations of residents aged 60-plus using U.S. Census Bureau data. We also found the places seeing the largest increase in 55-plus folks. We also included metros with the highest number of businesses appealing to seniors in our ranking, using additional census data.

Finally, we capped the 12-month median list prices in our top 10 to $500,000 to ensure these places are still reasonably affordable. And we confined our list to just one metro per state to ensure the list’s geographic diversity.

Ready to see where retirement dreams are made?

The Best Affordable Places To Retire

Realtor.com

1. Traverse City, MI

Traverse City, MI

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Median home list price (average over the past 12 months): $390,000*

From June through late October, Traverse City boasts near-perfect weather, making it an ideal place to live for anyone who wants to enjoy an active retirement. E-bikes are everywhere. Boating, swimming, and (of course) pickleball are huge. Locals regularly go to wine tastings, check out the sand dunes, and paddleboard on a variety of lakes.

There are multiple inviting senior centers in the area, a couple of which are right on the waterfront, some offering free tennis and shuffleboard daily as well as $5 exercise classes on cardio drumming to Zumba to yoga on the beach.

Temperatures—and the full-time population—drop in the winter months.

“If it was 80 degrees all the time, there would be a million people living in Traverse City,” says Bart Ford, real estate agent with Coldwell Banker Schmidt Realtors. “We have a lot of snowbirds who go South when the weather is bad, and then they come back and are here for those months when the weather is nice.”

House hunters who want to get into that snowbird life—or don’t mind the cold—can find great homes that are well-priced, including this wheelchair-accessible three-bedroom manufactured home asking for $234,000 or this downtown three-bedroom bungalow with a great front porch for $399,900.

2. Portland, ME

The Portland Head Lighthouse in Portland, ME

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Median home list price: $469,000

This vibrant port city has a ton going for it—gorgeous waterfront views as well as vibrant restaurant, bar, and cultural scenes. Because of all that, a lot of second-home owners and retirees have been snapping up homes and condos throughout the city.

While Portland is a lively and relatively affordable place to live, temperatures can go negative in the deep of winter, the state has an income tax, and city property taxes are fairly high. However, those increased expenditures do come with increased services like fast snow plowing and road repairs.

And, like other cold-weather retirement destinations (ahem, Traverse City), many of the folks who choose this historic city for retirement do flock South for the winter months.

“The population in the summertime swells,” says Jeremy Lock, broker with Portside Real Estate Group. “A lot of people come up here from Florida.”

Buyers can find this fully renovated, three-bedroom Cape Cod in Portland’s desirable Thompson’s Point for $395,000. Meanwhile, this universal design one-bedroom condo with water views, concierge services, a “shared association Tesla” (!), and a patio with views of Casco Bay is asking for $579,900.

3. Salisbury, MD

Salisbury, MD

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Median home list price: $430,000

Set on a barrier island between the Atlantic Ocean and the Isle of Wight Bay, Maryland’s bucolic Eastern Shore is where urbanites from Baltimore and Washington, DC, go to relax when the swamp starts to get steamy. The area is full of historic towns, stunning natural scenery, iconic crab shacks, and, of course, beautiful beaches that attract boaters, anglers, swimmers, and sunbathers.

All of those aforementioned amenities have led the Salisbury metro to rank 16th among the “fastest-growing places,” according to U.S. News & World Report. The metro also ranked in the outlet’s top 50 “best places to retire.” The low cost of living in the area was factored into the rankings.

Starting in the mid-$100,000 range, buyers can find single-story homes with good bones such as this $145,000 four-bedroom ranch that needs a bit of TLC. Those who are willing to spend more can score completely renovated places like this well-laid-out three-bedroom house asking for $282,000.

4. Myrtle Beach, SC

Myrtle Beach, SC

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Median list price: $328,000

Young families and the grandparents who follow them have been flocking to Myrtle Beach in droves over the past couple of decades. For multiple years in a row, the coastal city that boasts a 60-mile-long beach has been one of the fastest-growing metros in the United States. There’s plenty of sunshine, golf courses abound, and home prices are still reasonable.

“The more visitors that come here, the more they realize it’s not a sleepy beach town,” says Radha Herring, broker-owner of Watermark Real Estate Group. Some of those tourists have fond memories of Myrtle Beach and come back to retire there.

“Myrtle Beach is a fairly large metro area with a lot of infrastructure—it’s a beach that is quite livable,” Herring says.

While prices have risen significantly over the past several years, it’s still much cheaper than many comparable vacation towns. Buyers can find serious deals on one-story houses such as this $299,900 three-bedroom on a half-acre.

5. Bloomington, IL

City Hall Building in historic downtown Bloomington, IL

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Median home list price: $169,000

Property taxes are notoriously high in Illinois, and there’s a flat income tax of 4.95%. However, the Land of Lincoln is the only state in the Midwest that doesn’t tax 401(k), IRA, and pension income—and that’s a boon for retirees living off of their savings.

And while property taxes might be higher than, say, Wisconsin, the uber-affordable home prices in Bloomington offset those rates. But people aren’t just moving here because it’s comparatively cheap.

The safe, midsized city, located two hours south of Chicago, offers a dense suburban feel with lots of green spaces, including the lovely multiuse Constitution Trail—beloved among walkers, runners, and cyclists. There are plenty of golf courses scattered around for folks who want to spend their golden years swinging clubs. And the area boasts multiple senior centers to socialize, exercise, or adventure with peers for free.

A cool $165,000 can get you into this three-bedroom house with a sweet front porch in the South Hill neighborhood. For an additional $20,0000, this three-bedroom ranch is available in the Oakwoods subdivision.

6. Port St. Lucie, FL

Port St. Lucie, FL

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Median home list price: $377,000

Home prices in this perennial retiree state exploded over the past two years. But this reasonably priced Florida metro, located between Miami and Orlando, is a chill outpost on the state’s Treasure Coast. It’s quiet and serene, yet offers plenty of activities for folks looking to live a true sunshine state lifestyle with a lovely botanical garden, world-class golf courses, and nature trails that wind through nearby Savannas Preserve State Park.

All of those attractions paired with the affordable-for-Florida home prices have made Port St. Lucie a top retirement destination. (The state boasts no income tax, so retirees can save big.) In 2020, U.S. News & World Report ranked it as the third-best place to retire in the U.S. after coming in at No. 5 the previous year.

Starting in the mid-$200,000 range, house hunters can find solid homes that are well-suited for aging in place, including this two-bedroom house on the market for $260,000.

7. Syracuse, NY

Syracuse, NY

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Median home list price: $179,000

Syracuse was one of many Rust Belt cities to see jobs and people move away, leaving large swaths of vacant properties behind. While the population is still declining, recent downtown revitalization projects have made the inexpensive upstate New York city a far more attractive place to live.

Because it’s a college town (that also has a world-class research medical program and plenty of learning opportunities for retirees), it boasts a vibrant restaurant and nightlife scene. Another bonus: It recently launched the fastest 5G network in the world.

For less than the cost of a down payment downstate, homebuyers can score amazing deals in and around Syracuse, including this renovated single-story two-bedroom house on the market for just $169,900. Meanwhile, this updated, historic three-bedroom house still maintains charming original details and is asking for just $160,000—though, it does have multiple stories if that’s a concern.

“You get a lot of bang for your buck,” says Sarah Barrows, a real estate salesperson with Keller Williams Realty Syracuse.

8. Wilmington, NC

Wilmington, NC

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Median home list price: $407,000

In North Carolina, they’ve come up with a term for northern state retirees who think they want to spend their golden years in Florida but end up living out their best days in the Tar Heel State: “halfbacks.” They move to the Sunshine State, realize it’s not the right fit, but still want to be someplace warmer and more affordable than the Northeastern and Midwestern communities that they left—hence they settle about halfway.

That’s why more folks over the age of 55 have moved from Florida to North Carolina than vice versa every year of the past 10 aside from 2013, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.

And why not? The state boasts similar greenery to the North but with much milder weather, lower taxes, and, for those who want to be near the beach, the gorgeous coastline in cities like Wilmington. The port city, which is a gateway to the Cape Fear coast, boasts a lovely historic district and Riverwalk, which is lined with restaurants, galleries, and shops.

The area also boasts great deals on new construction such as this single-story three-bedroom house with an attached garage that starts at $359,990.

9. Concord, NH

Concord, NH

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Median home list price: $397,000

Just last month, this idyllic New England town took the top spot on the Realtor.com list of the hottest real estate markets in the United States for the first time. Located just an hour away from Boston (and all the world-class medical and cultural institutions it has to offer), the city boasts plenty of arts and cultural events, sporting events, outdoor and recreational activities—plus low tax rates and affordable housing. And it is has no income tax.

In the area’s 55-plus communities, homebuyers can get nice places for a steal such as this two-bedroom condo in the nearby suburb of Goffstown with direct access to the rail trail for $366,070. There is also this brand-new two-bedroom condo in the same community for just $405,154.

10. St. Louis, MO

St. Louis, MO

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Median home list price: $244,000

There’s no denying the real estate deals in St. Louis are appealing to people looking to cut down on expenses. All across the city, buyers can find affordable, renovated homes well-designed for aging in place. They include this cute three-bedroom, brick ranch asking for $199,000 and this three-bedroom bungalow for $180,000.

But it’s not just cheap real estate and favorable tax rates that are bringing retirees in—there are so many activities for residents, it’s hard to list them all. St. Louis boasts dozens of walkable neighborhoods, a vibrant cultural scene, 45 colleges and universities, one of the best zoos in the county (entry is free), and a whole lot of national restaurant awards.

“Our cost of living is low compared to many other states,” says Luan Meredith, broker-owner of Realty and Associates. “And, culturally, we’ve got everything.”

* The average home list price for the metropolitan area from June 2021 through May 2022 used Realtor.com data.

The post The 10 Best—and Most Affordable—Places To Retire in America, 2022 Edition appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.