What can you buy for $400,000?

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What exactly will $400,000 buy in today’s housing market?

The real estate experts were right all along: it comes down to location, location, location.

In a metro suburb or smaller city, you can buy the family dream house with all the latest upgrades. But in high-dollar areas on the West Coast or trendy urban neighborhoods in major metro centers, you might be talking about a fixer-upper or a lot less square footage.

The most expensive in the country? The San Jose/Sunnyvale/Santa Clara, Calif. area, where median home prices hit $845,300 in the last quarter of 2007, according to the National Association of Realtors.

The least expensive? The Youngstown/Warren/Boardman area of Ohio and Pennsylvania, which posted median home prices of $72,600 during that same period.

The national median for single-family homes during that same time was $206,200 — down 3 percent from the beginning of the year.

One interesting note: condos and co-ops seem to be holding their value slightly better, according to the group. The national median price was $221,100 for the final quarter of 2007, down 1 percent from the beginning of the year.

Bankrate sampled $400,000 offerings in two dozen American cities and talked with agents about market changes over the past year.

Many cities are experiencing price declines (some slight, some steep), and most real estate professionals report buyers’ markets with larger inventories. But many are also noticing one sign that the housing market could be picking up: Qualified buyers in certain markets are buying.

What can you buy for $400,000?

Written by
Dana Dratch
Personal Finance Writer
Dana Dratch is a personal finance and lifestyle writer who enjoys talking all things money and credit. With a degree in English and writing, she likes asking the questions everyone would ask if they could and sharing the answers — along with smart money management tips from the experts.