Housing. We all need it and we all dream of owning our own little slice of the American dream. It’s an important topic for us as we figure out our move from Boston to Las Vegas. Eventually, we will be looking to buy a house there. So what will $200,000 buy you in Las Vegas versus what it will buy you buy you here in Boston?
Limiting the Geography
The Boston metropolitan area is huge, the entire eastern area of Massachusetts could be considered as part of the larger Boston sprawl. In order to keep things in perspective, we need to limit the area covered. The entirety of Las Vegas expands a greater distance than Boston, but there isn’t much outside of the city. I’m including the residential areas of Summerlin and Henderson in my analysis.
I clipped out some of the larger Boston area. I’ll be including the city proper, but also Cambridge and Somerville, so we get a good sample size of housing both north and south of the city.
What $200k will buy you in Boston
For ease, I’ll be using Zillow and looking at houses that have recently sold, rather than houses that are currently listed. I’m looking for houses (or condos when no houses are available) with an upper price limit of $210k and a lower limit of $150k.
In the heart of the city
No houses were sold recently, so I had to switch to condominiums. I found a few:
A 1 bath, 1 bed condo located a little north of the Public Garden with 650 square feet. It sold for $175,000. It is located in a large condo complex.
Everything else sold longer than 6 months ago, which means it is almost impossible to buy something in the heart of the city that isn’t a tiny studio condo.
Edges of the city
I moved out to the Dorchester and Somerville areas, which are heavy residential areas with a larger (and cheaper) inventory of houses. Here’s what I found:
A 3 bed, 2 bath house with 2,2238 sq ft of living space sold for $196,000. However, it was marketed as a foreclosed house that needed a lot of work.
The other homes I found were in similar shape, foreclosed homes that need a ton of work. Switching to condos:
This condo is located in South Boston, close enough to the heart of the city for life to be interesting. It sold for $210,000 in April, it is 1 bed, 1 bath and 380 sq ft.
It’s cute, but who the hell can live in 380 square feet and not go insane?
It is Incredibly Expensive to Live in Boston…
and just one of the main reasons I want to get out of here. For $200,000 you can get a foreclosed, fixer-upper or a tiny condo or you can move out of the city and enjoy sitting in traffic and commuting over an hour each way to work (which is what Matt and I do). Let’s look at Vegas and brighten up the mood.
What $200k will buy you in Las Vegas
I’m using the same criteria as before, $150k – $210k range with housing first and condos as a secondary option. Again I will be using Zillow.
In the heart of Vegas
To be honest, I’m still not entirely familiar with Las Vegas. I’m considering the heart of the city to be the area around the strip, since this is where most of the action is.
I found this little number less than a mile away from the strip. To ensure that it wasn’t in a bad neighborhood (thereby skewing the price), I checked it out on Google Maps and it seemed to be in a nice residential area. It’s 3 beds, 3 baths and 1693 square feet with an in-ground pool! It sold for $180,000.
A sampling of many of the others I found:
$181,000 for 3 beds, 2 baths and 1,724 square feet with many new upgrades and an in-ground pool.
$171,000 for 3 beds, 2 baths and 1,711 square feet, no pool on this one.
I think you get the idea.
Outside the city
Now let’s look to the residential areas of Summerlin and Henderson. Many of the houses in these areas are in gated communities, I will note which ones are if I am able to figure it out.
A 3 bed, 2 bath in Summerlin in a nice neighborhood with 1,122 square feet sold for $190,000.
This home in Henderson has 4 beds, 2 baths and 1,927 sq ft. It is located on a cul-de-sac with stainless steel appliances and granite countertops with a big yard. It sold for $210,000.
Vegas vs Boston, The Winner
Las Vegas is the winner of course! During the bubble burst in 2008, Las Vegas was hit a lot worse than the Boston area. Housing prices plummeted and jobs dried up. This has brought the value of homes to a more realistic, sustainable level. We’re hoping that prices stay at these affordable levels for a little while longer so we can pick up a nice home and stay within our budget.