This Map Shows How Much House $200K Will Get You All Around the Country

Cleveland | Shutterstock
Cleveland | Shutterstock

Buying a home for the first time is scary and confusing for most of us, especially once you get a grasp of just how much money you need to earn to actually afford one. Then comes the generally depressing realization that the only kinds of places in your city within your price range are either in undesirable neighborhoods, or quite literally the size of a closet.

Then again, once you understand just how much more square footage your money can get you if you simply move to a different, less-expensive city, it puts things in perspective -- especially when it can mean the difference between living in a shoebox and a mansion. To help you get a sense of just what you might be missing out on elsewhere, there's a new study reveals just how much space $200,000 can get you in the 33 biggest cities in the country.

FYI, you may want to start throwing some feelers out in Cleveland.

The folks at PropertyShark recently consulted 2016 US Census data on median home size and median home sale price in a bunch of cities to determine just how big of a home $200,000 can get you, on average, in terms of square footage. And, spoiler alert: in the priciest cities like New York and San Francisco, it doesn't get you much! Specifically, for $200K in Manhattan, you can afford a tiny 126-square foot home (to put that in perspective, a typical double mattress alone is 27 square feet). In SF, you'd be able to claim a far-from-spacious 260 square foot abode, and in Boston, you're looking at one that's a mere 371 square feet. 

But, hey, if you're willing to relocate to a slightly less popular metro area, things look very different. For example, in Cleveland, that amount of money will get you a 3,769 square foot house, which is actually quite huge (many standalone homes that size there have at least four bedrooms, and roughly that many bathrooms). In El Paso, it'll get you a 3,334 square foot pad, and in San Antonio, it'll get you 3,249 square feet of domicile space. So, to put that in perspective, $200K in Cleveland gets you a living space that's nearly 30 times bigger than what you'd be able to afford in Manhattan. If that seems insane to you, that's because it is. 

Property Shark

Obviously, picking up and moving from New York to Ohio just to afford a big house isn't that simple. Popular and pricey cities are that way because that's where many of the most desirable jobs are (not to mention, going from Manhattan to the Cleveland suburbs would be a serious culture shock). Still, there are some far more reasonably priced major cities that may be worth considering. 

As the PropertyShark report points out, Miami, Chicago, Atlanta, and Portland all offer a fairly reasonable amount of living space for $200,000 and are home to many thriving industries and cultural scenes that could get you thinking about making a move. 

Of course, you could always be a pioneer and settle in a seriously cool and cheap (for now) up-and-coming small city before it gets too popular.

And just sayin': the Cleveland food scene these days is actually pretty great

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Joe McGauley is a senior writer for Thrillist. Follow him @jwmcgauley.