As we hunker down at home amid a surging pandemic and cooling weather, the desire for more space to live and work will most likely be a top-of-mind priority for many people. Home buyers already are searching for elbow room in a housing market that has yet to slow down.
A new realtor.com housing market report revealed the top suburbs that offer the most affordable space near the nation’s 10 largest metros.
“These areas just outside of the urban centers of the largest metros offer home buyers more space for the money,” said Danielle Hale, chief economist for realtor.com.
Potential buyers who have been dreaming of more space for work and play don’t have to look far to save 29% per square foot on average or get 25% to 65% more square footage for the same price as a home closer to downtown.
“For a 2,000-square-foot home, this could mean 500 to 1,300 additional square feet,” said Hale.
It’s not just more space, but more space at a good price. “Value is really the driving theme,” said Hale. “On top of that, these are all really great areas where you actually would want to live, with outdoor amenities, cultural amenities or good schools, things that make living in an area enjoyable or desirable.”
Home buyers increasingly are looking to less densely populated areas. Realtor.com studied suburbs that are not too far from the urban center.
“Right now, people aren’t thinking about commuting, but one day, hopefully, in the near future, we will be thinking about commuting, but it would be in reasonably close proximity,” said Hale, explaining: “An area you could commute to and from without getting exhausted from a really long slog. We’re looking for areas just outside of the biggest cities, so I think maybe that’s a takeaway. That even with the commuting distance, you can find pockets of affordability in the real estate market.”
Realtor.com identified the top suburbs that offer the most affordable space by analyzing list prices and median price per square foot for single-family homes within 25 miles of the 10 largest metros.
The biggest savings out of the 10 largest metros can be found in Fullerton, California, where home buyers can find a 2,000-square-foot single family home for $304,000 less, on average, than in nearby Los Angeles. Also offering significant savings is Clark, New Jersey, right outside of New York City, where buyers can save almost a quarter of a million dollars, on average, on a 2,000-square foot home, or get an additional 1,025 square feet for the same budget compared to similar city homes.
For those looking for more space, here’s where to head:
1. Sicklerville, New Jersey
Urban metro: Philadelphia
Median listing price: $282,000
Savings per square foot: 20% (suburb: $118/urban: $148)
Median Income: $89,300
A 30-minute drive southeast of Philadelphia, Sicklerville is a community within Winslow Township in Camden County, New Jersey. With a population of 53,099 and 10 constituent neighborhoods, Sicklerville is the 22nd largest community in New Jersey. The suburb offers easy access to the outdoors with the New Brooklyn County Park for playing sports and canoeing, and the Winslow Fish and Wildlife Management Area for fishing, hunting and bird watching.
2. Cedar Hill, Texas
Urban metro: Dallas
Median listing price: $352,000
Savings per square foot: 23% (suburb: $124/urban: $161)
Median income: $76,600
Located within Dallas, Cedar Hill is “the city in a park” and has become a destination for nature enthusiasts, hikers, cyclists, mountain bikers, boaters, campers and adventure competitors. Cedar Hill offers extensive shopping and a variety of diverse dining options for its 48,463 residents. On average, there are 229 days of sunshine per year in which to enjoy the Dogwood Canyon Audubon Center or Cedar Hill State Park on Joe Pool Lake. The area boasts a strong school system, including Cedar Hill Collegiate Academy (GreatSchools rating 9/10).
3. Palos Hills, Illinois
Urban metro: Chicago
Median listing price: $379,000
Savings per square foot: 24% (suburb: $139/urban: $184)
Median Income: $65,700
Palos Hills is a southwest suburb of Chicago, offering a dense suburban feel with most of its 17,195 residents owning their homes. An array of restaurants, coffee shops and parks, including the renovated Gerald R. Bennett Park, where outdoor movies and fishing make this town a draw for young professionals and retirees. The area is also home to many young families due to its top-rated school system, which includes Oak Ridge Elementary School (GreatSchools rating 10/10).
4. Marietta, Georgia
Urban metro: Atlanta
Median listing price: $440,000
Savings per square foot: 21% (suburb: $143/urban: $181)
Median income: $96,500
A 25-minute drive to Atlanta, Marietta is one of Georgia’s most populous cities, with a population of 67,000. The city offers an historic downtown, shops and restaurants, and Glover Park is home to outdoor festivals, concerts, weddings and special events. Marietta Square hosts art strolls, parades and farmers markets. The area boasts a desirable school system that includes Lassiter High School (GreatSchools rating 10/10).
5. Jersey Village, Texas
Urban metro: Houston
Median listing price: $447,000
Savings per square foot: 36% (suburb: $126/urban: $198)
Median income: $85,400
A suburb of Houston, Jersey Village is in west-central Harris County and has a population of 7,620. The area abounds with parks, golf courses, community events, farmers markets and recreational pools. It is also nearby to Traders Village Houston, home of the largest flea market in Texas.
6) Hanover, Massachusetts
Urban metro: Boston
Median listing price: $670,000
Savings per square foot: 34% (suburb: $231/urban: $350)
Median income: $129,100
While Hanover is a 30-minute drive to Boston, the town’s 14,000 residents maintain a country town atmosphere. Hanover offers shopping malls, parks, trails and sports fields. Ponds, streams and rivers, which join the historic North River as it flows to the Atlantic Ocean, provide summer and winter recreational opportunities such as fishing and canoeing. Hanover has highly-rated schools, including South Shore Vocational Technical High School (GreatSchools rating 7/10).
7) Pine Island Ridge-Plantation, Florida
Urban metro: Miami
Median listing price: $679,000
Savings per square foot: 34% (suburb: $224/urban: $341)
Median income: $75,000
Pine Island Ridge is a 35-minute drive to Miami and has a population of 5,199, with the average age of homeowners being 55. Recreational activities include an aquatic center, parks, programs/camps and special events. Also, you can hike beautiful trails and explore tree tops at the Pine Island Ridge Natural Area and the Pine Island Ridge Trail.
8) Clark, New Jersey
Urban metro: New York City
Median listing price: $798,000
Savings per square foot: 34% (suburb: $242/urban: $366)
Median income: $111,400
Clark is a township in southern Union County, New Jersey, with a population of 15,943. The community honors historic moments with the Dr. William Robinson Plantation Museum and 9/11 Memorial. Clark’s abundance of parks offers recreational activities like fishing, trails and fields for playing sports. Clark has highly-rated schools, including Arthur L. Johnson High School (GreatSchools rating 7/10).
9) Ashton-Sandy Spring, Maryland
Urban metro: Washington, D.C.
Median listing price: $844,000
Savings per square foot: 39% (suburb: $178/urban: $294)
Median income: $153,300
Made up of two neighborhoods, Ashton and Sandy Spring, this community is in Montgomery County with a population of 5,628. The town is home to the Sandy Spring Museum and Sandy Spring Slave Museum, which provide social and cultural activities like concerts, workshops and events. Adventure Park at Sandy Spring offers residents ziplining, rope rigs and wooden bridges to explore.
10) Fullerton, California
Urban metro: Los Angeles
Median listing price: $1,155,000
Savings per square foot: 27% (suburb: $418 / urban: $570)
Median income: $109,900
In northern Orange County, Fullerton is a 30-minute drive to Los Angeles and has a population of 139,640. It is home to a vibrant music scene and has a small but diverse theater community, including the Muckenthaler Cultural Center, which houses art galleries and a theater group. The Fullerton Museum Center presents exhibitions and educational programs in the areas of history, science, art and humanities. Fullerton maintains more than 50 city parks, including Hillcrest Park, Chapman Park and Orange County Regional parks. The area boasts a desirable school system, which includes Troy High School (GreatSchools rating 10/10).