Published on July 16, 2020

Space is something we could use a lot more of these days. The thing is, where you live largely determines if, and how far, you can spread out. Property Shark recently ran the numbers to see how much house you could buy on a $250,000 budget, and the cost-per-square-foot disparities across the U.S. are massive. In less densely populated cities in Texas, for instance, you’re looking at a solid 1,000 square feet. In places like Los Angeles and San Diego, that number shrinks to a mere 600. 

So where exactly can you get the most bang—er, space—for your buck? Detroit leads the way with 5,400 square feet. (The report’s data pulls from Property Shark’s own research on median home size, as well as U.S. census data from 2018 on sale prices.) Another city with room to grow: Memphis. In the birthplace of rock and roll, $250,000 buys more than 10 times as much space (3,300 square feet) as it does in San Francisco. Want to be by the beach? Stick to the East Coast. Long Beach, California, gets you only 506 square feet of living space—Tampa affords more than three times as much for the same price. 

Topping the list of cities where you get the least room? Manhattan (230 square feet); Fremont, California (350 square feet); and Honolulu (also 350). If you have no choice but to live with less, you can still make the most of your tiny home with clever storage units, room dividers, and paint. And don’t think that you have to settle on miniature-size furniture just because your space is small—fewer quality items have a bigger impact than a bunch of tiny things. Your place will feel like a palace before you know it. 

Introducing Domino’s new podcast, Design Time, where we explore spaces with meaning. Each week, join editor-in-chief Jessica Romm Perez along with talented creatives and designers from our community to explore how to create a home that tells your story. Listen now and subscribe for new episodes every Thursday.

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