Homebuyers in Chicago and other major real estate markets are turning to the suburbs as they seek more space to work from home, cultivate new pastimes and socially distance from others as the COVID-19 pandemic drags on. With inventory tight and prices high in many metro areas, they’re also looking to stretch their buying power and get the best value for their dollars as possible.
A recent Realtor.com analysis of the 10 largest metro areas in the country has identified the suburbs where buyers of larger homes can get the most space for their money outside the city center.
In the Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI market, Realtor.com identified Palos Hills, located about 20 miles southwest of Chicago, as the best-value suburb as measured against the city center.
“In the largest metros around the country, homebuyers can find larger homes for lower prices if they’re willing to look at specific locales just beyond the city center,” Realtor.com data analyst Nicolas Bedo wrote. “In this analysis, we looked at the largest metros around the country and identified the best suburb in each metro to score the best bang-for-your-buck for buyers looking at larger homes.”
Realtor.com compared the prices of single-family homes of 1,800 square feet or larger in the center of each metro area against the cost of homes of the same size in the surrounding suburbs. The analysis was limited to suburbs within 25 miles of the city center. The analysis included suburbs with a median listing price that fell within 20% of the urban median listing price, meaning that if a city’s median listing price for a larger home is $500,000, Realtor.com included suburbs with large homes listed in the $400,000 to $600,000 range.
In Palos Hills, the median price for a home of 1,800 square feet or more is $379,000. The price per median square foot comes to $139, or 24% lower than the $184 per-square-foot median price in the city.
Homebuyers could also expect to end up with a larger home for their dollars in Palos Hills than in Chicago. People can purchase a 2,000 square-foot home in the suburb for $278,000. In the city, a home of the same size would cost $368,000. That comes to a savings of $90,000, or an extra 971 square feet of space, as calculated by Realtor.com.
In the 10 largest metro areas as a whole, homebuyers looking in nearby suburbs could save an average of 29% per square foot and purchase an extra 25 to 65 square feet, depending on the city in question. Those savings could translate as a lower purchase price or as more space for the same price. Potential homebuyers could looking for 2,000 square-foot homes in the suburbs versus the city center could end up with an extra 500 to 1,300 square feet for their money.