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House-hunting USA: What $250,000 buys you in 25 cities

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From tiny studios to timber lofts and renovated houses

Welcome to Curbed Comparisons, a column that (typically) explores what one can rent for a set dollar amount in various cities across the U.S.

The Curbed Comparisons column usually focuses on what one can rent for a set price point in various cities around the U.S. But this week, to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the first Curbed Comparisons installment on, we’re ramping up the scale and switching gears a bit to explore how the market varies nationwide for buyers.

Today’s price: $250,000, which hits just about right between the median sale prices for new and existing homes in the country right now. And the theme? Well, all the great cities already in the Curbediverse, plus the cities just featured in our in-depth look at the neighborhoods defining America in 2016. Here we go.

Atlanta, GA

2 beds, 2 baths, 1,418 sq.ft. This adorable Craftsman-style house in East Atlanta is actually a newer build (circa 2002). It’s got hardwood floors, vaulted ceilings, transom windows, and a tree-lined backyard.

Austin, TX

3 beds, 2 baths, 1,900 sq.ft. Located southwest of downtown, this 1999-built home shows off a spacious, open-plan living, dining, kitchen area, with French doors to the covered rear patio. The house comes wired for surround sound in the main living area and patio.

Baltimore, MD

3 beds, 2.5 baths, 868 sq.ft. Over in Northeast Baltimore, $250,000 (or $245,000 to be more exact) can get you a rather roomy brick townhouse. The three-story home looks like it’s been renovated in the recent past and comes with hardwood floors, stainless steel appliances, and granite counters.

Boston, MA

Studio, 1 bath, 997 sq.ft. This South End pad is a studio, but it’s a rather large studio, offering high ceilings, huge windows, a sprawling kitchen, and all for an under-budget $240,000. One catch: you must be a Boston Redevelopment Authority certified artist who makes under the specific income limits ($51,150 for a single-person household, for example.) Not all artists have to starve, it seems.

Burlington, VT

3 beds, 2 baths, 1,232 sq.ft. Located in Burlington’s New North End neighborhood, about a five-minute drive from a vibrant immigrant hub in the city, this single-story ‘70s home shows off new laminate floors and a gas fireplace. It’s also got a two-car garage, little covered porch, and a sizable backyard.

Chicago, IL

2 beds, 2 baths, 1,140 sq.ft. Luster levels are high in this Chinatown timber loft with a large fireplace, balcony, and skyline views. Lots of things are exposed here: brick, beams, HVAC...

Denver, CO

2 beds, 1 bath, 832 sq.ft. — Just southeast of downtown Denver, which has seen rapid transformation in the last 30 years, this is a remodeled condo in an ‘80s building. The home offers a open-plan living space with a wood-burning fireplace, central air, a reserved parking space, and easy access to Trader Joe’s.

Detroit, MI

4 beds, 2.5 baths, 2,600 sq.ft. Built in 1920, this Detroit house has been fully renovated in the last year, creating a gorgeous modern home in a walkable neighborhood. Look for a new kitchen, tiling in the bathrooms, refinished hardwood floors, and French doors to the yard with a brick patio.

Jackson, MS

3 beds, 3 baths, 2,210 sq.ft. — You get a bit of midcentury flair with this 1953 home surrounded by mature trees, which has pine wood flooring, and a redone kitchen and bathroom. The den has a large fireplace and glass walls leading to the back patio.

Key West, FL

1 bed, 1 bath, 518 sq.ft. This remodeled top-floor unit in a pastel pink Key West condo comes with a balcony overlooking a community pool. Condo fees run at an extra $220/month.

The Hamptons: East Quogue (Southampton), NY

3 beds, 1 bath, 760 sq.ft. — For those unfazed by a foreclosed property, this little ranch is an affordable way to snag a piece of the Hamptons. The Fannie Mae Homepath property sits on a woodsy 0.21-acre lot and includes an unfinished basement.

Honolulu, HI

1 bed, 1 bath, 558 sq.ft. — Boasting a breezy open plan and generous balcony, this one-bedroom Honolulu apartment comes fully furnished. The complex is pet-friendly.

Los Angeles, CA

3 beds, 1 bath, 912 sq.f.t — Suitable for first-time buyers, this starter home in the South Los Angeles neighborhood of Watts has been remodeled with new counters, tiling, and laminate flooring. The fenced property includes a back patio.

Louisville, KY

4 beds, 3 baths, 3,400 sq.ft. — This is one for the split-level lovers. The 1969 house in southeast Louisville has a sunken living room, updated kitchen with cherry cabinets, sunroom with a jacuzzi tub, huge master suite, balcony, and patio.

Miami, FL

1 bed, 1.5 baths, 840 sq.ft. — Located between Miami’s Performing Arts District and the Media and Entertainment District, this updated modern apartment comes with Mexican tile flooring and bay views. The complex offers valet parking.

New Orleans, LA

3 beds, 2 baths, 1,280 sq.ft. — Well, this is cool. After a recent $5,000 price cut, this sloped-roof new home built out of recycled shipping containers is up for grabs for $250,000. The interior is sleek and modern with wood floors and an all-white kitchen. The original container doors can close for extra storm protection or privacy.

New York, NY

Studio, 1 bath—Located on a tree-lined street on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, this sunny studio is, per the listing, “aggressively priced to sell and with the understanding that renovations are in order.” The kitchen is certifiably tiny, but definitely not among the saddest in town.

Philadelphia, PA

1 bed, 1 bath, 660 sq.ft. — Holy factory loft! This bi-level conversion keeps all the original hardwood flooring, timber beams, exposed brick, and more. The super high ceilings fits a bedroom above the kitchen one end and an open living area with huge windows on the other.

Phoenix, AZ

2 beds, 1 bath, 828 sq.ft. — This colorful bungalow in Phoenix’s Coronado Historic District dates back to 1905, but comes updated throughout, including new stainless steel appliances and French doors. Also note the Prairie-style windows and original front door.

Pittsburgh, PA

3 beds, 1.5 baths $249,000 can get you a charming piece of Pittsburgh’s Friendship neighborhood, which is known for its large Victorian homes. This condo, the largest of three units in a 1900 Victorian, boasts a decorative fireplace in the living room, open, modern kitchen, lofty master bedroom, and a shared courtyard.

Portland, OR

3 beds, 2 baths, 1,008 sq.ft. — Nestled among mature trees, this corner-lot 1970 home has a charming stone fireplace with a wood-burning stove in the living room. Sliding glass doors lead out to a stone patio.

Sacramento, CA

3 beds, 2 baths, 1,400 sq.ft. — This flamingo-pink ‘50s home in southeastern Sacramento is turn-key with a remodeled kitchen and bathrooms. There’s a stone fireplace in the living room and a pool in the backyard.

San Francisco, CA

1 bed, 1 bath, 540 sq.ft. — In the notoriously pricey San Francisco, $230,000 can get you a decent Mission District one-bedroom, but only if you’re a first-time homebuyer with a qualifying income ($75,400 or below for a single-person household.) Make more than that? Sorry (not sorry), there’s always this 2,200-square-foot lot with potential for an in-ground pool.

Seattle, WA

2 beds, 1 bath, 793 sq.ft. — This turn-key condo about 20 minutes north of downtown Seattle looks like-new with fresh paint jobs and redone laminate flooring. The master bedroom has a balcony and the unit comes with access to a rooftop deck.

Washington D.C.

Studio, 1 bath, 421 sq.ft. This sixth-floor studio has about three things going for it: location, location, and location. It’s in a doorman building in Dupont Circle, which is very hip and very expensive.

Got any favorites? Sound off in the comments below.