In the more than three years since the housing bubble popped, American real estate prices have declined at a historic clip. The national median price of an existing home dropped to $177,700 in August. That's 21 percent below the level in August 2006, when the median home price was $225,000. But just as the housing crash has hit various parts of the country with unequal force, $177,700 will buy you a much different house in one real estate market than it will in the next. To get a sense of how far your real estate dollar will stretch in different parts of the country today, here is a look at homes listed in the $177,700 range in 10 distinct U.S. cities. The listings were provided by real estate firm Trulia.com, a U.S. News partner.
1. Dayton, Ohio: Although the economic outlook for this city of 154,000 residents has clouded along with the rest of the industrial Midwest's, home prices in Dayton didn't experience the jaw-dropping declines that other parts of the country endured. Home prices in Dayton declined only about 9 percent from their peaks through the first quarter of 2009, according to Moody's Economy.com. Today, would-be home buyers in Dayton can consider this four bedroom, two-and-a-half bathroom single-family home listed at $179,900—just above the national median price. The property, which comes with new appliances, countertops, blinds, ceiling fans, and air conditioning, has more than 2,300 square feet of space and a brick patio.
2. Worcester, Mass.: Home prices in Worcester fell by nearly 23 percent from their peaks through the first quarter of 2009. But Timothy Warren, CEO of the Warren Group, a New England real estate information and data provider, believes that the area's higher education and heathcare industries should support home price appreciation in coming years. Anyone house hunting in this city of 180,000 residents today can check out this three-bedroom, two-bathroom, 1,044-square-foot property. Listed at $174,900, the home has a nice front porch overlooking the city.
3. Rutland, Vt.: Although it has just 17,000 residents, Rutland is one of the largest cities in the Green Mountain State. This peaceful community in central Vermont provides residents with all sorts of opportunities to explore the outdoors by golfing, hiking, kayaking, fishing, or—during the long winter months—skiing. Those looking to settle down in Rutland can consider this four-bedroom, one-and-a-half bathroom, 1,846-square-foot property. Listed at $174,900, this Victorian home includes a front porch, a butler's pantry, and a spacious backyard.
4. Raleigh, N.C.: With 63 miles of greenways, a pleasant climate, and an economy boosted by the education and healthcare industries, Raleigh is an attractive community in central North Carolina. Home hunters in this city of 393,000 residents can look into this three-bedroom, two-and-a-half bathroom single-family home. This red brick home with a garage is built on a lot of more than 6,000 square feet. It's listed at $179,500, or $77 per square foot.
5. Tampa: Like other markets in Florida, home prices in Tampa were gutted by the real estate crash. Property values in this city of 341,000 residents fell by more than 40 percent from their peaks through the first quarter of 2009. Anyone looking to buy real estate in Tampa today can check out this three-bedroom, two-bathroom single-family home. Listed at $174,800, the home has cathedral ceilings, a spacious kitchen, and a two-car garage.