As we hit mid-summer, people all over the country are throwing on masks and visiting open houses two at a time, in order to maintain social distancing measures. Despite the COVID panic, the reality is that real estate can’t stay closed for too long. Nearly 5 million Millennials are turning 30 this year, the peak age for purchasing a home. Life moves on: workers are switching careers and moving, families are growing. People need homes.  

In past years, industry patterns showed that Millennials - who will originate more than half of all US mortgages this year - were scanning the market for urban settings with plenty of cultural amenities. Now, with job insecurity rampant and young professionals fleeing cities, affordability is set to be the big decider. They’ll take cheap city rents if they can find them, but Millennials are also looking beyond them to small and mid-sized markets for deals. 

With this in mind, we decided to look at a few markets across the US and ask the following questions. What kind of house could homebuyers expect to get for $300K? $1 million? $2 million?

Brooklyn, NY

  • 2020 Projected Sales Growth: -4.1%   
  • 2020 Projected Price Growth:  0.7% 


$265,000 in Brooklyn will get you a fixer-upper in New Lots near the Brookdale Hospital. The house was built in 1954, and is improbably listed as a five-bedroom property. This is the only photo made available on the listing, so you’ll have to take a tour to see how this sliver of building could possibly hold 5 beds and 3.5 baths. 

Street noise in this area is very lively, presumably with ambulances coming and going all hours of the day. Light sleepers should invest in ear plugs!

1 Million

Last sold in 1994 for $144,000, this 6-bedroom single-family house near the DeKalb Ave. subway will now run you $1,025,000. Would-by buyers are paying for a short walk to the Q, R, and B trains, as well as public parks in all directions. 

When all is said and done, the family that ends up living here will be paying $513 per square foot, which you could argue is a little high for the neighborhood. For comparison, the median price per square foot in nearby East Flatbush sits much lower, at $348. 

2 Million

Of course, a few million dollars frees up a lot of nice spaces just about anywhere in the US. $1,900,000 will get you part of this very charming brick co-op in Clinton Hill, built all the way back in 1860.

Comparing a two-million-dollar apartment to a one-million-dollar one produces some pretty obvious insights, but you’ll have to indulge me for a second. Though all of the above listings are pretty closely tucked next to other properties, this co-op duplex definitely feels the coziest. At double the price per square foot of the previous property, you get three fully-realized bedrooms and a surprisingly secluded patio, surrounded by a canopy of trees. 

Des Moines, IA

  • 2020 Projected Sales Growth: -10.5%  
  • 2020 Projected Price Growth:  0.4% 


$299,000 goes plenty far in Iowa real estate, where the average price tag for a house is about half that. For 299K, you can snag this spacious 5-bedroom home on a 7,000+ foot lot, with a wrap-around deck, recreation room, and outdoor pool. 

In the Bloomfield/Allen neighborhood, you are paying just $122 a square foot - a small price for the fifteen minute drive to downtown Des Moines. 

1 Million

Here is where things get a little more fun. $1.07 million gets you a Johnston mansion with a 1 acre cul-de-sac lot, 5 bedrooms, a theater, and a wine cellar. 

This incredibly spacious house lies within the Johnston Golden Square Mile, which has a large concentration of million-dollar houses. These rooms are undoubtedly far less cramped and more luxurious than those in the Hart Street property we looked at in Brooklyn. For $50,000 more dollars and the gas for the car ride, this mansion would be yours.

2 Million

Seeing double? At first glance, this $1,785,000 partier’s mansion in Urbandale looks incredibly similar to the listing in Johnston. However, this house also includes a tiered movie theater, a walk-in California closet, a bigger wine cellar, and a granite wet bar. 

With 5 bedrooms and 6 bathrooms, it would be ridiculous not to pack this place with parties every weekend, or just have your friends move in. Together you could live the American dream, making use of steam showers, a putting green, and the big ol’ fire pit. 

Potomac, MD

  • 2020 Projected Sales Growth: -1.5%   
  • 2020 Projected Price Growth:  2.6% 


Potomac, Maryland is one of the wealthiest suburbs of Washington DC, and consistently ranks as among the ten richest areas in the country. Real estate prices reflect that. For reference, a 2.5-acre plot of land in Potomac just sold for $1.7 million a few days ago. 

This small brick condo in Willerburn Acres will cost the buyer $329,000 before utilities, which are not included. Here, you’re paying $376 per square foot to be a 30-minute (at best) car ride from DC’s central business districts. 

Let’s recall that for 30K less, you could get that five-bedroom house just outside Des Moines, or as you’ll see, a three-bedroom single-family unit in Las Vegas. Potomac landlords know exactly who they are selling to here: young professionals with elite job titles, well are on their way to future success in the Beltway.

1 Million

For a growing family, Potomac’s market offers this decadent, five-bedroom abode, listed at $1.3 million. It’s a big stoney house on Stoney Creek Way, just a short distance from the Potomac River and border with Virginia. 

The most exciting part of this listing is definitely the backyard and pool. The lower deck is expansive, and seems perfect for entertaining as soon as COVID restrictions are lifted. Otherwise, the amenities are kind of run-of-the-mill. Nothing too luxurious about the living room or bedrooms.

2 Million

Even in Potomac, $2 million dollars goes a long way. Take this $2,600,000, 6-bedroom mansion in Williamsburg Estates, right near the renown Congressional Country Club. That extra million turns your basic living room (above) into a 19th century style ballroom.  

Beyond the huge plot of land and amazing pool, there are other features that clearly display the would-be owner’s wealth and taste. For instance, the mansion’s backyard pool area looks vaguely like the set of The Sopranos, which creates a range of possibilities for enterprising filmmakers. 

The Congressional Country Club’s membership fee is $120,000, but that shouldn’t be an issue if you are dropping over $2 million on a house.

Las Vegas, NV

  • 2020 Projected Sales Growth: -9.5%   
  • 2020 Projected Price Growth: -1.1%


This house typifies the classic single-family unit in Las Vegas. Just about every home in the area has the same desert tones, Southwest tile roofing, boxy design, two-car garage, and is situated on an oddly named street - Danza Del Sol Drive in this case. (Others include Bonanza Boulevard., Baby’s Tear Place, Disc Drive).

Apparently, this specific 3-bedroom is in need of “tender love and care” and “overall improvements”, so you can get it at a slightly lower rate than usual: $300,000, on the dot.

Like most houses like it, this unit has a spacious yard and a patio to relax on when the local temperature falls below 100 degrees. Vegas in general is minimally walkable, and the same is the case here. Schools, shopping, and dining are all a short drive away. 

1 Million

Want to live right on The Strip? A two-bedroom in the heart of it all, with an impressive view of the ARIA and Paris, will run you $1,190,000. 

The unit comes fully furnished, with an open floor concept, and the eleventh-floor view goes well with the cosmopolitan style. As for how that compares to other markets, the cost here is in the ballpark to the stone five-bedroom we looked at in suburban DC. 

According to Norada Real Estate Investments, 18.2% of real estate listings in Vegas had a price cut in February 2020. This is not the case with any of the Vegas properties included in this article, which all continue to rise in value. 

2 Million

Oh, to be relatively young, rich, and living on Royal Ascot Drive. For this very sleek modern mansion, you are looking in the ballpark of $2,021,000. As you can see, Vegas-area luxury properties definitely embrace the chromatic, cosmopolitan style. The desert fauna is also very cool. 

For the half-acre lot the property is built on, the current price is $444 per square foot. With pink pool lighting, a hot tub, tall ceilings, and futuristic fireplace, the owner has earned the right to exclaim “My life a movie!” a few times a week. 



Twitter seems split on whether this $300,000 island lot and waterside perch on the northwest tip of the Cleveland Peninsula is awesome or scary. The less adventurous among them have inquired after wi-fi and indoor plumbing, or have suggested that the property could fall into the sea at any moment. I’d say that with a view like this, and a natural harbor with water the color of stained glass, these issues don’t seem very pressing. 

You could have the small place in Brooklyn with sirens going 24/7, or you could sleep like a rock and fish from your balcony. Cultural amenities are probably tough to come by though - this property is way out there. 

1-2 Million

We are ending strong in Alaska. This Prominence Pointe mansion with views of downtown Anchorage is priced at $1,675,000. The open design is quirky but bold, with rounded walls that stretch toward you even as they recede. 

You are definitely getting a lot of space for your buck with this one. Out here in Anchorage, the price per square foot sits at $225. The interior feature that really jumps out here is the kitchen: black granite counters, a Viking range with a teppanyaki grill, double ovens, beverage fridges galore. All of these are top of the line, across the board.

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