Spendthrift Visualizer Spots The Cheapest Houses In The Best Neighborhoods

Be proud of all that shag carpet and wood paneling. Besides, you really don’t want to know what’s under it.

Spendthrift Visualizer Spots The Cheapest Houses In The Best Neighborhoods

You know that old idiom, It’s better to buy the worst house on the best street than the best house on the worst street? It may or may not always be true–there’s definitely an argument to be made for buying a great place in a gentrifying neighborhood–but there is something to say for living in an eyesore so your kids have access to the best schools and parks, while you can be super snobby to strangers who ask what neighborhood you’re from. (I mean that’s at least half the American dream right there. Maybe ⅔, even.)


Real estate company Trulia just created an interactive chart to make it easy to spot the highest- and lowest-priced homes in a zip code (making it easy to formulate a buying strategy). Analyzing their San Francisco listings from 2011, the company picked out the sales in the most expensive 10% and the least expensive 10%, then they measured the range between these two figures and mapped it out in this simple-to-read-and-sort graphic.

You can sort prices by the cap or the dredges of the market, and you can quickly see how home prices on each end relate to the average. It’s simple and brilliant.

“So, to use SF as an example: for $600k, you could have one of the nicest homes in Bayview/Hunter’s Point (median asking price: $372K), but you could also have one of the cheapest homes in the Marina/Cow Hollow/Pac Heights (median asking price: $1.3 million),” explains Trulia’s Daisy Kong. “We learned that the largest home price range indices were in the northern part of San Francisco, which is where the most expensive homes in the city are located. This means that you don’t need to shell out $2.8 million to live in this desirable area because there are plenty of homes under $1 million.”

That’s quite a savings, relatively speaking, and to San Franciscans, I’m sure that means something very compelling. For the rest of us, Trulia will be expanding their visualization tool in the coming months to take a look at New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston, Seattle, and others.

Now, if only they could apply this same visualization model to a few search criteria beyond zip code–like school districts, subdivisions, walking distance to parks, or even EPA reports–we’d have something indispensable in home buying.

It’s a new day for the 99%! (…even if our next move is technically considered downsizing).

[Image: Miroart/Shutterstock]

About the author

Mark Wilson is a senior writer at Fast Company. He started, a simple way to give back every day.