Here's What $1 Million Buys You in These 15 Cities

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Most of us don’t have $1 million to invest in a new home — but that doesn’t mean we can’t ogle at the possibilities.
Last updated April 3, 2023 | By Sarah Sheehan Edited By Ellen Cannon
beautiful house with swimming pool in the yard

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Two years ago, right before the COVID-19 pandemic took hold, only 4.8% of U.S. homes were valued at $1 million or more. Today, that number’s doubled to a record high, now at a whopping 8.2%. Meanwhile, housing inventory is still at record lows: In March 2022, there were 89,000 fewer homes for sale per day than there were in March 2021.

The current real estate market means homeownership is out of reach for many Americans, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still window-shop Zillow listings, dreaming about what might be ours if only we had $1 million to spare. Speaking of which, here’s what seven figures could get you in these 15 cities across the U.S.

Jacksonville, Fla.

Courtesy of Zillow House exterior

With five bedrooms and four bathrooms, this Jacksonville smart home has enough toilets for the whole family. Listed at $1.1 million, it comes with all the amenities you’d expect: vaulted ceilings, a covered heated pool, and a wood-burning fireplace.

Houston, Texas

Courtesy of Zillow House exterior

Mosey on down to the Lone Star State, and spend your millions on this modern Texas mansion. The in-home sauna and copper tub will make you forget all about your five-figure mortgage. If that doesn’t do the trick, though, head out to your cedar deck and take a dip in your private pool overlooking the lake.

Oklahoma City, Okla.

Courtesy of Zillow House exterior

Midwest-based moguls (and hipsters) will relish a home like this one, where contemporary meets crafty. With a pristine, white kitchen and a master closet big enough to rival some studio apartments, this million-dollar listing truly is gorgeous. It even has a mural painted on the privacy fence. The best part, though? It’s nestled in downtown Oklahoma City, in the middle of all the action.

Phoenix, Ariz.

Courtesy of Zillow House exterior

If desert locales are more your jam, check out this million-dollar Phoenix estate. The high ceilings and in-ground pool will help you beat the sweltering Arizona heat. Between that and the stunning mountain views, this home might be worth every penny — all 115,000,000 of them.

Nashville, Tenn.

Courtesy of Zillow House exterior

A million dollars in Nashville isn’t as likely to get you a fancy, avant-garde abode. It will get you a bit more yard space, though. You’ll also find more traditional digs here, perfect for the homeowner who wants something a little more, well, homey.

New York City

Courtesy of Zillow House exterior

If you thought $1 million in the Big Apple would barely be enough for a one-bedroom walk-up, think again. Depending on your borough of choice, you could buy an entire stand-alone home, all to yourself, like this Italianate-inspired Brooklyn residence. It even comes with a pool. Who would’ve thought?

San Francisco, Calif.

Courtesy of Zillow House exterior

In this metropolitan real estate market, nearly 90% of listings surpass the million-dollar mark. Suffice it to say that you’ll need at least seven figures — and one of the best mortgage lenders in town — to purchase a home here. When you do find your San Fran dream dwelling, it’ll likely be a lot like this one: cute and quirky on the outside, chic and sophisticated on the inside.

Indianapolis, Ind.

Courtesy of Zillow Living room interior

You may not find many homes for sale in this Indiana city, but what you do find will be noteworthy. Take this million-dollar Indianapolis listing, for instance: The exterior belies a fully updated interior, complete with floor-to-ceiling windows and a two-story fireplace.

Honolulu, Hawaii

Courtesy of Zillow House exterior

It’s not surprising that a tropical paradise like Honolulu would have its share of pricey homes. One in particular — this beach bungalow — is quaint as can be. What it lacks in square footage it makes up for in charm.

Atlanta, Ga.

Courtesy of Zillow House exterior

What $1 million buys you in Atlanta varies widely depending on where in the city you look. Head to the northside, and you’ll find sprawling estates like this one. If you can stomach the $6,000 mortgage payment, you’ll get a brick patio, built-in bookshelves, and a temperature-controlled wine cellar.

Louisville, Ky.

Courtesy of Zillow Porch interior

A million dollars can go quite far in Louisville. It’s enough to buy you this Kentucky stunner, which sits on nearly an acre of yard space. The Colorado room alone, with its vaulted wood ceilings, is worth a special mention. We should also point out that this home has an outdoor kitchen. If you’ve got a million dollars to spare and a penchant for summertime grilling, look no further.

Philadelphia, Pa.

Courtesy of Zillow House exterior

The City of Brotherly Love isn’t necessarily the city of high housing inventory (is any city these days?), but it does have a few good finds. This stylish Philadelphia dwelling, for example, boasts five bedrooms, six bathrooms, and a rooftop deck. There’s also a laundry room within the master closet — the epitome of convenience.

Virginia Beach, Va.

Courtesy of Zillow Living room interior

For a home right on the water, you and your millions can head to Virginia Beach. Here, $1 million will net you a beach cottage with unbeatable ocean views, just feet away from the sand. You might have to compromise on square footage and entertaining space, but who cares when your backyard is literally the Atlantic Ocean?

Boston, Mass.

Courtesy of Zillow Living room interior

In Boston, $1 million might not be enough to secure a house with major acreage, but it will get you a home like this mid-century two-story in Hyde Park. If the location doesn’t do it for you, perhaps the indoor jacuzzi or fenced-in patio will seal the deal.

Seattle, Wash.

Courtesy of Zillow House exterior

Seattle has one of the most expensive housing markets in the country. Here, it almost feels like $1 million is the going listing price, so potential homeowners in this West Coast city would be wise to either ask for a raise or learn how to make money on the side. If you do manage to rake in seven figures, you can spend your windfall on a cozy Pacific Northwest house. The partially covered patio and tiled fireplace are perfect complements to the home’s inviting exterior.

Bottom line

bernardbodo/Adobe happy family having fun together at barbecue backyard party

Browsing real estate listings and daydreaming of the possibilities is a fun escape from reality, but don’t fall into the trap of thinking that homeownership is an unattainable goal.

Is the market tough right now? Absolutely. Some might even say it’s unforgiving. But view this as an opportunity to plan ahead.

While you wait out the market, work on raising your credit score and saving for a down payment. When the time is right, you’ll be a much more competitive buyer and in a better position to finally purchase the home you’ve worked so hard to score.

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Author Details

Sarah Sheehan Sarah Sheehan is a former teacher turned writer, coach, and serial entrepreneur. She has four businesses and counting, including the The Follow Through Firm and DefiantEd. When she's not writing or coaching, she's waiting on her dogs hand and paw.