# From Coast to Coast: Median Home Prices in Every State

May 24, 2024 - 8 min read

## What does the median house cost?

Location, location, location. Perhaps nothing impacts an area’s median home price more.

Why is the median home price significant? Because it gives insight to the midpoint of a particular housing market. If you’re looking to buy property, it provides a general expectation for the values in an area. If you’re a seller, it offers a baseline price for homes around you.

See how all the states stack up and where the you can find the most and least expensive homes in the U.S.

## Median versus average

Median and average are mathematical methods used for finding the typicality or “central tendency” of a data set. They often get conflated or used interchangeably, but they embody slightly different concepts.

A median is defined as the middle value in a group of numbers. An average is the quotient from that group: the sum total divided by the group’s count. Depending on the situation, one could give a better feel for the data set than the other. The practical distinction between the two is that averages get skewed by outliers.

When determining the central value for housing prices, using the median tends to better represent what home buyers and sellers can expect in a particular market. That’s because the median doesn’t get pulled in either direction by a bargain teardown or a multi-million-dollar mansion, while still accounting for the entire group of values.

For example, let’s say six homes just sold at the following prices:

• \$150,000; \$300,000; \$350,000; \$400,000; \$450,000; \$1,200,000

The data set in the example above has an average price of \$475,000 and a median of \$375,000. Skewed by the biggest outlier — in this case, the \$1.2 million home — the average is a larger value than all but one house’s selling price. Whereas the median much closer represents the overall group. If you only looked at this average home price without considering the median, you’d assume this housing market was more affluent than it actually was.

## How much does a home cost in the United States?

The U.S. median home sales price reached \$432,903 in April 2024. That figure rose 6.1% year-over-year and 3% month-over-month, according to Redfin. Compared to five years prior, the median home price was \$290,273 in April 2019, a growth of 49.1%.

Real estate generally follows seasonal patterns, typically with higher demand (and therefor, prices) in the spring and summer, before slowing over the fall and winter. We’ve also witnessed bubbles and boom periods — most recently in 2007 and 2020, respectively — where superficial conditions or black swan events led to rapid housing value growth.

The rate of home price growth decelerated in 2023, as interest rates jumped to 20-year highs, squeezing both affordability and buyer demand. However, many industry experts anticipate mortgage rates to come down — especially with the Federal Reserve’s latest monetary plan — and for-sale inventory improving in 2024.

### Regional variations in the real estate market

Of course, real estate can differ from metro area to metro area and even from town to town. Understanding these geographical variances can significantly help your house hunt and manage expectations.

Due to a concentration of jobs and amenities, high population cities and surrounding areas tend to be more expensive than their rural counterparts. Topography also plays a huge role in determining home values. By and large, properties near bodies of water or natural wonders like mountain ranges typically garner more demand and higher prices than comparable landlocked homes.

## Median home prices by state

Naturally, the median home price varies by state. With 50 states plus Washington D.C., the range can span widely.

The table below shows the median home price in every state as of April 2024, according to Redfin. Each link brings you to an article on that state’s specific first-time home buyer lending programs and grants.

### States with the most expensive homes

Based on median home price in April 2024, the three most expensive states were California at \$852,800; Hawaii at \$784,900; and Washington at \$654,000. Though not a state, Washington D.C. would’ve landed third with a median housing cost of \$699,000.

By annual growth rate, Idaho was the top state at 15.3% followed by Hawaii’s 14.2% and New Jersey’s 12.5%.

### States with the most affordable homes

On the flip side, the cheapest median housing prices came in Iowa at \$232,100; Mississippi at \$238,600; and Ohio at \$238,800. Homes in Mississippi had the only year-over-year drop in median price, falling 2.6%. For the rest of the states, median prices inched up 0.7% in North Dakota and 0.8% in South Dakota, and 0.9% in New Mexico.

## When will home prices be affordable again?

For years, affordability has been the fork in the soup for prospective home buyers.

The rock-bottom interest rates of the pandemic spurred intense borrower demand and record-high home price growth. However, that growth rate flattened out in 2023 and even went negative in certain housing markets — mostly those that saw unsustainable expansion during the Covid era’s height, like Boise, Idaho.

Whether that trend will continue through 2024 is yet to be seen and relies on multiple factors. Many experts believe mortgage rates will hit a downcycle and gradually decrease, making mortgage payments less expensive. However, that would likely swell home buyer demand and cause prices to rise.

The ongoing lack of for-sale inventory gives sellers an advantage and perhaps carries the most weight in balancing the market. Or, as First American deputy chief economist Odeta Kushi put simply; “house prices are set at the intersection of supply and demand.” However, there could be relief on the way as inventory indicators paint a positive outlook this spring.

Like most facets of real estate, home values and the pace of price growth are hyperlocal. That’s why it’s important to research the area you want to buy in and speak with a mortgage professional in that place.

Of course, not every housing market is created equal. Some are better suited for first-time home buyers or Gen Zers, help stretch your money further, or more conducive to military veterans.

You can also boost your financial profile and borrowing power by finding better ways to save, strategically lowering your mortgage payments, and leveraging government home buying programs and grants.

## Should I buy a home in 2024?

Prospective home buyers should expect improvements in mortgage rates and the amount of properties for sale compared to 2023. They should also anticipate heightened demand from all those who sat on the sidelines for lower interest rates.

This all begs the question of whether you should buy a house now or wait? A pragmatic rule some mortgage pros will tell you is, “the best time to buy a home is when you can afford it.” That means avoiding becoming house poor and living beyond your financial comfortability.

Locking in a mortgage and owning a home also comes with the benefit of building equity. Home equity rises with housing values and is how many people accumulate wealth. Once you have enough of your mortgage paid off, you can leverage your property’s equity in a variety of ways.

Mortgage rates are also famously volatile and typically cyclical. If you locked in a comparatively high interest rate, you can always refinance when rates decrease to lower your payments.

Whether you take the plunge into homeownership in 2024 or the future, it’s always good to be prepared so you can take action when the right opportunity comes along.

What are some affordable states to buy a home in the United States?

Generally speaking, states in the middle of the country tend to be more affordable than those along the coast. As of April 2024, Iowa, Mississippi and Ohio had the three lowest median home prices, according to Redfin.

What factors should I consider when assessing housing affordability?

Affordability is subjective and depends on both your finances and the homes you’re looking to buy. When assessing affordability, you should set a budget you’re comfortable with. Things to consider include your income, credit score, down payment amount, the mortgage rates you qualify for and estimated monthly payments, and how much work and/or money your prospective property would potentially need.

Will mortgage rates drop in 2024?

With inflation lightening and three anticipated Fed cuts, signs point to mortgage rates gradually falling over the course of 2024. However, mortgage interest rates are famously volatile, affected by several economic and geopolitical factors.

Should I buy a house in 2024 or wait?

The best time to buy a house is when you can comfortably afford it. While mortgage rates are expected to decrease in 2024 and 2025, expectations are never guarantees. Though, the longer you wait, the longer you forego building equity through the likely gains in home prices.

## The bottom line

With a country so big and diverse, it’s no wonder the median house price can vary greatly from state to state.

Since affordability is a hurdle for many potential home buyers, plan out your budget, check to see if you qualify for any payment assistance grants and programs in your state.

If you’re ready to become a homeowner, reach out to a local mortgage lender today.

Authored By: Paul Centopani
The Mortgage Reports Editor
Paul Centopani is a writer and editor who started covering the lending and housing markets in 2018. Previous to joining The Mortgage Reports, he was a reporter for National Mortgage News. Paul grew up in Connecticut, graduated from Binghamton University and now lives in Chicago after a decade in New York and the D.C. area.