Even in New York City’s ultra-luxury real estate niche, some deals stand out more than others — and none stood out more than 220 Central Park South #50, the nearly 28,000-square-foot penthouse that set the record sale price of $240 million in NYC back in early 2019.
Although the U.S. housing market has gone through significant changes since then — including a nationwide buying frenzy that pushed prices up to new heights and the subsequent slowdown in sales as interest rates and the cost of living rose — NYC’s ultra-luxury market still boasts some truly impressive offerings.
Just across the street from 220 CPS #50, a triplex penthouse in the supertall Central Park Tower was listed for $250 million last fall. With sales down in NYC’s most exclusive property segment as well, it remains to be seen if it manages to set a new sale price record.
While the potentially record-setting property waits for the right buyer, we were curious to see how far the current record of $240 million would go when used to buy average homes in the country’s largest cities. So, we pulled the median sale prices of all 335 cities with populations of at least 100,000 in the U.S. and its territories to see how many homes you could buy in each city for the price of NYC’s most expensive home ever sold.
- The highest number of homes can be bought in Detroit: 4,158
- San Francisco offers only 200 homes, the fewest among the country’s 50 largest cities
- California claims 10 of the 11 cities where you can afford the lowest number of homes, including #1 Sunnyvale with only 156 residences
- Midwest leads with 7 of the 10 cities with the highest number of homes you can buy
- Ohio ranks as most budget-friendly state with 4 of the 5 cities where $240M buys most homes
- Puerto Rico’s largest cities offer fewer homes than many established U.S. urban centers
NYC’s Most Expensive Home Sale Buys Only 200 Homes in San Francisco But 4,158 in Detroit
First, we looked at the 50 most populous cities in the U.S. to see how NYC’s most expensive condo ever sold would fair against the famously pricey housing markets of large urban centers. As it turns out, in some markets, a $240 million budget would buy thousands of homes while, in others, it wouldn’t get you far at all.
For instance, San Francisco has long been famous for its unaffordable housing market. Even so, the most expensive home ever sold in NYC would buy only 200 homes in San Francisco.Meanwhile,50 miles south, fellow Silicon Valley powerhouse San Jose, Calif., gave San Francisco a run for its money: Here, $240 million would buy only 243 homes.
In fact, in 12 of the country’s 50 most populated cities, you could afford fewer than 400 homes. And, as yet another reminder of California’s unaffordable price trends, the Golden State was home to five of them: you could buy just 310 homes in Oakland; 339 in LA; 361 in San Diego; and 390 in Long Beach.
Another major West Coast major tech center, Seattle, also stood out sharply: Here, you could buy 312 homes— just two more than in Oakland and the fourth-lowest number among the top 50 cities in the U.S.
Back down south, Arlington, Texas, had the fifth-lowest number of homes you could buy, despite a fairly low population compared to, say, San Francisco or NYC. In fact, $240 million could buy just 317 average homes in Arlington — 49 fewer than in NYC.
At the other end of the spectrum stood five of the Midwest’s largest cities, as well as five from the South, where $240 million could buy more than 4,000 homes (Detroit) or at least 1,375 homes (Columbus, Ohio). At the same time, Oklahoma City would stretch that budget to 1,420 homes, while a 90-minute drive would take you to the 1,538 homes you could afford in Tulsa, Okla. Then, another 180 miles to the north would take you to Wichita, Kan., and the 1,651 homes you could afford there.
Returning to Texas, you could also trade the most expensive condo ever sold in NYC for 1,430 homes in San Antonio and 1,743 in El Paso. Meanwhile, Indiana would fall almost midway between the two with 1,535 homes in Indianapolis. Further north and on the shores of Lake Michigan, $240 million would buy 1,769 average homes in Milwaukee — the third-highest number among the country’s 50 most populous cities.
At the same time, Memphis, Tenn., and Detroit were the only two cities where the priciest NYC home ever sold could be traded for more than 2,000 homes. Specifically, you could buy 2,110 homes in Memphis and a whopping 4,158 in Detroit.
Trade NYC’s Priciest Pad for 1,195 Homes in Pittsburgh & Just 393 in Boston
Looking further at the country’s 50 most populated cities, $240 million would buy 1,043 homes in Dallas and 1,368 in Baltimore and Kansas City, Mo. The same amount would be enough for closing on 794 in Las Vegas and 930 in Charlotte, N.C., as well as 740 in Colorado Springs.
In Boston, $240 million would be enough to buy only 393 homes — the 11th lowest amount — followed by Portland, Ore. with 518 homes. and, Denver with 522 homes. Colorado Spring’s somewhat more affordable housing market meant that the price of the most expensive NYC home would be enough for 740 residences.
Hover over and compare the marked areas to see how many homes you can buy in the country’s 50 largest cities with the price of NYC’s most expensive condo:
Among the Southwest’s largest cities, $240 million would buy the largest number of homes in the region in Tucson, Ariz.: 1,349. With migration trends favoring the Southwest over the past years some cities have seen price surge. For example, in Mesa, Ariz., you could buy for 890 homes and in Phoenix 864 — nearly a third fewer than in Tucson.
In Albuquerque, N.M., the same budget would cover 1,118 homes, while across the country in Florida, you could choose to buy 650 in Miami or nearly twice as many (1,179) in Jacksonville. Or, if you’re looking for milder temperatures, you could close on 840 homes in Raleigh, N.C. or 843 in Minneapolis if you’re looking for a vibrant, but not too crowded art scene.
Notably, in California, the priciest NYC home sale ever would buy the largest number of homes in Fresno (876) and Bakersfield (882).At the same time in Texas, Austin’s gentrification and population growth reduced the number of homes that could be bought for the same price as NYC’s top residential sale to 629 — just over half of the 1,195 that could be picked up in Houston.
Get 2,500+ Homes in Seven Midwestern Cities & Less Than 270 in 10 California Communities
When taking into consideration all 335 U.S. cities with populations of 100,000 or more, what $240 million could buy looks quite different than in the 50 largest urban centers. Notable exceptions were Detroit, the #1 location for the number of homes you could buy, while San Francisco and San Jose remained among the cities with the lowest numbers of residences you could afford.
At just 200 homes, San Francisco actually tied with Santa Clara, Calif. for the third-lowest number of homes that could be bought for the price of NYC’s top residential sale. However, you’d be able to afford even fewer homes in two similarly affluent California communities: In San Mateo, you could pick up only 186 homes and a mere 156 in Sunnyvale.
Not only that, but California was also home to 10 of the 11 cities where $240 million would buy the lowest number of homes. These included Berkeley (215), Fremont (224), Daly (265), as well as Irvine and Carlsbad (266 each).The Golden State was joined by Washington’s Bellevue with just 252 average homes.
On the other hand, you could buy 3,273 homes in Dayton, Ohio, the city with the second-highest number of homes) that could be picked up for the price of NYC’s most expensive home. Not only that, but Dayton was actually just one of four Ohio cities to top the country’s 335 cities in terms of how many homes you could buy for $240 million. It was joined by Cleveland (3,212); Akron (2,754); and Toledo (2,745).
As further testament to the more budget-friendly home price trends of the region, the Midwest claimed seven of the top 10 cities for the highest numbers of homes you could buy with more than 2,500 homes each. For example, in Indiana’s South Bend, that would be enough for 2,512 homes, whereas in Lansing, Mich., you could grab 2,515. That said, the Midwest’s chokehold on the country’s most affordable areas was broken by Brownsville, Texas, with 2,507 homes; Rochester, N.Y., with 2,577; and Jackson, Miss., with 2,582 homes.
Recent Pricing Surges Make Puerto Rico’s Leading Cities Less Affordable Than Larger Locations in the Continental U.S.
Puerto Rico’s rising popularity among investors and homebuyers from the continental U.S. has driven prices up to rival and even surpass many larger cities on the mainland. For example, in Ponce, you could buy 2,341 homes for the price of NYC’s most expensive home — just 10 more than in Birmingham, Ala. Along the same lines, in Bayamon, you could close on 1,854 homes — the same as in Peoria, Ill. and 271 fewer than in Buffalo, N.Y.
Explore all 335 U.S cities with populations of 100,000 or more to see how many homes you could buy for the priciest NYC home ever sold:
In order to determine how many homes you can buy for the price of the most NYC’s most expensive sale in history, we used the latest available Census data to identify all cities with populations of at least 100,000 residents.
To determine the median sale prices of all 335 cities of at least 100,000 residents, we sourced the latest available housing price data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2021 American Community Survey’s five-year estimates.
Regional boundaries were determined in accordance with the Census Bureau’s official Regions and Divisions designations.