How much house can you get for $1 million these days? As CNBC found out when it went house hunting, it all depends — on location, location, location.
There are now more than 1 million owner-occupied homes in the United States worth $1 million or more, according to the Census Bureau.
Once the domain of the extraordinarily wealthy, million-dollar homes have become commonplace in some areas. San Francisco has more than 20,000 of them. Orange County, Calif., has more than twice that number.
And the surge in high-end prices has happened quickly. The Census Bureau’s 2004 American Community Survey found 1,034,386 homes worth at least $1 million in 2004, compared to 595,441 in 2002 and only 394,878 in 2000.
CNBC recently sent correspondents all over the country to bring back snapshots of what $1 million buys you in a variety of real estate markets and climates. Their shopping trip compared apples to apples — from square footage to property taxes to golf course views and commute times. And, as they found out, a million dollars will buy you much more house in some neighborhoods than it will in others.
In just the last five years Portland, Maine, has increasingly become a destination for professionals looking to get away from it all. While few homes in Portland reach the million-dollar mark, just outside the city limits, the properties along the picturesque coast come with high price tags.
Perhaps no other market in the country has experienced the nation's real estate boom like South Florida. From Miami on up to the panhandle, property values have soared. And in some places continue to go up.
Further west in the sunbelt, Phoenix has officially passed Philadelphia as the nation's fifth largest city. It’s a phenomenal growth story for a place that barely existed a century ago. And the rising price of real estate has also been phenomenal.
In older suburbs like Tenafly, N.J. — with a little more than 13,000 residents just outside Manhattan — the biggest draw is its proximity to the Big Apple. But don't expect to get much house for your hard earned dollars.
If you’re looking to make your million go a little further, Charlotte, N.C., serves as headquarters for two of the biggest U.S. banks, Bank of America and Wachovia. It's also been chosen as the home of the new Nascar Hall of Fame. But so far, home prices there remain moderate.