Home owners ask me sometimes about the average price per square foot for their neighborhood. Honestly, I pay attention to the price per sq ft as one of many real estate metrics, but it’s not the end-all solution to valuation by any means. Let me illustrate my point by presenting a graph of all sales in the Anatolia neighborhood of Rancho Cordova over the past twelve months.
Over the past 90 days Anatolia has had an average price per square foot of $103. If Joe the Home Owner then took this figure and applied it to his home, let’s see what he comes up with. Imagine he has a house at 1000 square feet. In theory, Joe’s house should be worth $103,000 (1000 x $103), but the graph shows homes at 1000 square feet sold between $140 to $150 dollars per square foot actually. Let’s look at 2000 square feet. It looks like $103 works very well for some houses, but other properties at 2000 square feet clearly sold closer to $250,000 (that would be $125 per sq ft). Let’s look at even larger homes. Many 4000 square foot properties sold well under $103 per square foot, and houses around 5,550 square feet sold closer to $81 per square foot ($450,000 / $103).
As you can see, an average price per square foot figure is not constant for all houses in a neighborhood. Simply multiplying your square footage by the average price per square foot for your area, city or zip code may or may not work, and will very likely not give you an accurate number.
Question: When looking at the graph above, what size of home do you think might give you the best return on your dollar?