Syndicated — Don't look now, but the housing market is suddenly bearing signs of life. Many large metro real estate markets ar ]]> - some even posting gains in home values. For example, the Miami real estate market hit bottom in Q4 of 2011 and is projected to gain 5.6 percent in value between March 2012 and March 2013. Does this mean people should get off the sidelines? The answer appears to be yes, according to Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Stan Humphries.
"For people who have been waiting to time their home purchases close to the market bottom, it's time to start shopping," said Humphries.
And with this positive bit of real estate news, let's take a look at what $350,000 can buy in major metros in the U.S.
3719 N Newland Ave, Chicago IL (below)
For sale: $349,999
Square footage: 1,227
Whether it's the deep-dish pizza, the culture or the city skyline, people have been moving to the Windy City for decades. The third-largest city in the U.S., Chicago is home to the second-largest business district after New York. While many well-established companies have roots in Chicago, the city has also seen growth in startups in the past decade, including Groupon, Orbitz and CareerBuilder.
This Chicago home for sale is located 11 miles outside the downtown district. The 3-bedroom, 3-bath brick home was built in 1993 and features high-end details like a gas fireplace, steam shower, soaking tubs and basement with home theater and bar.
8416 Freret St, New Orleans, LA 70118 (below)
For sale: $358,000
Square feet: 1,729
Even though it's known as "The Big Easy," New Orleans hasn't had an easy time of it lately. Despite the lingering devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and now a Watergate-like scandal with its beloved NFL Saints, New Orleans roars ahead with its reputation for excellent cuisine, music and festivals. New Orleans median home values are presently $159,000.
This cheery yellow Victorian is located in the Leonidas neighborhood, just two blocks from the trendy retail corridors of Oak Street and Carrollton Avenue. Spacious open floor plan with 12-foot tall ceilings, original refinished hardwood floors, exposed brick fireplaces and separate office/study on the second floor add to the home's appeal.
15 Station Ln, Philadelphia, PA 19118 (below)
For sale: $358,800
Square feet: 1,648
Not only did Philadelphia give us cheese steaks and soft pretzels, it also introduced the row house in the early 19th century, called "Philadelphia rows." It was the perfect urban home and developers could easily profit. In addition to row houses, Philly also developed "twins," and sets of three or four homes all built together. Philadelphia's median real estate home value is currently $103,700, but the city is projected to gain 0.9 percent in value between March 2012 and March 2013.
A popular Pennsylvania barn star adorns the clapboard siding of this circa 1981 two-story "twin" located in the popular Chestnut Hill real estate market of Philadelphia where median home values are currently $390,800. Need to commute into Philly? The historic Gravers Lane Station is located just a block away and across the street is a baseball field. The home is within a walking distance to trendy shops and restaurants of Chestnut Hill and comes with a one-year warranty.
653 Wilmington Ave, Salt Lake City, UT 84106 (below)
For sale: $349,000
Square footage: 1,960
Founded in 1847 by Mormon leader Brigham Young, Salt Lake City has grown beyond simply being the headquarters for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. After hosting the 2002 Winter Olympic Games, Salt Lake's tourism industry has grown and the city is now known as a convention center hub. The median list price of homes in Salt Lake City is currently $225,000.
Listed on the sweetly named Sugar House real estate market, this brand-new contemporary Salt Lake City home (above) offers an open floor plan with 3 bedrooms and 2.5 baths with floors made of concrete and bamboo. Even the garage has a slanted roof. The house is close to eateries and a planned streetcar line/bike trail.
4375 N Alpine Ave, Shorewood, WI 53211 (below)
For sale: $349,000
Square footage: 2,015
While Milwaukee is synonymous with breweries and home to one of the country's biggest brewers, Miller Brewing Company, it is also headquarters to 14 Fortune 100 companies such as Johnson Controls, Northwestern Mutual, Manpower Inc., Harley-Davidson, and Briggs & Stratton, among others. And, in case you were looking for the perfect bedroom community, Shorewood, WI could be it. Located about four miles north of Milwaukee, the village of Shorewood is known for its neighborhoods, architecture, eclectic shops and restaurants, and exceptional schools. Milwaukee's median home values are currently $87,900; Shorewood's median home values come in at $189,000.
This well-maintained English Tudor offers 3 bedrooms and 1.5 baths and is located in a desirable Shorewood neighborhood. The home has hardwood floors, leaded glass windows, natural fireplace, newer kitchen, newer roof and newly finished lower level. Its family room on first floor was completely remodeled.
2764 Westlake Ave N APT A, Seattle WA (below)
For sale: $350,000
Square footage: 1,000
As the national headquarters for Starbucks, Amazon, and Microsoft, Seattle is a city known for its tech companies, caffeinated city folk and spawning the grunge music scene in the 1990s. Despite the city's many days of gray weather, the area continues to attract new people. Current median home values are relatively steep, hovering around $346,300.
One of the best things about Seattle real estate is that some of the homes for sale float. Pay homage to "Sleepless in Seattle" with this floating home for sale. No, it's not the one featured in the movie, but it does have French doors that open out to a wraparound deck with spectacular views of the city. The home also features slate and hardwood floors and built-in window seats and bookcases.
1046 N Edgefield Ave, Dallas TX (below)
For sale: $349,900
Square footage: 1,747
One of the biggest cities in the United States, Dallas also has the third-largest concentration of Fortune 500 companies, including AT&T, Neiman Marcus, and ExxonMobil. According to 2010 census data, the Dallas-Fort Worth area grew more than any other metropolitan area in the country, adding 1.2 million people to the area.
Built in 1927, this Dallas home for sale is a Tudor, which includes all the details of the period: leaded glass windows, hardwood floors and an arched fireplace. The 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom home has also been extensively updated. The kitchen includes granite countertops and island, stainless steel appliances and a glass tile backsplash. The bathrooms also have marble countertops.
41 Whitney St, Hartford CT (below)
For sale: $339,900
Square footage: 3,461
Home of the oldest park, art museum, and secondary school, Hartford is one of the oldest cities in America. Although the capital city made its start in industry, its current draw is its many insurance companies as well as proximity to state and private universities.
It's not a Colonial-style home, but this Hartford home for sale still has plenty of period charm. Built in 1910, the Victorian home has been "lovingly restored" with soapstone countertops in the kitchen, hardwood floors, a new roof and new windows. The home has 5 bedrooms and 3.5 bathroom and includes a third-floor mother-in-law suite.
9672 SW 158th Ave, Miami, FL 33196 (below)
For sale: $349,000
Square footage: 2,784
With four major professional sports teams, vibrant economy, sizzling beach and night life scene and a growing population, it's no wonder Miami's home values are on the rise. Median home values currently ring in at $184,600, which is an increase of 1.9 percent year-over-year.
This Mediterranean-style home in The Hammocks neighborhood of Miami offers 4 bedrooms, 3 baths and is situated on an oversize lot. The home has tile on first floor and wood on second floor as well as a brand new A/C unit.
4441 Moffitt Dr, Napa CA (below)
For sale: $335,000
Square footage: 1,500
Dreaming of a home in wine country? Best known for its rolling hills of grapes, Napa is situated just an hour outside of San Francisco, but is significantly more affordable, boasting a median home value of $326,300, about half of San Fran's current home value of $653,200.
This California ranch home is on the market in Napa. While it doesn't come with vineyard acreage, there are a few grape plants in the backyard. Indoors, the home has been freshly painted and has an updated kitchen.