An annual Coldwell Banker comparison of homes sold in 344 typical, middle-management neighborhoods in the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada, found that La Jolla, Calif., was the most expensive community and Killeen, Texas, was the least expensive.

La Jolla topped the Coldwell Banker Home Price Comparison Index with a home-price index rating of $1.875 million, compared to Killeen at $131,328, Coldwell Banker announced today. The home-price index evaluated average home values for a single-family dwelling measuring approximately 2,200 square feet with four bedrooms, two and one-half baths, a family room (or equivalent) and two-car garage.

“With the rapid price appreciation we have seen in housing over recent years, the home-price index has become an even more valuable tool. By helping Americans gauge the value of their home in new markets, it takes some of the guesswork out of the stress of moving,” said Jim Gillespie, president and chief executive officer of Coldwell Banker Real Estate Corp.

Through an enhanced home-price index section online at http://www.coldwellbanker.com/, consumers can calculate what their homes might be worth in other areas and gather preliminary guidance about the affordability of housing from one market to another, the company reported.

Some highlights from the latest index:

  • The cumulative average sales price of the 319 U.S. markets surveyed in the Coldwell Banker home-price index is $401,767, up 13.3 percent from $354,372 from the same period last year.

    For the third year in a row, the study’s most expensive market is La Jolla, Calif. ($1,875,000). The most affordable market is Killeen, Texas ($131,328).

  • The price difference between La Jolla and Killeen is $1,743,672 for a similar 2,200-square-foot home.

  • Of the markets surveyed, 52 percent have an average home price of less than $300,000.

  • The average sales price in the most affordable market, Killeen, Texas, is a mere $1,028 more expensive than the most affordable market in 2004, Minot, N.D.

  • Nine of the country’s top 10 most expensive markets are in California. Greenwich, Conn., rounds out the top 10 list. Other high-ticket areas outside of California are along the East Coast, including Boston ($1,260,000), Rye, N.Y. ($869,125), and Bethesda/Chevy Chase ($829,750). Note that Manhattan (N.Y.) was not included in the study due to a lack of single-family homes.

  • Markets that come closest to the national average sales price of $401,767 are Minneapolis, Minn. ($397,133) and Edina, Minn. ($404,150). The study also found that Fresno, the least expensive market in California, was a mere 3 percent below the national average.

  • Among the top 10 most affordable markets, three are in Texas (Killeen, Arlington, Fort Worth) and two are in West Virginia (Beckley, Parkersburg).

  • California has the greatest variance within the same state at $1,485,542 between La Jolla at the high end ($1,875,000) and Fresno at the low end ($389,458).

  • Among the major cities included in the home-price index, the average home price for San Francisco was $1,300,000, with Boston averaging $1,260,000 and Chicago $815,000.

The top-10 most expensive markets overall in 2005 are: LaJolla, Calif.; Santa Monica, Calif.; Beverly Hills, Calif.; Santa Barbara, Calif.; Palo Alto, Calif.; Newport Beach, Calif.; San Mateo, Calif.; San Francisco, Calif.; San Jose, Calif.; and Greenwich, Conn.

The top-10 most affordable markets overall in 2005 are: Killeen, Texas; Minot, N.D.; Beckley, W.V.; Arlington, Texas; Billings, Mont.; Tulsa, Okla.; Parkersburg, W.V.; Fort Worth, Texas; Yankton, S.D.; and Grayling-Roscommon, Mich.

Coldwell Banker Real Estate Corp. conducted its Home Price Comparison Index study by compiling survey data from Coldwell Banker offices throughout the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada. Companies within the Coldwell Banker system submitted data based on the average sales price of sold listings through July 2005 or a comparative market analysis of homes previously evaluated for the 2004 home-price index. The criteria for the home-price index subject home is: single-family dwelling, 2,200 square feet (approximately), four bedrooms, two and one-half baths, family room (or equivalent) and two-car garage in neighborhoods/zip codes within a market that is typical for corporate middle-management transferees.

The Coldwell Banker System has more than 3,900 residential and commercial real estate offices and 125,000 sales associates in 28 countries and territories.

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Send tips or a Letter to the Editor to glenn@inman.com or call (510) 658-9252, ext. 137.

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