If you can afford to spend $1 million for a roof over your head, there are few places in the nation where you can get more house for your money than Colorado Springs, according to a recent survey of high-end properties.
The median size of homes listed for sale at or near $1 million was 6,023 square feet in Colorado Springs, according to a report by Trulia Inc., a San Francisco-based national real estate firm. Of the nation's 100 largest metropolitan areas, the Springs ranked seventh in terms of offering the most house for a $1 million price tag.
Only six cities offered more house for the same money: Birmingham, Ala., 8,059 square feet; Toledo, Ohio, 7,087 square feet; Indianapolis, 7,036 square feet; El Paso, Texas, 6,908 square feet; Columbus, Ohio, 6,277 square feet; and Tulsa, Okla., 6,074 square feet.
By contrast, you could fit four million-dollar homes from New York inside a million-dollar property in Colorado Springs. The median size of a $1 million home in the New York-New Jersey area was just 1,489 square feet - smallest among the nation's top 100 metro areas, Trulia's report shows.
Trulia's March 4 survey examined million-dollar properties listed with the company, and the typical size of homes priced at or near the million-dollar mark.
"In comparison to housing markets like San Francisco and New York, yes, Colorado Springs definitely gives buyers more house for their money," Daisy Kong, a Trulia senior data manager, said in an email.
It's great news for local buyers, say real estate agents who specialize in high-end properties. Deals abound for pricey homes that boast several thousand square feet of space to go with amenities such as walnut and cherry floors, custom cabinets, wine cellars, three- and four-car garages and killer views.
"The deals are incredible," said Becky Gloriod of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Rocky Mountain Realtors.
Yet real estate agents also say the fact that buyers can get so much home for $1 million is a sign of how soft the Springs' high-end market has become.
There are 128 properties on the market with asking prices of $1 million and above, and six have sold so far this year, said Joe Clement, owner of Re/Max Properties. The number of sales is on pace for a normal year, but the supply of $1 million-and-up homes for sale is roughly double what it was in 2005, he said.
Trish Ingels, of Berkshire Hathaway, said it would take 42 months to exhaust the supply of homes for sale in the $1 million to $1.5 million price range.
"If you get over $2 million, it's just infinite," Ingels said.
The problem for the high-end market?
Not enough buyers, because the city is adding relatively few high-paying jobs, Clement said. Few large companies, meanwhile, are located in the Springs, Gloriod said.
"We just don't have much of a market," she said. "We don't have big industry coming in. We don't have any professional sports teams."
Also, retirees and other empty nesters aren't necessarily interested in such large homes.
"It's not easy today to find a buyer to take on these kinds of properties," he said. "When you've got 120 over $1 million, that's a lot for our community. What we need is a couple in their 40s and 50s with three or four kids ... that want that space, want that kind of a house and can afford it because they have a great job."