Originally Posted by raphael
Thanks. The last one sits on the better part of three acres too. I've been watching real estate nationwide - it's overpriced wherever you look because although that last house is easily affordable to me with a bay area salary, there are probably few jobs in that pay range in WV unless I go in business for myself or travel constantly. How much has WV RE appreciated in the last 7 years?
That house is definitely not something the majority of Huntington residents could afford. It's actually in the top 3-5 highest priced homes currently for sale, if I remember correctly from my search. There are definitely people making a salary in this area that would allow a home like that. Matter of fact, we have SEVERAL neighborhoods made up entirely of homes in that category, though most are a bit under that one in terms of grandeur. I'd say that 275-450K is a more "average" price for homes in the higher end of the local market. The big difference here, I think, is that the industries that supply that kind of money are somewhat unique to the area: coal, anything river-related (Huntington is, IIRC, the largest inland port in the US), and other things of that nature. The job market is certainly much lower than in a larger city, that's for sure. Lots of entrepreneurs, as you mentioned in your post. My late great-uncle, for example, started as a pharmacist at a single small town pharmacy, but eventually built a small empire of drugstores that span several states. Other examples for that kind of capital are a doctor from my hometown (very talented) that was chief of medicine at the local hospital. Until his downfall due to some very unfortunate arrests, he owned at least three homes in a much smaller (and cheaper) town about an hour away: one 18th century "farm house" that clocked in at about 16,000 sq. ft., one 18th century plantation home that was probably 400K, and his never-finished project, a 21,000 sq. ft. home rumored to cost 1.4 million. Another gentleman focused on both coal AND the river by establishing a company that cleaned out the "spare" coal from the corners of large barges that couldn't be reached at the plants. He got paid by the barge owners for cleaning out the corners of their barges, then sold the collected coal to the power plants. At one point, he was rumored to be worth 70+ million in a town with an average household income of about 25K, give or take. These certainly weren't "average" West Virginians, but they certainly exist. All three of those were examples from a town that only had a little less than 3,000 citizens. I honestly don't know about the past seven years. I've only been following the market for about 1.5-2 years, and barely following it at that. I'll have to ask my father. He has a few businesses that focus on commercial and residential real estate, and I'm sure he'd know. EDIT: Checking a mortgage qualifier calculator showed that you'd need to make about 240K to afford that home, which I would say is definitely a "doable" salary for a few people in this area. We have the highest concentration of surgeons in the US (according to the BLS), numerous large scale attorneys, certain insurance agents, and probably some CEOs that could swing that sort of home, not accounting for dual-income famillies.