What the Average Home Price Today Could Buy the Year You Were Born

·10 min read
Tom Kelley Archive / Getty Images
Tom Kelley Archive / Getty Images

The fact that the cost of an average home has skyrocketed over the years is hardly news to anyone, particularly if you're old enough to have actually purchased a home in previous decades. However, what's sometimes not as clear is just how much of that change is due to the natural creep of inflation — everything costs more now than it did in years past, after all — and how much is a sign of home prices increasing relative to everything else. With the shifting value of currency, the dynamic behavior of the housing market and the constant changes in the size and style of houses, the real causes of why it costs so much more to buy a home nowadays can be hard to suss out.

Learn: 40 Cities That Could Be Poised For a Housing Crisis
Discover: The Cost To Own a 3-Bedroom Home in Every State

To offer more perspective, GOBankingRates conducted a study that focused on the size of the home you could buy in the past — dating as far back as 1963 — with the median home price of today, or about $324,300. The study pulled the median price of a home for each given year from the U.S. Census Bureau and combined it with U.S. Housing and Urban Development data to estimate the price per square foot in past housing markets.

Keep reading to discover what you could have purchased in the year you were born -- especially as compared to the exorbitant prices of today.

Last updated: June 18, 2021

1963 homes
1963 homes

1963

  • Median home price: $18,000

  • Median square footage: 1,365

  • Price per square foot: $13.19

  • Square footage you could buy for the price of a 2020 home: 24,587

Find Out: 17 Dumb Home-Buying Mistakes That Hurt Your Wallet

1964 home
1964 home

1964

  • Median home price: $18,900

  • Median square footage: 1,415

  • Price per square foot: $13.36

  • Square footage you could buy for the price of a 2020 home: 24,274

Read: Homes Won’t Be Affordable in These Cities Within 10 Years

1965 home Islandia New York
1965 home Islandia New York

1965

  • Median home price: $20,000

  • Median square footage: 1,495

  • Price per square foot: $13.38

  • Square footage you could buy for the price of a 2020 home: 24,238

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1966 new construction home
1966 new construction home

1966

  • Median home price: $21,400

  • Median square footage: 1,525

  • Price per square foot: $14.03

  • Square footage you could buy for the price of a 2020 home: 23,115

1967 homes in Portland Oregon
1967 homes in Portland Oregon

1967

  • Median home price: $22,700

  • Median square footage: 1,570

  • Price per square foot: $14.46

  • Square footage you could buy for the price of a 2020 home: 22,365

Related: 50 Housing Markets That Are Turning Ugly

1968 home in San Ramon California
1968 home in San Ramon California

1968

  • Median home price: $24,700

  • Median square footage: 1,605

  • Price per square foot: $15.39

  • Square footage you could buy for the price of a 2020 home: 21,072

All too common scene of an unkempt,  ranch style, home in the foreclosure process in a working class subdivision in the United States, with overgrown yard and bushes making it an eyesore to the neighborhood.
All too common scene of an unkempt, ranch style, home in the foreclosure process in a working class subdivision in the United States, with overgrown yard and bushes making it an eyesore to the neighborhood.

1969

  • Median home price: $25,600

  • Median square footage: 1,585

  • Price per square foot: $16.15

  • Square footage you could buy for the price of a 2020 home: 20,080

House
House

1970

  • Median home price: $23,400

  • Median square footage: 1,385

  • Price per square foot: $16.90

  • Square footage you could buy for the price of a 2020 home: 19,189

Classic american bungalow from the 60's or 70's with freshly cut lawn.
Classic american bungalow from the 60's or 70's with freshly cut lawn.

1971

  • Median home price: $25,200

  • Median square footage: 1,375

  • Price per square foot: $18.33

  • Square footage you could buy for the price of a 2020 home: 17,692

Fort Collins, Colorado, USA - June 17, 2014: A typical middle class house in Fort Collins.
Fort Collins, Colorado, USA - June 17, 2014: A typical middle class house in Fort Collins.

1972

  • Median home price: $27,600

  • Median square footage: 1,405

  • Price per square foot: $19.64

  • Square footage you could buy for the price of a 2020 home: 16,512

Young girl alone exploring the bathroom of a 1970s house.
Young girl alone exploring the bathroom of a 1970s house.

1973

  • Median home price: $32,500

  • Median square footage: 1,525

  • Price per square foot: $21.31

  • Square footage you could buy for the price of a 2020 home: 15,218

Multi level house in the country in the fall months.
Multi level house in the country in the fall months.

1974

  • Median home price: $35,900

  • Median square footage: 1,560

  • Price per square foot: $23.01

  • Square footage you could buy for the price of a 2020 home: 14,093

Steals: Houses in These 29 Cities Are Suddenly Major Bargains

A small 1970's or late 60's bungalow decorated for Christmas and covered in snow.
A small 1970's or late 60's bungalow decorated for Christmas and covered in snow.

1975

  • Median home price: $39,300

  • Median square footage: 1,535

  • Price per square foot: $25.60

  • Square footage you could buy for the price of a 2020 home: 12,668

Ohio (exact location unfortunately not known), USA, 1976.
Ohio (exact location unfortunately not known), USA, 1976.

1976

  • Median home price: $44,200

  • Median square footage: 1,590

  • Price per square foot: $27.80

  • Square footage you could buy for the price of a 2020 home: 11,665

1973, Adults Only, Bonding, Caucasian Appearance, Cheerful, Colour, Flower, Food And Drink, Happiness, Holding, Horizontal, Indoors, Jumper, Liqueur, Looking Away, Medium Group Of People, Mid Adult, Photography, Refreshment, Snack, Standing, Table, Talking, Toothy Smile, Tray, Vase, Waist Up, Young Adult, Young Women, blonde hair, casual, enjoyment, friendship, glass, heterosexual couple, living room, mid adult men, party, sitting, three quarter length, togetherness
1973, Adults Only, Bonding, Caucasian Appearance, Cheerful, Colour, Flower, Food And Drink, Happiness, Holding, Horizontal, Indoors, Jumper, Liqueur, Looking Away, Medium Group Of People, Mid Adult, Photography, Refreshment, Snack, Standing, Table, Talking, Toothy Smile, Tray, Vase, Waist Up, Young Adult, Young Women, blonde hair, casual, enjoyment, friendship, glass, heterosexual couple, living room, mid adult men, party, sitting, three quarter length, togetherness

1977

  • Median home price: $48,800

  • Median square footage: 1,610

  • Price per square foot: $30.31

  • Square footage you could buy for the price of a 2020 home: 10,699

Vintage interior decoration with a retro sofa, old posters, macrame plant hangers, retro print cushions.
Vintage interior decoration with a retro sofa, old posters, macrame plant hangers, retro print cushions.

1978

  • Median home price: $55,700

  • Median square footage: 1,655

  • Price per square foot: $33.66

  • Square footage you could buy for the price of a 2020 home: 9,635

1979 home
1979 home

1979

  • Median home price: $62,900

  • Median square footage: 1,645

  • Price per square foot: $38.24

  • Square footage you could buy for the price of a 2020 home: 8,481

Residential family home of the 1980s.
Residential family home of the 1980s.

1980

  • Median home price: $64,600

  • Median square footage: 1,595

  • Price per square foot: $40.50

  • Square footage you could buy for the price of a 2020 home: 8,007

Study of a typical split level home of the 1980s.
Study of a typical split level home of the 1980s.

1981

  • Median home price: $68,900

  • Median square footage: 1,550

  • Price per square foot: $44.45

  • Square footage you could buy for the price of a 2020 home: 7,296

"Tidy two story basic Australian home built around the 1980aas, with blue sky and green grass.
"Tidy two story basic Australian home built around the 1980aas, with blue sky and green grass.

1982

  • Median home price: $69,300

  • Median square footage: 1,520

  • Price per square foot: $45.59

  • Square footage you could buy for the price of a 2020 home: 7,113

WOODSTOCK, NEW YORK - CIRCA 1980's: Snow covered two-story home at Christmas, Woodstock, NY - Image.
WOODSTOCK, NEW YORK - CIRCA 1980's: Snow covered two-story home at Christmas, Woodstock, NY - Image.

1983

  • Median home price: $75,300

  • Median square footage: 1,565

  • Price per square foot: $48.12

  • Square footage you could buy for the price of a 2020 home: 6,739

1980's Brick Ranch House in the Suburbs - Image.
1980's Brick Ranch House in the Suburbs - Image.

1984

  • Median home price: $79,900

  • Median square footage: 1,605

  • Price per square foot: $49.78

  • Square footage you could buy for the price of a 2020 home: 6,515

Aerial view of small town Iowa, USA.
Aerial view of small town Iowa, USA.

1985

  • Median home price: $84,300

  • Median square footage: 1,605

  • Price per square foot: $52.52

  • Square footage you could buy for the price of a 2020 home: 6,175

Check Out: 50 Places Where Home Prices Are Rising Faster Than Rent

Interior of living room in dated 1980s house.
Interior of living room in dated 1980s house.

1986

  • Median home price: $92,000

  • Median square footage: 1,660

  • Price per square foot: $55.42

  • Square footage you could buy for the price of a 2020 home: 5,852

1987 Lowell Massachusetts neighborhood
1987 Lowell Massachusetts neighborhood

1987

  • Median home price: $104,500

  • Median square footage: 1,755

  • Price per square foot: $59.54

  • Square footage you could buy for the price of a 2020 home: 5,447

1980, Bonding, Caucasian Appearance, Cheerful, Childhood, Colour, Daughter, Doorstep, Embracing, Family with One Child, Full Length, Girls, HOUSE, Happiness, Holding, Horizontal, Kissing, LEAVING, Mid Adult, Mid Adult Women, Mother, One Parent, Outdoors, Photography, Primary Age Child, Standing, Toothy Smile, blonde hair, casual, child, day, handbag, togetherness, two people
1980, Bonding, Caucasian Appearance, Cheerful, Childhood, Colour, Daughter, Doorstep, Embracing, Family with One Child, Full Length, Girls, HOUSE, Happiness, Holding, Horizontal, Kissing, LEAVING, Mid Adult, Mid Adult Women, Mother, One Parent, Outdoors, Photography, Primary Age Child, Standing, Toothy Smile, blonde hair, casual, child, day, handbag, togetherness, two people

1988

  • Median home price: $112,500

  • Median square footage: 1,810

  • Price per square foot: $62.15

  • Square footage you could buy for the price of a 2020 home: 5,218

Three houses in a Cleveland, Ohio neighborhood.
Three houses in a Cleveland, Ohio neighborhood.

1989

  • Median home price: $120,000

  • Median square footage: 1,850

  • Price per square foot: $64.86

  • Square footage you could buy for the price of a 2020 home: 5,000

Typical 1990s home.
Typical 1990s home.

1990

  • Median home price: $122,900

  • Median square footage: 1,905

  • Price per square foot: $64.51

  • Square footage you could buy for the price of a 2020 home: 5,027

Entrance to a 1990s home.
Entrance to a 1990s home.

1991

  • Median home price: $120,000

  • Median square footage: 1,890

  • Price per square foot: $63.49

  • Square footage you could buy for the price of a 2020 home: 5,108

1992 farm home
1992 farm home

1992

  • Median home price: $121,500

  • Median square footage: 1,920

  • Price per square foot: $63.28

  • Square footage you could buy for the price of a 2020 home: 5,125

Centered view on the exterior of a craftsmen style home framed by spiral bushes, in a residential architectural background - Image.
Centered view on the exterior of a craftsmen style home framed by spiral bushes, in a residential architectural background - Image.

1993

  • Median home price: $126,500

  • Median square footage: 1,945

  • Price per square foot: $65.04

  • Square footage you could buy for the price of a 2020 home: 4,986

1994 picture of home
1994 picture of home

1994

  • Median home price: $130,000

  • Median square footage: 1,940

  • Price per square foot: $67.01

  • Square footage you could buy for the price of a 2020 home: 4,840

Find Out: The Most Affordable Places To Retire in the US

1995 Swimming pool behind home
1995 Swimming pool behind home

1995

  • Median home price: $133,900

  • Median square footage: 1,920

  • Price per square foot: $69.74

  • Square footage you could buy for the price of a 2020 home: 4,650

1996 West Virginia home
1996 West Virginia home

1996

  • Median home price: $140,000

  • Median square footage: 1,950

  • Price per square foot: $71.79

  • Square footage you could buy for the price of a 2020 home: 4,517

Oakland, NJ, USA May 7, 2007 The historic Van Allen House, in Oakland, New Jersey, is an example of the Dutch influence in Northern New Jersey - Image.
Oakland, NJ, USA May 7, 2007 The historic Van Allen House, in Oakland, New Jersey, is an example of the Dutch influence in Northern New Jersey - Image.

1997

  • Median home price: $146,000

  • Median square footage: 1,975

  • Price per square foot: $73.92

  • Square footage you could buy for the price of a 2020 home: 4,387

Coronado, San Diego, Jul 08 - Among the streets of the island of Coronado, on the other side of the Bay of San Diego, typical for its wooden and low style fishermen's houses, decorated in this case with US flags for the 4th July National Day.
Coronado, San Diego, Jul 08 - Among the streets of the island of Coronado, on the other side of the Bay of San Diego, typical for its wooden and low style fishermen's houses, decorated in this case with US flags for the 4th July National Day.

1998

  • Median home price: $152,500

  • Median square footage: 2,000

  • Price per square foot: $76.25

  • Square footage you could buy for the price of a 2020 home: 4,253

White clapboard house with a white picket fence.
White clapboard house with a white picket fence.

1999

  • Median home price: $161,000

  • Median square footage: 2,028

  • Price per square foot: $79.39

  • Square footage you could buy for the price of a 2020 home: 4,085

Back view of happy family is standing near their modern house and hugging.
Back view of happy family is standing near their modern house and hugging.

2000

  • Median home price: $169,000

  • Median square footage: 2,057

  • Price per square foot: $82.16

  • Square footage you could buy for the price of a 2020 home: 3,947

yellow painted house
yellow painted house

2001

  • Median home price: $175,200

  • Median square footage: 2,103

  • Price per square foot: $83.31

  • Square footage you could buy for the price of a 2020 home: 3,893

Wheelbarrow standing on a neat manicured green lawn alongside a flowerbed while planting a celosia flower garden around a house with fresh spring plants.
Wheelbarrow standing on a neat manicured green lawn alongside a flowerbed while planting a celosia flower garden around a house with fresh spring plants.

2002

  • Median home price: $187,600

  • Median square footage: 2,114

  • Price per square foot: $88.74

  • Square footage you could buy for the price of a 2020 home: 3,654

A modern suburban housing development of large detached bungalows in Utah, USA.
A modern suburban housing development of large detached bungalows in Utah, USA.

2003

  • Median home price: $195,000

  • Median square footage: 2,137

  • Price per square foot: $91.25

  • Square footage you could buy for the price of a 2020 home: 3,554

house over clear sky.
house over clear sky.

2004

  • Median home price: $221,000

  • Median square footage: 2,140

  • Price per square foot: $103.27

  • Square footage you could buy for the price of a 2020 home: 3,140

Take a Look: 10 Effects of Inflation — and How To Protect Your Money Now

Richmond, 2005
Richmond, 2005

2005

  • Median home price: $240,900

  • Median square footage: 2,227

  • Price per square foot: $108.17

  • Square footage you could buy for the price of a 2020 home: 2,998

Young happy couple relaxing in deck chairs at their back yard and holding their arms together.
Young happy couple relaxing in deck chairs at their back yard and holding their arms together.

2006

  • Median home price: $246,500

  • Median square footage: 2,248

  • Price per square foot: $109.65

  • Square footage you could buy for the price of a 2020 home: 2,958

Spanish style house the La Brea neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA, USA, March 22, 2017.
Spanish style house the La Brea neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA, USA, March 22, 2017.

2007

  • Median home price: $247,900

  • Median square footage: 2,277

  • Price per square foot: $108.87

  • Square footage you could buy for the price of a 2020 home: 2,979

Homes in Arizona.
Homes in Arizona.

2008

  • Median home price: $232,100

  • Median square footage: 2,215

  • Price per square foot: $104.79

  • Square footage you could buy for the price of a 2020 home: 3,095

house with for sale signage
house with for sale signage

2009

  • Median home price: $216,700

  • Median square footage: 2,135

  • Price per square foot: $101.50

  • Square footage you could buy for the price of a 2020 home: 3,195

facade of home with manicured lawn, landscaping, and backdrop of trees and dark blue sky.
facade of home with manicured lawn, landscaping, and backdrop of trees and dark blue sky.

2010

  • Median home price: $221,800

  • Median square footage: 2,169

  • Price per square foot: $102.26

  • Square footage you could buy for the price of a 2020 home: 3,171

Row of colorful, red, yellow, blue, white, green painted residential townhouses, homes, houses with brick patio gardens in summer.
Row of colorful, red, yellow, blue, white, green painted residential townhouses, homes, houses with brick patio gardens in summer.

2011

  • Median home price: $227,200

  • Median square footage: 2,233

  • Price per square foot: $101.75

  • Square footage you could buy for the price of a 2020 home: 3,187

House in North Carolina.
House in North Carolina.

2012

  • Median home price: $245,200

  • Median square footage: 2,306

  • Price per square foot: $106.33

  • Square footage you could buy for the price of a 2020 home: 3,050

Read: The Most and Least Affordable States for Millennials To Buy Homes in

Perspective photo of a row of similar style houses during various phases of construction.
Perspective photo of a row of similar style houses during various phases of construction.

2013

  • Median home price: $268,900

  • Median square footage: 2,384

  • Price per square foot: $112.79

  • Square footage you could buy for the price of a 2020 home: 2,875

spring house with flowers
spring house with flowers

2014

  • Median home price: $288,500

  • Median square footage: 2,453

  • Price per square foot: $117.61

  • Square footage you could buy for the price of a 2020 home: 2,757

Young couple playing with dog on the backyard of the wooden country house during the sunset.
Young couple playing with dog on the backyard of the wooden country house during the sunset.

2015

  • Median home price: $294,200

  • Median square footage: 2,467

  • Price per square foot: $119.25

  • Square footage you could buy for the price of a 2020 home: 2,719

Living room in luxury home.
Living room in luxury home.

2016

  • Median home price: $307,800

  • Median square footage: 2,422

  • Price per square foot: $127.09

  • Square footage you could buy for the price of a 2020 home: 2,552

Modern Family Home Front with blue sky
Modern Family Home Front with blue sky

2017

  • Median home price: $323,100

  • Median square footage: 2,426

  • Price per square foot: $133.18

  • Square footage you could buy for the price of a 2020 home: 2,435

Women friends having fun at home dancing and singing in the living room of their Los Angeles apartment.
Women friends having fun at home dancing and singing in the living room of their Los Angeles apartment.

2018

  • Median home price: $326,400

  • Median square footage: 2,386

  • Price per square foot: $136.80

  • Square footage you could buy for the price of a 2020 home: 2,371

Exterior of a new Cape Cod styled suburban house with recently planted shrubs and grass.
Exterior of a new Cape Cod styled suburban house with recently planted shrubs and grass.

2019

  • Median home price: $321,500

  • Median square footage: 2,322

  • Price per square foot: $138.46

  • Square footage you could buy for the price of a 2020 home: 2,342

More From GOBankingRates

Erica Corbin contributed to the reporting of this article.

Methodology: GOBankingRates determined what today's average home price could buy you, dating back to 1963, using in the following data points: (1) the average median home price per year from 1963-2020, found by taking the average of the monthly median prices of the year, sourced from the United States Census Bureau's new residential sales historical data (data only went as far back as January 1963); (2) median square footage of new residential homes, sourced from the United States Census Bureau's characteristics of new housing data from 1970 onward and the United States Housing and Urban Development's characteristics of new one-family homes for 1969 and before. These two factors were divided to get each year's (3) price per square foot, which was then divided by the 2020 median home sale price as sourced from the United States Census Bureau's new residential sales historical data, which in turn gave (4) the amount of square footage a 2020 home price could buy you for that year. All data was collected and up to date as of Oct. 7, 2020.

This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: What the Average Home Price Today Could Buy the Year You Were Born

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