The West Coast may have the best returns for homeowners looking to sell, Aaron Terrazas, economic research director at Zillow, told CNBC.
According to a new report from Zillow, Bay Area locales such as San Francisco and San Jose, California, as well as Los Angeles have median selling profits of more than $100,000 — nearly $300,000 in some markets. In San Jose, the top city in the report and the most expensive market, the median profit for selling your home is $296,000. Here's the catch: The median price of a home in the same city is $1.3 million.
"In most of the markets, where sellers sold last year, they didn’t make enough on their house to afford a 20 percent down payment," Terrazas said Wednesday on "Power Lunch." "Now, if you’re gainfully employed, maybe you have stock options in the Bay Area, that’s fine. But if you’re a retiree on a fixed income, your options are pretty limited. You either stay put or move away."
Most of the best returns were along the West Coast. San Francisco homeowners who cashed in made a median $222,000. In Los Angeles the median was $137,000; in Seattle it was $123,000; in San Diego, California, it was $108,000, and in Portland, Oregon, it was $87,000.
Meanwhile, Midwestern cities Cleveland and Chicago came in at the bottom of the list, with median returns of $16,000 and $20,000 respectively. In Chicago, when factoring in inflation, it was actually a loss for homeowners.