One of the most important staples of popular sitcoms from the 1980s and '90s was the family home. Often these iconic houses weren't actually located where the shows were supposed to be set; more often than not, they were suburban homes within easy reach of the studios of California. This means the homes used for exterior shots are usually worth multiple times the value an equivalent home in say, Detroit, would be.
Some of the houses of TV families really stretched our suspension of disbelief even when they were on the air - and today they are on another plane of existence entirely. Many of our favorite middle- or working-class TV dads would be well-off now if they'd just held onto their properties long enough.
This list looks at how much the abodes of popular sitcom families would be worth today, based on where the series are set. When the exact location is ambiguous, or if the town itself is fictional, clues from the show are pieced together to find the closest equivalent in the same state. The features of the homes on the shows will be contrasted with prices in the same neighborhood to arrive at an approximate value.
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Show Location: Springfield, OR
Value In 2022: $400,000 - $500,000
The Simpsons has been on the air so long that the family's status has gone from a punchline to an aspiration for audiences. Beginning the series as a family barely clinging to the bottom rung of the middle class during the first Bush administration, they're financially well out of sight for modern working-class viewers today. A memorable 1997 episode touched on this when an exasperated Frank Grimes was driven to madness by Homer's cushy lifestyle gained with no effort.
742 Evergreen Terrace is a four-bedroom residential home approximately 2,200 square feet in size. The property has a basement, attic, and generous front and back yards. A replica of the house was built in 1997 in Henderson, NV, as part of a contest. It cost $120,000 ($207,000 adjusted for inflation) to build.
The long-running gag over which state Springfield was located in was settled in 2007 when show creator Matt Groening presented Springfield, OR, with a plaque proclaiming it to be the "real Springfield." An equivalent property in the "real" Springfield would fetch at least $400,000. A nuclear power plant worker probably could swing that, but because Oregon's only nuclear power plant shut down in 1993, Homer would have to fall back on one of his many, many side gigs.
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Show Location: Arlen (fictional), TX
Value In 2022: $170,000 - $200,000
A modest three-bedroom ranch in a fictional small town in Texas makes this animated home one of the most realistic items featured here. The location and size of Arlen are ambiguous and contradictory. One episode suggests a population of 145,300; in another it's 1,454, and the location is similarly unclear. A town sign suggests Arlen is 96 miles from Dallas, while the different zip codes place it within spitting distance of Houston or even in Oklahoma.
Arlen could conceivably be anywhere within the vicinity of Dallas, though Richardson has been suggested as the main source of inspiration. Using Richardson as an example, a similar single-family home would still just about be within the means of a frugal propane salesman and substitute teacher.
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Show Location: Quahog (fictional), RI
Value In 2022: $300,000 - $400,000
The Griffins were described as a "lower-middle-class Irish Catholic family" in a news segment in an early episode. Although Lois comes from a wealthy family, Peter's lineage is far less affluent. The family's financial situation varies wildly over the course of the show, but they are generally shown to be barely keeping afloat. The show is set in a fictional Rhode Island town; its coastal location would make either Providence or Cranston the nearest real-life equivalents.
An equivalent four-bedroom Cape Cod would fetch somewhere north of $300,000 in Cranston. One of the more affordable properties on this list, it would still be quite a reach for a brewery worker and a part-time music teacher to cover the mortgage, especially with three children.
- Photo: NBC
Show Location: Miami, FL
Value In 2022: $750,000 - $900,000
Although set in Miami, the home used for the show in its first season is actually in Brentwood, CA, and last sold for $4 million in 2020 - well over the asking price. A replica was built for Season 2 onward at Disney's Residential Street in Orlando, FL. The home's interior switched around depending on plotlines, making for a fun but baffling floorplan.
A bungalow in Miami that doesn't have shape-shifting qualities wouldn't be nearly as expensive as the property in Brentwood. While certainly not cheap, a property in Miami-Dade County similar to the Golden Girls house shouldn't break $1 million.
- Photo: ABC5416 VOTES
Show Location: A suburb of Philadelphia, PA
Value In 2022: $500,000 - $600,000
We don't need to guess the value of the home used in the external shots of the Matthews residence; it's a matter of public record. The real home is in Studio City, CA, and last went for a whopping $1.3 million in 2019. Similarly, the fictional John Adams High School is actually John Marshall High in Los Angeles. If you feel like you've seen the school before, you'd be right, as it has an extensive list of productions.
If we were to imagine a real-life equivalent to the Matthews home in its actual setting, suburban Philadelphia is a good deal more affordable than Southern California. The show makes several mentions of Philadelphia sports teams, but stays vague on the exact location. If we take somewhere like Roxborough as a point of reference, we can give a ballpark figure of around half a million dollars.
- Photo: NBC
Show Location: Bel-Air, CA
Value In 2022: $7,000,000 - $8,000,000
Although set in Bel-Air, Los Angeles, the real Banks family mansion is actually in nearby Brentwood. Both neighborhoods are among the most exclusive in the country, but Bel-Air was obviously easier for Will Smith to incorporate into lyrics. He wouldn't have any trouble affording such an abode today, but at the time of his breakout role, he was having some major financial challenges, thanks to tax troubles.
The home last sold in 1978 for $743,000 ($3,167,413 adjusted for inflation). Estimates for the value today are in the $6-$7 million range. As Bel-Air is a slightly more expensive neighborhood than Brentwood, the same mansion in Bel-Air would command a higher selling price.