HOLLYWOOD, Calif. – At the end of 2022, mortgage balances in the United States topped 11 trillion dollars – with almost $1 trillion in interest and refinanced debt added during 2021. As real-life Americans struggle through a housing affordability crisis, it only makes sense that many of our favorite animated characters may no longer afford their hometowns in today’s market.
A recent study notes that housing costs should make up 30% or less of the overall household budget, yet nearly half the country is spending more than that. Interestingly, America’s favorite animated TV families seem worse off than the average real-life homeowner. Clustered in states such as New York, California, Oregon, and New Jersey, they represent some of the least affordable areas in the entire country.
So what would the Simpsons pay for their mortgage today or the Griffin family for their four-bedroom Rhode Island home? Interior design experts at Hovia used information from Zillow to estimate the current prices of iconic homes from different animated TV series.
The Simpsons – 742 Evergreen Terrace, Springfield
Estimated Price: $458,730
The Simpson family lives in a four-bedroom home with an attached garage, basement, and a generous fenced-in yard in the fictional town of Springfield. Although the location of Springfield isn’t clear in the series, the show’s creator Matt Groening revealed in an interview with Smithsonian Magazine in 2012 that it is based on where he grew up in Springfield, Oregon, a few hours from Portland.
A four-bedroom home in Springfield, Oregon, would set the Simpson family back around $458,730 today. Given Homer’s salary as a nuclear power plant safety inspector and Marge’s fragmented employment history, the family would likely find it difficult to afford a property like this in the current climate, especially with two kids.
Family Guy – 31 Spooner Street, Quahog, Rhode Island
Estimated Price: $357,958
The Griffin family from Family Guy lives in the fictional city of Quahog, Rhode Island. The family is described as “lower-middle-class,” with Peter working in a brewery and Lois working a part-time side job as teacher throughout the series.
The show’s creator Seth MacFarlane reportedly resided in Providence, Rhode Island, during his time as a student, with the city serving as the inspiration for Quahog. In real life, the Griffins’ four-bedroom home, based in Providence, would cost them around $357,958 today. This figure isn’t impossible for the family to afford based on their salaries, but as the show points out, it is difficult for them to maintain.
South Park – 2001 E. Bonanza Street, South Park, Colorado
Estimated Price: $741,919
South Park’s Stan Marsh lives in the fictional town which gives the show its name. Fans online agree that Fairplay, Colorado was likely the inspiration for South Park. According to Colorado’s official tourism website, the town was actually re-named ‘South Park City’ in 1869 before being changed back to ‘Fairplay’ in 1874.
Creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker have said that although visually based on Fairplay, the show’s characters were based on their experiences growing up in Denver, Colorado.
A four-bedroom home in Fairplay currently costs a pricey $741,919, which considering Randy’s salary as a geologist and Sharon’s as a receptionist, is not totally out of reach for them.
Futurama – Robot Arms Apartments, New New York
Estimated Price: $799,950
Futurama takes place in New New York in the year 3000. The show’s protagonist, Philip J. Fry, lives with Bender, the robot, in an apartment block built specifically to house robots in the city.
Each apartment has a closet the size of a regular two-bedroom apartment, costing around $799,950 in New York today. Fry and Bender work for Professor Farnsworth’s delivery company Planet Express. One is an executive delivery boy, and the other as an assistant sales manager, so this certainly seems out of reach for them, even before taking into account 975+ years of inflation.
SpongeBob SquarePants – 124 Conch Street, Bikini Bottom, Pacific Ocean
Estimated Price: $55
SpongeBob SquarePants lives in a pineapple, which can cost around $4 in a store. However, for a pineapple big enough to call home, the study looked at the Giant Kew variety, which can reach up to twenty pounds in weight. Using an average of $2.78 per pound, the estimated cost of SpongeBob’s home under the sea would be $55. With his salary as a fry cook at the Krusty Krab, this estimation means his home is well within his budget.
King of The Hill – 84 Rainey Street, Arlen, Texas
Estimated Price: $382,781
King of the Hill takes place in the fictional city of Arlen, Texas. The show’s co-creator, Mike Judge, told The New York Times that the Dallas suburb of Richardson inspired Arlen.
The show’s central character Hank Hill is known for his frugal nature, so owning a three-bedroom home in rural Texas isn’t necessarily out of the question. In real life, if the Hills lived in Richardson, their home would cost around $382,781.
Bob’s Burgers – Ocean Avenue, New Jersey
Estimated Price: $705,809
The show takes place on the fictional Ocean Avenue along the northern Jersey shore. Seaside towns aren’t cheap, and the Belchers live in a three-bedroom apartment above the shop throughout the series.
Using Ocean City, New Jersey, as the closest real-life location, a three-bedroom home would go for around $705,809 today, which doesn’t even include the cost of the shop. Even though the Belchers rent the building, their housing costs are still extremely high compared to the profits they likely bring in.
Rugrats – 1258 North Highland Avenue, Hollywood
Estimated Price: $668,851
Stu and Didi Pickles from Rugrats own a four-bedroom home with a garage in Los Angeles.
The address was shown in one episode to be the location of the studio that produced the series, implying that the family lives in Hollywood, a neighborhood in Los Angeles. With Stu making money as an inventor of children’s toys and Didi being a part-time teacher, it’s debatable whether they could afford this home with an estimated value of $668,851.
DuckTales – McDuck Manor
Estimated Price: $25,000,000
The most expensive home on this list belongs, appropriately enough, to the uber-wealthy Scrooge McDuck from the Disney series DuckTales.
The manor has impressive gothic architecture and, if it were real, would rival the Biltmore Estate, which is currently the largest home in the U.S. and was valued at around $37 million for the house alone in 2017.
As it is smaller than the Biltmore Estate, McDuck Manor would likely be valued at around $25 million, making it the most expensive property on the list.
Fact and fiction
While Hollywood has long taken creative license with the real-life affordability of its characters’ lifestyles, the recent housing crisis has brought up an interesting phenomenon. What may have once been perceived as an average lifestyle for these animated stars when the shows initially aired is no longer within reach today, thanks to economic forces outside their control.
A spokesperson for Hovia comments, “It’s fascinating to see just how much these fictional homes could cost in today’s housing market. Shows like The Simpsons and Family Guy, which have been on the air for decades, feature homes that might once have been affordable for their characters, yet now seem unrealistic given the nature of their jobs in the show.”
Copyright © 2023, Highlands News-Sun, all rights reserved. This post was produced by Wealthy Nickel and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.