Cities with the Highest Prices per Square Foot
10. Los Angeles-Long Beach, Calif.
> Price per sq. ft.: $221.09
> Median list price: $325,000 (15th highest)
> Median square feet: 1,470 (10th lowest)
> Search rank (out of 146): 3rd
According to Realtor.com’s search ranking, the Los Angeles metropolitan area was the third-most popular real estate search destination in the country in February. However, this may have more to do with the size of the market (L.A. has the third-most listings) than it being an especially desirable location for home buyers. In fact, median list prices fell by 4.13% over the past year, the fifth-most among the 146 markets studied. Los Angeles has a median list price of $325,000, the 15th highest in the country. The median square footage is 1,470, the tenth-smallest in the U.S.
9. Ventura, Calif.
> Price per sq. ft.: $227.22
> Median list price: $399,900 (6th highest)
> Median square feet: 1,760 (68th highest)
> Search rank (out of 146): 59th
Ventura has the sixth-highest median list price in the country. Interest in the region has grown substantially in the past year. The number of listings dropped more than 20% between February 2011 and February 2012. Ventura is one of the few large metro areas in which the median age of the properties for sale has gone up in the past years. The region is also one of the wealthiest in the country, with a median income of $71,864, the fifth-highest of the 146 regions Realtor.com collects data on.
8. Orange County, Calif.
> Price per sq. ft.: $271.22
> Median list price: $425,000 (5th highest)
> Median square feet: 1,567 (22nd lowest)
> Search rank (out of 146): 16th
Like the vast majority of the country, the median age of property available for sale in Orange County, Calif., has decreased in the past year. However, the aging has been slight compared to most of the country’s largest markets. Between February 2011 and February 2012, median inventory age fell by just 3.3%, the seventh-smallest decline. By comparison, the median age in Oakland fell more than 40%. Real estate in the region was among the most searched-for in the country in February, with a Realtor.com search rank of 16. By comparison, the region has the 22nd-most total listings.
7. New York, N.Y.
> Price per sq. ft.: $288.58
> Median list price: $389,000 (8th highest)
> Median square feet: 1,348 (5th lowest)
> Search rank (out of 146): 29th
The median size of real estate in the New York metropolitan region is just 1,348 square feet. This is the fourth-smallest space of any of the 146 areas studied. Median list price is $389,000, the eighth-highest in the country. Recently, housing has only become more expensive in New York. Prices went up by 2.4% between January and February of this year — the 18th-largest increase among the 146 areas examined. This increase is impressive considering the number of available apartments has only declined by 0.18% over the past year, the smallest decrease in the country.
6. Santa Barbara-Santa Maria-Lompoc, Calif.
> Price per sq. ft.: $290.64
> Median list price: $499,900 (2nd highest)
> Median square feet: 1,720 (64th lowest)
> Search rank (out of 146): 90th
During the recession, Santa Barbara lost 8% of its workforce, largely due to the declining construction industry. According to IHS Global Insight, the region will only have recovered 1.9% of those lost jobs by the fourth quarter of this year. Santa Barbara has a median home list price of just under half a million dollars, the second highest price in the country. Despite all of these factors, property values have shot up in the region by 11.11% in the most recently recorded 12-month period, one of the largest increases of any major housing market in the country.
Read America’s least affordable cities to buy a home.