Home prices in most parts of the country are at or near record highs. Among the reasons are low mortgage rates. Also, the COVID-19 pandemic did not undermine the income of most middle- and upper-class Americans. Other reasons have to do with costs. People have left expensive coastal cities like Los Angeles, New York City and San Francisco, which remain extremely expensive. Some people have moved to less expensive inland cities, where they believe lifestyles are better. And the work-from-home movement means some may never move back to offices in those more expensive places to live.
Using data on median home value from the U.S. Census Bureau, 24/7 Wall St. identified the most expensive metro area in which to buy a home in the United States. Most of the metropolitan areas we examined to pick the most expensive are in the western United States, including 17 in California alone.
Still, despite the higher incomes, home values in the metro areas we examined are high enough that buyers are more likely than average to have to rely on a mortgage. High home prices also appear to make homeownership prohibitively costly for many living in expensive places.
To determine the nation’s most expensive metro to buy a home in, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed one-year estimates of median owner-occupied home values from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey (ACS).
We used the 384 metropolitan statistical areas as delineated by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget and used by the Census Bureau as our definition of metros. Metropolitan areas were ranked based on their owner-occupied median home values.
Additional information on median monthly housing costs with a mortgage, the share of owner-occupied housing units that have a mortgage, rates of homeownership and median household income are also one-year estimates from the 2019 ACS.
The most expensive metro to own a home in is San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California. Here are the details:
- Median home value: $1,116,400
- Median monthly housing costs with a mortgage: $3,533 (highest of 384 metros)
- Share of housing units with a mortgage: 67.9% (tied for 51st highest)
- Homeownership rate: 55.2% (tied for 22nd lowest)
- Median household income: $130,865 (highest)