The COVID-19 pandemic has ushered in an unprecedented surge in demand for homes in the United States. Inventory is at a record low, as is the average time homes are on the market. Meanwhile, both home prices and the share of homes selling above asking price have reached record highs.
Of course, in some parts of the country, exorbitant home prices are nothing new. Even before the pandemic, there were metro areas across the country where the median home value was over $100,000 higher than the national median of $217,500.
Using data on median home value from the U.S. Census Bureau, 24/7 Wall St. identified the most expensive metro areas to buy a home in the United States. Most of the metropolitan areas on this list are in the Western United States, including 17 in California alone.
Home values in a given area are often a reflection of what residents can afford. And not surprisingly, with only a handful of exceptions, the local median household income exceeds the $65,712 national median in nearly every metro area on this list. Here is a look at the cities where home values are rising fastest.
Still, despite the higher incomes, home values in the metro areas on this list are high enough that buyers are more likely than average to have to rely on a mortgage. In most counties on this list, the share of homeowners who are financing with a mortgage is above the 61.7% share of homeowners with a mortgage nationwide. High home prices also appear to make homeownership prohibitively expensive for many living in these places, as most metro areas on this list have a lower homeownership rate than the 64.1% rate nationwide. Here is a look at the cities where the middle class can no longer afford housing.