The COVID-19 pandemic turned the screws on an already tight U.S. housing market as millions of Americans relocated during the pandemic and prices of building materials rocketed on global supply chain disruptions for everything from lumber to lighting equipment. These are the states where home prices went up the most in the last 12 months.
Nowhere has the tight supply of homes been more apparent than in the Western region of the country, specifically California. Before the pandemic, the difference between family incomes and home prices in the most populous and economically powerful state was already considerably off-kilter.
For example, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median home price in Santa Monica, California, is $1,382,700 million, while the annual median household income is $96,570. Compare that to Riverside, Connecticut, where the median home price is just about the same as in Santa Monica, but the local annual median household income is about $215,791. One the other hand, these are the least expensive towns to buy a home.
To identify the 50 most expensive housing markets in the West, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey five-year estimates, ranking only 1,482 census-designated places, cities, and towns with at least 5,000 residents in the West. It is important that there is no accurate median price for the 16 most expensive markets as they are in the upper category of the ACS of $2 million+.
All but two of the 50 most expensive housing markets in the West are in California. One is in Arizona and the other in Colorado. Median home prices in the most expensive markets range between $1.1 million and over $2 million, while median annual household incomes are between $58,000 and $250,000.