10 Most Expensive Cities to Buy a Home in the US

Between February and August of this year, Coldwell Banker studied average home prices in nearly 300 markets where the firm operates. The firm tracked the average prices of four bedroom, two bathroom houses in markets across the United States.

The resulting report shows huge differences across the US, with average prices for comparable homes ranging from under $70,000 in Detroit to nearly $2 million in California. Per the report, here are the most expensive places to buy a new home in the United States:

1. Newport Beach, California –  No surprise here. Newport Beach has long been considered among the wealthiest cities in United States, with 25% of its resident incomes exceeding $200,000. It’s not a shocker that an average four bedroom, two bathroom home goes for $1.83 million in Newport Beach.

2. Palo Alto, California –  Standard homes in the San Francisco Bay area home of Stanford University go for an average of $1.48 million.

3. Rye, New York – Average homes in this Westchester County city go for $1.33 million. Rye provides easy access to commuters who work in New York City or Stamford, and is home to Fortune 500 company Jarden.

4. San Francisco, California –  Average homes of the like studied by Coldwell Banker sell for $1.33 million in San Francisco. The city relies on tourism for most of its commerce, but is also home to two professional sports teams and a top 5 medical school, UC San Francisco.

5. La Jolla, California – Owning a home in this southern California resort community comes with a price tag of around $1.21 million. La Jolla is also home to UC San Diego; don’t let the name fool you. (Downtown San Diego is about 12 miles south of La Jolla.)

6. Greenwich, Connecticut –  Thanks to its proximity to New York and an easy 37-minute commute to Grand Central, this Fairfield County town is home to many a hedge fund company, and many a four bedroom home with a price tag of around $1.20 million.

7. Wellesley, Massachusetts – Home to Wellesley and Babson colleges, this Greater Boston town boasts the 70th best high school in the United States (according the US News and World Reports) and typical home prices of around $1.08 million.

8. Pasadena, California – This Los Angeles County city is famous for hosting the Rose Bowl every year. Among its many cultural and educational centers is the California Institute of Technology. Typical homes in Pasadena cost around $1.04 million.

9. Honolulu, Hawaii – The only city outside of the U.S. mainland to make the list, Hawaii’s populously densest city is also the state’s capital. Homes of the like considered by Coldwell Banker run for $1.03 million in Honolulu.

10. Santa Barbara, California – Our last city on the list can boast not just its status as a tourist and resort town, but also five institutes of higher education, including UC Santa Barbara. Homes in the city cost around $1.02 million.

What drives these prices up? Generally, it’s a population of wealthy folk willing, for whatever reason, to pay a premium to live in the area. For example, look no further than Greenwich and Rye for their easy commutes to the city.

Of course, buying a home in one of these cities isn’t the same as buying a home in a cheaper city. Residency in a city comes with benefits and drawbacks, including amenities, entertainment, climate, safety, and the quality of local schools. All of these factors contribute to the market price of homes. Hence the reason a home in Palo Alto costs almost 27 times that of a comparable home in Detroit.

Published or Updated: April 4, 2013
About Rob Berger

Rob founded the Dough Roller in 2007. A litigation attorney in the securities industry, he lives in Northern Virginia with his wife, their two teenagers, and the family mascot, a shih tzu named Sophie.

Comments

  1. Briana @ GBR says:

    As beautiful as some of these cities are, there’s no way I’d pay millions of dollars to live there, when I can pay a modest price for a mortgage and simply go visit :)

  2. RT says:

    I live in an area with high home costs, DC. One advantage to living in an area that has high cost housing, is if you are able to buy a home there, and maybe even a rental property…..come retirement time you can sell your home in that area and buy one for 1/4th of the price in a reasonable area, and have a lot more cash on hand for retirement.

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