50 Most Expensive Towns in America

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Town life is often stereotyped as simple, idyllic and inexpensive when compared with big-city life — but this doesn’t always ring true. In fact, there are quite a few instances where towns are even more expensive than the cities they’re near. To look at how expensive small-town life can get, LendingTree®, the nation’s leading online loan marketplace, ranked the 50 towns in the United States with the most expensive median home values. Our study also looks at the median income in these towns to determine how attainable homeownership is for the average person living there. What we found: The towns with the most expensive home prices are unaffordable to median income earners who live in those areas.

Key Findings

  • Vineyard Haven, Mass., Summit Park, Utah, and Breckenridge, Colo., are the three most expensive towns in the country. Each of these towns is known for its proximity to natural features like mountain ranges or the ocean. While high levels of wealth tend to pool in these towns, the majority from these areas make an income well under the national household average.
  • The majority of the towns featured in this study are unaffordable for the median income earner living in them. Both renting and owning a home are out of reach for median income earners in 42 of the 50 towns looked at in this study. This suggests that many people who work in the towns featured in these studies don’t necessarily live there, and instead commute.
  • As our study makes clear, living in a small town does not necessarily make the cost of living more affordable. Many people living in the towns featured in our study would have an easier time affording a home in a major metropolitan area than in their current area. That being said, some of these towns are still relatively affordable like Los Alamos, N.M. or Gillette, Wyo.

No. 1: Vineyard Haven, Mass.

  • Total population: 17,321
  • Median individual income: $39,045
  • Median home value: $674,600
  • Affordable housing costs for a median income earner: $911
  • Calculated mortgage payment for a median priced home: $2,767
  • Median rent payment: $1,441
  • Home affordability deficit: –$1,856
  • Rent affordability deficit: –$530

No. 2: Summit Park, Utah

  • Total population: 41,349
  • Median individual income: $41,654
  • Median home value: $558,300
  • Affordable housing costs for a median income earner: $972
  • Calculated mortgage payment for a median priced home: $2,290
  • Median rent payment: $1,230
  • Home affordability deficit: –$1,381
  • Rent affordability deficit: –$258

No. 3: Breckenridge, Colo.

  • Total population: 31,004
  • Median individual income: $31,611
  • Median home value: $547,700
  • Affordable housing costs for a median income earner: $738
  • Calculated mortgage payment for a median priced home: $2,246
  • Median rent payment: $1,343
  • Home affordability deficit: –$1,509
  • Rent affordability deficit: –$605

For the full detailed list and methodology, please visit https://www.lendingtree.com/home/mortgage/most-expensive-towns-in-america/.


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