Before relocating to a new city, it is critical to investigate the cost of living. Knowing the price of real estate and the situation of the market is critical if you intend to buy a home. These are the most expensive places to live, whether you’re wanting to relocate after winning the lottery or want to know which sections of the country to avoid if you want to save money. These cities demand the greatest wealth to live comfortably, based on the median gross rent and annual housing expenditures for mortgage-paying homeowners in each metro region.


No matter how you look at it, living in the city is expensive. However, this expense is justified. Cities are teeming with opportunities to develop one’s profession. They are cultural and entertainment hotspots.

We looked at the cost per square foot, median listing price, and median selling price to compile this list of the most costly cities. Following that, we computed the cost of a 5% down payment. This is the lowest percentage required for the majority of conventional mortgages.

The national average cost per square foot is $144, and the median listing price is $228,200.

This study also indicates if these cities are buyer’s or seller’s markets, which is not included in the ranking. For buyers, a seller’s market is more competitive, with homes selling rapidly and frequently above the asking price. A buyer’s market is the inverse: houses stay on the market longer and sell for less than the asking price. A neutral market indicates that residences sell for close to their asking price and in a reasonable amount of time.

Most other lists like this one include the cost of living, the cost of commodities, and the average salary. We wanted to take a unique approach and focus entirely on the expense of purchasing real estate. We compiled this list to show you what kind of market to expect when purchasing in the most costly cities in the United States.

#1. San Francisco, California

San Francisco is a major hub for technological jobs in the United States. Thousands of tech firms have their headquarters in the neighboring Silicon Valley. Apple, Intel, Facebook, and Tesla are all close, contributing billions of dollars to the neighborhood.

San Francisco has a rich cultural history as well. From the beat writers of the 1950s to the hippies of the 1960s to the inauguration of one of the world’s oldest and longest-running LGBTQ Pride festivals in 1972, San Francisco has been a center of expressive and progressive culture.

San Francisco is the most expensive city in the United States to buy a property because of its thriving tech economy and rising housing demand. San Francisco takes the top spot on our list with a median selling price of more than $1.3 million.

To put this in context, a three-bedroom house in rural Ohio might be purchased for the cost of the average 5% down payment. That is, however, rural Ohio. We’re talking about San Francisco here.

#2. Manhattan, New York

Manhattan has the highest cost per square foot in the United States. In fact, the cost of one square foot in Manhattan is comparable to the typical monthly mortgage payment in the United States.

People flock to Manhattan, though, because it is home to the United Nations headquarters and Wall Street, as well as a renowned cultural center. Manhattan, one of the five boroughs of the City That Never Sleeps, is the origin of New York City, the most densely inhabited city in the United States.

Manhattan is a thriving business district featuring some of the world’s most iconic attractions, including Central Park, the Empire State Building, and the Statue of Liberty. It also has Broadway theaters, numerous prominent art museums, Greenwich Village, and prestigious schools like Juilliard and New York University.

With everything it has to offer, it’s no surprise that a piece of Manhattan is expensive.

#3. San Jose, California

San Jose is third on our list, with a median listing price that is more than four times the national average. San Jose, like San Francisco, is the heart of Silicon Valley’s tech powerhouse, with major companies such as eBay, Adobe, Hewlett Packard, and PayPal based there.

San Jose has become a wealthy city as a result of its inventive reputation. San Jose’s cost of living is among the highest in the country due to its high home costs.

Despite this, San Jose’s population continues to rise due to the abundance of opportunities and the wonderful Mediterranean environment.

#4. Bethesda, Maryland

If this list were solely based on price per square foot, Bethesda would be significantly lower on the list. However, with a listing price that is more than five times the national average, Bethesda is fourth on our list.

Bethesda is an outlier in this regard. It’s not technically a city; it’s an unincorporated, census-designated place. With a population of just over 63,000 people, it is by far the least inhabited location on our list.

Having said that, Bethesda is located on the outskirts of Washington, D.C., and is home to key federal organizations such as the National Institutes of Health, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and the Naval Surface Warfare Center Carderock Division.

Along with the federal presence, this small, upscale community is home to defense contractor Lockheed Martin, hotel chain Marriott International, and software company Bethesda Softworks.

#5. Brooklyn, New York

Brooklyn is ranked fifth, the second of New York’s five boroughs to make the list. Brooklyn is one of the most expensive places to live in, with a median listing price that is more than three times the national average. If this ranking were arranged by price per square foot, Brooklyn would come in fourth, at roughly five times the national average.

Brooklyn is a popular destination to live in due to its proximity to Manhattan, hip districts, and growing tech and art scenes. Brooklyn’s popularity has resulted in a considerable increase in housing expenses during the last ten years.

Nonetheless, Brooklyn, unlike many gentrifying communities, retains a significant level of diversity. Its many communities are home to a diverse range of cultures, races, and religions. Brooklyn continues to portray New York City as an immigrant city.

#6. Los Angeles, California

Los Angeles, the City of Angels, is ranked sixth. LA is a center for entertainment and the arts because it is the home of Hollywood. Many aspiring actors, musicians, and artists flock there in the hopes of making it big.

Los Angeles is one of the most important cultural centers in the United States, with landmarks such as the Hollywood Bowl, Capitol Records Building, Griffith Observatory, and Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.

Because of its Mediterranean climate, it is warm all year, only a few degrees cooler than a tropical environment. The natural grandeur of the Santa Monica Mountains surrounds it.

The city, like the San Francisco Bay Area, has a high rate of homelessness as a result of economic hardship and a shortage of affordable housing. People are still moving to the city, and its population is expected to exceed 4 million by 2020.

#7. Boston, Massachusetts

Boston ranks seventh on this ranking, with the third-highest price per square foot. Nonetheless, with a typical selling price half that of San Francisco, Boston may appear to be a steal.

Boston is a thriving research hub, home to several of the world’s best colleges and universities. Boston is a global leader in the sciences due to its strengths in medicine, engineering, and biotechnology.

The city is also significant in American culture, with several crucial events of the American Revolution taking place in or near the city. Boston also features a number of civically financed institutions, such as the Boston Public Library, Symphony Hall, and the Museum of Fine Arts.

Sadly, Boston is regarded as the most racist city in the United States. The Boston Globe commissioned a survey in 2017 that found Boston to be the least hospitable to people of color among eight large cities. Boston has a bad reputation due to its history as a major slave trafficking port, as well as decades of racially contentious corporate and governmental activities.

#8. Oakland, California

Oakland, the third city on our list in the San Francisco Bay Area, has a typical selling price that is more than three times the average American home. But Oakland is not your typical American city.

The Port of Oakland is the fifth busiest in the United States. The city is home to prominent enterprises such as Kaiser Permanente and Clorox, as well as businesses such as Pandora Radio and Southwest Airlines.

Oakland is home to a plethora of dynamic and diverse neighborhoods. It is well-known for its inventive and imaginative food, which draws on the multicultural origins of its population. It boasts a thriving art culture due to its proximity to the art town of Berkeley, California. Oakland is also a haven for musicians of all kinds, from heavy metal to gospel to rap.

#9. Seattle, Washington

Seattle is the ninth most expensive city in the United States to live in for real estate. Seattle is a city of opportunity and innovation, as it is home to big tech businesses such as Microsoft and Amazon. Because of its progressive-leaning population and wealth, Seattle enacted a law in 2014 raising the city’s minimum wage to $15 per hour.

Seattle is also well-known for its vibrant music scene. It’s Jimi Hendrix’s birthplace and the old haunts of Ray Charles and Quincy Jones. It’s also the home of bands like the Foo Fighters, Modest Mouse, and Mudhoney.

Seattle is overcrowded as a result of its popularity. In July 2020, more than 32% of properties sold for more than the asking price. Because of its growing population and scarcity of homes, Seattle has become a seller’s market. This is plainly seen by how much higher the median selling price is than the median listing price.

#10. Honolulu, Hawaii

Honolulu comes in at number ten on the list. It may be more expensive per square foot than the other places to live on our list, but no one goes to Honolulu to stay indoors. Honolulu is many people’s idea of paradise, with its consistently mild temperatures, beautiful beaches, and neighboring mountains.

Honolulu has a high cost of living since it is the most isolated metropolitan metropolis on the planet. The majority of food must be imported, and electricity costs 94% more than in the average American city.

However, the median property value in Honolulu has declined in recent years, and evidence indicates that this trend will continue. Tourism is the area’s most important industry, and with issues like COVID-19 and the impact of climate change on real estate prices, the area’s economy is suffering greatly.

Honolulu’s inherent beauty endures. Its culture is distinct, influenced by both the Americas and Asia. If you want to own a piece of this paradise and have a steady income, now would be a good time to buy.

As you may have seen, the majority of these cities are on either the East or West coasts. Four of these cities are in California, with three of them in the affluent San Francisco Bay Area. Two of these are boroughs of New York City. In fact, the only city not on either coast is Honolulu, and it’s on a beautiful island.

Cities near bodies of water are desirable not only for the weather or the landscape. They are also trade hubs, with ports that move goods. Any products arriving from Europe, Africa, or Asia must pass through a coastal port.

Many of the cities on this list have structured their economies around multiple sources of revenue. Oakland has a busy port, but it’s also a tech hotspot. Like other prosperous cities, its proximity to art and culture hotspots attracts visitors and keeps them engaged in the city.

If you’re thinking of settling in one of these cities, you should know what to anticipate. Most people’s largest investment is in a home. In locations like San Francisco and New York, your mortgage and down payment will be several times higher than the national average.

Because of everything these cities have to offer, real estate in these cities is pricey. These cities are enticing to a wide range of individuals due to their proximity to natural beauty, the abundance of high-paying jobs, innovative science institutes, and the abundance of art and culture. Applying the basic economic idea of supply and demand explains why.

What are the Three Most Expensive Places To Live in the US?

According to the Council for Community and Economic Research, the three most expensive cities in America to live in are New York City’s Manhattan Borough, Honolulu, and San Francisco.
The organization publishes quarterly updates on the cost of living in the most expensive cities.

Why are Some of the Places To Live In The US Expensive?

The cost of living in cities, particularly major metropolises, is affected by a variety of factors. One of the most obvious reasons is the cost of housing, regardless of whether you rent or buy. Other factors to consider are gas and transportation costs, taxes, child care, insurance, and utilities. Prices are often driven up by supply and demand.


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