America’s 50 most expensive small towns

Lifestyle

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The town-and-country lifestyle is often depicted as simple, idyllic and inexpensive when compared with big-city living, especially when it comes to housing costs. But is this stereotype accurate?

To take a look at how costly buying a house in a small town can get, LendingTree analyzed the 50 towns in the United States with populations under 50,000 that had the most expensive median home values. LendingTree then ranked the towns based on where home values were the highest and also compared home values in these towns to home values in the nation’s 50 largest cities. The goal: To determine whether towns are actually less expensive than cities.

Ultimately, LendingTree found that many towns across the country are chock full of expensive real estate, with prices that rival those common in big cities. These findings suggest that small-town living may not be as affordable as once thought. The real estate mantra, “location, location, location,” holds true even for small towns, but some of them can be pricey.

Why are some towns so expensive?

Though it may seem counterintuitive for a small town to be more expensive than a big city, LendingTree’s study highlights just how often that’s true. Unfortunately, while home prices in towns are frequently just as costly as they are in cities, incomes in small towns are usually lower.

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For those struggling to afford a home, there are many loan programs that can help make homeownership a more achievable goal, especially for buyers with lower incomes. For example, loans backed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) can help buyers living in USDA-eligible rural areas avoid making a down payment on a home and get a low mortgage rate. Loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) are another option for potential buyers who have little cash saved for a down payment or those who have less-than-stellar credit.

Methodology

All of the data used in this study comes from the 2018 American Community Survey with 5-Year Estimates. For the purposes of this analysis, LendingTree used micropolitan-level data for areas with a population of 50,000 people or less to approximate town-level data, and metropolitan-level data to approximate city-level data.

For each town, the home value-to-income ratio was calculated by dividing an area’s median home value by its median household income. The larger the ratio, the more expensive homes are relative to an area’s median income.

50. Evanston, Wyoming

Image: Jeffrey Beall

  • Total population: 20,609
  • Median household income: $58,235
  • Median home value: $177,500
  • Home value to income ratio: 3.05
  • City with comparable median home value: Houston
  • Median home value – comparable city: $179,100
  • Home value to income ratio – comparable city: 2.74

49. Spirit Lake, Iowa

Image: Skywayman at English Wikipedia (public domain)

  • Total population: 17,056
  • Median household income: $58,099
  • Median home value: $179,300
  • Home value to income ratio: 3.09
  • City with comparable median home value: Houston
  • Median home value – comparable city: $179,100
  • Home value to income ratio – comparable city: 2.74

48. Cambridge, Maryland

Image: James_Lane

  • Total population: 32,261
  • Median household income: $52,145
  • Median home value: $179,300
  • Home value to income ratio: 3.44
  • City with comparable median home value: Houston
  • Median home value – comparable city: $179,100
  • Home value to income ratio – comparable city: 2.74

47. Lewisburg, Pennsylvania

Image: Doug Kerr

  • Total population: 45,114
  • Median household income: $56,026
  • Median home value: $180,200
  • Home value to income ratio: 3.22
  • City with comparable median home value: Houston
  • Median home value – comparable city: $179,100
  • Home value to income ratio – comparable city: 2.74

46. La Grande, Oregon

Image: Publichall at English Wikipedia

  • Total population: 26,028
  • Median household income: $48,617
  • Median home value: $181,800
  • Home value to income ratio: 3.74
  • City with comparable median home value: Houston
  • Median home value – comparable city: $179,100
  • Home value to income ratio – comparable city: 2.74

45. Fort Morgan, Missouri

Image: eyecrave

  • Total population: 28,257
  • Median household income: $51,626
  • Median home value: $183,900
  • Home value to income ratio: 3.56
  • City with comparable median home value: Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Median home value – comparable city: $187,700
  • Home value to income ratio – comparable city: 3.09

44. Susanville, California

Image: ShakataGaNai

  • Total population: 31,185
  • Median household income: $56,362
  • Median home value: $184,200
  • Home value to income ratio: 3.27
  • City with comparable median home value: Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Median home value – comparable city: $187,700
  • Home value to income ratio – comparable city: 3.09

43. Vernal, Utah

Image: InSapphoWeTrust

  • Total population: 36,323
  • Median household income: $66,736
  • Median home value: $191,900
  • Home value to income ratio: 2.88
  • City with comparable median home value: Dallas
  • Median home value – comparable city: $193,100
  • Home value to income ratio – comparable city: 2.88

42. Cullowhee, North Carolina

Image: RichardKenni

  • Total population: 42,256
  • Median household income: $44,028
  • Median home value: $192,300
  • Home value to income ratio: 4.37
  • City with comparable median home value: Dallas
  • Median home value – comparable city: $193,100
  • Home value to income ratio – comparable city: 2.88

41. Riverton, Wyoming

Image: Chevsapher

  • Total population: 40,076
  • Median household income: $54,242
  • Median home value: $194,100
  • Home value to income ratio: 3.58
  • City with comparable median home value: Dallas
  • Median home value – comparable city: $193,100
  • Home value to income ratio – comparable city: 2.88

40. Red Wing, Minnesota

Image: Tony Webster

  • Total population: 46,217
  • Median household income: $64,765
  • Median home value: $196,100
  • Home value to income ratio: 3.03
  • City with comparable median home value: Dallas
  • Median home value – comparable city: $193,100
  • Home value to income ratio – comparable city: 2.88

39. The Dalles, Oregon

Image: Sam Beebe/Ecotrust

  • Total population:  25,866
  • Median household income: $50,973
  • Median home value: $199,700
  • Home value to income ratio: 3.92
  • City with comparable median home value: Atlanta
  • Median home value – comparable city: $199,200
  • Home value to income ratio – comparable city: 3.08

38. Cedar City, Utah

Image: ” 4kodiak”

  • Total population:  49,691
  • Median household income: $46,809
  • Median home value: $201,400
  • Home value to income ratio: 4.3
  • City with comparable median home value: Orlando, Florida
  • Median home value – comparable city: $201,600
  • Home value to income ratio – comparable city: 3.66

37. Spearfish, South Dakota

Image: RiverNorthPhotography

  • Total population:  25,234
  • Median household income: $52,245
  • Median home value: $203,000
  • Home value to income ratio: 3.89
  • City with comparable median home value: Orlando, Florida
  • Median home value – comparable city: $201,600
  • Home value to income ratio – comparable city: 3.66

36. Crescent City, California

Image: Robert Campbell

  • Total population:  27,424
  • Median household income: $45,258
  • Median home value: $204,000
  • Home value to income ratio: 4.51
  • City with comparable median home value: Milwaukee
  • Median home value – comparable city: $204,700
  • Home value to income ratio – comparable city: 3.43

35. Rock Springs, Wyoming

Image: Milonica

  • Total population: 44,117
  • Median household income: $73,008
  • Median home value: $205,800
  • Home value to income ratio: 2.8
  • City with comparable median home value: Milwaukee
  • Median home value – comparable city: $204,700
  • Home value to income ratio – comparable city: 3.43

34. Ruidoso, New Mexico

Image: Davel5957

  • Total population:  19,482
  • Median household income: $42,267
  • Median home value: $206,600
  • Home value to income ratio: 4.89
  • City with comparable median home value: Milwaukee
  • Median home value – comparable city: $204,700
  • Home value to income ratio – comparable city: 3.43

33. Pullman, Washington

Image: Joe Mabel

  • Total population: 48,593
  • Median household income: $42,163
  • Median home value:  $208,200
  • Home value to income ratio: 4.94
  • City with comparable median home value: Milwaukee
  • Median home value – comparable city: $204,700
  • Home value to income ratio – comparable city: 3.43

32. Bennington, Vermont

Image: Daniel Case

  • Total population:  35,920
  • Median household income: $53,040
  • Median home value: $209,100
  • Home value to income ratio: 3.94
  • City with comparable median home value: Milwaukee
  • Median home value – comparable city: $204,700
  • Home value to income ratio – comparable city: 3.43

31. Alexandria, Minnesota

Image: McGhiever

  • Total population: 37,203
  • Median household income: $60,676
  • Median home value: $209,800
  • Home value to income ratio: 3.46
  • City with comparable median home value: Milwaukee
  • Median home value – comparable city: $204,700
  • Home value to income ratio – comparable city: 3.43

30. Brevard, North Carolina

Image: Gmgmarshall [Public domain]

  • Total population:  33,513
  • Median household income: $46,629
  • Median home value: $211,300
  • Home value to income ratio: 4.53
  • City with comparable median home value: Nashville
  • Median home value – comparable city: $217,500
  • Home value to income ratio – comparable city: 3.47

29. Montrose, Colorado

Image: Felipecbg

  • Total population:  41,268
  • Median household income: $48,739
  • Median home value: $212,900
  • Home value to income ratio: 4.37
  • City with comparable median home value: Nashville
  • Median home value – comparable city: $217,500
  • Home value to income ratio – comparable city: 3.47

28. Prineville, Oregon

Image: Mïk Watson

  • Total population:  22,337
  • Median household income: $44,524
  • Median home value: $213,000
  • Home value to income ratio: 4.78
  • City with comparable median home value: Nashville
  • Median home value – comparable city: $217,500
  • Home value to income ratio – comparable city: 3.47

27. Moscow, Idaho

Image: Jeremy Segrott

  • Total population:  39,239
  • Median household income: $45,466
  • Median home value: $213,600
  • Home value to income ratio: 4.7
  • City with comparable median home value: Nashville
  • Median home value – comparable city: $217,500
  • Home value to income ratio – comparable city: 3.47

26. Gillette, Wyoming

Image: MyName

  • Total population: 47,708
  • Median household income: $79,916
  • Median home value: $220,200
  • Home value to income ratio: 2.76
  • City with comparable median home value: Nashville
  • Median home value – comparable city: $217,500
  • Home value to income ratio – comparable city: 3.47

25. Laramie, Wyoming

Image: Public domain

  • Total population: 38,102
  • Median household income: $46,865
  • Median home value: $226,900
  • Home value to income ratio: 4.84
  • City with comparable median home value: Richmond, Virginia
  • Median home value – comparable city: $228,700
  • Home value to income ratio – comparable city: 3.45

24. Newport, Oregon

Image: DepositPhotos.com

  • Total population: 47,881
  • Median household income: $46,061
  • Median home value: $233,400
  • Home value to income ratio: 5.07
  • City with comparable median home value: Phoenix
  • Median home value – comparable city: $234,300
  • Home value to income ratio – comparable city: 3.84

23. Sandpoint, Idaho

Image: jlh_lunasea

  • Total population: 42,711
  • Median household income: $48,710
  • Median home value: $233,900
  • Home value to income ratio: 4.8
  • City with comparable median home value: Phoenix
  • Median home value – comparable city: $234,300
  • Home value to income ratio – comparable city: 3.84

22. Taos, New Mexico

Image: Sean Pavone/iStock

  • Total population: 32,888
  • Median household income: $36,758
  • Median home value: $236,600
  • Home value to income ratio: 6.44
  • City with comparable median home value: Raleigh, North Carolina
  • Median home value – comparable city: $236,200
  • Home value to income ratio – comparable city: 3.27

21. Dickinson, North Dakota

Image: sequential5

  • Total population:  30,876
  • Median household income: $75,708
  • Median home value:  $238,100
  • Home value to income ratio: 3.14
  • City with comparable median home value: Las Vegas
  • Median home value – comparable city: $238,300
  • Home value to income ratio – comparable city: 4.2

20. Brookings, Oregon

Image: DepositPhotos.com

  • Total population: 22,507
  • Median household income: $46,396
  • Median home value: $251,500
  • Home value to income ratio: 5.42
  • City with comparable median home value: Hartford, Connecticut
  • Median home value – comparable city: $246,600
  • Home value to income ratio – comparable city: 3.26

19. Williston, North Dakota

Image: DepositPhotos.com

  • Total population: 34,061
  • Median household income: $86,575
  • Median home value: $256,000
  • Home value to income ratio: 2.96
  • City with comparable median home value: Miami
  • Median home value – comparable city: $259,300
  • Home value to income ratio – comparable city: 4.78

18. Sheridan, Wyoming

Image: Vasiliymeshko

  • Total population:  30,012
  • Median household income: $58,521
  • Median home value: $261,500
  • Home value to income ratio: 4.47
  • City with comparable median home value: Austin, Texas
  • Median home value – comparable city: $261,400
  • Home value to income ratio – comparable city: 3.57

17. Astoria, Oregon

Image: DepositPhotos.com

  • Total population: 38,562
  • Median household income: $52,583
  • Median home value: $268,100
  • Home value to income ratio: 5.1
  • City with comparable median home value: Providence, Rhode Island
  • Median home value – comparable city: $266,700
  • Home value to income ratio – comparable city: 4.15

16. Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina

Image: Pixabay.com

  • Total population:  39,860
  • Median household income: $56,123
  • Median home value: $270,600
  • Home value to income ratio: 4.82
  • City with comparable median home value: Salt Lake City
  • Median home value – comparable city: $276,200
  • Home value to income ratio – comparable city: 3.88

15. Ketchikan, Alaska

Image: DepositPhotos.com

  • Total population: 13,804
  • Median household income: $70,356
  • Median home value: $272,300
  • Home value to income ratio: 3.87
  • City with comparable median home value: Salt Lake City
  • Median home value – comparable city: $276,200
  • Home value to income ratio – comparable city: 3.88

14. Ellensburg, Washington

Image: DepositPhotos.com

  • Total population: 44,825
  • Median household income: $55,193
  • Median home value: $275,000
  • Home value to income ratio: 4.98
  • City with comparable median home value: Salt Lake City
  • Median home value – comparable city: $276,200
  • Home value to income ratio – comparable city: 3.88

13. Fredericksburg, Texas

Image: Hot Furnace

  • Total population: 26,208
  • Median household income: $58,325
  • Median home value: $276,100
  • Home value to income ratio: 4.73
  • City with comparable median home value: Salt Lake City
  • Median home value – comparable city: $276,200
  • Home value to income ratio – comparable city: 3.88

12. Los Alamos, New Mexico

Image: Google Maps

  • Total population: 18,356
  • Median household income: $115,248
  • Median home value: $292,200
  • Home value to income ratio: 2.54
  • City with comparable median home value: Baltimore, Maryland
  • Median home value – comparable city: $292,500
  • Home value to income ratio – comparable city: 3.72

11. Easton, Maryland

Image: David Steele

  • Total population: 37,211
  • Median household income: $67,204
  • Median home value:  $331,500
  • Home value to income ratio: 4.93
  • City with comparable median home value: Riverside, California
  • Median home value – comparable city: $320,400
  • Home value to income ratio – comparable city: 5.14

10. Hailey, Idaho

Image: Acroterion

  • Total population: 28,201
  • Median household income: $51,207
  • Median home value: $340,800
  • Home value to income ratio: 6.66
  • City with comparable median home value: Portland, Oregon
  • Median home value – comparable city: $342,900
  • Home value to income ratio – comparable city: 4.85

9. Juneau, Alaska

Image: DepositPhotos.com

  • Total population:  32,330
  • Median household income: $88,213
  • Median home value: $344,000
  • Home value to income ratio: 3.9
  • City with comparable median home value: Portland, Oregon
  • Median home value – comparable city: $342,900
  • Home value to income ratio – comparable city: 4.85

8. Gardnerville Ranchos, Nevada

Image: Google Maps

  • Total population: 47,828
  • Median household income: $62,503
  • Median home value: $346,500
  • Home value to income ratio: 5.54
  • City with comparable median home value: Portland, Oregon
  • Median home value – comparable city: $342,900
  • Home value to income ratio – comparable city: 4.85

7. Hood River, Oregon

Image: Pixabay.com

  • Total population:  23,131
  • Median household income: $62,935
  • Median home value: $355,100
  • Home value to income ratio: 5.64
  • City with comparable median home value: Denver
  • Median home value – comparable city: $350,500
  • Home value to income ratio – comparable city: 4.64

6. Heber, Utah

Image: Public domain

  • Total population: 30,523
  • Median household income: $77,449
  • Median home value: $388,900
  • Home value to income ratio: 5.02
  • City with comparable median home value: Seattle
  • Median home value – comparable city: $397,000
  • Home value to income ratio – comparable city: 4.83

5. Steamboat Springs, Colorado

Image: tupungato/iStock

  • Total population: 24,874
  • Median household income: $74,273
  • Median home value: $510,600
  • Home value to income ratio: 6.87
  • City with comparable median home value: San Diego
  • Median home value – comparable city: $526,300
  • Home value to income ratio – comparable city: 7.03

4. Breckenridge, Colorado

Image: Av9

  • Total population: 30,429
  • Median household income: $77,589
  • Median home value: $563,000
  • Home value to income ratio: 7.26
  • City with comparable median home value: Los Angeles
  • Median home value – comparable city: $579,500
  • Home value to income ratio – comparable city: 8.38

3. Jackson, Wyoming

Image: undefined undefined / iStock

  • Total population: 34,139
  • Median household income: $78,452
  • Median home value: $563,100
  • Home value-to-income ratio: 7.18
  • City with comparable median home value: Los Angeles
  • Median home value — comparable city: $579,500
  • Home value-to-income ratio — comparable city: 8.38

2. Summit Park, Utah

Image: An Errant Knight

  • Total population: 40,511
  • Median household income: $100,453
  • Median home value: $598,900
  • Home value-to-income ratio: 5.96
  • City with comparable median home value: Los Angeles
  • Median home value — comparable city: $579,500
  • Home value-to-income ratio — comparable city: 8.38

1. Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts

Image: Massachusetts Office Of Travel & Tourism Follow

  • Total population: 17,321
  • Median household income: $71,224
  • Median home value: $667,400
  • Home value-to-income ratio: 9.37
  • City with comparable median home value: Los Angeles
  • Median home value — comparable city: $579,500
  • Home value-to-income ratio — comparable city: 8.38

This article originally appeared on LendingTree.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

Main image Credit: Milonica 

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