The 50 most expensive towns in America

FeaturedMoney

Written by:

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 take a look at how expensive town life can get, LendingTree, the nation’s largest 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.

Ultimately, our study indicates that people who live in towns can experience the same kinds of issues related to housing affordability and wealth inequality as city dwellers. In some cases, these issues can be even more prevalent in towns than in cities.

Image Credit: DepositPhotos.com.

______________________

SPONSORED: Find a Qualified Financial Advisor

1. Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn't have to be hard. SmartAsset's free tool matches you with up to 3 fiduciary financial advisors in your area in 5 minutes.

2. Each advisor has been vetted by SmartAsset and is held to a fiduciary standard to act in your best interests. If you're ready to be matched with local advisors that can help you achieve your financial goals get started now.

______________________

 

 

 

Why are some towns so expensive?

Typically, people who live in more rural areas make less money than their urban counterparts, but they are also more likely to have a lower cost of living than those in urban areas. As a result, many towns are affordable, and, in some cases, they may be more affordable and have lower rates of poverty than cities.

But, as our data shows, there are many towns where home prices are as expensive, if not more expensive, than home prices in the country’s largest cities. Unfortunately, while home prices in these towns are as high as they would be in a big city, incomes are not.

While it may seem counterintuitive that there would be such a large supply of homes unaffordable for the majority of people in an area, it makes some sense because many of the most expensive towns in the country are considered “resort” or “destination” towns. In other words, they are places where large numbers of people (usually wealthy) visit during certain times of the year.

For example, the Jackson area in Wyoming and Idaho is renowned for its luxury ski resorts and proximity to Yellowstone National Park. Vineyard Haven, Mass., is located on Martha’s Vineyard, a common vacation spot for the wealthy from nearby cities like Boston or New York.

Because many people who live in these towns do not live there year-round, and otherwise make the bulk of their income elsewhere, they can afford to buy homes well outside of the price range of the average townsperson. This demand for expensive luxury homes, as well as certain building restrictions in towns like Jackson, cause home prices to skyrocket and help lead to serious income and wealth inequality.

Though home affordability may be a challenge in many towns across the country, there are certain programs that can help make buying a home a more achievable goal. For example, USDA loans can help families living in rural areas avoid making a down payment on a home and get a lower interest rate on home loans. FHA loans are another option for families who are struggling to buy a home due to an insufficient amount of cash for a down payment or a weak credit score.

While these programs likely won’t make a $600,000 home affordable to a person making $30,000 a year, they should nonetheless be able to help many families who live in the towns featured in this study.

Image Credit: DepositPhotos.com.

Methodology

All of the data used in this study comes from the 2017 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates (the most recent survey which has the data necessary to perform this study). For the purposes of this study, we used micropolitan level data to approximate town level data.

When determining whether or not a home is affordable, we assume that an income earner will be able to afford a 20% down payment on the median home value in their area, and that they will receive a mortgage loan with a rate of 4.6% (the average rate offered to Americans). By using that data, we calculated the likely monthly payment and down payment for a median-priced home in a given micropolitan area.

We calculate an “affordable” monthly mortgage payment based on the “28% rule,” which says that a person should not spend more than 28% of their yearly gross salary on yearly costs related to housing. This rule, while not necessarily applicable to everyone, is useful for homebuyers to keep in mind, as it helps to ensure that they are not overspending on their home and leaving too little money for other expenses.

By subtracting the monthly housing payment that is affordable to an income earner in the geographies highlighted in our study from the calculated housing payment that would be required to purchase a home valued at the median level, we are able to determine whether or not an average townsperson can afford to purchase a home in the town that they live in.

Image Credit: DepositPhotos.com.

50. Craig, Colorado

  • Total population: 13,095
  • Median individual income: $30,629
  • Median home value: $169,200
  • Calculated mortgage payment for a median priced home: $694
  • Median rent payment: $732
  • Home affordability deficit: $21
  • Rent affordability deficit: -$17

Image Credit: Jeffrey Beall.

49 Pierre, South Dakota

  • Total population: 22,073
  • Median individual income: $35,806
  • Median home value: $169,900
  • Calculated mortgage payment for a median priced home: $697
  • Median rent payment: $626
  • Home affordability deficit: $139
  • Rent affordability deficit: $209

Image Credit: DepositPhotos.com.

48. Ruidoso, New Mexico

  • Total population: 19,483
  • Median individual income: $24,172
  • Median home value: $171,900
  • Calculated mortgage payment for a median priced home: $705
  • Median rent payment: $727
  • Home affordability deficit: -$141
  • Rent affordability deficit: -$163

Image Credit: Public domain.

47. La Grande, Oregon

  • Total population: 26,286
  • Median individual income: $24,547
  • Median home value: $172,100
  • Calculated mortgage payment for a median priced home: $706
  • Median rent payment: $746
  • Home affordability deficit: -$133
  • Rent affordability deficit: -$173

Image Credit: Publichall at English Wikipedia.

46. Lewisburg, Pennsylvania

  • Total population: 44,756
  • Median individual income: $24,307
  • Median home value: $172,200
  • Calculated mortgage payment for a median priced home: $706
  • Median rent payment: $733
  • Home affordability deficit: -$139
  • Rent affordability deficit: -$166

Image Credit: Doug Kerr.

45. Spirit Lake, Iowa

  • Total population: 17,173
  • Median individual income: $31,958
  • Median home value: $175,900
  • Calculated mortgage payment for a median priced home: $721
  • Median rent payment: $743
  • Home affordability deficit: $24
  • Rent affordability deficit: $3

Image Credit: Skywayman at English Wikipedia (public domain).

44. Cullowhee, North Carolina

  • Total population: 43,192
  • Median individual income: $23,078
  • Median home value: $177,200
  • Calculated mortgage payment for a median priced home: $727
  • Median rent payment: $717
  • Home affordability deficit: -$188
  • Rent affordability deficit: -$179

Image Credit: RichardKenni.

43. Susanville, California

  • Total population: 31,123
  • Median individual income: $33,927
  • Median home value: $177,500
  • Calculated mortgage payment for a median priced home: $728
  • Median rent payment: $942
  • Home affordability deficit: $64
  • Rent affordability deficit: -$150

Image Credit: ShakataGaNai.

42. Evanston, Wyoming

  • Total population: 20,456
  • Median individual income: $28,175
  • Median home value: $178,400
  • Calculated mortgage payment for a median priced home: $732
  • Median rent payment: $652
  • Home affordability deficit: -$74
  • Rent affordability deficit: $5

Image Credit: Publichall .

41. Cambridge, Maryland

  • Total population: 32,145
  • Median individual income: $30,444
  • Median home value: $179,300
  • Calculated mortgage payment for a median priced home: $735
  • Median rent payment: $869
  • Home affordability deficit: -$25
  • Rent affordability deficit: -$159

Image Credit: Flickr user: Elie Pousson .

40. Crescent City, California

  • Total population: 27,428
  • Median individual income: $24,127
  • Median home value: $185,900
  • Calculated mortgage payment for a median priced home: $762
  • Median rent payment: $826
  • Home affordability deficit: -$199
  • Rent affordability deficit: -$263

Image Credit: Robert Campbell .

39 Prineville, Oregon

  • Total population: 23,091
  • Median individual income: $24,842
  • Median home value: $187,200
  • Calculated mortgage payment for a median priced home: $768
  • Median rent payment: $821
  • Home affordability deficit: -$188
  • Rent affordability deficit: -$241

Image Credit: Mïk Watson .

38. Spearfish, South Dakota

  • Total population: 25,606
  • Median individual income: $26,204
  • Median home value: $189,200
  • Calculated mortgage payment for a median priced home: $776
  • Median rent payment: $687
  • Home affordability deficit: -$165
  • Rent affordability deficit: -$76

Image Credit: JERRYE AND ROY KLOTZ MD .

37. Riverton, Wyoming

  • Total population: 39,834
  • Median individual income: $28,837
  • Median home value: $189,700
  • Calculated mortgage payment for a median priced home: $778
  • Median rent payment: $742
  • Home affordability deficit: -$105
  • Rent affordability deficit: -$69

Image Credit: Chevsapher .

36. The Dalles, Oregon

  • Total population: 26,321
  • Median individual income: $29,011
  • Median home value: $191,400
  • Calculated mortgage payment for a median priced home: $785
  • Median rent payment: $743
  • Home affordability deficit: -$108
  • Rent affordability deficit: -$66

Image Credit: Sam Beebe/Ecotrust.

35. Red Wing, Minnesota

  • Total population: 46,334
  • Median individual income: $35,877
  • Median home value: $191,400
  • Calculated mortgage payment for a median priced home: $785
  • Median rent payment: $779
  • Home affordability deficit: $52
  • Rent affordability deficit: $58

Image Credit: Tony Webster.

34. Vernal, Utah

  • Total population: 35,219
  • Median individual income: $32,144
  • Median home value: $194,800
  • Calculated mortgage payment for a median priced home: $799
  • Median rent payment: $952
  • Home affordability deficit: -$49
  • Rent affordability deficit: -$202

Image Credit: InSapphoWeTrust .

33. Alexandria, Minnesota

  • Total population: 37,556
  • Median individual income: $32,785
  • Median home value: $197,200
  • Calculated mortgage payment for a median priced home: $809
  • Median rent payment: $737
  • Home affordability deficit: -$44
  • Rent affordability deficit: $28

Image Credit: McGhiever.

32. Pullman, Washington

  • Total population: 49,344
  • Median individual income: $14,422
  • Median home value: $199,400
  • Calculated mortgage payment for a median priced home: $818
  • Median rent payment: $737
  • Home affordability deficit: -$481
  • Rent affordability deficit: -$400

Image Credit: Joe Mabel .

31. Rock Springs, Wyoming

  • Total population: 43,547
  • Median individual income: $35,542
  • Median home value: $201,000
  • Calculated mortgage payment for a median priced home: $824
  • Median rent payment: $870
  • Home affordability deficit: $5
  • Rent affordability deficit: -$41

Image Credit: Milonica .

30. Brevard, North Carolina

  • Total population: 33,825
  • Median individual income: $21,624
  • Median home value: $202,100
  • Calculated mortgage payment for a median priced home: $829
  • Median rent payment: $680
  • Home affordability deficit: -$324
  • Rent affordability deficit: -$175

Image Credit: Gmgmarshall [Public domain].

29. Montrose, Colorado

  • Total population: 41,785
  • Median individual income: $27,684
  • Median home value: $202,500
  • Calculated mortgage payment for a median priced home: $830
  • Median rent payment: $838
  • Home affordability deficit: -$185
  • Rent affordability deficit: -$192

Image Credit: Felipecbg .

28. Moscow, Idaho

  • Total population: 39,714
  • Median individual income: $19,828
  • Median home value: $207,200
  • Calculated mortgage payment for a median priced home: $850
  • Median rent payment: $675
  • Home affordability deficit: -$387
  • Rent affordability deficit: -$212

Image Credit: Jeremy Segrott.

27. Bennington, Vermont

  • Total population: 35,713
  • Median individual income: $29,419
  • Median home value: $208,600
  • Calculated mortgage payment for a median priced home: $856
  • Median rent payment: $858
  • Home affordability deficit: -$169
  • Rent affordability deficit: -$172

Image Credit: Daniel Case .

26. Gillette. Wyoming

  • Total population: 46,251
  • Median individual income: $42,096
  • Median home value: $213,900
  • Calculated mortgage payment for a median priced home: $877
  • Median rent payment: $949
  • Home affordability deficit: $105
  • Rent affordability deficit: $33

Image Credit: MyName .

25. Taos, New Mexico

  • Total population: 32,862
  • Median individual income: $23,101
  • Median home value: $218,400
  • Calculated mortgage payment for a median priced home: $896
  • Median rent payment: $716
  • Home affordability deficit: -$357
  • Rent affordability deficit: -$177

Image Credit: Lvklock .

24. Brookings, Oregon

  • Total population: 22,676
  • Median individual income: $25,104
  • Median home value: $221,300
  • Calculated mortgage payment for a median priced home: $908
  • Median rent payment: $856
  • Home affordability deficit: -$322
  • Rent affordability deficit: -$270

Image Credit: DepositPhotos.com.

23. Sandpoint, Idaho

  • Total population: 43,621
  • Median individual income: $24,461
  • Median home value: $222,700
  • Calculated mortgage payment for a median priced home: $913
  • Median rent payment: $752
  • Home affordability deficit: -$343
  • Rent affordability deficit: -$181

Image Credit: jlh_lunasea.

22. Laramie, Wyoming

  • Total population: 38,430
  • Median individual income: $20,742
  • Median home value: $223,000
  • Calculated mortgage payment for a median priced home: $915
  • Median rent payment: $748
  • Home affordability deficit: -$431
  • Rent affordability deficit: -$264

Image Credit: Public domain.

21. Newport, Oregon

  • Total population: 48,820
  • Median individual income: $24,603
  • Median home value: $227,700
  • Calculated mortgage payment for a median priced home: $934
  • Median rent payment: $862
  • Home affordability deficit: -$360
  • Rent affordability deficit: -$288

Image Credit: DepositPhotos.com.

20. Dickinson, North Dakota

  • Total population: 30,317
  • Median individual income: $41,565
  • Median home value: $228,200
  • Calculated mortgage payment for a median priced home: $936
  • Median rent payment: $926
  • Home affordability deficit: $36
  • Rent affordability deficit: $44

Image Credit: Public domain.

19. Williston, North Dakota

  • Total population: 33,395
  • Median individual income: $44,898
  • Median home value: $238,900
  • Calculated mortgage payment for a median priced home: $980
  • Median rent payment: $922
  • Home affordability deficit: $68
  • Rent affordability deficit: $126

Image Credit: Andrew Filer.

18. Sheridan, Wyoming

  • Total population: 30,132
  • Median individual income: $34,790
  • Median home value: $240,900
  • Calculated mortgage payment for a median priced home: $988
  • Median rent payment: $810
  • Home affordability deficit: -$176
  • Rent affordability deficit: $2

Image Credit: Vasiliymeshko.

17. Astoria, Oregon

  • Total population: 39,119
  • Median individual income: $27,020
  • Median home value: $253,900
  • Calculated mortgage payment for a median priced home: $1,041
  • Median rent payment: $889
  • Home affordability deficit: -$411
  • Rent affordability deficit: -$259

Image Credit: DepositPhotos.com.

16. Ellensburg, Washington

  • Total population: 46,157
  • Median individual income: $22,325
  • Median home value: $256,700
  • Calculated mortgage payment for a median priced home: $1,053
  • Median rent payment: $894
  • Home affordability deficit: -$532
  • Rent affordability deficit: -$373

Image Credit: DepositPhotos.com.

15. Ketchikan, Alaska

  • Total population: 13,882
  • Median individual income: $35,682
  • Median home value: $265,700
  • Calculated mortgage payment for a median priced home: $1,090
  • Median rent payment: $1,139
  • Home affordability deficit: -$257
  • Rent affordability deficit: -$306

Image Credit: DepositPhotos.com.

14. Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina

  • Total population: 40,298
  • Median individual income: $26,999
  • Median home value: $266,100
  • Calculated mortgage payment for a median priced home: $1,091
  • Median rent payment: $1,032
  • Home affordability deficit: -$461
  • Rent affordability deficit: -$402

Image Credit: Pixabay.com.

13. Fredericksburg, Texas

  • Total population: 26,530
  • Median individual income: $25,396
  • Median home value: $269,900
  • Calculated mortgage payment for a median priced home: $1,107
  • Median rent payment: $869
  • Home affordability deficit: -$514
  • Rent affordability deficit: -$276

Image Credit: Hot Furnace .

12. Los Alamos, New Mexico

  • Total population: 18,804
  • Median individual income: $64,186
  • Median home value: $285,300
  • Calculated mortgage payment for a median priced home: $1,170
  • Median rent payment: $1,004
  • Home affordability deficit: $328
  • Rent affordability deficit: $494

Image Credit: Daniel Schwen.

11. Gardnerville Ranchos, Nevada

  • Total population: 48,018
  • Median individual income: $32,225
  • Median home value: $311,400
  • Calculated mortgage payment for a median priced home: $1,277
  • Median rent payment: $1,094
  • Home affordability deficit: -$525
  • Rent affordability deficit: -$342

Image Credit: Google Maps.

10. Easton, Maryland

  • Total population: 37,020
  • Median individual income: $33,605
  • Median home value: $326,300
  • Calculated mortgage payment for a median priced home: $1,338
  • Median rent payment: $1,084
  • Home affordability deficit: -$554
  • Rent affordability deficit: -$300

Image Credit: David Steele.

9. Hailey, Idaho

  • Total population: 28,712
  • Median individual income: $30,464
  • Median home value: $328,100
  • Calculated mortgage payment for a median priced home: $1,346
  • Median rent payment: $927
  • Home affordability deficit: -$635
  • Rent affordability deficit: -$216

Image Credit: Acroterion.

8. Hood River, Oregon

  • Total population: 23,476
  • Median individual income: $27,355
  • Median home value: $339,400
  • Calculated mortgage payment for a median priced home: $1,392
  • Median rent payment: $983
  • Home affordability deficit: -$754
  • Rent affordability deficit: -$345

Image Credit: DepositPhotos.com.

7. Juneau, Alaska

  • Total population: 32,061
  • Median individual income: $43,584
  • Median home value: $343,100
  • Calculated mortgage payment for a median priced home: $1,407
  • Median rent payment: $1,181
  • Home affordability deficit: -$390
  • Rent affordability deficit: -$164

Image Credit: DepositPhotos.com.

6. Heber, Utah

  • Total population: 31,975
  • Median individual income: $32,436
  • Median home value: $357,300
  • Calculated mortgage payment for a median priced home: $1,465
  • Median rent payment: $1,257
  • Home affordability deficit: -$709
  • Rent affordability deficit: -$500

Image Credit: Public domain.

5. Steamboat Springs, Colorado

  • Total population: 25,346
  • Median individual income: $32,930
  • Median home value: $460,600
  • Calculated mortgage payment for a median priced home: $1,889
  • Median rent payment: $1,166
  • Home affordability deficit: -$1,121
  • Rent affordability deficit: -$398

Image Credit: katkimchee.

4. Jackson, Wyoming-Idaho

  • Total population: 34,696
  • Median individual income: $35,287
  • Median home value: $492,300
  • Calculated mortgage payment for a median priced home: $2,019
  • Median rent payment: $1,185
  • Home affordability deficit: -$1,196
  • Rent affordability deficit: -$362

Image Credit: Ken Lund.

3. Breckenridge, Colorado

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

Image Credit: Av9 .

2. Summit Park, Utah

  • Total population: 41,349
  • Median individual income: $41,654
  • Median home value: $558,300
  • Calculated mortgage payment for a median priced home: $2,290
  • Median rent payment: $1,230
  • Home affordability deficit: -$1,318
  • Rent affordability deficit: -$258

Image Credit: An Errant Knight.

1. Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts

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

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

Image Credit: Massachusetts Office Of Travel & Tourism Follow.

AlertMe