10 of the Most Expensive U.S. Cities to Buy a Home in 2024

published Apr 18, 2024
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San Diego, California cityscape at the Gaslamp Quarter.
Credit: Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

It’s no secret that people all across the country are dealing with rising living costs, and this makes buying a home in a new city particularly difficult for many aspiring first-time homebuyers. A recent Bankrate report published on April 1 found Americans need to make more than $100,000 annually to afford a home at the average median price, and often even more than that to buy in places like California, Hawaii, and Massachusetts. With some states being more expensive than others, which U.S. cities are the most expensive?

Recently U.S. News & World Report identified the top 25 most expensive U.S. cities in its annual “Best Places to Live” report, which ranked metro areas based on factors like quality of life, value (defined as how comfortably you can live within your means), desirability, and the job market index. These findings were put together using data from the 2023 U.S. Census Bureau report, U.S. Department of Labor, the FBI, and U.S. News’ own resources, including a 2023 public survey. 

San Diego ranked first on the report’s list of most expensive cities. The average San Diego home costs $919,507, according to U.S News & World Report’s data from 2022, which is $535,000 more than the average U.S. home price. Los Angeles ranked second on the most expensive cities list, with the average home price for 2022 coming in at $838,831.

Third on the list was Honolulu. In 2017 a Honolulu home cost more than $500K while the national average hovered in at $229,000. Fourth place went to Miami (according to 2022 housing data, a Miami home cost more than $600,000), and Santa Barbara, California rounded out the top five. 

These are the 10 most expensive cities in the U.S., according to the U.S. News & World Report:

  1. San Diego, California 
  2. Los Angeles, California
  3. Honolulu, Hawaii
  4. Miami, Florida
  5. Santa Barbara, California
  6. San Francisco, California
  7. Salinas, California
  8. Santa Rosa, California
  9. San Juan, Puerto Rico
  10. Vallejo and Fairfield, California

Meanwhile, the least expensive cities in the U.S. were Hickory, North Carolina; Youngstown, Ohio; Huntington, West Virginia; Ashland, Kentucky, and Ohio; and Huntsville, Alabama.
You can read the U.S. News & World Report’s full study here.