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Market Study: Towns With the Most $1 Million-Plus Homes

Home prices may seem as if they’re declining in some parts of the country, but they've also dramatically risen over the past two and a half years since the onset of the pandemic. Resulting from this rapid growth, homes valued at $1 million or more have become more common throughout much of the U.S.

LendingTree recently analyzed the nation’s metropolitan areas where houses valued at $1 million or more are most prevalent, inquiring how common $1 million-plus homes are in the nation’s 50 most expensive micropolitan areas, —referred to as “towns”— with populations between 10,000 and 50,000.

On average, million-dollar homes are more common in the nation’s most expensive towns rather than in its largest metros.

Key findings:

  • Million-dollar homes aren’t common in most towns. An average of only 5.36% of the owner-occupied homes in the nation’s 50 most expensive towns are valued at $1 million or more. That said, this figure is higher than in the nation’s 50 largest metros, where an average of only 4.71% of homes are worth $1 million or more.
  • The share of million-dollar homes can vary significantly by town. For example, 30.58% of owner-occupied homes are valued at $1 million or more in Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts —making it the town with the highest share of million-dollar homes. In the town with the smallest share of $1 million homes —Fernley, Nevada— that figure is 0.09%.
  • Million-dollar homes are most common in vacation and resort towns. The three towns with the largest shares of million-dollar homes —Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts, Jackson, Wyoming, and Edwards, Colorado— are popular getaway destinations where many homeowners don’t live year-round. An average of 25.51% of homes in these three towns are worth $1 million or more.
  • Four of the 10 towns with the most million-dollar houses are in Colorado. A combination of rapid statewide economic growth and an abundance of mountainous terrain suggests that the Centennial State will likely remain home to various million-dollar towns well into the future.
  • Fernley, Nevada, Cedar City, Utah, and Pullman, Washington, are the towns with the smallest share of homes worth $1 million or more. As mentioned, the share of homes in Fernley worth at least $1 million is a very modest 0.09%. For Cedar City and Pullman, the share of million-dollar-plus homes is slightly larger at 0.24%.

Towns with the highest share of million-dollar homes:

1. Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts

  • Number of owner-occupied housing units: 4,990
  • Number of owner-occupied units valued at $1 million or more: 1,526
  • Percentage of owner-occupied units valued at $1 million or more: 30.58% 
  • Median value of owner-occupied housing units: $794,000

2. Jackson, Wyoming

  • Number of owner-occupied housing units: 8,959
  • Number of owner-occupied units valued at $1 million or more: 2,363
  • Percentage of owner-occupied units valued at $1 million or more: 26.38%
  • Median value of owner-occupied housing units: $524,800

3. Edwards, Colorado

  • Number of owner-occupied housing units: 13,016
  • Number of owner-occupied units valued at $1 million or more: 2,548
  • Percentage of owner-occupied units valued at $1 million or more: 19.58%
  • Median value of owner-occupied housing units: $617,200

Towns with the lowest share of million-dollar homes:

1. Fernley, Nevada

  • Number of owner-occupied housing units: 15,865
  • Number of owner-occupied units valued at $1 million or more: 14
  • Percentage of owner-occupied units valued at $1 million or more: 0.09%
  • Median value of owner-occupied housing units: $238,600

2 (tie). Cedar City, Utah

  • Number of owner-occupied housing units: 11,340
  • Number of owner-occupied units valued at $1 million or more: 27
  • Percentage of owner-occupied units valued at $1 million or more: 0.24%
  • Median value of owner-occupied housing units: $231,300

2 (tie). Pullman, Washington

  • Number of owner-occupied housing units: 8,171
  • Number of owner-occupied units valued at $1 million or more: 20
  • Percentage of owner-occupied units valued at $1 million or more: 0.24%
  • Median value of owner-occupied housing units: $230,200

Why are $1 million-plus homes so common in some towns?

On the surface, it may seem counterintuitive to think of towns as places where million-dollar homes frequently pop up. Towns are often thought of as cheaper than their more urban counterparts.

In some instances, this holds true. Certainly, a town like Sheridan, Wyo. (15th in our study), is considerably less expensive for homebuyers than a place like New York City. That said, other towns, like Jackson, Wyo., are among the most costly places to buy a home in the U.S.

The reasons why some towns can be so expensive are complex, but expensive towns in many cases tend to be popular vacation spots for wealthy individuals who don’t necessarily earn their money locally and can afford to spend top dollar on real estate. This is why, despite their high prices, large shares of the homes in some of the nation’s most expensive towns sit vacant for most of the year.

On top of that, rural areas often see a lack of housing development because construction is seen as too costly and not profitable enough for builders. This lack of construction can put upward pressure on home prices, which means that people have to compete for a limited number of houses. This can be true even in towns that aren’t popular vacation destinations.

To read the full report, including more charts, methodology and tips on homebuying, click here.

About Author: Demetria Lester

Demetria C. Lester is a reporter for DS News and MReport, with more than six years of writing experience. She has served as Editor-in-Chief at Northlake College and staff writer at her alma mater, the University of Texas at Arlington. She has covered events such as the Byron Nelson, Pac-12 Conferences, the Women in Dallas Film Festival, to freelance work with the Dallas Wings and D Magazine. Currently located in Dallas, Texas, she is an avid jazz lover and reader. She can be reached at [email protected]
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