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The Most Expensive Towns Across America

money, house, affordable, housing, buyingA new report from LendingTree evaluates the top 50 American towns with populations under 50,000 with the most expensive median home values.

Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts; Summit Park, Utah; and Jackson, Wyoming boast the nation’s most expensive home prices. The median home prices in these towns are $667,400, $598,900 and $563,100 respectively—which means the cost of a home in any of these areas is about as much as one in Los Angeles. Not only that, the price tag of residences in Vineyard Haven and Summit Park are even gaudier than in L.A.

The median home price is an average of 7.5 times higher in these areas than the median area income, which suggests that homebuyers in these towns have to know how to wring the most out of their budgets in order to purchase a home.

While the most costly towns in the country often are more expensive than its largest cities, those reside in towns tend to bring home a slimmer paycheck than their city-dwelling counterparts. The median household income across the nation's most expensive towns averages to $60,150. That’s almost $7,000 less than the average median household income across the nation's 50 largest cities.

MReport has previously written about a telling report from finder.com, which shows just how much hopeful homebuyers in certain cities in the U.S. would have to earn per year in order to make their dream abode their own.

Finally taking the leap and investing in the purchase of your very own home is no small undertaking. The thought alone of a mortgage payment and other living expenses—and how that will all fit into the budget—can be overwhelming.

Luckily, the finder.com report speaks exactly to these would-be homeowners, who are worrying if their salaries will stretch far enough to make ends meet once a mortgage is added to the mix. The experts at finder.com specifically targeted 78 key cities across the nation, then calculated the salaries that would be necessary to purchase a home without getting in over your head (read: still live comfortably and within one's means). They defined what “living comfortably” would look like based on criteria specific to each city, such as median house prices in the area, average 30-year interest rate based on a 20% deposit, and mortgage repayments including mortgage interest.

One key fact revealed in the report was that even whole the values of homes have risen in 2020, the 78 cities surveyed saw the average home loan interest rates actually fall during this past year. According to the report, the salary that is needed to own a home and “live comfortably” with adequate living expenses covered has decreased (overall) in most cities in the past two years (since 2018).

Highlights of the cities surveyed included those that required the highest salaries in order to live within them comfortably. The top prize for this niche belongs to San Francisco, where a would-be homeowner would need to rake in $206,760 each year just to buy an average home (which currently are running at a hefty price tag of $1,414,037). San Jose boasted the second spot, with hopeful homeowners needed a salary of $151,619 to purchase a home without excessive pain to their wallet and lifestyle.

An interesting fact: Four of the top five most expensive cities to own a home belonged to California (San Francisco, San Jose, Los Angeles, and San Diego.) As for the cheapest city to own a home, that title

belongs to Jackson, Mississippi, where a much more modest salary of $44,129 could afford you a home, and lifestyle of relative ease.

About Author: Chuck Green

Chuck Green has contributed to the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Chicago Tribune and others covering various industries, including real estate, business and banking, technology, and sports

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