Small-town living in many cases doesn’t come cheaper than living in a city. In fact, several smaller towns nationwide have home prices as high as, or higher than, those found in major metropolitan cities, according to a new study from LendingTree.
LendingTree researchers analyzed U.S. Census Bureau data to pinpoint the 50 U.S. towns with populations between 10,000 and 50,000 that had the priciest median home values.
The study found the nation’s highest small-town home prices in Vineyard Haven, Mass., where the median home value is $699,500. That tops Los Angeles, where the median home value is $613,400.
Breckenridge, Colo., has home prices that rival those of San Diego—$579,600 versus $563,700, respectively, the study finds. Also, Jackson, Wyo., follows closely with a median home value of $549,800.
Many of the nation’s priciest towns also tend to be popular vacation spots for the wealthy, LendingTree researchers said. “These types of buyers drive up home prices and make housing difficult to afford for locals who are not high income earners,” the study said. “Even in areas that aren’t prominent vacation spots, home prices can still be expensive due to lack of housing supply.” Although America’s most expensive towns are catching up to the prices of big cities, people who live in these towns tend to earn less income than in larger metros. The median household income is about $9,000 less than the average income in the 50 largest cities.
Home prices are on the rise across the board. The National Association of REALTORS® reported that the median existing-home price in June was $363,300, a 23.4% annual increase.