This Connecticut city is dwarfed by others on our list. Even though the city is small in population, you’ll find the homes in this upper-class suburb are out of reach for just under half of its inhabitants: the homeownership rate in Stamford is about 54%. Here’s some perspective: the median cost of a home in America is $179,200 and one month’s rent for a one-bedroom apartment is just under $1,000. The cost of living only goes up from here.
Our nation’s capital is much more affordable than NYC or San Francisco, but let’s compare numbers to the country’s average. The median value of a house in D.C. is $487,500 and is only expected to increase. Washington, D.C. is a city of varying demographics: on one hand, D.C. boasts a high median income and a large concentration of young professionals. On the other hand, the income disparity can be cut clearly by following the subway lines. Lower-income D.C. households spend about 43% of their income on housing and transportation.
Like other cities on our list, Boston is a multifaceted city. Boston is home to several museums, universities, and some of the most expensive apartments in the country. Renting a one-bedroom will cost you over $2,400 a month. Utilities are 23% more expensive than the national average, and you’ll probably need to buy a public transit pass for $75 a month. With a median income of $53,601, the high home prices are out of reach for many Bostonians.
San Diego, California
Everyone knows that San Diego is expensive, but did you know how expensive? Looking at the numbers, it's hard to see how anyone could live there. Renting a one bedroom apartment costs $1,990, and a house? We don't even want to think about it. Since the average income is around $63,400 in the city, we can't see how people survive.
You’d be surrounded by sunshine and natural beauty if you moved to Honolulu. However, you’d also be hit with a high cost of living. The cost of groceries is more than 50% higher than the national average. Other expenses, such as transportation and healthcare, exceed the national average by 27% and 15% respectively. Residents of Hawaii reportedly have the highest quality of life in America; if your budget could handle Honolulu, you’d be pretty happy too.
Bellevue is a thirty minute drive from Seattle, Washington. This city of roughly 134,000 may be small, but the median cost of a home is so high that it earned Bellevue a spot on our expensive cities list. Bellevue’s high median income of $90,333 reflects its general population: over 60% of residents have a college degree, and many are employed in management positions. That doesn’t make affordable housing easy to find; over a third of inhabitants have a hard time finding a place they can afford.
San Jose, California
Better known as Silicon Valley, San Jose is surrounded by billionaires and tech giants. They are among the few who can afford to live in San Jose. The median price of rent has greatly outpaced the median income, and about 60% of working-class families spend well over half their income on rent. Buying a house isn’t easy either; property values (and housing costs) are soaring for everyone.
Los Angeles, California
Big names from Kim Kardashian to the Clippers call Los Angeles their home. Unfortunately, it seems that celebrities and athletes are among the few who can actually afford to live in LA. Renting in Los Angeles is practically impossible for the average resident. A common budgeting rule of thumb is that you should avoid spending more than 30% of your monthly paycheck on rent. Using the median income of $55,909 as a guide, the typical Los Angeles inhabitant should be spending around $2,139 a month on rent. That isn’t the case.
New York, New York
Everyone’s dreamed of a life in a big city before, and in the U.S., it doesn’t get bigger than New York. Many people move to New York in hopes of launching their career, be it in the arts, finance, or fashion. If you plan on moving to the city that never sleeps, you should be prepared to spend a fortune on housing. On average, renting an apartment in New York will cost roughly three times the national average of $976 per month. You’ll need a lot of green to buy a home in NYC—especially if you’re looking at Manhattan real estate. The median value of a Manhattan hope sits at $1.25 million!
San Francisco, California
Would you like to move to a city where only 11% of its inhabitants can afford housing? If the answer is yes, San Francisco is the place for you. The rent is the highest on our list, as is the median home value (excluding the Manhattan borough of NYC). At least your utility bill will be manageable: after all, $150 for basic utilities and internet is a pretty good deal nationwide. But who needs to pay the electric bill when you don’t have a roof over your head?
Santa Cruz, California
Brooklyn, New York
Oakland is close to one of the most expensive places in the United States – San Francisco. Naturally, this place is also pretty expensive. Oakland may seem like a bargain compared to San Fran, but that doesn’t mean it’s any more affordable for the average person. The average sales price for a home is over $707,000, and prices are only going up.
Queens. New York
Soak up the sun but look out for cost of living in Miami. It costs 7.6% more to live in this city. The poverty rate also sits at 15.4%, which is much higher than the 12.3% national average. If you can get a job, the good news is that the housing costs aren’t as sky high as other cities on this list.