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America’s Most Expensive Housing Markets – 2023 Study


With home prices increasing by 20% or more in some places and decreasing by 15% or more in others just over the last year, the home-price volatility of the last few years is settling asymmetrically.

To help Americans evaluate their best options when it comes to housing – whether they’re looking to buy or sell – SmartAsset examined housing price growth from May 2022 to May 2023 and ranked 532 housing markets from most to least expensive.

Key Findings

  • America’s 10 most expensive housing markets are in California. Thirty-five California cities have an average home price over $1 million. And homes in top-ranked Palo Alto average more than $3 million. East coast cities, by contrast, don’t crack the top 70 in our study.
  • The top 70 most expensive housing markets all decreased in price. On average, the most expensive housing markets declined by 6.4% since last year. The vast majority of these markets were in California, with Washington making a handful of placements.
  • Home prices in San Francisco dropped 13% over the last year. This was the second-biggest drop after a 15% decrease in rental prices in Dublin, CA. Homes in San Francisco average 1.2 million, while prices in New York City average $700,000. In the last year, NYC home prices have increased by 3% – less than the average 4.05% inflation rate at the same time.
  • The average home price in Florida is $394,000, 5% higher than last year. Weston, FL has the most expensive homes at $670,000, followed by Miami ($553,000). Lauderhill had the highest price increases on the average home, with prices growing 15% between 2022 and 2023.
  • Texas home prices increased only by 1% year over year. If you’re a hopeful homebuyer, that’s good news. But, if you’re a current homeowner, your home didn’t keep up with inflation this year. The average home price in Texas as of May 2023 came in at $315,000. Frisco and Austin had the highest home prices at $662,000 and $567,000, respectively. Home prices in Austin dropped by more than 8%.
  • Home prices increased by more than 10% since last year in these cities. Hartford, CT homes got 20% more expensive over the last year, more than any other city. Deerfield Beach, FL; Fayetteville, NC; Camden and Trenton, NJ; Warner Robins and Savannah, GA; Brownsville and Tyler, TX; and Iowa City, IA all saw large home price increases. Every one of these areas has an average home price lower than $300,000.

Most Expensive Housing Markets in the U.S.

  1. Palo Alto, CA
    The average home price in Palo Alto outpaces other housing markets at $3.16 million. This is 12.8% lower than in May 2022, when the average price was nearly half a million dollars more at $3.62 million. Meanwhile, rents in Palo Alto increased by 3.58% to $4,440 monthly.
  2. Newport Beach, CA
    Home prices in this city of 85,000 average $2.95 million. Compared with Palo Alto, prices stayed semi stable over the last year, dropping by 1.7%, or roughly $50,000. During the same timeframe, rents increased by 3.7% to $3,915 per month.
  3. Sunnyvale, CA
    Sunnyvale homes have decreased in price by roughly 8.2% between May 2022 and May 2023, dropping from $2 million to $1.83 million. With approximately 150,000 residents, city rents here increased by 2.4% to a monthly average of $3,353.
  4. Mountain View, CA
    Mountain View homes are almost $17,000 cheaper than those in Sunnyvale. The average price in May 2023 was just under $1.82 million, after dropping by $232,000 – just over 11%. Meanwhile, rents increased by 1.56% to $3,613 monthly.
  5. Redwood City, CA
    Redwood City has roughly 82,000 residents, and home prices here average $1.68 million. Prices, however, dropped by 9% when compared year over year. And rent averages $3,558 per month.
  6. Santa Barbara, CA
    Santa Barbara home prices decreased by 4.1% from 2022 to 2023. The average home here costs $1.65 million, down from $1.72 million. Meanwhile, rent increased 2.67% over the same time, jumping to $4,206 per month.
  7. Santa Monica, CA
    Home prices in Santa Monica dropped by 7% over the last year, while rents increased 3.5%. The average home will now cost you $1.64 million. And monthly rent averages $3,670 per month.
  8. Pleasanton, CA
    Pleasanton homes cost $1.55 million on average as of May 2023, which is down 12% since last year – one of the biggest drops across the study. Meanwhile, rents dropped by less than 1%, averaging $3,155 per month.
  9. San Ramon, CA
    Home prices in San Ramon dropped 10% since last year, bringing the average value down from $1.70 million to $1.53 million. At the same time, monthly rent prices dropped by just $21 to $3,388.
  10. Santa Clara, CA
    Heading into this summer, home values in Santa Clara averaged $1.51 million, which is an 8.5% drop over last year when the average was $1.65 million. Average rent prices, on the other hand, increased 3.78% to $3,407 per month.

Data and Methodology

This study examined available data for cities with a population of 65,000 or higher. Population data comes from the U.S. Census Bureau 1-Year American Community Survey for 2021. Home value data for May 2023 and May 2022 comes from Zillow’s ZHVI All Homes Index for single-family homes, condos and coops, smoothed and seasonally adjusted.

Housing Tips

  • Consider the benefits of renting. If you’re thinking buying a home, renting may actually be the better financial option. SmartAsset’s rent vs. buy calculator can help you compare the costs of renting vs. buying in a particular area so you can make an informed financial decision. The tool will tell you how many years you’ll need to live in your home to make buying the preferred choice.
  • Shop around for interest rates. If you choose to buy, SmartAsset’s mortgage rate comparison tool shows you the rates currently being offered for both 15- and 30-year fixed rate mortgages, as well as different kinds of adjustable rate mortgages. Be sure to shop around for the best possible rate and do your due diligence before picking a lender.
  • Talk with an advisor. A financial advisor can help you set a budget, save for a down payment and ensure your home purchase aligns with your overall financial plan. Finding a financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three vetted financial advisors who serve your area, and you can have a free introductory call with your advisor matches to decide which one you feel is right for you.

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Photo credit: ©iStock/NNehring