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cities where people spend the most on housing

Besides the responsibilities of securing and maintaining a functioning property, homeowners need to be aware of another tremendous burden of homeownership: costs. Whether it’s tackling mortgage payments and property taxes or handling interest and insurance, the weight of these housing expenses never really lessens. That’s why it’s important to understand how much you might be spending on housing relative to other locations around the country, and then use that information as a starting point to maximize your budget.

Below, SmartAsset looked at the places in the U.S. where people are spending the most on housing. We considered only median monthly housing costs (including mortgage payments and property taxes) that homeowners incurred. For details on our data sources and rankings, see the Data and Methodology section below.

Key Findings

  • West Coast homeowners spending the most. Seven of the top 10 places where people are spending the most on housing are on the West Coast, with six of those in California alone. All that California sun and surf is going to cost you, if you want to move to the Golden State.
  • Midwestern and Southern locales fare better. Five of the 10 cities where homeowners spend the least on housing are in Midwestern states: Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin. Homeowners in the South also face some of the lowest housing expenses, with Kentucky, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas claiming another four cities in the bottom 10.

1. San Jose, CA

The top of this list is San Jose, California, right in the heart of Silicon Valley. All that tech money in the area is one factor that has contributed to high housing costs. Average monthly housing costs for homeowners in San Jose total $2,257.

2. San Francisco, CA

Another Bay Area city takes the No. 2 spot in our study. Homeowners in San Francisco, California pay an average of $1,991 in monthly housing costs. In areas with high incomes and expensive housing, it’s always important to evaluate your finances and determine just how much house you can afford.

3. San Diego, CA

We take a trip down the Pacific Coast Highway to the third city on our list. Homeowners in San Diego, California spend an average of $1,756 per month on housing costs, the third-highest amount in our study.

4. Seattle, WA

In Seattle, Washington, the average monthly housing costs are $1,705, a figure that is likely to cut into your coffee budget. This amount is approximately 25% less than the total monthly housing costs in San Jose, California, which ranks in first place in our study, but is roughly 150% more than the total monthly housing costs in Detroit, Michigan, which ranks last.

5. Boston, MA

Boston, Massachusetts is the first East Coast city on this list. The average monthly cost of owning a home here is $1,654, which includes property taxes and mortgage payments.

6. Washington, DC

We’re sticking to the East Coast as we move to the sixth-highest ranking city in our study, Washington, D.C. Average monthly housing costs for homeowners in our nation’s capital total $1,641. Of course, housing costs are only a portion of your total expenses. It’s always helpful to use a cost-of-living calculator to have a better sense of your budget.

7. Oakland, CA

Back on the other side of the country (and the other side of the Bay Area), Oakland, California homeowners spend an average of $1,558 per month on housing costs, which is $433 less than what their San Francisco neighbors are spending.

8. Los Angeles, CA

Want to live in or near Hollywood? It’s going to cost you. The average homeowner in Los Angeles, California spends $1,548 per month on housing costs, including property taxes and mortgage. This is the eighth-highest amount in our study. In order to afford your housing costs and sock away money for retirement, you’re likely going to want to enlist the help of a fiduciary financial advisor to plan your future.

9. New York, NY

Average monthly costs for homeowners in New York, New York total $1,435 per month. This is approximately 36% less than the highest amount in our study, which is $2,257 in San Jose, California.

10. Long Beach, CA

Rounding out our list of top 10 cities where people are spending the most on housing is Long Beach, California. Trailing behind New York City’s total by just $4, average monthly housing costs here are $1,431.

Data and Methodology

In order to find the places where people spend the most on housing, we looked data for the 50 largest U.S. cities. Specifically, we examined the following metric:

  • Monthly housing costs. This is the median monthly housing costs for homeowners. Data comes from the Census Bureau 1-year American Community Survey.

We ranked each city in this metric. The city with the highest monthly housing costs ranked first, and the city with the lowest monthly housing costs ranked last.

Home Ownership Tips

  • Budgeting for expensive housing costs can help you become a savvy homeowner, but you might require professional insight. Finding the right financial advisor that fits your needs doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with financial advisors in your area in 5 minutes. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors that will help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
  • Worried about taking on a mortgage? Use SmartAsset’s mortgage calculator to figure out how much house you can afford.

Questions about our study? Contact press@smartasset.com

Photo credit: ©iStock.com/B&M Noskowski

Ben Geier, CEPF® Ben Geier is an experienced financial writer currently serving as a retirement and investing expert at SmartAsset. His work has appeared on Fortune, Mic.com and CNNMoney. Ben is a graduate of Northwestern University and a part-time student at the City University of New York Graduate Center. He is a member of the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing. When he isn’t helping people understand their finances, Ben likes watching hockey, listening to music and experimenting in the kitchen. Originally from Alexandria, VA, he now lives in Brooklyn with his wife.
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