- The median home price in the U.S. is $428,700, according to data from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
- Hawaii and Washington, D.C., have the highest home prices in the U.S.
- To manage high costs, you can look for homes in less expensive cities and shop around for the best mortgage rates.
There’s a reason I live in my father’s girlfriend’s basement: Housing ain’t cheap.
As a resident of the third-most expensive state to buy a house, I can confirm that finding an affordable home in Southern California is like finding a millennial who hates avocados and free delivery. The median price of a U.S. home has grown 30% since 2020, according to data from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. The typical price of a U.S. home now sits around $429,000, according to data from Zillow.
That said, home prices in some areas are less affordable than in others. The Ascent has researched the average house price by state, and the results are in: The following 10 states have the highest home prices in the nation.
A typical house in Hawaii costs $1,038,544. That’s -- whips out calculator -- almost 2.5 times the cost of the average U.S. home. Holy mackerel. Ocean views and tiny martini umbrellas don’t come cheap.
2. Washington, D.C.
The District of Columbia takes silver for highest home prices. A typical house here costs $826,124. Despite the state’s dense population of big earners, homeowners commonly pay over half their income to cover their mortgage payments.
A typical house costs $816,804 in California. Pricey. Wonder how many surfing lessons that could cover? Probably a lot. To the relief of a would-be homeowner however, it’s not all Los Angeles and San Francisco prices. The typical home in Fresno costs $403,000, according to Zillow.
The Evergreen State is one of the least affordable states for buying a home, with a typical house price of $640,494. Homeowners here often pay 49% of their income to cover their mortgage.
A typical home costs $611,819 in this state. High-demand areas like the Harvard college town Cambridge are even pricier, but there is one silver lining: Property taxes in Cambridge and Boston are relatively low.
Home prices are booming in this hikers' and beer lovers' paradise. The typical cost is $604,911, up from $412,819 in 2020. Although residents often earn more than the national median, a typical homeowner pays about 45% of their income to cover their mortgage.
A typical home in Utah costs $588,862, which is 37% more than the national median. If you’re hoping to buy a home in the state, consider Brigham City, where the median home price is lower at $412,500, per data from Redin. It’s also one of the best places to buy a home in Utah, according to Niche.
Many homeowners gotta hustle to pay off a mortgage in Oregon. A typical home costs $534,956, and mortgage payments eat up 43.3% of the typical homeowner’s income.
Nevada has a median home cost of $484,530. However, the median price of a single-family home in Las Vegas is slightly more affordable at $447,597, as reported by Zillow.
10. New Jersey
Rounding out the list is New Jersey, where a typical home costs $480,275. That’s not cheap, but it’s only 12% above the national median, which is less than many states on our list. Some Garden State cities offer even more value-friendly prices: The median price for a house in Newark is slightly less at $415,548.
How to make the most of a difficult housing market
If you’re a homeowner in one of the states above: Congratulations! You may have some valuable property on your hands. Should you decide to sell, you’ll command significant pricing power.
Buyers have it tough right now, though. Purchasing a home is rarely easy, especially in a market that’s risen 416% in the last 40 years, outpacing incomes by a wide margin. Common wisdom recommends that a mortgage should cost less than 28% of one’s total income, yet the typical homeowner spends over 30% of their income on mortgage payments. Yee-ouch.
If you’re set on buying a home in one of the states with the highest home prices, you may have options. For example, California cities like Visala, Fresno, and Bakersfield offer housing at prices significantly below the state average. And while a typical home in Denver, Colorado, might be a budget-breaking $643,043, a comparable house in Colorado Springs is $491,000, according to Zillow.
To get started figuring out what you can afford, try out The Ascent’s nifty mortgage calculator.
A couple of other tips to get you started:
- Be thrifty. Shop around for the best mortgage lenders to find a good interest rate and low closing costs.
- Prepare for change. Build an emergency fund in case things go sideways -- whether you lose your job or just have an unexpected home repair pop up.
Sure, most folks don’t have the luxury of renting one of California's two basements. That’s fine. Across the United States, home buyers have options. So long as your forever home doesn’t exceed how much house you can afford, you’re in a good place.
Our Research Expert
We're firm believers in the Golden Rule, which is why editorial opinions are ours alone and have not been previously reviewed, approved, or endorsed by included advertisers. The Ascent does not cover all offers on the market. Editorial content from The Ascent is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team.
The Ascent is a Motley Fool service that rates and reviews essential products for your everyday money matters.
Copyright © 2018 - 2023 The Ascent. All rights reserved.