San Jose, California
Source: City of San Jose Facebook

San Jose is the most expensive city in the U.S. based on housing costs this year.

10 Most Expensive Cities in the U.S. Based on Housing Costs

Kathryn Underwood - Author

Dec. 8 2022, Published 12:55 p.m. ET

When deciding where to live, you need to not only consider job opportunities but the overall cost of living anywhere you might go. To assist in that endeavor, a number of organizations rank cities in the U.S. and worldwide based on how expensive it is to live there. Here’s a roundup of the most expensive cities in the U.S. today.

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When looking at lists ranking cities by the cost of living, be sure to note the criteria used. Some rankings are based only on housing costs, while others factor in expenses like food, fuel, and household costs. While some of the cheapest states in the U.S. include Mississippi, Kansas, and Oklahoma, here are the most expensive cities you’ll find.

New York City Made It One the List of the Most Expensive Cities in the U.S.

New York City skyline
Source: NYC: The Official Guide Facebook

In the Worldwide Cost of Living survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), New York City tied for first with Singapore for the highest cost of living this year. Fox Business reported that other U.S. cities in the top 10 were Los Angeles and San Francisco. However, in another ranking of only U.S. cities, New York came in eighth.

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Consumer Affairs Reports That Four of the Five Most Expensive U.S. Cities Are in California

A recent report by Consumer Affairs lists San Jose as the most expensive U.S. city in terms of housing costs. San Francisco came in second, San Diego third, and Los Angeles was fifth in this ranking.

San Jose and San Francisco were fairly close in their numbers, while San Diego’s housing costs were quite a bit lower than the first two.

San Jose
Source: City of San Jose Facebook
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Here Are the 10 Most Expensive Cities in the U.S.

Consumer Affairs ranked the top 10 cities in the U.S. by housing costs alone as:

  1. San Jose

  2. San Francisco

  3. San Diego

  4. Seattle

  5. Los Angeles

  6. Boston

  7. Washington, D.C.

  8. New York

  9. Denver

  10. Portland

The survey ranked a total of 37 cities in the U.S. based on 2021 single-year census estimates. It includes how homeowners valued their homes and their monthly spending on housing: mortgages, rent, real estate taxes, property insurance, utilities, and other recurring housing costs.

Among this selection of cities, Detroit was the most affordable.

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What was the average home price in U.S. cities?

san diego
Source: Visit San Diego Facebook

A hiking area near San Diego, one of the most expensive cities in the U.S.

Consumer Affairs provided the median home value estimates for the cities surveyed. San Jose came in as most expensive despite its average home prices being second-highest overall.

Here are the median home prices for the top 10 most expensive U.S. cities:

  • San Jose: $1,119,500

  • San Francisco: $1,306,400

  • San Diego: $768,800

  • Seattle: $848,100

  • Los Angeles: $812,800

  • Boston: $659,700

  • Washington, D.C.: $669,900

  • New York City: $685,700

  • Denver: $541,500

  • Portland: $520,200

There's a wide gap: the median home value of Portland, ranked 10th most expensive, is still below half that of both San Jose and San Francisco.

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The Average Monthly Rent Is Also Considered in Housing Costs for the Most Expensive U.S. Cities

This survey looked at the gross rent for each city as well. Here are the top three cities and their median gross rent:

  • San Jose: $2,328

  • San Francisco: $2,167

  • San Diego: $1,962

What’s the average household income in the most expensive U.S. cities?

Portland, Oregon
Source: City of Portland OR Facebook

With a higher cost of living may come higher average household income (though not always). While San Jose had the highest housing costs, it also had the highest median household income.

The median household incomes of the 10 most expensive U.S. cities are:

  • San Jose: $126,377

  • San Francisco: $121,826

  • San Diego: $93,042

  • Seattle: $110,781

  • Los Angeles: $70,372

  • Boston: $79,283

  • Washington, D.C.: $90,088

  • New York: $67,997

  • Denver: $81,630

  • Portland: $79,057


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