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Million Dollar Markets: LendingTree Finds Share of Homes Valued at $1 Million+ in the Nation’s 50 Largest Metros

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For most Americans, the idea of paying $1 million or more for a house may seem excessive, especially considering that the national median value of an owner-occupied home is less than a quarter of that amount. However, million-dollar houses are quite common in some parts of the country. And as the housing market continues to heat up, even more million-dollar homes are being listed for sale.

To see where million-dollar houses are most prevalent, LendingTree used Census data to look at the share of million-dollar homes in the nation’s 50 largest metros.

What LendingTree found was that while they don’t make up a majority of housing units in any of the metros featured in this study, million-dollar homes nonetheless make up a large share of homes in major metros like San Francisco and San Jose, Calif.

Key findings

  • Million-dollar homes are relatively uncommon throughout most of the country. Only 4.27% of the owner-occupied homes in the nation’s 50 largest metros are valued at $1 million or more.
  • How common million-dollar homes are can vary significantly from metro to metro. For example, 47.29% of homes are valued at $1 million or more in San Jose, the metro with the largest share of million-dollar homes. In Buffalo, N.Y., which has the smallest share of million-dollar homes, that figure is just 0.54%.
  • Of the 10 metros with the largest share of million-dollar homes, the four with the highest percentage of million-dollar homes are all in California. Driven by a high concentration of wealth originating in the tech and entertainment industries, an average of 28.19% of homes across San Jose, Calif., San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego are valued at at least $1 million.
  • Buffalo, N.Y., Cleveland and Pittsburgh are the metros with the smallest share of homes valued at $1 million or more. An average of only 0.63% of homes in these metros are worth at least a million dollars.

Metros with the highest share of million-dollar homes

1. San Jose, Calif.

  • Overall housing units: 372,659
  • Number of units valued at or above $1 million: 176,243
  • % of units valued at or above $1 million: 47.29%
  • Median value of owner-occupied housing units: $968,800

2. San Francisco

  • Overall housing units: 931,032
  • Number of units valued at or above $1 million: 337,480
  • % of units valued at or above $1 million: 36.25%
  • Median value of owner-occupied housing units: $840,600

3. Los Angeles

  • Overall housing units: 2,114,788
  • Number of units valued at or above $1 million: 359,937
  • % of units valued at or above $1 million: 17.02%
  • Median value of owner-occupied housing units: $613,400

Metros with the lowest share of million-dollar homes

1. Buffalo, N.Y.

  • Overall housing units: 314,126
  • Number of units valued at or above $1 million: 1,707
  • % of units valued at or above $1 million: 0.54%
  • Median value of owner-occupied housing units: $148,500

2. Cleveland

  • Overall housing units: 559,157
  • Number of units valued at or above $1 million: 3,663
  • % of units valued at or above $1 million: 0.66%
  • Median value of owner-occupied housing units: $151,600

3. Pittsburgh

  • Overall housing units: 702,216
  • Number of units valued at or above $1 million: 4,794
  • % of units valued at or above $1 million: 0.68%
  • Median value of owner-occupied housing units: $154,000

Regardless of your home’s value, refinancing can make paying your loan off easier

Just because most people own a home that costs less than $1 million doesn’t mean that paying off their home loans will be a walk in the park. Because of that, no matter how expensive their mortgage may be, some homeowners might benefit from a mortgage refinance.

For example, take the metro with the highest share of million-dollar homes, San Jose, Calif. Assume a homeowner took out a 30-year mortgage for $775,040 (reflecting a 20% down payment on a median-priced home for the area) five years ago at the national average mortgage rate at the time, 3.6%. By refinancing at today’s rates — 2.96% in this example — that borrower could potentially save nearly $300 a month, and almost $97,000 over the life of their loan.

By comparison, in the metro with the lowest share of million-dollar homes, Buffalo, a buyer of a median-priced home (with loan assumptions similar to the example above) could save just over $40 a month — or nearly $15,000 over their loan’s lifetime.

It’s worth noting that not every borrower will benefit from refinancing, and the amount a person can save will vary. This is especially true for those who don’t plan to stay in their homes long enough to recoup the closing costs associated with a refinance, which typically range from 2% to 6% of the total loan amount.

To get an idea of whether refinancing might be beneficial to you, check out LendingTree’s refinance calculator.

Methodology

For this study, LendingTree ranked the nation’s 50 largest metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) by the share of owner-occupied homes (with or without a mortgage) that are valued at or above $1 million.

The data from this study comes from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey with five-year estimates (the latest survey available at the time of this study’s writing).

To determine the share of million-dollar homes in a metro area, LendingTree divided the number of owner-occupied housing units priced at $1 million or more by the overall number of owner-occupied housing units in the area.

Senior research analyst Jacob Channel contributed to this study.

 

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