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LendingTree Reveals the Most Valuable Cities in America

New LendingTree study ranks cities by total value of residential housing.

American households own $28.4 trillion of residential real estate, a significant part of the $100 trillion in household net worth. Financial assets add $81.7 trillion, consumer durable goods add $5.7 trillion while debts, including mortgage, subtract $15.6 trillion. The real estate wealth is not evenly distributed across the country and is largely concentrated in metropolitan areas. But which are the most valuable cities in America?

We took a look at the total value of residential real estate in American cities. The real estate values are from the My LendingTree property value database, which is a collection of real estate data of more than 155 million U.S. properties. The total value of real estate in metropolitan areas in the database was $26.2 trillion, close to the Federal Reserve’s estimate of total residential real estate value of $28.4 trillion.

We also compared the total value to the GDP of countries around the world. Of course, the comparison is not apples to apples: GDP represents a single year’s output while the value of homes persists year after year (mostly upwards and a few times declining). Nonetheless, we thought it may be fun to pair cities with their equivalent country GDP values. GDP data is from the IMF.

Key findings

  • New York has the most valuable real estate in the U.S. at $2.6 trillion — just about on par with the entire GDP of France for 2017. In fact, this is greater than the GDP of all but just six countries — India, United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, China and the United States itself.
  • Los Angeles is second at $2.2 trillion, equivalent to the GDP of Brazil, and San Francisco is third at $1.2 trillion, equivalent to Mexico’s GDP.
  • The top three are the only cities above a trillion dollars and things drop off pretty rapidly from there. Cities after eleventh-ranked San Diego are all valued under $500 billion; after 25th-ranked Charlotte, under $200 billion and after 46th-ranked Hartford, under $100 billion.
  • The Federal Reserve values total residential real estate owned by households at $28.4 trillion. We found that the top 10 cities account for almost 40% of that value. The top 50 add up to about 70% of the total.
  • Our top 50 is rounded out by Boulder, Colo., Milwaukee, and Naples, Fla., with real estate values equivalent to the GDPs of Sri Lanka, Kenya and Ethiopia, respectively.
  • Although our list here shows the top 50 cities, we calculated the value of every metro area in the U.S. The least valuable metro was Beckley, W. Va., with real estate valued at $189 million. This is slightly more than the price on one of the most expensive houses available for sale today: 924 Bel Air Rd in Los Angeles is listed at $188 million.

The Most Valuable Cities in America

#1 New York
Total Residential Real Estate Value: $2.6 trillion
Median Home Value: $454,000
Country Equivalent: France
Country GDP: $2.6 trillion

#2 Los Angeles
Total Residential Real Estate Value: $2.2 trillion
Median Home Value: $622,000
Country Equivalent: Brazil
Country GDP: $2.1 trillion

#3 San Francisco
Total Residential Real Estate Value: $1.3 trillion
Median Home Value: $891,000
Country Equivalent: Mexico
Country GDP: $1.2 trillion

Methodology
To determine the total value of cities, LendingTree looked at home value figures pulled on June 26, 2018 from the My LendingTree property value database. The database includes estimated home values for more than 155 million properties in the U.S. based on public tax, deed, mortgage and foreclosure data, as well as proprietary local data used to power home financing recommendations for My LendingTree users. The total value of real estate in metropolitan areas in the database was $26.2 trillion, close to the Federal Reserve’s estimate of total residential real estate value of $28.4 trillion. GDP data was taken from the IMF’s World Economic Outlook published in April 2018.