Towns Where Million-Dollar Homes Are Practically The Norm

Real Estate

It’s easy to make assumptions about small towns, whether they are laid-back communities in the shadow of more densely populated areas or that their housing is affordable for most home buyers.

Home prices may seem as if they’re declining in some parts of the country, but that doesn’t change how dramatically they’ve risen over the past two and a half years. Because of this growth, homes valued at $1 million or more have become more common throughout much of the nation.

LendingTree, an online loan marketplace, recently did a deep dive on metropolitan areas where houses valued at $1 million or more are most prevalent. Using the Census Bureau’s 2020 American Community Survey, the online loan marketplace discovered how common $1 million-plus homes are in the nation’s 50 most expensive micropolitan areas — referred to as towns here — with populations between 10,000 and 50,000.

“Unfortunately, high housing costs can be very difficult for many small-town residents to deal with,” said Jacob Channel, LendingTree’s senior economist and author of the report. “This is especially true in areas that are popular vacation destinations — like most of the towns that populate the higher end of our study’s ranking — where buyers who earn their money elsewhere and only live in a town part-time can afford to outspend an area’s full-time residents.”

On average, million-dollar homes are more common in the nation’s most expensive towns than in its largest metros. This doesn’t mean homes worth seven figures or more are especially common across most towns, but it shows that high-value real estate isn’t reserved for the country’s population hubs.

Million-dollar homes aren’t common in most towns. An average of only 5.36% of the owner-occupied homes in the nation’s 50 most expensive towns are valued at $1 million or more. That said, this figure is higher than in the nation’s 50 largest metros, where an average of only 4.71% of homes are worth $1 million or more.

The share of million-dollar homes can vary significantly by town. For example, 30.58% of owner-occupied homes are valued at $1 million or more in Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts — making it the town with the highest share of million-dollar homes. In the town with the smallest share of $1 million homes — Fernley, Nevada — that figure is 0.09%.

Million-dollar homes are most common in vacation and resort towns. The three towns with the largest shares of million-dollar homes — Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts; Jackson, Wyoming; and Edwards, Colorado — are popular getaway destinations where many homeowners don’t live year-round. An average of 25.51% of homes in these three towns are worth $1 million or more.

Four of the 10 towns with the most million-dollar houses are in Colorado. A combination of rapid statewide economic growth and an abundance of mountainous terrain suggests the Centennial State will likely remain home to various million-dollar towns well into the future.

Fernley, Nevada; Cedar City, Utah; and Pullman, Washington are the towns with the smallest share of homes worth $1 million or more. The share of homes in Fernley worth at least $1 million is a modest 0.09%. For Cedar City and Pullman, the share of million-dollar-plus homes is slightly larger at 0.24%.

Towns with the highest share of million-dollar homes

1. Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts

Number of owner-occupied housing units: 4,990

Number of owner-occupied units valued at $1 million or more: 1,526

Percentage of owner-occupied units valued at $1 million or more: 30.58%

Median value of owner-occupied housing units: $794,000

2. Jackson, Wyoming

Number of owner-occupied housing units: 8,959

Number of owner-occupied units valued at $1 million or more: 2,363

Percentage of owner-occupied units valued at $1 million or more: 26.38%

Median value of owner-occupied housing units: $524,800

3. Edwards, Colorado

Number of owner-occupied housing units: 13,016

Number of owner-occupied units valued at $1 million or more: 2,548

Percentage of owner-occupied units valued at $1 million or more: 19.58%

Median value of owner-occupied housing units: $617,200

Towns with the lowest share of million-dollar homes

1. Fernley, Nevada

Number of owner-occupied housing units: 15,865

Number of owner-occupied units valued at $1 million or more: 14

Percentage of owner-occupied units valued at $1 million or more: 0.09%

Median value of owner-occupied housing units: $238,600

2. (tie) Cedar City, Utah

Number of owner-occupied housing units: 11,340

Number of owner-occupied units valued at $1 million or more: 27

Percentage of owner-occupied units valued at $1 million or more: 0.24%

Median value of owner-occupied housing units: $231,300

2. (tie) Pullman, Washington

Number of owner-occupied housing units: 8,171

Number of owner-occupied units valued at $1 million or more: 20

Percentage of owner-occupied units valued at $1 million or more: 0.24%

Median value of owner-occupied housing units: $230,200

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