The 10 most expensive cities to buy a home

September 28, 2010 | Leave a Comment

According to a recent study by MarketWatch Newport Beach is priciest market and Detroit the cheapest.

By Amy Hoak, MarketWatch
Sep 22, 2010

CHICAGO (MarketWatch) – Newport Beach, Calif., is the most expensive real-estate market in the country and Detroit is the most affordable, according to a report by Coldwell Banker, released Wednesday.

The Coldwell Banker Home Listing Report looked at more than 18,000 four-bedroom, two-bathroom properties listed on between February and August, in nearly 300 markets where the real-estate firm has a presence. The average listing price of the homes studied was $353,000, though there was a $1.7 million difference between the average price in the most expensive and most affordable markets.
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The findings didn’t produce many surprises: The most expensive markets can be found mainly in California and the Northeast, and the least expensive ones can be found in the Midwest, said Jim Gillespie, chief executive of Coldwell Banker.

“People like the sun, they like the beaches, they like the mountains. [California] has been the land of opportunity,” Gillespie said. It’s one of the biggest economies in the world, and even its real-estate market has started to bounce back, he said.

On the flip side, the middle of the country typically has more modest home prices. And cities like Detroit and Cleveland have been wrestling with depressed economies, bringing down home prices in those areas even more.

In Detroit, the average listing price is about $68,000. The monthly mortgage payment, including interest and principal, on a $68,000 home is $350, Gillespie said, assuming a 4.5% interest rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage with a 20% down payment.

The priciest cities

At the top of the list of most expensive markets is Newport Beach, the setting for many television shows, including “The O.C.” and “Arrested Development,” according to the Coldwell Banker news release. Five other California cities also made the list of the priciest markets.

Below are the most expensive cities, and their average listing prices, according to the report:

 1. Newport Beach, Calif., $1.83 million

 2. Palo Alto, Calif., $1.48 million

 3. Rye, N.Y., $1.33 million

 4. San Francisco, $1.33 million

 5. La Jolla, Calif., $1.21 million

 6. Greenwich, Conn., $1.20 million

 7. Wellesley, Mass., $1.08 million

 8. Pasadena, Calif., $1.04 million

 9. Honolulu, $1.03 million

10. Santa Barbara, Calif., $1.02 million

Most affordable cities

Nearly 30% of the markets studied had home prices that averaged $200,000 or less for a four-bedroom, two-bathroom home – a home size that some buyers may aspire to own, according to the report.

But average listing prices in the top 10 most affordable markets are much lower than that, with the average listing price in four of the cities below $100,000.

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