August 23, 2019
Small-town life is often pictured as peaceful, idyllic and safe, especially compared to residing in the big city. What isn’t mentioned quite as often, however, is that living in these small towns can be very expensive. In ranking the 50 most expensive towns in America, LendingTree noted that “many people living in the towns featured in our study would have an easier time affording a home in a major metropolitan area than in their current area.”
The three most expensive towns on the LendingTree list were Vineyard Haven, MA, Summit Park, UT and Breckenridge, CO. To come to its conclusion, the online mortgage lender examined towns with the most expensive median home values, and compared it with the median income, to determine if homeownership might be attainable for the average citizen living there. After analyzing the data, the LendingTree analysts indicated that both renting and owning a home in 42 of the 50 towns examined is out of reach for median-income earners there.
Why is this the case? LendingTree pointed out that many of the most expensive towns are considered resort, or destination towns. Basically, they are places where the wealthy visit during certain times of the year. “Because many people who live in these towns do not live there year-round, and otherwise make the bulk of their income elsewhere, they can afford to buy homes well outside of the price range of the average townsperson,” the report’s researchers commented.
The combination of demand for luxury homes and building restrictions in many of these towns, is leading to higher home prices, and income and wealth inequality. It’s likely, based on the study, that many people who work in the towns might not necessarily live there, but commute instead.
Pictured: Vinyard Haven, MA
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