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The biggest expense any of us face is housing. Our mortgage payment eats up a sizeable chunk of the monthly paycheck. But of course, it’s not just the size of your home, but the location that can make the difference between something affordable, and something only the richest of the rich can afford. Here are the 10 hot spots in the U.S. right now, and no surprise here, they’re all in either New York or California.
Derived from the Spanish for “tall tree,” Palo Alto was named after a 1,000-year-old redwood tree. Just 35 miles south of San Francisco, and 14 miles north of San Jose, it’s in a beautiful location. And the 67,000 residents who live there clearly agree. At over 100 years old, it was the place where early Spanish explorers settled, but is now considered the birthplace of Silicon Valley. It’s an exciting mix of tradition and tech. Sounds great, right? Well, it better be, with a median house price of $3.15 million. The average household income in Palo Alto is $185,033.
Another idyllic setting south of San Francisco, Atherton was originally known as Fair Oaks when it was founded in 1866. A quick tour of the area will soon reveal why, with a vast array of native live oaks and white oaks, bays, redwoods, cedars, and pines. It has a population of just under 7,000, and contains 2,500 households. But with a median home price of $5.9 million, it’s still well out of the range of all but the 1%. However, average household income in this zip is $425,775.
Anyone who remembers the TV series of the same name knows that this is a place of wealth, fashion, and unrealistic standards of beauty. It’s also been featured in countless movies, and the renowned Rodeo Drive is right there — where you can spend a fortune on brands like Cartier, Fendi, Jimmy Choo, Prada, and Rolex. If you want to live close to that kind of luxury retail, you’ll have to fork over some serious cash. The median house price for the area is $3.5 million. Average household income for this zip code is $191,087.
Read More: The 4 Most Overpriced U.S. Housing Markets
New York City is a big place, so let’s break this down. The 10013 zip is around the Lower Manhattan and Tribeca area, and includes Columbus Park, the Tribeca Performing Arts Center, and SoHo. It’s filled with incredible places to eat and drink, plus art galleries, museums, and some very chic little boutique shops. If you plan on moving there, you’ll need plenty of money to make it work. The median house price in this zip code is $3.4 million. Staggeringly, average household income here is $220,757.
With a population of just 321 people, Sagaponack is not exactly a hotbed of activity. This village, in the town of Southampton in Suffolk, New York, is at the East End of Long Island. If the name sounds new to you, you probably know it better as The Hamptons (which includes this and several other communities). It’s picturesque, full of beautiful green grass, lush trees, and it’s right there on the coast. But if you want to live there, get ready to shell out a fortune. The median sales price for a home in the 11962 zip code is a staggering $8.5 million. Celebrities including Jimmy Fallon and Billy Joel live there, although surprisingly, the average income for the area is $273,472.
The oceanfront city of Santa Monica includes innumerable attractions, including the Playland Arcade, the Santa Monica Pier, and a whole host of bars, galleries, restaurants and attractions. With its all-year-round perfect climate, it is a magnet for tourists and a welcome place to live. Want to move in? Well, start saving. The median home price here is a cool $3 million, but the average household income is $111,973.
With less than 2,000 residents, the hamlet of Bridgehampton is in the town of Southampton, on Long Island. Another community in The Hamptons, it’s just what you’d expect. Spectacular views of the coastline, incredible greenery, and a plethora of activities for those with very deep pockets. If you own a yacht, you’d love it here. But of course, you’d also need to stump up the median house price of $2.96 million. The average household income here is $134,393.
“You’re on the beach” is a perfect way to describe this beautiful part of California. And, it definitely pushes that angle in all of the promotional materials. You can indulge in sunset cruises, surfing lessons, fishing, swimming, scuba diving, and wine-tasting events on the oceanfront. But all that will cost you. The median home price here is $2.88 million, with the average household income in 92662 being $173,072.
Read More: 5 Reasons Fall Is a Great Time to House Hunt
We’re back in New York City again — this time just below the area closer to the top of this list. In this part of the city, you’ll see the Woolworth Building, St. Paul’s Chapel, and the new One World Trade Center. With endless coffee shops, theatres, restaurants, and art galleries, it’s got many of the amenities of the more expensive 10013 zip code, but at an average house price of $2.8 million, it’s over half a million dollars more affordable! The average household income in this part of New York is $430,777
The last location on the list is another hamlet, although this time, it’s not in The Hamptons. In fact, it’s commonly referred to as “The Un-Hamptons.” There are less than 1,000 people living here, and under 500 households. It’s not exactly a hotspot of frenzied activity though, with hiking, kayaking, and cycling being the most common activities for the locals. A home in Shelter Island Heights will set you back $2.97 million, and the average household income here is $140,380.