Many cities top the list of places that are among the least affordable for people to live in the U.S. They are ranked by how much of a person’s weekly income must be used in order to pay rent or mortgage installments. In these locations, homeowners must spend 64% or more of their weekly income to pay for their cost of living. Here are a few of the most expensive cities. 

San Francisco

Despite being a city that boasts high-income levels, San Francisco is one of the least affordable cities in the U.S. for homeowners. As much as 73% of a household’s income could be spent on housing, assuming a combined mortgage and property tax bill of around $5,000 monthly and a monthly household income of about $8,000. The average home price in this city is over a million dollars.


Honolulu has been regarded as the least affordable capital city in America. Median sales prices on homes have consistently risen 12% or more over a two-year period. Buyers in this city can easily expect average prices of around $880,000.

San Diego

San Diego’s median home prices are too high for most average salary-earners to afford. Residents who currently rent have less money to use towards buying a home because they spend more than 30% of their income on rent on average. Median listing prices for San Diego homes, including the city and county, are $725,000.

New York City

New York City has always had a steady demand for housing, which has impacted its affordability. City residents have been spending an average of 30% of their income on housing costs alone, making homeownership a challenge. New York City’s home prices average $632,000.

Los Angeles

In early 2020, Los Angeles had the distinction of being the least affordable housing market in the U.S. Less than 12% of homes sold in the final quarter of 2019 were affordable for median income-earners. Average home prices for the city are around $630,000, including costs for adjacent areas such as Glendale and Long Beach.

Although there are many cities in the United States with expensive housing, these cities stand out for the percentage of household income that ends up allocated towards mortgage costs. According to current housing trends, these high prices are expected to continue for the foreseeable future.