Realtors and the municipality strictly define a neighborhood’s borders. But to most of us, our neighborhood is fluid. Their shape and meaning can change with every encounter, every closed store and every new arrival. The thought of moving to a new neighborhood may be highly emotional, whether for better or worse.
But a neighborhood is also a shared cultural hallucination with a direct bearing on the property prices therein. The value of a home due to its presence in a particular neighborhood is a complex calculation of position, crime rates, school results, home sizes, amenities and the je ne sais quoi of desirability that changes with the times.
Whether you’re buying a home or hoping to generate a ‘passive’ income, you’ll have one eye on today’s purchase prices and rental rates and the other on potential value appreciation. As such, it’s worth recalling that while expensive homes may gain more value in absolute terms, houses in emerging neighborhoods may give a better return as a percentage rate.
While it’s smart to talk about a location’s enduring desirability with a real estate agent before buying, a broad appraisal of regional house prices is standard homework that will help you better picture the project in front of you. To give the lay of the land, CashNetUSA has uncovered the most expensive neighborhood in every state, the ten most expensive overall and the ten most expensive in five major U.S. cities.
What We Did
CashNetUSA used real estate data from Zillow to identify neighborhoods in the towns and cities of all 50 U.S. states. Then, we added together the house prices in each area and divided them by the number of properties to calculate the average price in every neighborhood.
- The Manalapan neighborhood of Florida is America’s most expensive, with homes averaging $39,761,000.
- The neighborhood of Snowmass is Colorado’s most expensive and the third most expensive in the U.S. (average $23,568,750).
- Four of America’s 10 most expensive neighborhoods are in Florida.
- Hudson Yards is the most expensive neighborhood of New York City, at an average of $7,459,720.
Manalapan, FL, is America’s Most Expensive ‘Hood
The most expensive neighborhoods from state to state range from paradise settlements for the mega-rich to unassuming southern suburbs and idyllic family communities. Some 40 out of 50 states have a neighborhood with a seven-figure price average, while Florida, Colorado, California and New York have eight-figure ‘hoods. The average price of the most expensive neighborhoods in every U.S. state is $5,249,542.
America’s priciest ‘hood is the beachside community of Manalapan in Palm Beach County, Florida, by a margin of 40% over Snowmass, Colorado. Some use Manalapan as a holiday home and others as a main residence, but either way, money is the ticket: area owners have included the likes of Billy Joel and Don King. To give some idea of how money flows out here, tech entrepreneur Jim Clark set a new real estate record in the summer, selling his Manalapan estate for $173 million — a sizable mark-up on the $94m “spur of the moment purchase” he’d made just a year previously.
There is one other neighborhood between Manalapan and Snowmass in price; the Florida ‘hood of Palm Island. Indeed, allowing multiple neighborhoods from each state to figure, four of America’s 10 most expensive are in Florida, while three are in California and two in New York. Ironically, Colorado’s Snowmass is touted as an affordable Aspen alternative to neighboring ‘Billionaire Mountain.’
Chicago: New Eastside is Most Expensive Neighborhood
We analyzed 122 neighborhoods in Chicago and found six with an average home price of over a million dollars. Chicago is known as an affordable alternative ‘big city,’ and some of the pricier neighborhoods in our study get their big price tag courtesy of a minority of luxury homes (such as the Gold Coast) dragging up the average. The bustling waterside community of River North offers an alternative at the cheaper end of expensive.
New York: New Development Tops Property Rich List
In contrast to Chicago, we had no problem finding 10 New York City neighborhoods with an average listing in seven figures. Even the tenth, Greenwich Village, works out a few thou north of $4m. Some 24 of 28 condos in a new GV development sold with no conventional marketing in just weeks in 2022 at an average of $3.5m each. But that’s less than half the average price of a spot in Hudson Yards, the “biggest, newest, slickest gated community” currently emerging from “the last precious undeveloped parcel of significant size in Manhattan.”
Los Angeles: Bel Air Takes the Crown
While New York has a broad spread of >$4m home neighborhoods at the top end of the market, the Los Angeles landscape is characterized by two stand-out ‘hoods and a long tail of lower seven-figure areas. Bel Air is L.A.’s most expensive neighborhood of all and the seventh most expensive in the U.S. Sandwiched, geographically, between the second and third most expensive L.A. neighborhoods, Bel-Air. While the city’s most expensive neighborhoods are clustered nearby, Bel-Air’s unique stock of big-name architect homes and sprawling estates set the neighborhood price points apart.
Philadelphia: Most Expensive Homes in Chestnut Hill
Pretty Chestnut Hill offers a suburban mix of “stone mansions and 19th-century farmhouses” for prices north of $1.6m, dragging up the local average (regular apartments are also available at more affordable rates). But the remainder of Philly’s most expensive neighborhoods is found downtown, where traditional housing and modern apartments continue to jostle among the city center’s bars, shops and vibrant art scene.
Houston: Memorial Villages Form Cluster of Pricey Neighborhoods
Houston’s most expensive neighborhoods form two clusters on either side of the East Loop. Three of the top five are outside the loop. They form part of the Memorial Villages, an eclectic family of communities that developed in tandem following the construction of Interstate 10 in 1968. But there is a more affordable option in the top 10: Spring Valley is the cheapest of the Memorial Villages to make our list, offering a stable community in a rural setting for half the price of the adjoining Afton Oaks.
Where It’s At
The type of neighborhood that attracts the highest prices is in constant flux. In the past, “the most desirable areas were located in the suburbs while the inner city was often the least desirable,” explains Dave Mele, President of Homes.com. “With the inner city revitalization projects completed or underway all over the country, urban areas are now in hot demand with suburbs being more affordable than ever before.” You can find the neighborhoods advertising the highest prices in our interactive table below.
City, suburb or village, new build apartment or traditional house, your taste and budget will define the type of neighborhood in which you buy. But rather than rely purely on circumstances and instincts, the homebuyer can benefit from jumping with both feet into the research to find exactly what’s available, what’s possible and how much a similar property might cost from one area to another. If a neighborhood is a cocktail of sights, feelings and relationships, the price may be the one concrete factor you can rely on.
METHODOLOGY & SOURCES
To find the most expensive neighborhoods around America, we first pulled the prices of all homes (categories = “Houses,” “Townhomes,” “Condos/Co-ops” and “Apartments”) from Zillow, which we then grouped together by neighborhood. Then we calculated the average house price in each neighborhood by adding together the house prices in each area and dividing them by the number of houses. Finally, we ranked the neighborhoods and found the most expensive one in each state and the top 10 most expensive in five major cities.
We excluded any neighborhoods with fewer than 10 listings.
Small villages or towns were considered neighborhoods (similar in size to neighborhoods within cities), e.g., Snowmass in Colorado.
The data was collected in November 2022.