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There are 218 Million-Dollar Cities in the U.S., But the Stream of New Entrants is Running Dry

Skylar Olsen
  • There are 218 cities with a typical home value of at least $1 million, three more than in December 2018.
  • Seven new cities joined the list, but four saw home values decline below the $1 million threshold in 2019 as the market slowed, the first time since 2016 that any cities fell off the list.
  • More than half of these $1 million cities are in the San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles metros. 

 There are currently 218 million-dollar cities in the U.S. — cities with a typical home value of $1 million or more — three more than at the end of 2018 and 74 more than there were five years ago. The net addition of three $1 million cities is easily the lowest in recent years, a reflection of the slower market last year.

The typical home value in seven cities broached the mythical $1 million mark during the course of 2019 — Santa  Ynez, Calif.; Telluride, Colo.; Forest Hills, Tenn.; Sierra Madre, Calif.; McLean, Va.; Moose, Wyo.; and Redondo Beach, Calif. The typical home value in four previously $1 million dropped below the $1 million threshold — San Jose, Calif.; San Quentin, Calif.; Lexington Hills, Calif.; and Laie, Hawaii. 

net new million dollar cities over time

This is the first year since 2016 in which any cities fell off the $1 million list, as home values declined in some expensive areas after a period of extreme price growth. An average of just under 20 cities a year broke the $1 million threshold from 2014-2018, including a high of 25 in 2017 when home value growth was approaching 7% per year. 

Odd though it may seem, it's the cities at the top that are 'struggling' the most as the market slowly returns to a more balanced “normal.” More than just slower growth, home values good and truly fell in many of these luxury hubs, a sign that the excessive home value appreciation of the past several years drove prices too high — even beyond the reach of those who could afford almost anything almost anywhere else.

Cities in the San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles metros dominate the list of $1 million communities. More than half of all $1 million cities come from just these three metros — 46 in San Francisco, 43 in New York and 30 in Los Angeles. Boston (10), San Jose (10) and Miami (7) have the next-most. 

markets with the most million-dollar cities

If current rates of appreciation hold throughout 2020, 11 cities that just missed out in 2019 will join the $1 million club next year — Needham, Mass.; Edgartown, Mass.; Longport, N.J.; and East Pasadena, Glen Ellen, Alameda, View Park-Windsor Hills, Avila Beach, Clayton, Carmel Valley and Dana Point, all in California. 

Five cities will lose their $1 million status in 2020, assuming their current rates of decline hold true. They are Kailua, Hawaii; Milpitas, Calif.; Harding Township, N.J.; Daly City, Calif; and Fremont, Calif.

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