146 Cities Joined the Million Dollar List in 2021 — How Does That Impact Your Ability To Buy a Home?

San Francisco, USA - May 10, 2016: San Francisco USA panoramic view of upper apartment buildings towards downtown on a sunny day.
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Living in a million-dollar city sounds awesome. Your world will be filled with golden playgrounds, five-star restaurants and designer boutiques, right? Nah. What it really means is that homes are very expensive, and your monthly mortgage payment could be a real whopper.

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A “million-dollar city” is one in which the typical home value is at least $1 million — and there are a lot of those popping up in the United States. A record 146 new U.S. cities became million-dollar cities in 2021, which was the highest-ever number of new entrants in a single year, according to a new report from Zillow. That brought the total to 481 cities nationwide.

The number of cities that rose above $1 million in value last year is almost triple the number in in 2020. That shouldn’t come as a surprise, considering that home values in the U.S. grew at a record pace in 2021, with Zillow estimating that the typical U.S. home value grew just less than 20% for the year.

Don’t look for much letup this year, either. As GOBankingRates previously reported, Zillow expects average U.S. home prices to rise 14.3% in 2022 vs. last year, with certain cities in the South eyeing much higher increases.

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Prices have been pushed up by surging demand for housing and a shortage of supply as the home building industry contends with supply chain problems, a shortage of raw materials and not enough workers. Rising mortgage rates could push the cost to buy a new home even higher.

The good news is, you don’t have to dish out anywhere near $1 million for the typical home in the U.S. The average home value in the U.S. currently stands at $325,677, according to Zillow.

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In keeping with recent trends, the majority of million-dollar cities are located within a few large coastal regions. The San Francisco and New York metro areas lead with 76 million-dollar cities each. The Los Angeles metro are comes next with 57 cities on the list, followed by San Jose, California with 22. About 60% of all million-dollar cities lie within eight metro areas, and almost half (44%) are in California. 

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But even states like Idaho, Montana and Tennessee now have million-dollar cities. And the most expensive city is Indian Creek, Florida, an exclusive 300-acre island in Biscayne Bay in Miami. A typical home there costs around $28.3 million.

Other municipalities high up on the list are Atherton on the San Francisco Peninsula; Hunts Point, Washington; Jupiter Island, Florida; and Sagaponack, New York.

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About the Author

Vance Cariaga is a London-based writer, editor and journalist who previously held staff positions at Investor’s Business Daily, The Charlotte Business Journal and The Charlotte Observer. His work also appeared in Charlotte Magazine, Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal and Business North Carolina magazine. He holds a B.A. in English from Appalachian State University and studied journalism at the University of South Carolina. His reporting earned awards from the North Carolina Press Association, the Green Eyeshade Awards and AlterNet. In addition to journalism, he has worked in banking, accounting and restaurant management. A native of North Carolina who also writes fiction, Vance’s short story, “Saint Christopher,” placed second in the 2019 Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition. Two of his short stories appear in With One Eye on the Cows, an anthology published by Ad Hoc Fiction in 2019. His debut novel, Voodoo Hideaway, was published in 2021 by Atmosphere Press.
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