GOBankingRates

50 Most Expensive Small Towns in America

Alex Potemkin / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Alex Potemkin / Getty Images/iStockphoto

If you’re a city dweller, you might sometimes be tempted to give up the rat race for small-town life. Sure, some of that thinking may revolve around Norman Rockwell images of quaint main streets, family-owned shops and diners where everyone knows each other. Based on the current housing market in many major U.S. metropolises, however, you’re probably focused on the potential of buying a modestly priced home in a cost-friendly area.

But you shouldn’t assume that living in a small town always equates to affordable housing and lower expenses. Not all small towns are priced the same. There are several areas, in particular, where your mortgage wouldn’t feel out of place in some of the nation’s most expensive urban real estate markets.

GOBankingRates identified the priciest small towns in America by calculating typical mortgage and rent costs in places with 500-15,000 housing units. The study also determined the total cost of necessities like groceries, healthcare, utilities and transportation in those small towns. Overall, the places featured in GOBankingRates’ study might be small in size, but they’re enormous when it comes to cost: The 50 most expensive small towns in the U.S. all feature a median estimated home value in excess of $1 million. You might have to ramp up your earnings significantly to live in these rich small towns.

Last updated: Oct. 29, 2020

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50. Piedmont, California

  • Population: 11,296
  • Housing units: 3,988
  • Median estimated home value: $2,129,200
  • 20% down payment: $425,840
  • Property tax rate: 0.78%
  • Monthly mortgage payment: $9,205
  • Monthly rent: $6,563
  • Annual cost of necessities (excluding housing): $19,996.76
Doug Kerr / Wikimedia Commons

49. Harrison, New York

  • Population: 28,319
  • Housing units: 8,969
  • Median estimated home value: $1,075,500
  • 20% down payment: $215,100
  • Property tax rate: 1.97%
  • Monthly mortgage payment: $5,716
  • Monthly rent: $6,211
  • Annual cost of necessities (excluding housing): $22,127.73
IrynaN / Shutterstock.com

48. San Carlos, California

  • Population: 29,954
  • Housing units: 11,894
  • Median estimated home value: $1,772,700
  • 20% down payment: $354,540
  • Property tax rate: 0.66%
  • Monthly mortgage payment: $7,487
  • Monthly rent: $5,087
  • Annual cost of necessities (excluding housing): $21,769.33
Andrew F. Kazmierski / Shutterstock.com

47. Spring Lake, New Jersey

  • Population: 2,980
  • Housing units: 2,203
  • Median estimated home value: $1,889,400
  • 20% down payment: $377,880
  • Property tax rate: 2.06%
  • Monthly mortgage payment: $10,184
  • Monthly rent: $9,312
  • Annual cost of necessities (excluding housing): $18,657.97
James Kirkikis / Shutterstock.com

46. Darien, Connecticut

  • Population: 21,742
  • Housing units: 7,045
  • Median estimated home value: $1,271,800
  • 20% down payment: $254,360
  • Property tax rate: 1.73%
  • Monthly mortgage payment: $6,505
  • Monthly rent: $6,246
  • Annual cost of necessities (excluding housing): $21,895.62
SounderBruce / Wikimedia Commons

45. Clyde Hill, Washington

  • Population: 3,231
  • Housing units: 1,263
  • Median estimated home value: $2,577,400
  • 20% down payment: $515,480
  • Property tax rate: 0.95%
  • Monthly mortgage payment: $11,508
  • Monthly rent: $8,114
  • Annual cost of necessities (excluding housing): $18,566.15

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44. Highlands-Baywood Park, California

  • Population: 4,245
  • Housing units: 1,488
  • Median estimated home value: $1,933,500
  • 20% down payment: $386,700
  • Property tax rate: 0.66%
  • Monthly mortgage payment: $8,166
  • Monthly rent: $5,299
  • Annual cost of necessities (excluding housing): $21,608.05

Pictured: Nearby city of San Mateo, California

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43. Los Gatos, California

  • Population: 30,709
  • Housing units: 12,941
  • Median estimated home value: $1,872,800
  • 20% down payment: $374,560
  • Property tax rate: 0.75%
  • Monthly mortgage payment: $8,050
  • Monthly rent: $5,026
  • Annual cost of necessities (excluding housing): $21,901.26
Jesse Kunerth / Shutterstock.com

42. Captiva, Florida

  • Population: 194
  • Housing units: 1,520
  • Median estimated home value: $1,111,600
  • 20% down payment: $222,320
  • Property tax rate: 0.97%
  • Monthly mortgage payment: $4,982
  • Monthly rent: $13,056
  • Annual cost of necessities (excluding housing): $20,455.97

Don’t Miss: 5 Hidden Gems in Small-Town America You Need To Visit

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41. Alamo, California

  • Population: 15,521
  • Housing units: 5,644
  • Median estimated home value: $1,707,600
  • 20% down payment: $341,520
  • Property tax rate: 0.87%
  • Monthly mortgage payment: $8,922
  • Monthly rent: $5,941
  • Annual cost of necessities (excluding housing): $21,249.09
Felix Mizioznikov / Shutterstock.com

40. Medina, Washington

  • Population: 3,217
  • Housing units: 1,290
  • Median estimated home value: $2,707,300
  • 20% down payment: $541,460
  • Property tax rate: 0.95%
  • Monthly mortgage payment: $12,088
  • Monthly rent: $8,252
  • Annual cost of necessities (excluding housing): $18,813.87
Shane Myers Photography / Shutterstock.com

39. Haleiwa, Hawaii

  • Population: 3,625
  • Housing units: 1,201
  • Median estimated home value: $1,220,500
  • 20% down payment: $244,100
  • Property tax rate: 0.29%
  • Monthly mortgage payment: $4,778
  • Monthly rent: $2,771
  • Annual cost of necessities (excluding housing): $24,910.74

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38. Menlo Park, California

  • Population: 33,661
  • Housing units: 12,760
  • Median estimated home value: $2,223,700
  • 20% down payment: $444,740
  • Property tax rate: 0.66%
  • Monthly mortgage payment: $9,391
  • Monthly rent: $5,860
  • Annual cost of necessities (excluding housing): $21,265.65
Alessandro Campagnolo / Shutterstock.com

37. Palos Verdes Estates, California

  • Population: 13,591
  • Housing units: 5,360
  • Median estimated home value: $1,965,200
  • 20% down payment: $393,040
  • Property tax rate: 0.75%
  • Monthly mortgage payment: $8,447
  • Monthly rent: $7,206
  • Annual cost of necessities (excluding housing): $21,325.51
Hank Shiffman / Shutterstock.com

36. Emerald Lake Hills, California

  • Population: 4,648
  • Housing units: 1,698
  • Median estimated home value: $2,055,900
  • 20% down payment: $411,180
  • Property tax rate: 0.66%
  • Monthly mortgage payment: $8,683
  • Monthly rent: $5,735
  • Annual cost of necessities (excluding housing): $21,898.57

Pictured: Nearby city of Redwood City, California

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35. Burlingame, California

  • Population: 30,401
  • Housing units: 12,691
  • Median estimated home value: $2,189,100
  • 20% down payment: $437,820
  • Property tax rate: 0.66%
  • Monthly mortgage payment: $9,242
  • Monthly rent: $5,501
  • Annual cost of necessities (excluding housing): $21,709.11
Joao Paulo V Tinoco / Shutterstock.com

34. Larchmont, New York

  • Population: 6,111
  • Housing units: 2,130
  • Median estimated home value: $1,100,700
  • 20% down payment: $220,140
  • Property tax rate: 1.97%
  • Monthly mortgage payment: $5,850
  • Monthly rent: $6,849
  • Annual cost of necessities (excluding housing): $23,155.93
T. Gitman / Shutterstock.com

33. Lattingtown, New York

  • Population: 1,830
  • Housing units: 717
  • Median estimated home value: $1,103,600
  • 20% down payment: $220,720
  • Property tax rate: 2.24%
  • Monthly mortgage payment: $6,114
  • Monthly rent: $5,024
  • Annual cost of necessities (excluding housing): $23,827.76

Pictured: Nearby city of Glen Cove, New York

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32. Scarsdale, New York

  • Population: 17,856
  • Housing units: 5,782
  • Median estimated home value: $1,013,700
  • 20% down payment: $202,740
  • Property tax rate: 1.97%
  • Monthly mortgage payment: $5,388
  • Monthly rent: $7,587
  • Annual cost of necessities (excluding housing): $23,295.33
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31. Saddle River, New Jersey

  • Population: 3,248
  • Housing units: 1,351
  • Median estimated home value: $1,701,500
  • 20% down payment: $340,300
  • Property tax rate: 2.2%
  • Monthly mortgage payment: $9,369
  • Monthly rent: $6,602
  • Annual cost of necessities (excluding housing): $21,633.58
Daniel Case / Wikimedia Commons

30. Short Hills, New Jersey

  • Population: 13,092
  • Housing units: 4,222
  • Median estimated home value: $1,426,900
  • 20% down payment: $285,380
  • Property tax rate: 2.7%
  • Monthly mortgage payment: $8,452
  • Monthly rent: $6,429
  • Annual cost of necessities (excluding housing): $22,380
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29. Tiburon, California

  • Population: 9,205
  • Housing units: 4,149
  • Median estimated home value: $2,344,400
  • 20% down payment: $468,880
  • Property tax rate: 0.78%
  • Monthly mortgage payment: $10,135
  • Monthly rent: $8,782
  • Annual cost of necessities (excluding housing): $20,678.10
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28. Great Neck, New York

  • Population: 10,272
  • Housing units: 3,495
  • Median estimated home value: $1,212,400
  • 20% down payment: $242,480
  • Property tax rate: 2.24%
  • Monthly mortgage payment: $6,717
  • Monthly rent: $5,079
  • Annual cost of necessities (excluding housing): $24,124.83
Kit Leong / Shutterstock.com

27. San Marino, California

  • Population: 13,331
  • Housing units: 4,943
  • Median estimated home value: $2,220,600
  • 20% down payment: $444,120
  • Property tax rate: 0.75%
  • Monthly mortgage payment: $9,545
  • Monthly rent: $7,881
  • Annual cost of necessities (excluding housing): $21,525.10

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26. Del Mar, California

  • Population: 4,338
  • Housing units: 2,838
  • Median estimated home value: $2,392,700
  • 20% down payment: $478,540
  • Property tax rate: 0.76%
  • Monthly mortgage payment: $10,304
  • Monthly rent: $10,598
  • Annual cost of necessities (excluding housing): $20,202.91
AnastasiaKopa / Shutterstock.com

25. East Hills, New York

  • Population: $7,114
  • Housing units: $2,459
  • Median estimated home value: $1,139,300
  • 20% down payment: $227,860
  • Property tax rate: 2.24%
  • Monthly mortgage payment: $6,312
  • Monthly rent: $5,563
  • Annual cost of necessities (excluding housing): $24,354.15

Pictured: Nearby city of Old Westbury, New York

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24. Rye, New York

  • Population: 16,004
  • Housing units: 5,718
  • Median estimated home value: $1,638,700
  • 20% down payment: $327,740
  • Property tax rate: 1.97%
  • Monthly mortgage payment: $8,709
  • Monthly rent: $9,158
  • Annual cost of necessities (excluding housing): $21,745.51
MISHELLA / Shutterstock.com

23. Gulf Stream, Florida

  • Population: 752
  • Housing units: 564
  • Median estimated home value: $1,698,200
  • 20% down payment: $339,640
  • Property tax rate: 1.12%
  • Monthly mortgage payment: $7,823
  • Monthly rent: $14,385
  • Annual cost of necessities (excluding housing): $20,282.89

Pictured: Nearby city of Delray Beach, Florida

JasonDoiy / Getty Images

22. Stanford, California

  • Population: 15,277
  • Housing units: 3,690
  • Median estimated home value: $2,916,000
  • 20% down payment: $583,200
  • Property tax rate: 0.75%
  • Monthly mortgage payment: $12,534
  • Monthly rent: $7,603
  • Annual cost of necessities (excluding housing): $20,428.80
peeterv / iStock.com

21. Rancho Santa Fe, California

  • Population: 2,428
  • Housing units: 1,214
  • Median estimated home value: $2,445,000
  • 20% down payment: $489,000
  • Property tax rate: 0.76%
  • Monthly mortgage payment: $10,530
  • Monthly rent: $10,463
  • Annual cost of necessities (excluding housing): $20,394.86

Pictured: Nearby city of Encinitas, California

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20. Flower Hill, New York

  • Population: 4,785
  • Housing units: 1,609
  • Median estimated home value: $1,190,400
  • 20% down payment: $238,080
  • Property tax rate: 2.24%
  • Monthly mortgage payment: $6,595
  • Monthly rent: $4,967
  • Annual cost of necessities (excluding housing): $24,678.37

Pictured: Nearby city of Old Westbury, New York

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19. Montecito, California

  • Population: 8,984
  • Housing units: 4,312
  • Median estimated home value: $3,024,900
  • 20% down payment: $604,980
  • Property tax rate: 0.68%
  • Monthly mortgage payment: $12,825
  • Monthly rent: $11,539
  • Annual cost of necessities (excluding housing): $18,797.53

Related: What It Costs To Live In America’s Most Expensive ZIP Codes

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18. Saratoga, California

  • Population: 31,013
  • Housing units: 11,282
  • Median estimated home value: $2,628,200
  • 20% down payment: $525,640
  • Property tax rate: 0.75%
  • Monthly mortgage payment: $11,297
  • Monthly rent: $6,420
  • Annual cost of necessities (excluding housing): $21,709.72
HaizhanZheng / Getty Images/iStockphoto

17. Manhasset, New York

  • Population: 7,922
  • Housing units: 2,872
  • Median estimated home value: $1,447,400
  • 20% down payment: $289,480
  • Property tax rate: 2.24%
  • Monthly mortgage payment: $8,018
  • Monthly rent: $5,748
  • Annual cost of necessities (excluding housing): $24,217.21

Pictured: Manhasset Bay, New York

Joshua Rainey Photography / Shutterstock.com

16. Woodside, California

  • Population: 5,550
  • Housing units: 2,142
  • Median estimated home value: $3,024,300
  • 20% down payment: $604,860
  • Property tax rate: 0.66%
  • Monthly mortgage payment: $12,775
  • Monthly rent: $7,560
  • Annual cost of necessities (excluding housing): $21,505.59
rSnapshotPhotos / Shutterstock.com

15. Laurel Hollow, New York

  • Population: 1,982
  • Housing units: 617
  • Median estimated home value: $1,550,100
  • 20% down payment: $310,020
  • Property tax rate: 1.97%
  • Monthly mortgage payment: $8,239
  • Monthly rent: $6,087
  • Annual cost of necessities (excluding housing): $24,563.03

Pictured: Nearby city of Huntington, New York

Andrei Stanescu / Getty Images

14. Monte Sereno, California

  • Population: 3,551
  • Housing units: 1,346
  • Median estimated home value: $3,004,500
  • 20% down payment: $600,900
  • Property tax rate: 0.75%
  • Monthly mortgage payment: $12,914
  • Monthly rent: $7,013
  • Annual cost of necessities (excluding housing): $21,716.29

Pictured: Nearby city of Los Gatos, California

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13. Los Altos, California

  • Population: 30,527
  • Housing units: 11,045
  • Median estimated home value: $3,102,500
  • 20% down payment: $620,500
  • Property tax rate: 0.75%
  • Monthly mortgage payment: $13,323
  • Monthly rent: $7,534
  • Annual cost of necessities (excluding housing): $21,323.03
littleny / Getty Images

12. Muttontown, New York

  • Population: 3,661
  • Housing units: 1,352
  • Median estimated home value: $1,541,600
  • 20% down payment: $308,320
  • Property tax rate: 1.97%
  • Monthly mortgage payment: $8,193
  • Monthly rent: $6,542
  • Annual cost of necessities (excluding housing): $24,507.37

Pictured: Nearby city of Oyster Bay, New York

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11. Palm Beach, Florida

  • Population: 8,593
  • Housing units: 9,828
  • Median estimated home value: $1,155,300
  • 20% down payment: $231,060
  • Property tax rate: 1.12%
  • Monthly mortgage payment: $5,322
  • Monthly rent: $21,884
  • Annual cost of necessities (excluding housing): $20,285.72

What About Your Golden Years? The 30 Best Small Towns To Retire in America

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10. Upper Brookville, New York

  • Population: 1,535
  • Housing units: 570
  • Median estimated home value: $1,796,200
  • 20% down payment: $359,240
  • Property tax rate: 2.24%
  • Monthly mortgage payment: $9,951
  • Monthly rent: $7,574
  • Annual cost of necessities (excluding housing): $23,949.87
AnastasiaKopa / Shutterstock.com

9. Old Westbury, New York

  • Population: 4,711
  • Housing units: 1,139
  • Median estimated home value: $2,059,800
  • 20% down payment: $411,960
  • Property tax rate: 2.24%
  • Monthly mortgage payment: $11,411
  • Monthly rent: $8,150
  • Annual cost of necessities (excluding housing): $23,820.98
FourthNovemberStudio / Shutterstock.com

8. Belvedere, California

  • Population: 2,156
  • Housing units: 1,079
  • Median estimated home value: $3,330,500
  • 20% down payment: $666,100
  • Property tax rate: 0.78%
  • Monthly mortgage payment: $14,398
  • Monthly rent: $11,396
  • Annual cost of necessities (excluding housing): $21,125.57
Sherry Little Fawn S / Shutterstock.com

7. Malibu, California

  • Population: 12,871
  • Housing units: 7,448
  • Median estimated home value: $2,884,000
  • 20% down payment: $576,800
  • Property tax rate: 0.75%
  • Monthly mortgage payment: $12,396
  • Monthly rent: $11,811
  • Annual cost of necessities (excluding housing): $22,180.45
Justin P Bradley / Shutterstock.com

6. Rolling Hills, California

  • Population: 1,684
  • Housing units: 704
  • Median estimated home value: $3,140,600
  • 20% down payment: $628,120
  • Property tax rate: 0.75%
  • Monthly mortgage payment: $13,511
  • Monthly rent: $11,953
  • Annual cost of necessities (excluding housing): $22,025.67
Ed-Ni-Photo / Getty Images/iStockphoto

5. Hidden Hills, California

  • Population: 1,676
  • Housing units: 594
  • Median estimated home value: $3,182,200
  • 20% down payment: $636,440
  • Property tax rate: 0.75%
  • Monthly mortgage payment: $13,690
  • Monthly rent: $14,738
  • Annual cost of necessities (excluding housing): $21,380.05

Pictured: Nearby city of Calabasas, California

Elizabeth Winterbourne / Shutterstock.com

4. Portola Valley, California

  • Population: 4,589
  • Housing units: 1,930
  • Median estimated home value: $3,724,100
  • 20% down payment: $744,820
  • Property tax rate: 0.66%
  • Monthly mortgage payment: $15,723
  • Monthly rent: $9,963
  • Annual cost of necessities (excluding housing): $22,205.66
Hank Shiffman / Shutterstock.com

3. Los Altos Hills, California

  • Population: 8,490
  • Housing units: 3,389
  • Median estimated home value: $4,238,800
  • 20% down payment: $847,760
  • Property tax rate: 0.75%
  • Monthly mortgage payment: $18,203
  • Monthly rent: $10,785
  • Annual cost of necessities (excluding housing): $21,687.71
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2. Jupiter Island, Florida

  • Population: 759
  • Housing units: 783
  • Median estimated home value: $5,030,300
  • 20% down payment: $1,006,060
  • Property tax rate: 1.12%
  • Monthly mortgage payment: $23,165
  • Monthly rent: $20,447
  • Annual cost of necessities (excluding housing): $18,251.58
©Shutterstock.com

1. Atherton, California

  • Population: 7,182
  • Housing units: 2,522
  • Median estimated home value: $5,920,200
  • 20% down payment: $1,184,040
  • Property tax rate: 0.66%
  • Monthly mortgage payment: $25,002
  • Monthly rent: $15,819
  • Annual cost of necessities (excluding housing): $22,052.01

More From GOBankingRates

Methodology: To find the most expensive small towns in America, GOBankingRates looked at towns with 500-15,000 housing units, according to the 2018 American Community Survey. Once these small towns were located, GOBankingRates used Zillow’s October 2019 housing data to find each city’s median home value as of October 2019. All cities with a median home value below $1 million or without data were discarded. GOBankingRates then found each remaining small town’s median rent listing for single-family residences, as sourced from Zillow. All small towns without this data were then discarded. GOBankingRates analyzed the remaining small towns across the following factors: (1) annual mortgage cost, found using SmartAsset’s mortgage calculator and the median list price from Zillow, along with applicable property taxes sourced from SmartAsset’s property tax calculator based on a constant mortgage rate of 3.68%, as sourced from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis on Dec. 5, 2019; (2) annual rent for a single-family residence, as sourced from Zillow; and (3) annual cost-of-living expenditures (minus housing), based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2018 Consumer Expenditure Survey and local cost-of-living indices, as sourced from Sperling’s Best Places. These three factors were then scored and combined, with the highest scores being the most expensive. Factor No. 1 was weighted 1 1/2 times in the final calculations. All data used to conduct this study was compiled and verified on Dec. 5, 2019.