The 20 Most Expensive U.S. Neighborhoods, Based on Square Footage

The South of Market neighborhood in San Francisco tops the list of most expensive neighborhoods in the U.S. by square footage. It's one of seven California neighborhoods to break the top 20.
A hot San Francisco neighborhood tops the list.
A hot San Francisco neighborhood tops the list. / Michael Lee/Moment/Getty Images

Anyone who’s shopped for a home knows that the right address can be more valuable than the physical building. A tiny apartment in the country’s hottest zip codes can cost more than a multi-story house in the middle of nowhere. To see where in the U.S. a square foot of property is priced the highest, check out the list below. 

Analysts with American Home Shield ranked America’s most expensive neighborhoods by square foot after trawling’s database for average home prices. It should come as no surprise to San Francisco residents that the country’s least affordable neighborhood is located in the California city. In the desirable South of Market neighborhood, the typical home sells for $5415 per square foot. For comparison, home prices in the Homewood North, Pennsylvania—America’s cheapest neighborhood—average around $29 per square foot.

California dominates the top 20 neighborhoods, with Northwest Auburn in Placer County, Old Town Carpinteria in Santa Barbara County, and Stinson Beach in Marin County placing high on the list. You’ll have scroll to the bottom of the list before seeing a Los Angeles neighborhood, with Malibu claiming the 19th slot with an average property price of $2255 per square foot.

With its miles of beachfront property, Florida is another location in high demand. Port Royal and Aqualane Shores in Collier County are some of the priciest neighborhoods in the Sunshine State, with a square foot of property there costing $3375 and $3132, respectively. Neighborhoods in Miami/Dade County, Palm Beach County, and Martin County also rank high.

Despite its reputation for cramped homes and steep property values, New York City doesn’t break the top 10. The most expensive New York neighborhood on the list is the West Village in Manhattan, which comes in at No.11 with an average price of $2680 per square foot. Other New York City locales included in the ranking are Manhattan’s Metropolitan Hill—which averages $2680 per square foot—and Hudson Square—which costs property owners $2401. You can check out the full list below.

If you’re in the market for a new home, seeing the prices of the U.S.’s most coveted neighborhoods may be discouraging. Fortunately, these numbers aren’t representative of the country as a whole. These 10 beautiful towns and cities are surprisingly affordable for homeowners.

The 20 Most Expensive Neighborhoods in the United States

  1. South of Market // San Francisco, California
  2. Northwest Auburn // Placer County, California
  3. Old Town Carpinteria // Santa Barbara County, California
  4. Downtown Bellevue // King County, Washington
  5. Port Royal // Collier County, Florida
  6. Aqualane Shores // Collier County, Florida
  7. Stinson Beach // Marin County, California
  8. Star, Palm & Hibiscus Islands // Miami/Dade County, Florida
  9. Crystal Cove // Orange County, California
  10. Casa del Largo // Palm Beach County, Florida
  11. West Village // Manhattan, New York
  12. Metropolitan Hill // Manhattan, New York
  13. Fisher Island // Miami/Dade County, Florida
  14. Hudson Square // Manhattan, New York
  15. Jupiter Island // Martin County, Florida
  16. Midtown // Manhattan, New York
  17. Launiupoko // Maui County, Hawaii
  18. Monarch Bay // Orange County, California
  19. Malibu // Los Angeles County, California
  20. NoMad // Manhattan, New York