When the average home price in San Francisco went over the $1 million threshold in the first half of 2015, it was pretty obvious for most people that the Bay city secured the top position as the most expensive housing market in the U.S. This is exactly what happened. According to records released at the end of last year, San Francisco is the superstar housing market not only in the U.S., but for the entire North America as well.
But what may really surprise some people when looking at our top 15 list of the most expensive housing markets in North America is seeing Vancouver — the third most expensive city in the world — down in the 6th position, behind a less expected entry … Brooklyn, N.Y.! The reason for this is the same one which pushed Toronto out of the top 10 list and to #11: a weaker Canadian dollar. And guess who comes right after Toronto? Well, it’s Queens, N.Y.
Take a look below at the rankings and let us know if you expect to see the list changing this year.
Note: We have listed NYC’s boroughs individually because their real state markets function separately; the second reason was that each borough has a population big enough to make it comparable to the cities on our list.
#1 San Francisco, CA
Median home sale price (Dec. 2015): $1,085,000 USD
With sky-high home prices becoming the norm in San Francisco, many are wondering how long people are going to be able to afford buying a home here, especially since the condo market is not significantly cheaper than the detached-home segment.
#2. Manhattan, NY
Median home sale price (Dec. 2015): $1,059,000 USD
According to real estate data powerhouse PropertyShark, at the end of 2015, the median home sale price in Manhattan went over $1 million for the first time. And if you take into account that in 3 Manhattan neighborhoods prices jumped over $3 million as well, then this news is expected.
#3. San Jose, CA
Median home sale price (Dec. 2015): $700,000 USD
The state of California has another strong representative in list of the top most expensive housing markets in North America. And not just on this continent. With $700,000 the median home sale price, San Jose also ranks very high on the list of most unaffordable cities in the world, according to Demographia’s housing index.
#4. Brooklyn, NY
Median home sale price (Dec. 2015): $620,000 USD
Said to be following in Manhattan’s footsteps, Brooklyn has seen home prices break all previous records in 2015. It’s a surprising entry into our list and its high median price reflects a peaking luxury market which has attracted a growing number of foreign investors.
#5. Los Angeles, CA
Median home sale price (Dec. 2015): $565,000 USD
In the second and third quarters of 2015, Los Angeles saw home prices soar to levels last seen before the onset of the financial crisis. The fourth quarter, however, remained flat, leaving real estate experts looking ahead to the warm months for sales to pick up again.
On the other hand, rentals in Los Angeles haven’t slowed down. They continue to climb all over town.
#6. Vancouver, B.C. (Canada)
Median home sale price (Dec. 2015): $549,783 USD / $760,900 CAD
The main culprit of Vancouver’s low position in our list is the Canadian dollar. The fact that it lost strength against the US dollar made the Canadian real estate properties a much more affordable asset for American home buyers. Now an average home in Vancouver (including condos) will cost Americans just a little over $500,000 USD, which is half of what they pay now for a home in San Francisco. However, the benchmark for a single-family home was, at the end of 2015, at record-levels — $1,226,300 CAD, which still means a jaw-breaking $911,240 USD.
#7. Seattle, WA
Median home sale price (Dec. 2015): $538,500
The tech boom Seattle has been seeing in the last years has taken its toll on home prices, which have been following a rising trend. Although the year-over-year growth is somewhere around 13%, real estate professionals expect the city to be the next Silicon Valley or New York in the next 5 years.
#8. Washington, D.C.
Median home sale price (Dec. 2015): $510,838 USD
Home prices grew exponentially in Washington D.C. especially between 2012 and 2014, when other cities were registering decreases. Although the pressure has eased a bit in certain markets, central neighborhoods continue to see prices sky-rocket.
#9. San Diego, CA
Median home sale price (Dec. 2015): $510,000 USD
Almost tieing with Washington D.C., San Diego is still more affordable than other counties in California, most notably Orange County and LA County. Home prices have been rising in the past years, leaving some experts wondering if the city hasn’t reached a bubble.
#10. Boston, MT
Median home sale price (Dec. 2015): $451,250 USD
Boston had several things to show off for 2015: 4 of its neighborhoods were included on the list of the hottest neighborhoods in the nation, plus the number of sales and the median home price continued to register increases compared to 2014.
#11. Toronto, ON (Canada)
Median home sale price (Dec. 2015): $443,064 USD/ $613,200 CAD
Despite its low position in our list this year, the Toronto housing market is still the second hottest in Canada, after Vancouver, and one of the most active markets in the world. The recent boom in condo development placed Toronto ahead of any other city in the world in terms of numbers of new recorded building permits.