These Are the 15 Most Expensive Cities in the U.S.
Rent and home prices have gone up everywhere around the county, with some places far more out of reach than others. City and state taxes and general cost of living increases also play a factor.
These are the most expensive cities in the U.S. in 2022, based on findings from U.S. News and World Report. Is yours on the list?
15. Trenton, New Jersey
Average rent for a 1-bedroom: $1,311
Many cities in New Jersey are seeking a spike in the cost of living, and Trenton is one of them.
This capital city is a mix of the historic and modern and is hit with families and young professionals who commute to New York and Philadelphia.
Homes and apartments here have gone up in price due to the influx of people who have been priced out of larger cities.
* This list of most expensive cities comes from U.S. News and World Report's Most Expensive Places to Live in the U.S. in 2022-2023 study, listing the cities by average rent price.
14. Sacramento, California
Average rent for a 1-bedroom: $1,364
Population: 2.3 million
The capital of California used to have a small-town vibe, but being located only an hour and a half from San Francisco, it has become one of the least affordable cities in the U.S.
A lack of housing (in both owning and renting) is the problem. When people went remote in 2020 due to the pandemic, they left the Bay Area for the significantly cheaper city and found it in Sacramento (at least for a moment).
13. Naples, Florida
Average rent for a 1-bedroom: $1,374
A favorite locale of wealthy retirees, Naples and nearby Marco Island feature pristine beaches, golf courses and quiet living.
There are many second homes that snowbirds inhabit during the winter months, and this onslaught of out-of-town residents has considerably driven up the prices in the area.
12. Miami, Florida
Average rent for a 1-bedroom: $1,408
Population: 6.1 million
As with many cities in California, people flock to Florida for the year-round sunny climate. The city of Miami is a vibrant hub of diverse communities. Young professionals come to the city center to work and take part in the party atmosphere, while the city suburbs are popular with families.
Unfortunately, Miami's housing prices are otherworldly — snowbirds are buying and renting in droves, and wages have slowed during the COVID pandemic.
11. New York, New York
Average rent for a 1-bedroom: $1,484
Population: 20.2 million
"The City That Never Sleeps" is the center of the fashion, business, media and art industries, which is why people flock here. New York has always been expensive to a degree, but there were once affordable areas, even in Manhattan. Those days are now a thing of the past.
During the early days of COVID, there was a mass exodus of residents out of the city, but when people returned from remote work, rents went sky high once again.
There are scant few rent-stabilized apartments in New York City, and those that do exist, people live in, quite literally, their entire lives.
10. Boston, Massachusetts
Average rent for a 1-bedroom: $1,555
Population: 4.9 million
Boston is a big city with a small-town vibe and is home to some of the most iconic sites in American history. It also boasts Ivy League and other world-class universities as well as cutting-edge tech and health care companies.
While pay rates are higher in Boston than in most places, the cost of living is about 50 percent higher than the national average.
9. Los Angeles, California
Average rent for a 1-bedroom: $1,576
Population: 18.7 million
For over a hundred years, people have been coming to L.A. to follow their dreams, and while that used to be affordable depending upon the area, every part of the City of Angels now costs a pretty penny, and housing is very scarce.
Combine that with one of the worst commutes (and highest gas prices) in the country and high state and local taxes, and you have one of the most expensive cities in the country. And the people just keep on coming.
8. Boulder, Colorado
Average rent for a 1-bedroom: $1,582
Boulder was slept on for decades, but no more — former coastal residents, academics and outdoors people have flocked to the area in droves, and this has driven prices through the roof.
While there are a lot of wide open spaces to explore around Boulder, housing is limited and prices have been driven up considerably.
Boulder city leaders and those of nearby metro areas have been trying to figure out how to handle the influx of people coming to the area.
7. Salinas, California
Average rent for a 1-bedroom: $1,600
Dubbed the "Salad Bowl of the World" for its contribution to agriculture, Salinas produces a variety of fruits and vegetables as well as wine. "Grapes of Wrath" author John Steinbeck was a native, and there are plenty of nods to his influence around town.
What makes Salinas so expensive is its housing, which doubles the national average. However, it is still more affordable than many places in the Golden State.
Another reason people flock to the area — Salinas is near the stunning coastal towns of Monterey and Carmel.
6. Vallejo and Fairfield, California
Average rent for a 1-bedroom: $1,684
These small California cities are less than 20 miles apart and were once generally affordable. However, in the past few years, Bay Area residents have flocked to the area to escape the expenses in San Francisco and Oakland, yet again driving up prices.
Both towns boast comparatively low (to other Bay Area cities) housing prices and a mild climate. They are also close enough to the City by the Bay for commuters. Vallejo has a ferry that can reach it in about an hour.
5. Santa Barbara, California
Average rent for a 1-bedroom: $1,697
This small college town two hours north of Los Angeles is also popular with retirees, and the surrounding areas have plenty of celebrity residents — Oprah, Ellen Degeneres and the Sussexes (Harry and Meghan), to name a few.
With its pristine beaches, cliffside estates and sunny climate that is more temperate than you what you would find in L.A., Santa Barbara has been dubbed the "American Riviera" for good reason.
It's small — only 21 square miles — and housing is limited. While the cost of living is just a little over average here, housing is 5.5 times more expensive than anywhere else in the U.S.
4. San Diego, California
Average rent for a 1-bedroom: $1,732
Population: 3.3 million
San Diego was always a little slice of sunny paradise just south of Los Angeles, and typically much cheaper, but prices have considerably gone up in the city in recent years. Due to its sunny weather all year round, it has become a hotspot for snowbirds, retirees and tourists.
The state's strict building regulations, lack of housing and high taxes have also played a part in San Diego being one of the most expensive cities in the country.
3. Santa Rosa, California
Average rent for a 1-bedroom: $1,743
Just 55 miles north of San Francisco, Santa Rosa is known for its wineries and picturesque scenery and is always on "best places to live" lists, but it, too, has become very pricey.
Santa Rosa's cost of living is 7 percent higher than the California average and nearly 40 percent more than the national average. Housing is the biggest issue — it's 66 percent more than the national average.
2. Honolulu, Hawaii
Average rent for a 1-bedroom: $1,779
While it is one of the most beautiful places on the planet, living in Hawaii doesn't come cheap. There's limited housing in Honolulu (and all over the state) due to lack of space, strict zoning laws, high taxes and shipping costs, courtesy of the 1920 Jones Act, which requires that all ships carrying goods between U.S. ports be built, crewed and owned by Americans. This greatly increases the costs of imports into the state.
Tourists are another issue — about 10 million flock to the state each year and drive up prices for locals.
1. San Francisco, California
Average rent for a 1-bedroom: $2,021
Population: 4.7 million
Once home to hippies, bohemians and artists, San Francisco has become a boon for tech workers seeking a place to call home. This has forced housing prices and rental rates to increase tenfold, which in turn increased the cost of living overall.
Nearby cities like Oakland have absorbed the population overflow, and as a result, they have also become quite expensive cities.