Many of the most expensive U.S. cities are in California; see the list

Anyone who lives in California knows it can be a pricey place to call home, but a new list released by U.S. News & World Report reveals that several cities in the Golden State are the most expensive in the nation. 

Southern California takes the top two spots for most expensive cities to live in: San Diego and Los Angeles. The median housing cost in San Diego in 2022 was $919,507, compared to a much lower national average which sits at $383,883. Many San Diegans consider the high cost of living to be a part of their "sunshine tax" or the price they pay for living in a beautiful climate, the report says. 

Coming in at number two is Los Angeles. The median home price in the City of Angels comes in at $836,831, but the average annual income in the city sits at only $63,056. The challenges of incomes not matching the cost of housing isn't unique to California, but it is quite pronounced in LA, where there is also a 12.6% unemployment rate.  

In the fifth spot is the Central California Coast city of Santa Barbara. Sometimes described as a "playground for the rich and famous" incomes in the city sit lower than some of their California counterparts. Though the average annual salary in Santa Barbara sits at $62,020, the median home price is $464,954. Santa Barbara has also managed to maintain a lower unemployment rate at 8.6%. 

San Francisco rounds out the top six most expensive places to live. Though it only comes in at number six, it has the highest median home price in the state at $1,122,946. However, incomes in San Francisco are a bit higher; the average annual salary is $86,590.  

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Another spots along the Central California Coast made the list; Salinas comes in at number seven. Salinas has the lowest average annual salary of the top California cities on this list at $56,350. The median home price in the area is $925,458.  

Santa Rosa, a city in the heart of wine country, comes in at number eight on the list. The average annual salary sits at $64,080, but the median home cost in the city is $889,590. 

Rounding out the top ten are the Northern California cities of Vallejo and Fairfield, which were treated as one urban area in the rankings. The average annual salary for folks who live in this area is $64,270, according to the report. The median home price in the two cities sits at $606,442. 

See the full list below:

  1. San Diego, California
  2. Los Angeles, California
  3. Honolulu, Hawaii
  4. Miami, Florida
  5. Santa Barbara, California
  6. San Francisco, California
  7. Salinas, California
  8. Santa Rosa, California
  9. San Juan, Puerto Rico
  10. Vallejo & Fairfield, California

The challenges many Californians face in affording a home have grown in some areas amidst skyrocketing interest rates and inflation. For more details on the methodology of the report, please visit the U.S. News and World report website.