SAN DIEGO (KSWB) – It is no secret that San Diego can be pretty pricy for residents, but cost of living has catapulted the city to the top spot in a U.S. News & World Report ranking of most expensive places to live in the country.
Rounding out the top five were Los Angeles; Honolulu; Miami; and Santa Barbara, California.
In one of the magazine’s real estate rankings for 2023-2024, America’s Finest City was deemed the most unaffordable metro area in the country to live, earning a “value score” of 3.3 in their data analysis to help figure out the best cities to settle down.
According to the magazine, the Value Index measures how comfortably the average resident of a metro area can afford to live within their means. Specifically, it looks at housing affordability, as well as federal data on the parity between regional prices and national averages.
Home prices were one of the factors that pushed San Diego – and many other California cities – up in the ranking, given that average prices are considerably higher than the national rate.
In August, the median price for a single-family home in San Diego came in right at $1 million for the first time in the region’s history, nearly $650,000 more than the national average by some estimates.
U.S. News and World Report also pointed to additional fees that San Diego residents have to pay, such as homeowners association dues or apartment complex maintenance costs, as another factor driving its unaffordability.
However, the magazine said that many residents are willing to pay elevated prices relating to the cost of living, given other aspects of the region that make it an ideal place to live.
They added that some San Diegans often refer “to the cost-of-living differences as the ‘sunshine tax,’ or price of enjoying a year-round temperate climate.”
Many of the other metro areas that were placed along the top 10 have similar “sunny” reputations with their climate, including cities Los Angeles, Honolulu, Miami and Santa Barbara.
Los Angeles, which came in second place on the ranking, was also given a score of 3.3 for residents’ ability to afford living there. However, San Diego’s northern neighbor comparatively had lower scores for other metrics used by the magazine to look at “best places to live,” including the overall and quality of life indexes.
Cities outside of the Golden State that landed in the top 15 include San Juan, Puerto Rico (#8); New York City (#11); Boston (#12); and Seattle (#13).
A full list of the top 25 “most expensive places to live” in the U.S. can be found here.