San Diego ranks as most expensive US city with LA and Santa Barbara in the top five

November 1, 2023

San Diego ranks as most expensive US city with LA and Santa Barbara in the top five

San Diego was ranked the most expensive city in the nation to live in by U.S. News and World Report’s 2023-2024 list.

The city landed that title through multiple metrics, including its inflation rate and the cost of gas. The report also considered living costs from annual housing costs, median gross rent and high fees associated with homeownership.  

The report said home prices exceed the national median sale price and added that many in San Diego’s downtown area must pay homeowners association fees to maintain living in housing complexes.

"Living in San Diego is not particularly affordable," the report reads. “San Diegans are willing to pay these elevated prices, though, often referring to the cost-of-living differences as the ‘sunshine tax,’ or the price of enjoying a year-round temperate climate.”

Los Angeles was ranked the second most expensive city, followed by Honolulu and Miami. California actually made up seven of the top 10 spots in the report and around half of the top 25. New York City, the most populated U.S. city, earned the 11th spot.

According to the report, the cities at the top of the list require the most amount of wealth in order to live comfortably. 

What are the most expensive cities in the US?
These are the 25 most expensive American cities, according to the U.S. News & World Report. For information on each city’s various qualities like value and quality of life, click here. 

#1 - San Diego
#2 - Los Angeles
#3 - Honolulu
#4 - Miami 
#5 - Santa Barbara, California
#6 - San Francisco 
#7 - Salinas, California
#8 - Santa Rosa, California
#9 - San Juan, Puerto Rico
#10 - Vallejo and Fairfield, California
#11 - New York City
#12 - Boston
#13 - Seattle
#14 - San Jose, California
#15 - Sacramento, California
#16 - Denver
#17 - Stockton, California
#18 - Washington, D.C.
#19 - Modesto, California
#20 - Fresno, California
#21 - Portland, Oregon
#22 - New Haven, Connecticut
#23 - Boulder, Colorado
#24 - Trenton, New Jersey
#25 - Eugene, Oregon

Report ranks pricey cities on four indexes
U.S. News & World categorizes the rankings of each city on the following indexes:

Quality of Life Index - 36%
Value Index - 23%
Desirability Index - 22%
Job Market Index - 19%

Let’s Talk

You’ve got questions and we can’t wait to answer them.