As one can guess, higher paying jobs leads to higher costs of living. In fact, more than half of the 20 cities surveyed by the US Census Bureau are based in Caleeforneea, as Governor Arnold would say.
How is it that California is so dominant in the expensive category, when the mass of settlers first arrived on Plymouth Rock 300 years ago? 3,300 miles is a long way to travel, especially on horse and foot! The main reason for the unfettered move out west is simply warmth and sunshine!
Every time I vacation in Hawaii, I always ask myself, why the heck ain’t I here for good. Let’s face it, more sunshine equals happier people. Sunshine is the classic zeitgeber to help us wake up and get us motoring in the morning. No sunshine leads to no photosynthesis, which means no plant life, and therefore no ecosystem.
After 10 years of living on the east coast, I can still feel the grey skies weigh down my soul every winter. Don’t get me wrong. I love the winter snow during the holidays, but I just love being in a cheerful mood more. Here are America’s most expensive places to live based off median monthly housing costs.
TOP CITIES WHERE AMERICANS PAY THE MOST TO LIVE
1. San Jose, Calif. Median Monthly Housing Costs: $1,828
2. Bridgeport, Conn. Median Monthly Housing Costs: $1,793
3. Oxnard, Calif. Median Monthly Housing Costs: $1,780
4. Washington, D.C. Area Median Monthly Housing Costs: $1,706
5. San Francisco, Calif. Median Monthly Housing Costs: $1,660 (Here!)
8. Honolulu, Hawaii. Median Monthly Housing Costs: $1,532 (There!)
15. Trenton, New Jersey. Median Monthly Housing Costs: $1,401 (So not there!)
19. Seattle, Washington. Median Monthly Housing Costs: $1,368 (On the West Coast, but not as expensive likely due to rain)
GO TO PARADISE
So there you have it. Would you be willing to pay $131/month more to live in Honolulu, Hawaii than in Trenton, New Jersey? You bet your buns of steel I would! The next time you are feeling a little glum, look outside and see if the weather has anything to do with it. And if so, come back to this post and plan your move out west.
300 years ago, it would have taken you months to come out west. Now, all it takes is a two week bus ride at most. Don’t be afraid to pack up your bags and move, even with a family. Leo from Zenhabits, with his 6 children are moving to San Francisco from Gaum, and Ryan from Planting Dollars left Wisconsin for Hawaii, why can’t you? After experiencing 10 years on each coast, there is no doubt in my mind that living in a warmer, sunnier place is the way to go. See you on the beach this winter!
Shop around for a mortgage: Mortgage rates have collapsed after Brexit, and US assets are aggressively being bought by foreigners due to our stability. Check the latest mortgage rates online through LendingTree. They’ve got one of the largest networks of lenders that compete for your business. Your goal should be to get as many written offers as possible and then use the offers as leverage to get the lowest interest rate possible. This is exactly what I did to lock in a 2.375% 5/1 ARM for my latest refinance. For those looking to purchase property, the same thing is in order. If you’ve found a good deal, can afford the payments, and plan to own the property for 10+ years, I’d get neutral inflation and take advantage of the low rates.
Look into real estate crowdsourcing opportunities: If you don’t have the downpayment to buy a property, are sick of dealing with bad tenants, or don’t want to tie up your liquidity in physical real estate, take a look at Fundrise, one of the largest real estate crowdsourcing companies today. Real estate is a key component of a diversified portfolio. If you study the asset allocation mix of college endowment funds and high net worth individuals, you’ll see real estate weightings of anywhere between 5% -25%. Real estate crowdsourcing also allows you to be more flexible in your real estate investments by investing beyond just where you live for the best returns possible. For example, cap rates around around 4% – 5% in San Francisco, but over 10% in the Midwest if you’re looking for strictly investing income returns. Check out my Fundrise review as well.
Updated for 2017 and beyond.