The Most Valuable Cities in America

Real estate wealth is not evenly distributed across the country and is largely concentrated in large cities. But it begs the question: What are the most valuable cities in America? To find out, financial services comparison site LendingTree analyzed the total value of residential real estate in American cities.

The real estate values come from the My LendingTree property value database, which is a collection of real estate data of more than 155 million U.S. properties. 

The total value of residential real estate in the database was $32.6 trillion, close to the Federal Reserve’s estimate of total residential real estate value of $32.9 trillion.

Key findings

New York has the most valuable real estate in the U.S. at $2.8 trillion — slightly more than the entire GDP of the United Kingdom for 2019. In fact, this is greater than the GDP of all but just five countries — India, Germany, Japan, China and the United States. The value of New York is comparable to the combined market value of tech giants Apple and Microsoft.

Los Angeles is second at $2.3 trillion, close to the GDP of Italy and the combined value of Amazon and Alphabet (the parent company of Google).

San Francisco is third at $1.3 trillion, approximately the same as Mexico’s GDP and the value of Microsoft. 

These three markets are the only cities above $1 trillion, and value falls rapidly from there. Cities after 15th-ranked Riverside, Calif., are all valued under $500 billion and under $200 billion after 29th-ranked St. Louis. 

The Federal Reserve values total residential real estate owned by households at $32.9 trillion. LendingTree found that the top 10 cities account for nearly 36% of that value. The top 50 add up to about 66% (or two-thirds) of the total. 

The top 50 is rounded out by New Orleans, Naples, Fla. and Salt Lake City, with real estate values comparable to the GDPs of Ecuador for New Orleans and Slovakia for Naples and Salt Lake City. Their company equivalents are General Electric, Starbucks and Qualcomm. 

Although LendingTree’s list shows the top 50 cities, the value of every metro area in the U.S. was calculated. The least valuable metro was Battle Creek, Mich., with real estate valued at $989 million.

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