The Top 10 Most Expensive States to Buy a House in 2021

Curious what the most expensive states to buy a home in 2021 are? If you're looking to move and purchase your first home, forever home, or an investment property, knowing what states are expensive versus what states have cheap real estate is vital.

We have ranked the following by median sale price within the state and its largest city (by population)...

Here are the 10 most expensive states to buy a house in 2021:

1. Hawaii

It is the only state outside North America, the only island state, and the only state in the tropics. Hawaii is also one of a few U.S. states to have once been an independent nation. Of the 50 U.S. states, Hawaii is the eighth-smallest in area and the 11th-least populous, but the 13th-most densely populated, with 1.4 million residents. Two-thirds of the population lives on O'ahu, home to the state's capital and largest city, Honolulu. Historically dominated by a plantation economy, Hawaii remains a major agricultural exporter due to its fertile soil and uniquely tropical climate. Its economy has gradually diversified since the mid-20th century, with tourism and military defense becoming the two largest sectors. The state attracts tourists, surfers, and scientists from around the world with its diverse natural scenery, warm tropical climate, abundance of public beaches, oceanic surroundings, active volcanoes, and clear skies on the Big Island. Hawaii hosts the U.S. Pacific Fleet, the world's largest naval command, as well as 75,000 employees of the Defense Department.

State median sale price: $672k

State median sale price to household income: 8.1x

Honolulu median sale price: $903k

Honolulu median sale price to household income: 8.9x

2. Connecticut 

Connecticut is the third smallest state by area, the 29th most populous, and the fourth most densely populated of the fifty states.  Historically the state is part of New England as well as the tri-state area with New York and New Jersey, which together make up metropolitan New York City. The state is named for the Connecticut River which approximately bisects the state. The emergence of digital media have had a huge impact on Connecticut's economy, with more than 1,200 digital media-related businesses located in the state, including sports media giant ESPN. Other top industries include advanced manufacturing, bioscience, green technology, insurance and financial services. Fortune 500 companies headquartered in Connecticut include health insurance firms Aetna and Cigna, as well as Charter Communications and Pitney Bowes.

State median sale price: $590k

State median sale price to household income: 7.5x

Bridgeport median sale price: $578k

Bridgeport median sale price to household income: 4.8x

3. Wyoming 

The 10th largest state by area, it is also the least populous and least densely populated state in the contiguous United States. Wyoming has seen the job market decrease by -1.8% over the last year. Future job growth over the next ten years is predicted to be 13.3%, which is lower than the US average of 33.5%. As a state whose workforce primarily relies on mineral extraction, tourism, and agriculture, Wyoming’s industries have suffered more than others from the pandemic. Wyoming produces nearly 40 percent of the nation’s coal, making it a top coal producer in the country.  

State median sale price: $532k

State median sale price to household income: 8.2x

Cheyenne median sale price: $272k

Cheyenne median sale price to household income: 3.5x

Photo of Wyoming mountains with snowy peaks and green grass in the foreground

4. California   

With over 39.5 million residents across approximately 163,696 square miles, it is the most populous and third-largest U.S. state by area. It is also the most populated subnational entity in North America and the 34th most populous in the world. The Greater Los Angeles area and the San Francisco Bay Area are the nation's second and fifth most populous urban regions, with the former having more than 18.7 million residents and the latter having over 9.6 million. 

California’s high-income earners, from film and television celebrities in Los Angeles to tech giants in Silicon Valley, are heavily taxed in the state, which hosts the largest entertainment and fashion industries in the country.  However, other industries bring in more money: In addition to real estate, the computer and electronic products manufacturing industry contribute the most to the state's economy.

State median sale price: $527k

State median sale price to household income: 6.6x

Los Angeles median sale price: $689k

Los Angeles median sale price to household income: 8.9x

5. Alaska  

Alaska is by far the largest U.S. state by area, comprising more total area than the next three largest states Texas, California, and Montana combined, and the seventh largest subnational division in the world. It is the third-least populous and the most sparsely populated state. 

Approximately half of Alaska's residents live within the Anchorage metropolitan area.  Oil was discovered at Prudhoe Bay in 1968 and the Trans-Alaska Pipeline was completed in 1977, and the resource has since contributed to about 90% of the state's economy.  

State median sale price: $522k

State median sale price to household income: 6.9x

Anchorage median sale price: $490k

Anchorage median sale price to household income: 5.1x

6. Washington  

Washington is the 18th largest state, with an area of 71,362 square miles, and the 13th most populous state, with more than 7.7 million people. Approximately 60 percent of Washington's residents live in the Seattle metropolitan area, the center of transportation, business, and industry along Puget Sound, an inlet of the Pacific Ocean consisting of numerous islands, deep fjords, and bays carved out by glaciers. 

Washington is known as the birthplace of Starbucks coffee, The Boeing Co. and Microsoft Corp. Due to its coastal location, Washington is a key exporter for the U.S., particularly for transportation equipment. Additionally, Washington is crucial to the nation’s food and agriculture industry, generating 70% of the country’s apples, and also leading in milk, potato and cattle production. The aerospace industry is a major economic driver for the state. The military and defense sector employs the second-largest number of people in Washington, with more than 127,000 active duty, reserve, guard and civilian personnel. Others successful industries include maritime, technology and clean energy.

State median sale price: $522k

State median sale price to household income: 6.6x

Seattle median sale price: $615k

Seattle median sale price to household income:: 5.4x

Seattle skyline with snowy mountain in the background and green trees in the foreground

7. New Hampshire  

New Hampshire is the 5th smallest by area and the 10th least populous U.S. state. Concord is the state capital, while Manchester is the largest city. New Hampshire has no general sales tax, nor income tax other than on interest and dividends. 

"Smart manufacturing" and high-tech industries account for the largest sector of the state’s economy today, much of this concentrated along the seacoast and Merrimack and Upper Valleys.  

State median sale price: $505k

State median sale price to household income: 6.5x

Manchester median sale price: $368k

Manchester median sale price to household income: 3.5x

8. New York   

With a total area of 54,556 square miles, New York is the 27th largest state; its population of more than 20 million people in 2020 makes it the fourth most populous state in the U.S. Two-thirds of the state's population lives in the New York metropolitan area. With an estimated population of 8.36 million in 2019, New York City is the most populous city in the United States and the premier gateway for immigration to the United States. The New York City metropolitan area is one of the most populous in the world. A global city, New York City is home to the United Nations Headquarters, and has been described as the cultural, financial, and media capital of the world, as well as the world's most economically powerful city. The more enduring industry for which New York City is best known – the financial world of Wall Street – dates to the era of the American Revolution. The New York Stock Exchange, with a market capitalization of more than $20 trillion, is the world's largest stock exchange.   

State median sale price: $483k

State median sale price to household income: 6.7x

New York median sale price: $481k

New York median sale price to household income: 5.9x

9. Colorado  

Colorado is the eighth largest and 21st most populous U.S. state, with a population of 5,773,714. Denver is the capital and most populous city in Colorado.  Colorado is home to some of the country's tallest mountains, and has the highest mean elevation of any U.S. state. 

Tourists come to the state as skiers flocking to Aspen and Vail, outdoor enthusiasts traveling through the Rocky Mountains or the Great Plains, or fans of the rapidly developing pot tourism industry  Colorado and Washington were the first states to legalize marijuana. The industry generated more than $387 million in tax revenue in 2020, according to the state's Department of Revenue.  Historically, the state has been rich in agriculture, livestock and mineral extraction. In addition to tourism, a developing technology scene bolsters the state's economy and a presence from the military, including the U.S. Air Force Academy.

State median sale price: $483k

State median sale price to household income: 6.3x

Denver median sale price: $513k

Denver median sale price to household income: 5.1x

10. Oregon  

Oregon is the ninth largest and 27th most populous U.S. state. The capital, Salem, is the second-most populous city in Oregon, with 169,798 residents.  Portland, with 647,805, ranks as the 26th among U.S. cities.  Historically, the Pacific Ocean coastal state's economy has been based on fishing, timber and inland agriculture. In modern times, it has been transitioning to service industries and manufacturing. Most significantly, the counties around Portland have attracted a growing high-technology industry.  Oregon is among the most trade-dependent states. The value of exports from Oregon to foreign countries has exceeded $18 billion a year. The state's leading commodities of greenhouse and nursery products, cattle and calves, milk, hay, grass seed and wheat generate more than $4 billion a year in revenue. The state also grows almost all the hazelnuts consumed in the U.S. Oregon is also the top timber producer of the contiguous United States, and the timber industry dominated the state's economy in the 20th century. 

Technology has been a growing factor in the economy beginning in the 1970s with the establishment of the Silicon Forest and the expansion of Tektronix and Intel. Sportswear company Nike, Inc., headquartered in Beaverton, is the state's largest public corporation. Oregon also has developed one of the finest wine-making regions in the U.S., the Willamette Valley – home of wineries known for Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon.  

State median sale price: $479k

State median sale price to household income: 7.1x

Portland median sale price: $468k

Portland median sale price to household income: 5.1x

Source: We use median new home price data from the National Association of Home Builders to rank the states. For city home price data, we use data from the National Association of Realtors. Income data is from the Census Bureau.  

READ NEXT: The Top 10 Cheapest States To Buy a House in 2021

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