Back in December, we released our annual ranking of the most expensive zip codes in the US, and the median prices of those in the top 100 were probably quite shocking to the average person who has to live on an average income. As a follow-up to that story, we compiled a list of the wealthiest zip codes in the US based on median household income.
As it turns out, being able to afford the cost of an expensive home does not necessarily mean living in an area where the priciest homes are located. On the contrary, most of the nation’s 100 most expensive zip codes are on the West Coast, while most of the wealthiest 100 zip codes in the U.S. based on median household income are on the opposite Coast. Read on to find out more insights from our side-by-side analysis.
The East Coast dominates the list of high-earning zip codes
Of the nation’s top 100 earning zip codes, 70 are located on the East Coast. We’ve created a map that tracks zip codes by median income for owner households. Zooming in on the East Coast, there are two areas where most zip codes are clustered: the Northeast with 48 zip codes and the suburbs around the DC area with 28 spots in the top 100.
While the ranking of most expensive zip codes for housing was dominated by California with 77 spots on the list, the picture changed drastically when we looked for the top earning postal codes in the US. The Golden State takes 17 spots in the top 100 while New York leads the by-state ranking with 20 codes. Of those, 8 are located in Manhattan. Most of the other NY state zip codes all cover small and well-established communities in Westchester County.
Maryland and Connecticut trail New York and California, each claiming 10 spots in the ranking. New Jersey and Virginia follow, further strengthening the East’s dominance, due to the well-placed D.C. suburbs. The District of Columbia itself only managed to claim 1 spot in the ranking, way behind the wealthy communities around the US capital.
Unlike the list of priciest zip codes for home prices, the by-income scale is more heterogeneous, with 15 states taking spots on the list. Virginia, D.C., Delaware, Illinois, Texas, and Pennsylvania were all absent from the top 100 most expensive zip codes, but they are present in the homeowner income ranking.
Here’s where zip codes with $250k+ income stand in terms of home prices
The first 11 highest-earning zip codes all feature a yearly median household income of over $250,000. New York leads with 5 of the 11 zip codes that feature top-bracket median incomes, followed by California with 4 zip codes. Of the top 11 zip codes by median income, the highest ranked based on median sale price is 10013 in Manhattan, which took the 2nd spot.
On the other hand, San Diego’s 92145 did not even make the cut in the 100 priciest zips for housing, although the median income here exceeds $250,000. The median price here clocked in at $1,332,500, not enough to secure it a spot in the top 100. Furthermore, 2 of the 11 zip codes have median sale prices well below $1 million—Chappaqua’s 10514 and Chicago’s 60603. In zip code 60603, the median sale price recorded in 2017 was $495,000 and, with a median gross income of over $250,000, it stands out as the market with the smallest gap between median price and income.
Only 27 of the top most expensive zip codes for housing rank in the top-earning list
Of the zip codes that ranked among the 100 most expensive markets for home buyers in 2017, only 27 show up in the top 100 highest earning zip codes by median income. Atherton’s 94027–the most expensive zip code in the US–comes close to $250k in median household income, while the median price for a home here was just short of the $5-million-mark in 2017. Fisher Island’s 33109 came in 3rd based on median sale price, but it only took the 28th spot based on income.
Among the pricey zip codes missing from the ranking by income, the absence of vacation communities is quite noticeable. For example, the two Hamptons communities that found themselves among the 10 priciest housing markets have comparatively low median incomes and did not rank in the top 100 by income.
Owners in some of the wealthiest zip codes could pay off their homes with less than 3 years’ worth of income
In Chicago’s 60603 zip code, a home can be paid off by using only 2 years’ worth of income, but there are other communities where the gap between owner’s income and the median home sale price is almost as low. In Cross River, NY for example the median home price hit $410,000 in 2017 while the median homeowner income was just above $190k, meaning that – in theory – in a little over two years one could pay the median home price in full, if all income were dedicated to that.
Take a look at the complete top 100 highest earning zip codes in the US in the table below. We’ve also added a column with their ranking by median sale price, as well as a ratio of income to price which shows how many years it would take for homeowners in these zip codes to pay off their homes if all household income would be used towards that.
|# By Income||Zip||# By Sale Price||Median Owner Household Income||Median Sale Price||Town||State||Ratio|
|27||02462||278||$217,727||$990,750||Newton Lower Falls||MA||4.6|
|31||11724||140||$211,786||$1,297,500||Cold Spring Harbor||NY||6.1|
|100||10502||619|| $186,042 || $725,625 ||Ardsley||NY||3.9
The top 100 highest-earning zip codes based on owner household income was compiled based on ACS income data for 2016.
In order to determine which were the most expensive ZIP codes in the U.S., we looked at all residential transactions closed in 2017, taking into account condo, co-ops, single- and two-family homes. All package deals were excluded. Median sale prices for Texas zip codes were sourced from Census data. The towns and cities assigned to zip codes are based on USPS definitions.