The most expensive ZIP code in the US is located in California

In the diverse landscape of California’s real estate, the contrast between affordability and luxury is stark. Ridgecrest, a quaint town positioned at the confluence of the Sequoia National Forest and the vast expanse of Death Valley, emerges as the beacon of affordability in the state’s challenging housing market.

According to a recent study by American Home Shield, this Kern County gem boasts the most accessible housing in California, with a modest home price to household income ratio of 3.61. The median home price in Ridgecrest, particularly in the ZIP code 93555, stood at $260,617 as of October 2023. This figure is significantly lower than the state’s median, which towers at $743,014, making Ridgecrest an outlier in a state known for its exorbitant housing costs.

The economic fabric of Ridgecrest is closely woven with the Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, a pivotal military weapons research and development base, which stands as the town’s predominant employer.

Beyond its economic significance, Ridgecrest is also marked by its geological activity, having experienced some of the most significant seismic events in California over the past two decades, most notably the 2019 earthquakes.

Conversely, Beverly Hills’ famed 90210 ZIP code represents the pinnacle of inaccessibility in the California housing market — and indeed, the entire United States. Here, the average home price soars to 34.82 times the income of an average worker, with median home prices reaching an astronomical $5.3 million.

This disparity highlights the extreme ends of the housing spectrum within the state.

The analysis further unveils that California is home to seven of the top 10 least affordable ZIP codes in the nation. Santa Monica’s 90402, along with several areas in Los Angeles, including the 90007, 90212, 90013, and 90004 ZIP codes, dominate the list, underscoring California’s significant role in national housing affordability challenges. Berkeley’s 94704 also makes the list, rounding out California’s representation.

Interestingly, the study’s methodology excluded ZIP codes with populations under 10,000 to avoid skewing results with small, exceptionally affluent communities like Atherton, which frequently ranks as one of the most expensive ZIP codes nationally.

This contrasting snapshot of California’s housing landscape showcases the wide gap between the state’s most and least affordable areas. While Ridgecrest offers a glimpse into what more accessible housing markets might look like within the state, the prominence of California ZIP codes among the nation’s least affordable areas underscores the ongoing challenges many residents face in finding affordable housing.

The disparities highlighted in this analysis reflect broader trends affecting the state’s economy, lifestyle, and demographic patterns, offering essential insights for policymakers, real estate professionals, and prospective homeowners alike.

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