Sunday, February 6

America's Most Expensive Small Towns 2011

America's  Most Expensive Small Towns 2011


Small Towns, Big Money


people may like to travel, but like everyone else they want to keep their daily commute as short as possible. So when it comes to buying a home, they want to be close to work, and because they're rich they can pretty much be where they like. But they also like safe neighborhoods, good schools, pretty views, and, if possible, access to beaches and country clubs. Small wonder then that those towns which offer all the above and are nearest to the crossroads of money and power are among the priciest in the nation. Of course, sometimes the reverse is true. The very rich also tend to have at least one second home, so the places where they gravitate—the Hamptons, Martha's Vineyard, Palm Beach—may be chosen for their distance from the office. worked with real estate website Zillow.comto rank the most expensive small towns around the country based on their median home value. A total of 4,624 places with populations less than 10,000 were evaluated. Two states dominate the list: New York with 22 towns and California with 13 towns. Other states in this ranking include Colorado, Florida, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, and Washington. A newcomer to the list is Tennessee, where Belle Meade came in as the 48th most expensive small town.

lick here to see the country's 50 most expensive small towns, where median home values all exceed $1 million.

Median home value: $1,030,048*
YOY price change: +0.6%*
Population: 2,810*
2010 Rank: NA


The village of Lake Success, 16 miles east of Manhattan, was the temporary headquarters for the U.N. from 1946 to 1951. One of nine villages that make up the Great Neck area in Nassau County, Lake Success covers about two square miles and has two golf courses and a Great Neck Public School Complex, according to the village See the Zillow Home Value Index for Lake Success, N.Y.

*November 2010 median home value, year-over-year price change, and population source. Some expensive towns in the 2010 ranking were not included this year because of incomplete data.

No. 49 Most Expensive Small Town: Gulf Stream, Fla.

Median home value: $1,059,601
YOY price change: +1.8%
Population: 757
2010 Rank: NA


The town of Gulf Stream, between Palm Beach and Boca Raton, is an affluent community in Palm Beach County. The town became a popular winter resort destination for the wealthy after the Gulf Stream Polo Club opened in the 1920s, according to Many recreational amenities are available in the area, including Gulfstream Park (a horse racing and casino resort), golf courses, tennis courts, and deep-sea fishing

No. 48 Most Expensive Small Town: Belle Meade, Tenn.

Median home value: $1,064,338
YOY price change: +8%
Population: 2,917
2010 Rank: NA


Belle Meade is a wealthy suburb of Nashville where the median household income is $232,500, according to U.S. Census Bureau 2005-2009 estimates. Former Vice-President Al Gore owns a home in Belle Meade. The area has large, private estates and horse trails, and is close to the Warner Parks complex which has a nature center, hiking trails, equestrian facilities, golf courses, and athletic fields. The city is also home to the Belle Meade Plantation, a 30-acre historic site that was a horse farm with a mansion built in 1853.

No. 47 Most Expensive Small Town: Avalon, N.J.

Median home value: $1,065,538
YOY price change: -2.8%
Population: 2,284
2010 Rank: N


This coastal community in southern New Jersey's Cape May County is a popular vacation destination and has a large seasonal population. In fact, only 18.4 percent of 5,434 housing units in the borough are occupied, according to 2005-2009 estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. The Avalon School District has an elementary school that teaches grades one to eight and had a total enrollment of 75 students in the 2009-10 school year. Kindergarten and high school students attend schools in nearby districts

No. 46 Most Expensive Small Town: Cherry Hills Village, Colo.

Median home value: $1,065,780
YOY price change: -0.5%
Population: 5,979
2010 Rank: NA


An affluent suburb of Denver incorporated in 1945, Cherry Hills Village is well-known for the Cherry Hills Country Club, which has hosted several U.S. Golf Assn. championships. The area is served by two highly regarded school districts: Littleton Public Schools and Cherry Creek School District. The Census Bureau estimates median household income to be $226,552.

No. 45 Most Expensive Small Town: North Haven, N.Y.

Median home value: $1,065,916
YOY price change: -9.7%
Population: 886
2010 Rank: 48


A coastal village of Southampton in eastern Long Island, North Haven offers residents and visitors bay waters and beaches. It is known for having a terminal for the Shelter Island ferry. Some famous North Haven residents have included musician Jimmy Buffett, composer Irving Berlin, and actors John Drew, Ethel Barrymore, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., and Mary Pickford, according to

No. 44 Most Expensive Small Town: Travilah, Md.

Median home value: $1,066,977
YOY price change: -6.5%
Population: 7,442
2010 Rank: NA


Travilah is a wealthy suburb near the Maryland-Virginia border, about 23 miles from Washington, D.C. It is near several parks and golf clubs, including Lakewood Country Club in Rockville and Bretton Woods Golf Course in Germantown. Median household income in Travilah is $199,414, according to Census Bureau estimates.

No. 43 Most Expensive Small Town: Hewlett Harbor, N.Y.

Median home value: $1,067,766
YOY price change: +3.3%
Population: 1,284
2010 Rank: NA


Hewlett Harbor, a village on Long Island's South Shore incorporated in 1925, has many luxury homes near the Seawane Golf and Country Club and on the waterfront by Macy Channel and Willow Pond. The community, about 25 miles from Manhattan in Nassau County, was home for many years to Stan Lee, co-creator of Spider-Man (among other popular superheroes) and former president and chairman of Marvel Comics.

No. 42 Most Expensive Small Town: Emerald Lake Hills, Calif.

Median home value: $1,085,907
YOY price change: -2.3%
Population: 3,983
2010 Rank: NA


Emerald Lake Hills, a neighborhood about 30 miles southeast of San Francisco, was originally developed as a weekend or vacation community for San Franciscans in the 1920s, according to the website of the Emerald Hills Homeowners Assn. Many recreational attractions are available to residents, including the Edgewood County Park, Emerald Lake Country Club, Upper Emerald Lake, Lower Emerald Lake, and Handley Rock Park in the center of Emerald Hills.

No. 41 Most Expensive Small Town: Lattingtown, N.Y.

Median home value: $1,113,998
YOY price change: -5.5%
Population: 1,860
2010 Rank: NA


Lattingtown, a village in the town of Oyster Bay on Long Island's "Gold Coast," is about 35 miles from Manhattan. It is known as an exclusively residential area with large mansions. It has a beach, an 18-hole golf course at the Creek Club, and three nature conservation areas. It is also home to the Bailey Arboretum, which has 40 acres of woods, ponds, and gardens.

No. 40 Most Expensive Small Town: Del Mar, Calif.

Median home value: $1,134,564
YOY price change: -8.0%
Population: 4,370
2010 Rank: NA


Del Mar, a San Diego County beach town, attracts many surfers and outdoor enthusiasts with two miles of coastline, beaches, parks, and the nearby Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve. It is also well-known for its thoroughbred racetrack and county fair. The area's most exclusive homes have views of the Pacific Ocean. The town was home to actor Desi Arnaz.

No. 39 Most Expensive Small Town: Clyde Hill, Wash.

Median home value: $1,156,705
YOY price change: -3.9%
Population: 2,845
2010 Rank: 47


Clyde Hill is a residential community two miles east of Seattle, next to downtown Bellevue and the town of Medina which is home to Microsoft founder Bill Gates. With a top elevation close to 375 feet, the town offers scenic views. Residents can enjoy vistas of Lake Washington, Mt. Rainer, the Olympic Mountains, the Cascade Mountain range, as well as the Seattle and Bellevue skylines. Clyde Hill is served by the highly regarded Bellevue School District

No. 38 Most Expensive Small Town: Great Neck Estates, N.Y.

Median home value: $1,226,818
YOY price change: +1.8%
Population: 2,749
2010 Rank: NA


Once home to writer F. Scott Fitzgerald, Great Neck Estates was incorporated in 1911 as one of nine villages on the Great Neck peninsula. Many residents of this wealthy community work in Manhattan, which is nearly 20 miles away and accessible by mass transit. Community events are held at the Great Neck Estates Park, which has a swimming pool, tennis courts, a marina and dock area, sports fields, and basketball and handball courts.

No. 37 Most Expensive Small Town: Munsey Park, N.Y.

Median home value: $1,233,283
YOY price change: +2.5%
Population: 2,612
2010 Rank: NA


Munsey Park, home to Long Island's "Miracle Mile" shopping area, almost exclusively has colonial, Tudor, and Norman-style homes, and strict building codes aim to preserve its ambience. The village, 20 miles from Manhattan, is also close to beaches, museums, town and county parks, and recreation facilities. Median household income is $237,321, estimates the U.S. Census Bure

No. 36 Most Expensive Small Town: Chevy Chase Village, Md.

Median home value: $1,234,594
YOY price change: -5.9%
Population: 2,060
2010 Rank: 41


Chevy Chase Village, known for its Victorian-style homes, is one of the country's wealthiest communities: According to U.S. Census Bureau estimates, median household income exceeds $250,000 and per capita income is $157,883. The village is about eight miles from Washington, D.C., and is home to many of the capital's movers and shakers.

No. 35 Most Expensive Small Town: Bridgehampton, N.Y.

Median home value: $1,240,591
YOY price change: -7.5%
Population: 1,482
2010 Rank: 8


About 100 miles from Manhattan, the exclusive town of Bridgehampton has some of the country's most expensive homes for sale. It is a popular vacation town in the heart of the Hamptons, and the population increases during the summer (65.7 percent of housing units are vacant, according to the U.S. Census Bureau). Bridgehampton is also home to the Hampton Classic equestrian riding event, the Atlantic Golf Club, the Bridgehampton Antique Car Road Rally, and the Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival.

No. 34 Most Expensive Small Town: Medina, Wash.

Median home value: $1,257,153
YOY price change: -7.2%
Population: 3,041
2010 Rank: 36


Medina, the exclusive suburb where Bill Gates' waterfront home (pictured) is located, borders Lake Washington and the expensive suburb of Clyde Hill It has 26.7 acres of parkland, including Medina Beach Park, and popular outdoor activities include golf, bicycling, hiking, backpacking, boating, sailing, and kayaking, according to The area belongs to the Bellevue School District

No. 33 Most Expensive Small Town: Spring Lake, N.J.

Median home value: $1,259,716
YOY price change: -5.6%
Population: 3,862
2010 Rank: 45


Spring Lake, a seaside town in central New Jersey's Monmouth County, has the state's longest noncommercial boardwalk and two miles of beach. Highlights include old, Victorian-style mansions, shopping and dining amenities, and several nearby golf courses. Spring Lake is a year-round community, but it also attracts many summer visitors and Census data show that 31.4 percent of housing units are vacant.

No. 32 Most Expensive Small Town: Kentfield, Calif.

Median home value: $1,285,855
YOY price change: +2.2%
Population: 6,348
2010 Rank: 44


Kentfield, 15 miles north of San Francisco, is one of the rainiest parts of the Bay Area, receiving about 48 inches of precipitation each year, according to data from the Western Regional Climate Center. Still, the high-end homes, highly regarded Kentfield School District, and nearby parks make the place attractive to residents. Kentfield is home to one of College of Marin's campuses.


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