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Bay Area leads the nation in million-dollar homes

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A race not worth winning?

A house with a Redfin for-sale sign in front of it.
Home for sale in San Ramon.
Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

The online loan marketplace Lending Tree calculated which U.S. cities have the most homes valued at $1 million or more. The results will surprise few who follow the Bay Area housing market: San Jose came in at No. 1 on the list, with San Francisco at No. 2.

“Only 5.86 percent of the owner-occupied homes in the nation’s 50 largest metros are valued at $1 million or more,” says economist Tendayi Kapfidze, noting that most Americans would consider a seven-figure home “excessive.”

But in San Jose, the total number of homes valued at least $1 million is 208,745, or 54.46 percent of the total stock.

In SF that figure comes to 42.39 percent, or 395,858 homes. Note that these numbers reflect home values and not the market prices they’re selling at these days.

Lending Tree’s conclusions might be a source of confusion since according to SF’s most recent Housing Inventory Report, released in March, there aren’t even 395,000 homes in the entire city.

The reason why? When statisticians talk about San Francisco, they refer to the larger SF-Oakland-Hayward census area—which encompasses almost all of the Bay Area except for the South Bay and wine country. The San Jose census tract includes the rest of Santa Clara County and San Benito County as well.

For SF alone, U.S. Census estimates for 2018 value the average home at more than $1.19 million. The census says that more than two-thirds of SF homes are worth $1 million or more.

However, these figures only represent owner-occupied units. Most of San Francisco’s occupied housing stock (more than 62 percent) is renter-occupied.

In 2017, the median home value was scarcely more than $1.1 million. And in 2016 that figure dropped to $1.02 million, the first year that the owner-occupied average crossed the $1 million mark.

In 2015, the median value came in at $941,400. And back in 2010, during the most recent full census, it was just $768,000.

For context, on Lending Tree’s list, third-place LA’s million-dollar housing stock comes in at a touch over 19 percent. San Diego comes in fourth place San Diego with 14.12 percent.

The LA metro area leads the nation in the number of units valued at at least seven figures (with more than 400,000), but this represents a small slice of the city’s overall housing inventory.