Most Expensive U.S. Small Town: Sagaponack, N.Y.
This Long Island village and other privileged enclaves have weathered the real estate crisis better than most small communities
As recently as the 1970s, the little village of Sagaponack in New York's Long Island was little more than a stretch of dusty potato farms connecting the relatively plutocratic communities of East Hampton and Southampton. In addition to indigenous farmers, it was home to such writers as George Plimpton and Kurt Vonnegut, who were happy to take advantage of its low real estate prices, laid-back charm, and easy access to the Atlantic Ocean.
The ocean is still there, even if it's harder to access. But the days of low real estate prices and laid-back charm are long past. Thanks to wealthy home buyers such as Renco Group Chairman Ira Rennert, who built a controversial 29-bedroom mansion on 63 acres there in 2004, Sagaponack has morphed from a quiet backwater into the most expensive small town in America. The New York Times in 2004 estimated Rennert's mansion, Fair Field, to be worth more than $170 million.
In 2009 the median home sale price in Sagaponack was $4,421,458, according to real estate site Zillow.com. The median home price in the U.S. last year fell to $174,100, according to the National Association of Realtors.
Sagaponack is not the only rarefied real estate market, no matter how poorly the country's housing market is doing. Long Island's two counties, Nassau and Suffolk (where Sagaponack is located) account for more than half of the 50 most expensive small towns in America. Nearby Water Mill (No.6) and Bridgehampton (No. 8) command median sale prices of $2,238,676 and $2,081,717, respectively.
Prices in a Few Top-50 Towns Rose
While Long Island may win honors for hosting the most concentrated cluster of high-priced homes in the U.S., it is not alone in attracting super-rich buyers. Jupiter Island, Fla., home to Fields, Fords, and other old-money families, as well as newer wealth such as golfer Tiger Woods, is the U.S.'s second-most expensive small town, with a median sale price of $3,620,310... http://realestate.yahoo.com/promo/most-expensive-us-small-town-sagaponack-ny.html