Consumer Finance

In The US, For Wealth, West Beats the Rest

Want to live among the wealthy in the United States? To paraphrase Horace Greeley, go West, young man, or woman, or older man, or older woman.

Bloomberg notes that within the smaller towns of the country, the three wealthiest spots are uniformly located in the westernmost parts of the country and at elevations that are higher than a mile. And if you’re using real estate prices as a yardstick, the heights become, well, dizzying.

In defining these areas, the newswire stated that “micropolitan” locations have at least a county, an urban center and a population across both that top out at less than 20 percent of what might be defined as a “typical” metropolitan region.

At the peak is Summit Park, Utah, said Bloomberg of its Small Town Wealth Index. Statistics here show that one in six homes in this “micropolitan” location are worth at least $1 million.

Half of those are located in Park City, while the remainder are spread through other towns. And nearly half of the total here, at 43 percent, are properties that are considered vacation homes. The Index itself weighs equally four metrics, including the percentage of homes above the $1 million threshold, the median home value, incomes at $200,000 or more, and the percentage of households above that level.

The next highest regions are Edwards, Colo. and Jackson, Wy., stated Bloomberg. A look eastward does not even begin until spot number four on the list, where Vineyard Haven, Mass., takes the spot.

Beyond the concentration of real estate and income in the West, there is some dovetailing with business itself and the growth of business (which in turn may lend itself to the wealth effect). The March 2017 PYMNTS Store Front Business Index showed that the latest reading was 116.8 in the fourth quarter of last year, up from 116.1 as a reading in the third quarter.

The mountain states have been among the fastest-growing regions in the country, having logged two-quarters of the relatively quickest expansion and with growth of 3.9 percent in the middle of the year. All told, the United States boasts 3.4 million storefronts across the U.S., up 2 percent since the third quarter of 2016.


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