In one Bay Area city, nearly half of homes are worth over $1 million (it’s not San Francisco)

That was the largest share by far among big U.S. metros. San Francisco followed at No. 2, with 36.3% of its homes in the $1 million-and-over category.

The shares are based on the latest available data from the Census Bureau, which looked self-reported home values collected from 2015 to 2019. The estimates are adjusted to 2019 dollars.

The numbers are distinct from the more commonly published median home price, which is based on sales data — San Francisco’s median home price, for example, was $1.8 million in April.

San Francisco’s metro area as defined by the census includes Oakland, Berkeley and San Mateo, along with other cities like Walnut Creek and Redwood City. San Jose’s metro area includes Sunnyvale and Santa Clara, as well as smaller South Bay cities like Palo Alto.

San Jose and San Francisco represent an extreme, according to the LendingTree study — across all 50 big U.S. metro areas, only 4.3% of homes hit or pass the million-dollar mark, only a fraction of the numbers seen in the bay.

“San Francisco and San Jose are both pretty darn densely populated areas that tend to be home to really high-paying industries like tech, for example,” Jacob Channel, senior economic analyst for LendingTree, said. “So, as a result, you have a lot of wealthier home buyers who are competing for not a ton of houses, which puts a really high upward pressure on housing prices.”

Two other California metro areas round out the top four on the list: Los Angeles ranked third after San Francisco, with 17% of its homes valued at or over $1 million, followed by San Diego with 12.2%, according to LendingTree’s analysis.

Across the four California metros, an average of 28.19% of homes have values of at least $1 million. The study said that along with tech, the entertainment industry contributes to the concentration of wealth in these areas.

Channel expects that this year, the shares of million-dollar homes in these areas will be even higher.

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“Throughout 2020 and throughout this year as well, the housing market has been really, really hot. Home prices have really gone up across the whole country,” he said. “So it is very likely that there are even more million-dollar homes in both San Jose and San Francisco.”

Other big metropolitan areas in the top 10 for share of million-dollar homes include No. 5 New York City at 9.9%, No. 6 Seattle at 8.5%, No. 7 Boston at 7.4% and No. 8 Washington, D.C., at 6.7%. Rounding out the top 10 were No. 9 Miami at 4.5% and No. 10 Denver at 3.5%.

On the other end of the spectrum, Buffalo, N.Y., was the metro area with the lowest share of million-dollar homes at 0.5%.

For this study, LendingTree used data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey with five-year estimates and looked at the share of owner-occupied homes with or without a mortgage valued at or above $1 million. To find that, LendingTree divided the number of owner-occupied housing units priced at $1 million or more by the overall number of owner-occupied housing units in the area.

Danielle Echeverria is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Twitter: @DanielleEchev Email:

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