America's Rising Star Cities Of Luxury Living

Global Luxury May 1, 2024


America's Rising Star Cities Of Luxury Living

A recent study by Architectural Digest (AD) pinpoints the hottest emerging markets for luxury living in the U.S. The list features 115 cities experiencing population growth and exceeding 100,000 residents. "These cities offer more than affluence; they provide a lifestyle where quality, comfort, and luxury are at the forefront," wrote Amanda Lutz. The analysis considered six key factors: activities, properties, dining, annual income, diversity, and safety.

California dominates the top three spots, with Irvine, Carlsbad, and Chula Vista leading the charge. Notably, Carlsbad, Lewisville (TX), and Tempe (AZ) boast the highest concentration of luxury activities per capita.  For those seeking million-dollar properties, Irvine, Carlsbad, and Scottsdale (AZ) reign supreme. Foodies have Manchester (NH), Lincoln (NE), and Norman (OK) to consider, while Carlsbad, Frisco (TX), and Irvine offer the highest percentage of affluent households. Safety leaders include Port St. Lucie (FL), Frisco, and McKinney (TX), while Sacramento (CA), Elk Grove (CA), and New Haven (CT) boast the most diverse populations. This data-driven study utilized various sources like Redfin, Yelp, the U.S. Census Bureau, and the FBI to identify these rising stars of luxury living.

We decided to take a closer look at the top three rising luxury cities for properties worth more than $1 million: Irvine, Carlsbad and Scottsdale. We spoke exclusively to Coldwell Banker Global Luxury Property Specialists in each market for their take on what makes these cities so deeply sought-after by their affluent clients. 


The Top Three

Irvine, California, had the most luxury homes of the cities AD evaluated. Nearly 70% of properties sold in the first nine months of 2023 fetched over $1 million, and as of October 2023, a staggering 68% of listings there were priced above that mark. Carlsbad, California, follows closely behind with 63% of sales and 65% of listings exceeding the million-dollar threshold. Scottsdale, Arizona, came in third at 36% and 47% for sales and listings, respectively.

Irvine, California

104 Panorama | Irvine, California

"Irvine has become an increasingly popular So Cal luxury living hotspot for several reasons – including the most pleasant year-round climate in the country, superb public schools and nearby private schools, the 'Safest City' in the U.S. for 18 years according to the FBI, conducive to healthy-living with beautiful parks, hiking and biking trails, and its ideal location near major freeways and first-class dining, shopping, and entertainment. The City of Irvine's business-friendly approach continues to attract new and growing businesses in a variety of industries. Most notably, Irvine is now recognized as a tech industry powerhouse with new startups and established companies - only minutes from John Wayne Airport and its FBOs. Many of our luxury clientele find the exclusive Irvine luxury gated communities of Shady Canyon and Hidden Canyon to be ideal enclaves for additional amenities and privacy. Also, the private gated communities of Orchard Hills, Altair, and Laguna Altair provide their own unique and wonderful features." - Doug Swardstrom, Coldwell Banker Realty in Newport Beach

Average Luxury Sales Price: $2,610,089

Luxury Activities Rank: 7

Luxury Eats Rank: 6

High Earner Rank: 3

Diversity Rank: 21

Safety Rank: 

Hot Property: 104 Panorama

The Draw: This contemporary estate home exemplifies the very essence of Irvine luxury living: a 24/7 guard-gated community, stunning views, and over 5,400 square feet of space with five ensuite bedrooms and an amenity-filled outdoor space "reminiscent of a 5-star resort," says Swardstrom. 
Carlsbad, California

2219 Camino Robledo | Carlsbad, California

"Carlsbad's transformation has been incredible to watch. It's gone from a sleepy beach town to a vibrant, affluent community today. Young families and professionals are flocking here for the amazing schools, safety, and of course, being right by the beach. Foodies and young, active types are loving the scene too – trendy restaurants and upscale shops are popping up everywhere.  The average luxury home price reflects this boom, now exceeding $1.8 million with the lowest inventory I've ever seen. I've lived here since 1998 and it's a special place. It's not surprising to me that it's become so popular as an emerging luxury city." - Lori Barnett, Coldwell Banker Realty in Encinitas

Average Luxury Sales Price: $1,800,000

Luxury Activities Rank: 1

Luxury Eats Rank: 27

High Earner Rank: 1

Diversity Rank: 92

Safety Rank: 33 

Hot Property: 2219 Camino Robledo

The Draw: The fully custom remodeled contemporary in the highly sought-after community of La Costa Valley offers over 3,300 square feet with four bedrooms, three and a half bathrooms, two large offices and a three-car garage.

Scottsdale, Arizona

 6900 E. Cheney Drive | Paradise Valley, AZ.

"Scottsdale and Paradise Valley attract buyers worldwide due to the great weather, and active lifestyle amenities such as hiking, golfing, cycling, pickleball, and more. Climate plays a big role along with affordable housing, property tax structure, and access to entertainment and employment opportunities. Technology and healthcare are expanding rapidly. ASU’s efforts to graduate students in these sectors offer employers many options locally which has contributed to overall growth. Shopping, dining, and renowned resorts such as the newly built Ritz-Carlton opening in 2024/25 are the icing on the cake. Tourism plays a big role in attracting people to the state and the wonderful culture keeps them here." - Karen Bosch, Coldwell Banker Realty, Scottsdale

Average Luxury Sales Price: $2,313,913

Luxury Activities Rank: 50

Luxury Eats Rank: 31

High Earner Rank: 5

Diversity Rank: 107

Safety Rank: 56

Hot Property: 6900 E. Cheney Drive, Paradise Valley

The Draw: Bosch touts the privately gated 1.5-acre single-story estate as "resort-style living in prestigious Paradise Valley close to the Ritz-Carlton complex."

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