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Happy Holiday Tidings Arrive for Santa Monica Spenders
Santa Monica Real Estate Company, Roque and Mark
Roque & Mark Real Estate
2802 Santa Monica Boulevard
Santa Monica, CA 90404
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Harding Larmore Kutcher & Kozal, LLP  law firm
Harding, Larmore
Kutcher & Kozal, LLP

Convention and Visitors Bureau Santa Monica

By Niki Cervantes
Staff Writer

November 15, 2016 -- This holiday season, Santa Monica residents won't be splurging as much as their counterparts in other cities, according to a study released Monday by WalletHub.

The Washington D.C.-based personal-finance website placed Santa Monica residents 51st on its list of U.S. consumers with an “addiction to blowing money” during the holiday season.

Although the mostly affluent seaside city’s average family income easily tops $100,000 a year, Santa Monica residents were only projected to spend $1,260 during the holiday, compared to Palo Alto, which topped the list.

Consumers in the Northern California city, a booming high-tech hub, were projected to spend $2,821, or nearly twice as much.

Sunnyvale was fourth on the list, with maximum consumer spending projected at $2,203 by WalletHub. Mountain View, also to the north, was in 8th place, at $1,914 in spending.

Three of the nation’s top-ten cities for holiday splurging were in Texas --Sugarland, Pearland and Missouri City. Rounding out the list were Cary, North Carolina; Shawnee, Kansas, and Troy, Michigan, the analysis determined.

“According to the National Retail Federation, this year’s personal holiday spending level will be the second highest in the survey’s 13-year history,” the group said in releasing the rankings of 570 U.S. cities.

The average per-person tab this holiday season was expected to reach $935.58, up from $805.65 in 2015, the analysts said.

Not a huge increase on an individual basis, they said, but cumulatively a “large deal when you consider how rapidly our collective credit-card debt has ballooned. In fact, we’re on track to end the year with more than $80 billion in additional debt.”

More than a third of consumers exceeded holiday budgets in 2015, WalletHub found.

WalletHub analysts used five key metrics -- ranging from “age” to “debt-to-income ratio” -- to estimate and compare maximum holiday budgets for consumers in the cities included, said Diana Popa, a spokesperson for the site.

In Southern California, consumers in Yorba Linda were among the biggest holiday bingers, placing 21st with per-person spending of $1,558, Wallet Hub said.

The analysts warned that all that “good cheer” could also bring “seasonal stress.” Popa said Wallet Hub conducted the study to provide consumers with “a better sense of their spending range relative to where they live.”

Santa Monica sometimes fares poorly in WalletHub studies. In September, the organization put Santa Monica in the 86th spot of 240 California studied for the best place to raise families. The high cost of housing was Santa Monica’s undoing ("New Study Finds Santa Monica Far Down List of Best Places to Raise Families," September 22, 2016).

That was also why Santa Monica tanked in Wallet Hub’s study in August on best places for first-time home buyers. The city ranked 296th among the 300 cities analyzed ("New Study Ranks Santa Monica Among Least Affordable for First-Time Home Buyers," August 4, 2016).

In its “2015 Best and Worst California Cities for Finding a Job” study, Santa Monica placed 147th for its job market and 114th for finding a job ("Santa Monica Ranks Tops for Social Life, But Scores Low on Jobs and Affordability in New Study," October 23, 2015).

The best place to find a job? Palo Alto.

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