New York City Continues to Be Most Expensive U.S. City to Live

Think your cost of living is high?  Try living in New York City.  It shouldn’t come as a surprise that New York takes the top spot on the most expensive places to live in the US.  Rents are famously high here, and the purchase price for a place to call home can drain your bank account.  Housing costs in Manhattan are more than 4 times the national average.  Even in Brooklyn and Queens the prices are high, with Brooklyn at 3.5 times the national average and Queens weighing in at more than double. The average price of a home in Manhattan is a whopping $1.27 million.

Not only are the housing costs high in New York City, but those costs translate into higher overall costs.  Groceries are higher in New York City than just about anywhere else, where a steak will cost you $14.99 – more than twice what you’d pay in Harlingen, Texas, the cheapest place in the US to live.

Curious about what other US cities are expensive?  Here’s the list that rounds out the Top 5.

2.  San Francisco, CA

Living expenses in San Francisco are just as steep as its hills.  The average home price is about $809,000 – nearly three times the national average.  The only place more expensive in the US is New York City.  The good news for those that call San Francisco home – the wine here is cheap, selling for 15% below the national average.  It helps to be so close to Napa, where San Franciscans can afford to stock up by the case.  The median income in San Francisco is approximately $71,000 per year, which is almost $20,000 more than the US median.

3.  Honolulu, HI

If you want to live on an island, be prepared to pay for it.  Because of its isolated location in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, Honolulu is expensive all the way around, from utilities to transportation to health care.  The average home price is just over $637,000, about twice the national average.  Groceries in this island city cost more than anywhere else, including Manhattan.  A loaf of bread in Honolulu costs $2.91, more than twice the average national price.  A gallon of milk will cost you a dollar more here, or about $3.32.

4.  San Jose, CA

The residents of this Silicon Valley city help defray their high housing costs with their high incomes.  San Jose boasts the highest median income for any city on the list, and tops the US median by more than 50%.  Home prices average $721,000, making it slightly more affordable than San Francisco and about the same as Washington, D.C.  A typical apartment rents for about $1700 a month, twice the national average.  But San Jose does have the highest concentration of millionaires in the US, so at least they can afford it.

5.  Stamford, CT

Rounding out the list is Stamford, CT.  Housing costs here are double the national average, with the average home price coming in at about $556,000.  Other living expenses run anywhere from 15% to 35% above national averages.  But the median income is the second-highest on the list, and the easy commute to New York City make Stamford a much more affordable choice.  Because even though housing is expensive, it’s still less than half what you would pay in Manhattan.  In fact, Stamford has recently been voted one of the best US cities to raise kids.

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