20 Most Expensive Places to Live in the U.S.

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Whether you’re relocating for work, business or simply looking for a nice vacation spot, it’s worth knowing which cities might hurt your bank balance. Our decision to relocate can be significantly influenced by a city’s cost of living, and the reasons behind it.

20. San Jose, California

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San Jose offers a more affordable alternative to the Bay Area. Within commuting distance of Oakland and San Francisco, San Jose is, however, still pricey. Owing to the presence of Silicon Valley, residents can expect to pay an average house price of $575,000. On average, household income in the city is around $81,000 per annum.

19. Los Angeles, California

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LA is the second-largest metropolitan area in the US. With lots of rich residents, it’s hardly surprising that the city has a high cost of living and is ranked as the third-most-expensive place to live in the US. Residents in the city spend 30.28% of their average household income on their properties. The average house price is over $500,000 and renters pay around $1,362 per month.

18. New York City, New York

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Ranked the most expensive city in the US, New York’s cost of living is 120% more than the national average. Homes cost, on average, $501,000, and everything else, including transport and groceries, is much more expensive than it is elsewhere. Financial security and health is hard in NYC, especially for freshly out of college residents.

17. Seattle, Washington

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Seattle’s economy is as strong as its coffee. And the strength of the local economy is driving up prices. As a result, local residents endure property-related costs that are over 100% higher than the national average. Locals experience a cost of living that is 54.8% higher than the US average and an average house price of $537,800.

16. Honolulu, Hawaii

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In Honolulu, everything is expensive. Indeed, utility costs are 71% above the national average, and groceries cost 55% more than they do elsewhere. With an average annual salary of $58,397, residents have little extra money to spend, when compared with those living in other expensive cities.

15. New Haven, Connecticut

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Although the average house price in New Haven is quite low when compared with other north-eastern metro areas, the price tag of $204,475 is still expensive for its residents. In fact, these residents spend 26.44% of their average household income on property costs. Rental properties are expensive too, with an average cost of $1,100 per month. The New Haven population is older than most metropolitan areas, with an average resident age of 40.1. College and university students, beware of the high price of rent!

14. San Diego, California

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In San Diego, some 1.3 million residents share an average household income of around $63,990. They also share a cost of living which is 30% higher than the national average. Residents dispense their extra income in San Diego’s luxury yacht clubs and restaurants, as well as other, expensive, entertainment venues. On average, house prices in San Diego are around $477,800.

13. Miami, Florida

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Miami is home to a large number of rich immigrants, the world’s busiest cruise ship port and many international financial organizations. As a result, the city is an expensive place to live in. With an unemployment rate of 4.4% (very slightly higher than the national average), Miami households bring in an average of $48,100 per annum. To live well in Miami, with its new residential and commercial areas, residents need around $77,000 per annum.

12. Oakland, California

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Although it may be a cheaper option than San Francisco at the other end of the Bay Bridge, Oakland is still more expensive than most urban corners of the US. On average, apartments cost twice as much to rent as they do in other US cities, at an average of $1,673 per month. For those looking to buy, the average property will cost $449,800.

11. Boston, Massachusetts

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For Boston residents, groceries and health care cost over 20% more than the national average. Requiring around $84,000 to live well, and with an average house value of $374,000, the city’s residents bring in an average household income of $53,163.

10. Orlando, Florida

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For those who like easy access to Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando or, indeed, hope to work there, it’s worth knowing that this Florida metropolitan area comes with a price tag. With an average house price of $233,050, Orlando is a little more expensive than the national average. Residents should expect to assign an average of 26.72% of their household income to property expenses.

9. San Francisco, California

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Every day, people leave San Francisco in pursuit of a more affordable area. With a painfully high cost of living and unrealistic house prices, San Francisco owes its wealth to the tourism, finance and technology sectors. Residents should expect to pay an average house price of $820,000 and $119,000 to live well in the city.

8. Daytona Beach, Florida

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One of the 10 most expensive locations in the US, Daytona Beach requires its residents to part with 27.84% of their average household income to cover their average property costs. A retirement hot-spot, Daytona Beach residents have an average age of 47.1. Catering to an older audience, the city is an expensive hometown for anyone still in employment. That said, its direct access to the ocean and beautiful weather do make it somewhat worthwhile.

7. Washington, D.C.

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As the capital of the US, Washington has an unsurprisingly high cost of living. Much like in Boston, residents need around $83,000 to live well in Washington. The average household income is $63,267 per annum and the average home costs $443,000.

6. Juneau, Alaska

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In Juneau, life simply costs more. This could be due to Alaska’s capital being hidden away in the southeastern extreme of the state and pressed up against the border with Canada. With health care costing 53% more than the national average, utilities around 30% more expensive and groceries 50% more costly, Juneau’s residents are also stung by housing costs that exceed the national average by 50%.

5. Portland, Oregon

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The most highly populated city in Oregon, Portland, is popular with progressive folk who enjoy the great outdoors. While transportation costs are 17% more than the national average and the cost of health care 12% higher, property-related costs are a massive 82% more than the national average.

4. New Orleans, Louisiana

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While New Orleans residents can secure a home for an average of just $193,575, comfortably lower than the national average of $227,025, the city’s average income is also below-average. Over $7,000 less than in the rest of the US, New Orleans residents earn an average annual salary of $43,310.

3. McAllen, Texas

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The average salary in McAllen is $36,380 per annum and the average household income is only slightly higher, at $41,206. The city’s low income may be influenced by its 6.6% unemployment rate, suggesting that job hunting in the area could be challenging. The cost of living in McAllen accounts for 26.13% of its average household income.

2. Virginia Beach, Virginia

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Many vacationers and relocators enjoy Virginia Beach. Located on the coast of Virginia, the highly desirable city has a price tag to match its popularity. Spending 25.82% of their average annual household income on their properties, residents of the area earn an average of $47,410 per annum. This figure is $3,210 less than the national average.

1. San Juan, Puerto Rico

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With an economy dependent on tourism, San Juan’s popularity has not, unfortunately, boosted the income of its residents. In 2017, Hurricane Maria caused significant damage and power outages, although individual income had already been low. On average, San Juan residents earn $29,820 per annum. The average house price is $121,800.