America's most expensive places to live
It's not just the cost of a home that'll make you gulp in these cities; it's the price of a gallon of milk.
In the midst of the recession, New Yorkers are cutting back on everything from dining to luxury shopping. Café des Artistes, one of the Big Apple's most storied restaurants, closed in August, in part because of poor business. Chanterelle followed this month. In July, J.C. Penney opened its first Manhattan location, citing local demand for discount merchandise.
These changes make sense. New York tops a recent list of America's most expensive cities, with a measured cost of living surpassing that of Houston, Boston and Washington, D.C. The culprit? High rent: $4,300 a month on average for a two-bedroom, unfurnished luxury apartment. The silver lining: That's down $200 from when the survey was taken in 2008.
Behind the numbers
To determine the U.S. cities where the cost of living is highest, the London office of Mercer, an American human resources consulting company, earlier this year measured the prices of the same basket of goods in 253 of the world's cities. The basket is composed of more than 200 products, representative of executive spending patterns and including everything from rent for a luxury apartment to the cost of a fast-food hamburger. Mercer chose a sampling of U.S. cities to measure — the 10 most expensive of which are listed here.
Location has a lot to do with why New York and Los Angeles top the list.
Before the 1970s, New Yorkers were — in a sense — paid a premium to live in the Big Apple, due to its reputation for crime and filth. But when the city began to experience robust economic growth, demand outweighed supply, and housing prices grew. Though prices are now dropping, and are largely believed to have yet to hit bottom, the area's cost of living, according to Mercer, remains the nation's highest. Its housing cost, according to Mercer, is almost double that of second-place Los Angeles.
The City of Angels, like New York, attracts go-getters, as well as those looking to live in the city's warm, Mediterranean climate. The recent housing boom lured scores of would-be homeowners who are now facing underwater mortgages and high unemployment, as well as footing bills that come with the nation's second-priciest city.
|Price N.Y. apartments|
Indeed, as unemployment grows and property values fall, it is becoming harder to make ends meet across the country. All 10 cities measured jumped in Mercer's worldwide rankings. Out of the 253 major metropolises around the world surveyed, New York this year ranked No. 8, up from No. 22 last year; Los Angeles ranked No. 23, up 27 places from 2008. The top five most expensive U.S. cities also saw their worldwide rankings surge: White Plains, N.Y., a destination for expats, jumped from No. 89 to No. 31; San Francisco from No. 78 to No. 34; and Honolulu from No. 77 to No. 41.
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Yet all is not lost for the residents of the cities on Mercer's list. Many of these spots offer benefits both tangible and intangible. The Washington, D.C., metro area, which encompasses Arlington and Alexandria, for example, boasts a 3.8% unemployment rate, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Despite a dismal real-estate market, Miami offers vibrant nightlife and a large consortium of creative professionals. And Boston, while pricey, is home to Harvard University and MIT, which means there will be a steady stream of new residents to help prop up its local economy.
Next NYC also attracts alot of people who watch T.V. and are easily impressed by fashion and images, they tend to be disillusioned after getting here as the images don't often meet the reality. New York City is a gorgeous place, do not misuse my thoughts here as you interpret them yourself. However NYC is located on a port , off the coast, where international travel comes- it would not travel any further inland as its not feasible- so that is one reason why "fashion" is such an industry here- THE TEXTILE imports come here to this port when being shipped from over-sea's- so the businesses that make clothing from textiles have their offices and business located where the shipments come in-duh. There are a lot of stupid people in New York and I mean a lot, who moved or visit because they watched Sex In The City and want to pretend to be sexy and in love(here).
A lot of people here suffer with rent- but New York can thank a few politicians that decided to change the laws that kept rent at a low- this pushed former residents out and then neighborhoods became gentrified. And if one actually talks to New Yorkers (those are people who were actually born here in New York, (not some attitude prone reject relocated from Ohio or Texas that lives here to title themselves a New Yorker in order to impress the "folks" back home or to fit in) a New Yorker if they haven't moved out of New York City already, due to high rents or just plain disgust will tell you- what it is really like here. A lot, a lot, a lot of people in New York will tell you- its over- New York lost its culture and neighborhoods years ago.
Don't get me wrong- New York is still an amazing place- full of resources, intelligence, beauty and rats eating designer garbage-some people don't that including me.