Second City Is Second Most Overpriced

By Olsen Ebright and Ryan Pollyea
|  Friday, May 8, 2009  |  Updated 1:40 PM CDT
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Second City Is Second Most Overpriced

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We love living in the heart of it all, but paying for it can be a pain.

Chicago has been named America's second most overpriced city -- but if you live in the Windy City, you probably already knew that.

Forbes, a magazine addicted to ranking cities, based this batch of rankings on earnings potential and living expenses in the 50 largest continental U.S. metro areas. The cities are ranked by average salary for workers with a bachelor's degree or higher, annual unemployment statistics, cost of living and the Housing Opportunity Index.

Chicago's nasty winters, coupled with its 9.4 percent unemployment rate and high cost of living were Forbes' justification for ranking Chicago as so overpriced.

When high prices even drive the magazine designed to keep homeless people off the street to the brink of bankruptcy, it may go without saying that Chicago is overpriced.

But for a city with a public transit system that (when it works) will get you within feet of two major airports for less than three bucks, world-class museums and a thriving public parks system to be named the second most overpriced in the nation, you have to wonder what other cities around the country are doing.

The housing woes in L.A. made the situation worse for people living there, according to Forbes. The City of Angels came in at No. 1.

"The unemployment (in Southern California) is definitely driven by the housing bust. Prices are collapsing, but if you're looking at buying a house, it's still expensive," said Al Lee, director of Quantitative Analysis at PayScale.

Even though the median LA home price dropped from $525,000 to $319,000 in the last two years, "Angelinos still face one of the least affordable housing markets in the country," according to Forbes:

Vexed by gang wars and rising real estate prices, late rapper Tupac Shakur mused in 1996 that the overall cost of living in Los Angeles was so high he would almost rather "live life in the pen[itentiary]."

Though East Coast-West Coast gang violence has since subsided, life in the City of Angels remains far from affordable. Thanks to bloated housing prices, lofty living costs and unemployment rates among the highest in the nation, the Los Angeles metro area tops our list of America's Most Overpriced Cities.

 

Forbes: Top 20 America's Most Overpriced Cities:

  • No. 1: Los Angeles, Calif.
  • No. 2: Chicago, Ill.
  • No. 3: Miami, Fla.
  • No. 4: New York, N.Y.
  • No. 5: Providence, R.I.
  • No. 6: Riverside, Calif.
  • No. 7: Long Island, N.Y.
  • No. 8: Cleveland, Ohio
  • No. 9 (tie): Newark, N.J.
  • No. 9 (tie): San Diego, Calif.
  • No. 11: Philadelphia, Pa.
  • No. 12: Portland, Ore.
  • No. 13 (tie): Tampa, Fla.
  • No. 13 (tie): Memphis, Tenn.
  • No. 15: Orlando, Fla.
  • No. 16: St. Louis, Mo.
  • No. 17: Jacksonville, Fla.
  • No. 18: San Francisco, Calif.
  • No. 19 (tie): Warren, Mich.
  • No. 19 (tie): Boston, Mass.

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