District of Columbia the Nationís Most Expensive Place to Live


Elevated housing costs helped to make the District of Columbia more expensive to live in than any state in 2012 , according to data released Thursday by the Commerce Department.

Regional prices for goods and services in D.C. were 18% higher than the national average in 2012, Commerce said in a new report that compares income levels and costs of living across 50 states and the district. It also gives a breakdown for big cities.

The metropolitan area with the highest cost of living in 2012 was Honolulu, followed by New York-Newark-Jersey City. The Washington-Arlington-Alexandria area was No. 7 in the ranking.

ďFor the first time, Americans looking to move or take a job anywhere in the country can compare inflation-adjusted incomes across states and metropolitan areas,Ē U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker said.

Apart from D.C., Hawaii was the state with the highest cost of living in 2012, followed by New York and then by New Jersey. Mississippi was at the bottom of the scale, with regional prices 14% below the national average.

Low regional prices in oil-rich North Dakota helped propel personal income adjusted for cost-of-living 15% higher, the nationís largest gain. Neighboring South Dakota, which has benefited less from the energy boom, experienced a 1.2% fall in adjusted personal income in 2012.

The Commerce Department uses its national price index of personal consumption expenditures plus baskets of regional prices to adjust for cost-of-living expenses.

The data showed D.C.ís expensive living conditions are primarily the result of housing costs which are 57% over the national average. Stan Humphries, chief economist at Zillow Inc., said the nationís capital was one of the nationís few areas to emerge relatively unscathed from the recent housing recession. ďAreas that did well had four things in common: universities, medical and military industries and government,Ē Mr. Humphries said.

According to Zillow data, current home values in Washington, D.C. are over $345,000, far above the national average of $169,800. - The Wall Street Journal



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