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Unread 01-31-2011, 01:03 PM
 
20,274 posts, read 16,244,489 times
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Default Speaking of cost of living . . .

Here is a new study of costs of living and per capita income adjusted for cost of living in various large metros. Note this only includes the largest metros, the ones for which the necessary statistics are available:

Regional Exchange Rates: The Cost of Living in US Metropolitan Areas | Newgeography.com

It won't surprise people here to learn that Pittsburgh did very well in terms of relative cost of living, ending up #4. But maybe it will surprise some people that we were ONLY #4, and not higher still--personally, I wonder if Pittsburgh's recent housing price gains are starting to show up in these rankings.

Anyway, that in turn helps out our COL-adjusted per capita income: we go up from #15 unadjusted to #8 adjusted (passing, in no particular order, Houston, Chicago, NYC, Philly, Seattle, and several California cities, and being passed by St Louis). Equally notable is the way in which this methodology contracts the list overall. Unadjusted, Pittsburgh was behind #1 San Francisco by about $17,500. Adjusted, Pittsburgh is behind new #1 Washington, DC by only about $3,000.

Of course all this is very broad brush, as in fact was pointed out in part in the article. For example, lots of higher-income cities tend to get very expensive in the core area, and I would bet if you focused on that topic in particular, Pittsburgh would do even better. Relative income also varies by profession/industry. And so on.
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Unread 01-31-2011, 02:38 PM
 
Location: BP
96 posts, read 73,690 times
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I'm sure that San Antonio has a cheaper CoL than Pittsburgh (although most jobs don't pay all that well here either) but it isn't on the list. Someone asked about Columbus and Indianapolis and was given this answer :

"As the article indicates, only metropolitan areas covered by specific metropolitan area CPIs are included. There are no CPIs for IPS, COL or 22 other major metropolitan areas (those over 1,000,000 population).
Thank you for the inquiry.
Wendell Cox
Demographia"


So there are a few good candidates left off but all in all this is a good showing for Pittsburgh
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Unread 01-31-2011, 03:09 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
541 posts, read 561,885 times
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That article is a nice deviation from Wendell Cox's usual New-urbanist bashing rhetoric. And quite interesting indeed.
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Unread 01-31-2011, 04:51 PM
 
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Yep, a bunch of metros not much smaller than Pittsburgh's, and many more smaller than that, weren't included.
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Unread 01-31-2011, 10:13 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
3,533 posts, read 2,843,119 times
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I find the exchange rate information really cool. It's like if we had to exchange our money every time we visited a different metro area in the county.
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Unread 02-01-2011, 07:01 PM
 
136 posts, read 110,503 times
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I didn't dig very far into this, but as a renter, I see much more parity in our life no matter where we live.

Most of our expenses are fixed no matter where we go... car payment, student loans, taxes, insurance. The small differences in food/energy/gas/etc... doesn't swing things significantly. I understand that the big difference probably is in housing [rents tend to not swing as much in my experience], but if you are not trying to purchase a home, I bet these numbers don't really matter much.
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Unread 02-02-2011, 12:41 AM
 
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So Pittsburgh has one of the lowest home price to rent ratios among major U.S. metros. This does imply that buyers get a lot of the advantage of low housing costs. However, a Census study of 2009 American Community Survey data found that Pittsburgh had the lowest median gross rent ($643) among the 50 most populous metros:

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So renters participate in the very low cost of housing in Pittsburgh too.
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Unread 02-02-2011, 03:26 AM
 
Location: Hong Kong
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How does Las Vegas compare? Just curious...if anyone is viewing the data.
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Unread 02-02-2011, 05:19 AM
 
20,274 posts, read 16,244,489 times
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Las Vegas isn't included in the first data set.

Las Vegas's median gross rent was pretty high at $1034. That's less expensive than the large California metros, but more expensive than places like Denver or SLC. Of course given all that is going on in Vegas these days, that might be a bit of a moving target (this rent study was published in October 2010, but based on 2009 data).
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Unread 02-02-2011, 06:34 AM
 
Location: Southside Flats, Pittsburgh, PA
210 posts, read 171,289 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianTH View Post
So Pittsburgh has one of the lowest home price to rent ratios among major U.S. metros. This does imply that buyers get a lot of the advantage of low housing costs. However, a Census study of 2009 American Community Survey data found that Pittsburgh had the lowest median gross rent ($643) among the 50 most populous metros:

Powered by Google Docs

So renters participate in the very low cost of housing in Pittsburgh too.
I feel this should be tempered by other other measurements: Buy vs. Rent: An Update - NYTimes.com

These figures compare median home prices vs avg rent, and Pittsburgh comes out on top (or bottom, depending if you rent or buy). So while renters do see a cheaper total price tag, they are also paying a higher percent of the overall value of the property each month in rent, and more than anywhere else in the country.

Last edited by Faer; 02-02-2011 at 07:29 AM..
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