real estate

What's It Going to Cost You to Live There?

Home prices are just one factor you should consider when choosing a city.

If you're a retiree looking for a change of scenery, or you've been offered a job in another city, you may want to consider more than just the cost of housing. Prices for groceries, utilities, health care and other necessities can also vary significantly.

For example, the average cost of a doctor's appointment in Rockford, Ill., is $139, compared with $75 in Bloomington, Ind., according to the Council for Community and Economic Research's cost of living index, or COLI. The general rule of thumb is that you should spend no more than 50% of your budget on necessities such as housing, food and transportation. But relocating to a high-cost area may make this guideline unworkable.

The table below shows what you would pay for commonly used products and services in four cities that made the list of 20 finalists for Amazon's second headquarters—which is expected to add 50,000 jobs. We added Orlando because that area is attractive to retirees.

You can find a COLI calculator at www.payscale.com/cost-of-living-calculator.

Photo by Miosotis Jade via Wikimedia Commons

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