Chicago an Expensive Place to Live

June 28, 2012

I am one of many other Chicago real estate owners struggling financially, and here’s one reason why: Chicago is the sixth most expensive place to live in the country.

That is according to Mercer’s 2012 Cost of Living Survey, which covers 214 cities across five continents.

ChicagoThe survey, which is used to help multinational companies determine compensation allowances for their expatriate employees, measures the costs in each city of over 200 items, including housing, household goods, transportation and entertainment. New York, the most expensive city in North America and the 33rd most costly in the world, is used as the base city and all other locales are compared to it.

New York dropped from last year’s perch at the 32nd spot in the world, but the next four cities all moved up on this year’s list: Los Angeles (68 in the world) owns the second highest cost of living in the country, San Francisco (90) is third, Washington (107) is fourth and Miami (110) is fifth.

Chicago sits at No. 110 in the world, a two-place drop, and No. 6 in the country.

“Although price increases have remained moderate overall, most U.S. cities have gone up in the ranking, mainly as a result of the strong US dollar,” said Nathalie Constantin-Métral, Principal at Mercer who compiles the annual rankings.

Portland, Oregon and Winston-Salem, North Carolina are the least expensive U.S. cities.

Worldwide, Tokyo is the most expensive city for expatriates, overtaking Luanda, Angola, which moved to second place. Osaka is third, Moscow is fourth, Geneva is fifth and Singapore and Zurich share sixth place.

Karachi, at No. 214, is the world’s least expensive city.

“Deploying expatriate employees is becoming an increasingly important aspect of multinational companies’ business strategy, including expansion. But with volatile markets and stunted economic growth in many parts of the world, a keen eye on cost efficiency is essential, including on expatriate remuneration packages,” said Constantin-Métral.

“Making sure salaries adequately reflect the difference in cost of living to the employee’s home country is important in order to attract and retain the right talent where companies need them.”

Want to see the entire cost-of-living survey? Visit mercer.com/costofliving.

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