Surprise: Where SF Lands in Overpriced City List

LA Ranked No. 1

Los Angeles has been named America's most overpriced city -- but if you live in LA, you probably already knew that.

San Francisco is ranked 18 out of the 20 -- and if you live in the Bay Area, you are probably surprised by 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.

The rankings have everything to do with double-digit unemployment and housing woes, according to the magazine.

"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.

To compile the list, the magazien looked at earnings potential and living expenses in the 50 largest continental U.S. metropolitan area.

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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