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Boston area home to some of America’s costliest cities, says Forbes

If you thought the rent was high in Boston, wait until you see the cost of pretty much everything else.

A new ranking from Forbes says Boston is the nation’s third-most overpriced city, with Cambridge and Peabody close behind. Higher-than-average prices for utilities, health care, groceries, and many other consumer goods make the city harder to live in for the median family than notoriously high-rent cities like New York and San Francisco.

Out of 92 cities ranked by business magazine, the Boston-Quincy metro area was named the third most overpriced, with utilities 23 percent above the national average, medical expenses 22 percent higher, groceries 15 percent more expensive, and everything else 28 percent higher. The areas around Cambridge and Peabody, ranked fifth and ninth, were similarly pricey.


Boston may have lots of universities, top-notch medical institutions, and a host of cultural organizations, but “the one thing the area doesn’t offer residents is a cheap cost of living,” the magazine said.

Compared to cities like San Francisco and New York, home ownership is affordable in the Boston-Quincy area, with 53.6 percent of homes sold last year within reach of the median family. That’s more than double the fraction of homes in New York and almost five times the 11 percent reported in San Francisco, Forbes said. But the city still ranked 75th out of the 92 cities Forbes analyzed.

The business magazine ranked cities by seeing how much costs for basic goods like groceries and transportation exceeded the national average and weighing them based on their size in a typical family budget.

America's 10 most overpriced cities
Forbes looked at living and home buying costs in 92 American cities, and the news wasn't pretty for middle-class Boston families. Here are a couple criteria the magazine looked at:
Metro area Percentage of houses affordable for the median family Grocery premium over national average
Honolulu, HI 35.3% 55.3%
Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT 50.7% 15.6%
Boston-Quincy, MA 53.6% 14.5%
New York-White Plains-Wayne, NY-NJ 24.7% 18%
Cambridge-Newton-Framingham, MA 54% 15.2%
San Francisco-San Mateo- Redwood City, CA 11.1% 19.7%
Oakland-Fremont-Hayward, CA 31.4% 19.4%
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA 21.8% 18.4%
Peabody, MA 58.8% 13.9%
Newark-Union, NJ-PA 55.5% 18.1%
DATA: Forbes
Globe Staff

Jack Newsham can be reached at jack.newsham@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TheNewsHam.