) -- If the idea of paying $2,500 a month for apartment rent or $60 for a salon haircut gives you chest pains, here's a look at five U.S. cities to stay away from.
"These are all glamour spots -- people have to make a value judgment that it's worth the cost to live there," says Dean Frutiger of the Council for Community and Economic Research, which recently analyzed some 300 U.S. locales for its sixth-annual
Cost of Living Index
studied each community's average price for a weighted basket of 56 goods and services, from potato chips to dental appointments.
Frutiger says researchers found that America's most-expensive cities all have stratospheric mortgage or rental costs, which account for 27% of the study's index. "Housing prices [in super-expensive cities] are just outrageous," he says.
Keep reading for a rundown of the costliest communities in CCER's latest rankings.
Price figures refer to each community's average living expenses last year. Median home values reflect estimated housing prices compiled by market tracker
(Z - Get Report)
for all houses, condos and co-ops in a given area (including those not for sale) as of March 13.