Cost of living: 63.4% above U.S. average San Francisco has always placed near the top in CCER's annual rankings, thanks primarily to housing costs that are higher than your average Haight-Ashbury hippie. Researchers found that residents in the City by the Bay pay 195% above the U.S. average for housing, while Zillow calculates that the typical San Francisco home costs $762,200. That's up 16.3% over the past 12 months. (You can find some 1,600 Bay Area properties for sale at Zillow.com.) CCER also says San Francisco groceries cost 21.4% above the U.S. average, while health care runs 14.7% more than typical. Transportation is also 10.3% higher than normal -- but surprisingly, utilities cost 4.5% below the national average.