The Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER) has released their third-quarter data for 2012, in which they rank 304 urban areas according to average local costs. Among the components were: food items, home purchase or rental, clothing, utilities, services, health care, and other expenses.
Not much has changed on the top of the list in the last few quarters' reports: New York City still holds down the number one spot at 229.6 — more than twice the national average cost of living. Brooklyn again took second place at 180.2.
Yet down the list where the least expensive cities are, there is more turnover. The cost of living index numbers for the ten least expensive urban areas all fall into a range of roughly 7 percentage points: from 86.4 to 79.5. That's partly why the majority of following list of places that had the lowest cost of living, is different from the last quarter's list. And now, a countdown to the most affordable urban area, which includes some of the most inexpensive products they offer.
These are the most affordable U.S. cities, according to CNBC:
Memphis has a rich musical heritage and is the city Elvis Presley called home. But you don't have to be a rock star to live there -- the average cost to buy your own Graceland (albeit smaller and probably with less carpeting on the walls) is the lowest of all these top 10 urban areas. The cost of living is 85.6 percent of the national average. In Memphis, you can get these things for relatively cheap: New Home Price: $192,914 Optometrist: $73.29 Canola Oil: $2.90 (tie) See the full slideshow at CNBC
Pueblo is a semi-arid desert city in the Rocky Mountains and is one of the top steel producers in the country. The cost of living is 85.1 percent of the national average. Pueblo's cheapest prices include: A visit to the dentist: $67.19 Movie: $8.50 See the full slideshow at CNBC
Midway between Oklahoma City and Dallas, Ardmore has major employers like Michelin, Mercy Memorial Health Center, and Valero Refinery. Too boot, the cost of living in this south central Oklahoman oasis is about 84.2 percent of the national average. Feast your eyes on Ardmore's cheap pricing for the following: Parmesan: $3.14 Potato Chips: $2.56 Coke: $1.21 Phone: $20.50 Dry Cleaning: $7.16 See the full slideshow at CNBC
Located just 20 miles south of Oklahoma City, Norman is the state’s third largest city and home to the National Weather Center. The cost of living is 80.9 percent of the national average. Norman also offers near rock-bottom prices for the following: Hamburger: $3.25 Shampoo: $0.80 Newspaper: $9.00 Beer: $7.63 See the full slideshow at CNBC
Harlingen is designated a Certified Retirement Community, and a year-round destination for those fleeing colder climates. It's in the southernmost part of Texas (not far from the no. 6 least-expensive urban area, McAllen). It's standard is 79.5 percent of the national average. Harlingen's claim to cheap pricing includes the following: Steak: $8.31/pound Beef: $2.55/pound Sausage: $3.00 Chicken: $0.79/pound Tomatoes: $1.95/pound Sandwich: $3.31 Washing machine repair: $39.38/hour See the full slideshow at CNBC