The numbers are in and the Roanoke Region again ranks at the top of the list when it comes to cost of living.
Numbers released by the Council for Community and Economic Research for the first quarter of 2015 rank the Roanoke metro area as 42nd lowest cost metro in the nation with costs lower than 84 percent of participating metros. With an index of 90.6, costs in Roanoke are 9.4 percent lower than the national average of 100. Roanoke has the second lowest cost metro in the Commonwealth.
The numbers put Roanoke well below the national average for costs and ahead of similarly sized metro markets in the South such as Richmond (94.6), Asheville (99.8), and Chattanooga (94.1). New York City (Manhattan) ranked highest in cost of living with an index more than twice the national average (223.7), followed by Honolulu, HI (190.4).
Roanoke has significant comparative advantages in housing, transportation, and grocery costs.
The Cost of Living Index measures regional differences in the cost of consumer goods and services, excluding taxes and non-consumer expenditures, for professional and managerial households in the top income quintile. It is based on more than 90,000 prices covering 60 different items for which prices are collected quarterly by chambers of commerce, economic development organizations, and university applied economic centers in each participating urban area.
The composite index is based on six component categories – housing, utilities, grocery items, transportation, health care, and miscellaneous goods and services.