I’ve been working with buyers relocating to the St. Louis area for years, and I find that many people are really surprised to discover that St. Louis home prices are higher than where they currently live.

I guess people assume because St. Louis is in the Midwest that prices will naturally be less expensive than where they live. I’ve found this especially true for people moving here from Dallas, Oklahoma and Florida. I’m not an expert in market conditions in these cities or why the prices vary from city to city, but I do know that homes without basements are the norm in some of these areas (and less expensive to build). Inexpensive labor costs may also play a part since new construction in St. Louis is mostly built by union labor.

Regardless of the reasons, the sticker shock can be very disturbing for relocating buyers. On the other hand, I do know relocating buyers that were thrilled with our home prices.

How does the cost of living in St. Louis compare to other cities?

I found a fun website tool to compare cities on 69 different specific products including orange juice, movies, doctor visits, and even Lipitor. Of course, home prices, energy costs and mortgage rates are also included. You can also plug in your current salary and see how much money you would have to make in another city based on the cost of living difference to maintain the same standard of living.

So I decided to check the cities that have seemed to result in the most sticker shock for my relocating clients.

According to the website, the average home sale price is St. Louis is $270,160.

Less expensive cities than St. Louis:

City Avg Sale $ Cost Difference
Cincinnati, OH $240,242 $29,918
Dallas, TX $219,013 $51,147
Memphis, TN $237,484 $32,676
Oklahoma City, OK $220,216 $49,944
Tampa, FL $256,938 $13,222

More expensive cities than St. Louis:

City Avg Sale $ Cost Difference
Atlanta, GA $279,543 -$9,383
Boston, MA $495,000 -$224,840
Los Angeles, CA $821,455 -$551,295
Phoenix, AZ $309,094 -$38,934
Seattle, WA $410,540 -$140,380