With home values slow to rise and mortgage rates at all-time lows, there's never been a more affordable time to own a home. However, there is more to the cost of living than just a mortgage payment. There's the cost of groceries, gasoline and routine medical care, too. Not surprisingly, where we live affects our costs. Big cities are often more expensive in which to live, for example, and local tax laws influence daily costs, too. For home buyers moving across state borders, therefore -- or even for those moving long distances intra-state -- it's important to know the relative costs in your new hometown as compared to your current one. Your household cash flow depends on it. You can't know your budget for a home if you don't know what life in a new town will cost you. Enter Bankrate.com's Cost of Living Comparison Calculator. In comparing the costs of 60 mundane, everyday items, the Cost of Living Comparison calculator can show you how common costs in your current home town compare to costs in your soon-to-be new home town. The calculator asks for just three inputs -- (1) In what city do you live now, (2) To what city are you moving, and (3) What is your current salary -- then uses that information to produce a detailed cost comparison. Some of the Cost of Living items compared include :
The calculator also includes local mortgage rate differences to help plan for housing, and accounts for median home prices, too. The online Cost of Living calculator is based on data from the ACCRA. On the ACCRA website, a similar cost comparison report sells for $5. At Bankrate.com, you can get the data for free.