It happens every month: Millions of American pony up for the gas bill, mortgage or rent payment and real estate taxes--and subsequently watch their bank balances dwindle. That's because housing expenses are the biggest monthly expense most families face.
But there's a big difference between the size of your payments if you live in Seattle, Wash., than if you have put down roots in New York, N.Y. And if you live in California, you're likely to be writing bigger checks than anywhere else in the country: More than half of the 20 most expensive cities for housing are in the Golden State, according to a report released last week by the U.S. Census Bureau.
San Jose commands the largest amount in housing costs of all metro areas we surveyed for this story. After you've shelled out for your monthly mortgage payments (or gross rent, if you're a renter), not to mention utilities, taxes and insurance, you'll be $1,828 poorer in this Silicon Valley hub.