Big Apple gets pricier

…but still not most expensive city worldwide

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It’s not your imagination — New York actually is getting more expensive compared to other cities. The Big Apple jumped from number 22 to number 8 on the most recent Mercer Cost of Living Survey, which measures the comparative cost of 200 items — from housing to food — in cities around the world.

New York’s jump was due largely to the fluctuation of the dollar against other currencies, according to Rebecca Powers, a principal at Mercer, a global consulting firm.

“The dollar has performed better than it had in the previous year or two,” said Powers, noting that the dollar has been volatile since the euro became the official currency of Europe.

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The July 2009 survey — an index which uses New York as its base city and primary point of comparison — found Tokyo and Osaka to be the world’s most expensive cities.

“The Japanese cities are always toward the top,” said Powers, noting that Japan is a small island where “a lot of consumer goods need to be brought in.”

Still, pricey homes helped buoy New York ahead of other American cities, along with high sales taxes, she said.

Another notable trend is that Caracas, the capital of Venezuela, moved up 74 places to 15th in 2009, becoming the most expensive city in South America. That’s due largely to inflation, Powers said.