Yes, these costs vary widely depending on local conditions.
If you're competing with "yuppies and businesses", you may not be finding the right contractors. Just like we talk about wholesale and retail for houses, there are wholesale and retail markets for contractors. If you're a homeowner looking for remodeling, your criteria are different than if you're a flipper. Some years ago, before I got into this, I paid $50K for a high end kitchen remodel. After doing a couple of rehabs, I'm sure I could now do the same work for half, or maybe even a third, of what I paid. May not have been the same cabinets or same granite fabricator, but it would look just as good. In a rehab I did last year, I had more wiring done than I did in my house, and yet the price was only half what I paid. And, yes, they were licensed and permits were pulled (for that entire rehab) and all inspections passed. In fact, I was much happier with his work than what's in my house.
Shop around, get multiple bids. This is money out of your pocket.