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The Cost of Living in Seattle

cost of living in Seattle

There are many reasons to move to Seattle, Washington, these days. Seattle is one of North America’s leading tech markets.

It’s home to large corporations like Amazon, Starbucks and Costco Wholesale. The nightlife and dining scenes are thriving. Its proximity to the Pacific Ocean provides a delightfully temperate climate.

It has so much going for it that it’s actually the fastest growing city in the United States!

You may even be considering a move there yourself. But before you pack your bags, you may want to ask yourself, “How much does it cost to live in Seattle?”

The cost of living in Seattle can be prohibitive. According to payscale.com the cost of living in Seattle is 49% higher than the national average. That means if you were making $60,000 in another part of the country, you’d have to make $89,400 to maintain the same lifestyle in Seattle.

A large portion of this disparity is because of Seattle’s rapidly rising housing market, which is one of the hottest in the nation currently.

Seattle Real Estate

The greatest expense people encounter with the cost of living in Seattle is associated with housing.

The high demand for housing in a rapidly growing metropolitan area has led to a market where the median home value is rapidly closing in on $820,000. This is great news for homeowners, but it could spell difficulties for people looking to relocate to Seattle from elsewhere.

A similar situation is playing out in the rental market as well. The average rent for a 2 bedroom apartment in Seattle, according to rentcafe.com as of July 2018, is $2,245 per month.

However, when you look at other important expenses as broken out by payscale.com, the numbers aren’t as intimidating. While they are still all above the national average, the smaller margin makes the cost of living in Seattle more reasonable.

Seattle Dining

Seattle is a food fanatic’s dream come true. You can find fresh fish and produce at the iconic Pike Place Market or any number of local farmer’s markets.

You can treat yourself to a meal at one of Seattle’s top restaurants like Copine or Sushi Kappo Tamura. However, it is going to cost you somewhat.

The cost of groceries are 26% more than the national average.

Seattle Transportation

Seattle does have a light rail system with one-way fares ranging from $2.25 to $3.25 and up to $6.50 per round trip. However, the light rail doesn’t cover large parts of the metropolitan area. Because of this, many people either commute by car or a combination of trains, buses, ferries and water taxis.

Luckily, the Orca Card is a pass that can be used on all the different public transit systems and runs around $100 a month. That is on par with other major metropolitan areas such as Chicago.

Other Costs of Living in Seattle

There are, of course, other expenses to consider when you are trying to calculate how much it costs to live in Seattle.

Utilities are 23% higher than the national average in Seattle.

Likewise, health care is more expensive. Health care in Seattle comes in at 24% higher than the national average.

Seattle also has a comparatively high sales tax, 9.5%, making just about everything you buy more expensive overall. However, that expense may be offset by the fact that Seattle has no personal income tax.

Keep in mind that national averages take into account the entire United States, and the cost of living can vary greatly from one area to the next.

If you are considering moving from an area like New York or San Francisco, you may actually stand to save some money. To find out specifically what the cost of living in Seattle would be in relation to your current situation, use a cost of living calculator to compare the difference.

If you’re ready to make the plunge and move to Seattle, you can learn more about how to cover your moving expenses from Discover Personal Loans or explore loan rates with the personal loan calculator.