What's the Cost of Living in Seattle, WA?

August 25th, 2023

What's the Cost of Living in Seattle, WA?

What's the Cost of Living in Seattle, WA?

Are you considering a move to Seattle, WA? Ensure you know these essential facts about the cost of living, the average household income, and other typical expenses. 

As a seaport city, Seattle is a huge tourist destination and one of the best places to live in Washington. The city offers a thriving cultural and arts scene, abundant recreational activities, a diverse population, delicious restaurants, and prime real estate

In addition to the picturesque mountains and beautiful evergreen forests, the city is known as the 11th best place to find a job. This is extremely important, as Seattle isn't known for being as affordable as most other cities in Washington. Although, once you get here, you'll understand why homes are in such high demand. 

Most residents are between the ages of 25 and 44, meaning most residents are younger. The city is also an excellent choice for families as there are so many highly regarded schools in the area, and it is perfect for retirees for the quality of healthcare and convenient transportation options. Seattle is just one of Washington's amazing cities; check out other great cities like Vancouver

Seattle is the perfect place to move, regardless of age, lifestyle, or budget. First is figuring out how much you will need to make to live comfortably in the big city. As one of the fastest-growing cities in the U.S. today, it is crucial to understand the overall cost of living. Let's look at the cost of living, real estate, average income, and everyday expenses. 

Keep reading to learn more about the cost of living and typical expenses in Seattle, WA.

Cost of Living

Seattle's overall cost of living is 50% higher than the national average. Remember, the cost of living in any area can vary significantly based on many factors, such as your career, average salary, and the real estate market. It is still vital to understand the average cost of living in any new area before you make the move.

Looking a little deeper into the cost of living, we can see that compared to the national average, housing is 111% higher, utilities are 6% higher, groceries are 25% higher, and transportation costs are 23% higher. These averages can also vary and may not reflect the amount you will be paying, as they depend on your lifestyle, budget, family size, and many other factors. 

As a large and growing city, the cost of living is everchanging, meaning it is crucial to keep up with the cost of living as it changes. Seattle may seem a bit expensive compared to other cities in Washington, like Vancouver, where the cost of living is only 4% higher than the national average. But it is more affordable than cities like Bellevue, where the cost of living is 68% higher than the national average. 

Here are some typical costs of living aspects according to Payscale. 

Cost of Living Item Average Price
Median Home Price $952,328
Median Rent $2,896 / month
Energy Bill $187.08 / month
Phone Bill  $201.25 / month
Gas  $4.20 / gallon

Learn everything you can about the cost of living in Seattle.

Real Estate

Housing is the most expensive expense in Seattle, 111% higher than the national average. The housing market is very competitive as more and more people move to the area each year.

On average, homes cost about $952,328 and stay on the market for about ten days. This means you need to act fast to get that perfect home in Seattle. Luckily, home prices were down 7.0% in July 2023 compared to last year. 

Seattle has many beautiful and safe neighborhoods with all types of homes types. From the lively downtown area to a spacious place by the water, you have countless options to find that perfect home. 

If you want to rent, check out the best apartments, townhomes, single-family homes, and condos in Seattle. No matter what type of home you are searching for, you can almost guarantee that you'll be able to find it here in Seattle.

If you decide that city life isn't for you, many other great cities and towns surround Seattle, like Bellevue and Spokane. Make sure to check out the best neighborhoods in Bellevue, Vancouver, and Spokane

Find your perfect home here in Seattle, Washington


In May 2023, there were 2,161,600 jobs in Seattle, meaning you have plenty of opportunities for employment in the big city. With an unemployment rate of 3.4%, lower than the country's average, it is a great place to move to if you are looking for an excellent workplace.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the average household income in Seattle is about $105,391 per year, much higher than the average city. For an individual, the average income is $52,142 per year.

The Seattle region boasts a robust foundation of well-established industries like aerospace, information technology, and retail. In contrast, it also serves as a hub for innovative and developing sectors such as interactive media, music, and clean technology.

The biggest companies in Seattle are Amazon, Microsoft, Boeing, Google, and many more. These bring in many job opportunities as each company grows more and more each year. You can ensure to find the perfect job to support your budget, lifestyle, and family size. 


Seattle is renowned for its delectable and fresh seafood from the Pacific Northwest's nearby waters. From salmon to oysters, Seattle offers many options for seafood lovers. However, it's worth noting that Seattle's food scene is more than just seafood.

Once you get here, you'll quickly realize that the city relies heavily on its delicious coffee. You must try one of the area's many affordable and fantastic coffee shops. Remember that although there are many excellent restaurants in the area, buying groceries will save you tons of money in the long run.

In Seattle, the grocery prices are about 25% higher. This may seem significant, but your grocery prices heavily depend on where you shop, what you buy, and your budget. There are also many options for buying fresh and more affordable produce at local farmers' markets or grocery stores.

Here are the average prices of everyday grocery items according to Payscale.

Grocery Item Average Price
Loaf of Bread $4.85
Gallon of Milk $3.04
Carton of Eggs $2.81
Bunch of Bananas  $4.20
Hamburger $6.42

Seattle is known for its mouthwatering restaurants; check out these local favorite restaurants.

  • Salumi: Discover your new favorite lunch spot; with tons of sandwich options, you can't beat it.
  • Cafe Juanita: Enjoy a romantic night out at this excellent fine-dining restaurant with a seasonal tasting menu with options for pescatarians, vegetarians, and vegans. 
  • The Chicken Supply: Winning Best New Restaurant in 2022, this casual spot is the best place to get fried chicken in the city. 

Have the best meal of your life here in Seattle


Healthcare expenses can often be overlooked as people move into a new city. Although, you never know when something could happen, and you'll find yourself searching for the best affordable healthcare options in your new city.

In Seattle, healthcare expenses are 30% higher than the national average. However, this all depends on where you go, the specialized service you need, and your type of health insurance. Health insurance in Seattle can cost anywhere from $200-$400 per month. 

Luckily, residents have access to some of the best hospitals in the state here in Seattle, like the University of Washington Medical Center and the UW Medicine-Harborview Medical Center.

Check out the average prices for standard doctor visits according to Payscale. 

Service Average Price
Doctor's Visit $162.26
Dentist Visit $139.99
Optometrist Visit $152.84
RX Drug $597.84
Veterinary Visit $78.82


Transportation costs in Seattle are 25% higher than the national average. This includes gas prices and bus fares around the city. Luckily, the downtown area is highly walkable, but there are still many public transportation options to help you get around the city more easily. 

It is recommended to have your car if you like to travel in and around the city. Most Seattle residents own their car, and 81% have at least one vehicle. However, the King County Metro bus system runs around the city and surrounding cities. You can also travel along the Streetcar System or light rail for a cheaper and more convenient option than owning a car.

In addition to public transportation, Seattle has three airports: Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Seattle Lake Union, and Seattle Boeing Field. All three make it easy to travel in and out of the city, and from there, you can rent a car or ride in a taxi, Uber, or Lyft to get to where you need to go. Don't forget to take a ride on Seattle's infamous ferryboats across the water. 

Public transportation options in Seattle make it extremely easy to get around town.


In Washington, residents don't have to pay any state income tax. The minimum combined 2023 sales tax rate is a bit high, at 10.25%. This is the total state, county, and city sales tax rates. This is also much higher than the national average of 5.1%, as most conditions stay between 4% and 7%. 

The average property tax rate in King County equates to roughly 1% of your home's value. This means you will owe $10 for every $1,000 of weight on your home. 

Most residents rent their homes at 51.6%, and the other 48.4% own them. Renting may be a better option for you as the median home prices in Seattle are much higher than in most cities.

No matter where you move to, you should always take into consideration how the tax rates may impact your overall cost of living. 

Keep in mind how taxes can impact your overall cost of living in Seattle.

FAQ: Cost of Living in Bellevue, WA

Here are some commonly asked questions about living costs in Seattle, WA.

Is it expensive to live in Seattle?

The overall cost of living in Seattle is 54% higher than the national average, although this average does not exactly equate to how much you will be spending in Seattle. 

How much money do you need to live comfortably in Seattle?

To live comfortably in a median one-bedroom apartment in Seattle, a resident must make about $61,760 annually. The recommended household income for a two-bedroom apartment is $74,680 per year. 

Is it worth it to move to Seattle?

Seattle is a fantastic place to live, with many parks, beautiful natural surroundings, great job opportunities, and a diverse culture. Seattle is known for its rainy weather and high cost of living, but residents are known to have a high quality of life.

Do you need a car in Seattle?

Seattle has many residents who own cars and the traffic that comes along with it. Most visitors and residents choose not to hold their vehicles unless they take frequent trips out of the city.

What is the average cost of a house in Seattle?

The median home price in Seattle is $952,328, and the median rent is $2,896 monthly. Although, there are many more affordable options for homes in and around the city.

Cost of Living in Seattle, WA - Final Thoughts

You'll quickly find out why Seattle is one of the fastest-growing cities in the country. The city offers beautiful landscapes, fabulous restaurants, and fun outdoor activities. Understanding the actual cost of living in a new town is very important, although you should know many other things before moving to Seattle

When considering a relocation, Seattle should be taken into consideration. There are many things to consider when moving to a new area. Make sure you know everything you can before moving to Washington, as many other cities and towns in Washington are worth checking out.

Check out other popular cities like TacomaSpokane Valley, and Sequim in Washington. No matter where you decide to move in Washington, learning the actual cost of living in Washington is imperative.

Whether you decide to move to Seattle for its lively downtown, a new job opportunity, or a fresh start, our team at UpHomes is dedicated to helping you find the home of your dreams. If you are ready to find that perfect home, don't hesitate to contact one of our helpful Realty Specialists or check out some fantastic homes for sale in Washington.


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Ryan Fitzgerald

Ryan Fitzgerald

Hi there! My name is Ryan Fitzgerald, and I am a REALTOR®. My goal is to help you learn more about real estate through our Real Estate Blog! Hopefully, you enjoyed the above blog post and it found a way to provide help or value to you. When you're ready to buy or sell a home of your own let us know here. Please feel free to join the conversation by dropping us a comment below.

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