Cost Of Living In Seattle

Considering moving to Seattle? It’s one of the best and most beautiful places, but it comes at a cost. And no, I’m not talking about the 150+ day of rain. Locals will be quick to tell you it can be a miserable experience to make it in this city if you don’t make “x” amount per year. Let’s break down just how much you can expect to spend a month to have a “good” quality of life in Seattle. Here is how much I spend.

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Monica Church is a Seattle based real estate agent selling on average 20 homes a year. She specializes in helping out of state buyers understand which neighborhoods will be best for them.

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How Far Will $20 Go?

A 2017 study published by the Seattle Times found tourists spend an average of $195 per day while on vacation in Seattle. In this video, I challenged that number with a budget of just $20.

RENTAL HOUSING: $2,400

The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment was $1,967 in 2023. For a luxury option, you can expect to pay closer to $2,500. The ultimate water view as pictured here will run you upwards of $4,000 a month. There are over 120,000 apartment rental units in the pipeline. Developers have trended towards rental buildings, which has created no shortage of units like these to live in. It’s fairly easy and non competitive to find Downtown Seattle aparments. Looking to buy instead? There are 56 condominium buildings downtown that you can purchase within. The average sales price was $579,000 by the end 2023 (up 5% year over year). There are just 2 new condo buildings currently slated for completion within the coming year, Graystone (271 units) and First Light (459 units). Homes for sale generally go at list price or 1-2% below, and stay on the market for an average 44 days.

I just rented out my 3 bedroom, 3 bathroom, 1,300 square foot West Queen Anne Townhome for $4,000 a month. After just 24 hours on Zillow I had an application. When you hear people complaining about the rental market being so competitive, it is for townhomes and homes. You must act quickly, a good home priced accurately will receive several applications within 24 hours. When my boyfriend listed his home for rent, he received 2 applications within the first 20 minutes! Townhomes rent between $3,000-$5,000 depending on the size and location. These can be a great option for those first moving to a city, the multi-level living provides some privacy if sharing with roommates, and most homes are new, modern, and comfortable. Including utilities, internet, & cable, housing costs can easily add up to $2,400.

EATING OUT: $400-800

This drink was $22. Ouch. This is where we Seattelites feel it the most. What feels like Manhattan prices, are not uncommon for an alcoholic beverage to run you $16 anywhere, anymore. The average cost of a meal at a restaurant is $30, just $5 more than the national average of $25. I was so excited for my favorite California based fast-casual healthy food chain, Mendocino Farms to open in South Lake Union earlier in 2023. That is until a salad costs $20! Seattle ranks #7 on the list of Most Expensive Cities For A Night Out, with an average price of $210.61. In 2023, I spent an average of $800 a month eating out with friends. I went out a few times a week, and typically ordered a drink or two with dinner. Seattle IS expensive, but not every spot has to break the bank. My go-to date night is a Neapolitan style Via Tribunali pizza ($21), split a Bottle of Chianti ($35- $17.50 per person), a small scoop of Molly Moon’s ice cream next door ($7), and a walk to Kerry Park (free!) for a total of $45.50!

  • Transportation: I truly believe Seattle has the most expensive ride-share rates in the country. I am always shocked at how much cheaper it is even in Los Angeles and New York. An Uber/Lyft from my house in Seattle to the airport (17 miles, 30-minute ride), ranges from $70-$90 depending on the time of day. A ride from my house to a Mariner’s game (5 miles, 13-minute ride) ranges from $22-32. It’s a good thing we are an extremely walkable city. Drizzling rain or shine, I will typically opt to walk a mile vs. hop in an overpriced Uber. Sound transit fairs are affordable at around $2 per trip.
  • Gas: Prices in the Pacific Northwest will make even the biggest car geek want to go electric. At the time of writing this, gas prices are $4.50. Earlier this year they hit $6. Filling up my tank was consistently $100 every other week, or about $200 a month.
  • Entertainment: We get a little bit of our budget back with all of the free entertainment surrounding us. Public lakes, hikes, beaches (with diving boards!), and even free boat rides hosted by the Center For Wooden Boats. If the Mariners suck (which they usually do) tickets drop to around $10 a game, and the stadium has a value menu with surprisingly reasonable $4 hot dogs. You can get a year-long pass to the zoo for 2 for $100. A day trip to Bainbridge Island on the Ferry starts at $9.

Other miscellaneous averages:

Gym Membership: $49

Men’s Haircut: $40

Child Care: $14,355 a year

Dog Walking: $16 per walk

Latte: $7

REAL ESTATE

January 1st 2024 Average Home Prices

Single Family Home: $898,690

Condo: $502,368

November 2023 Average By Zipcode

98199 (Magnolia): $1,520,329

98119 (Queen Anne): $1,526,200

98101 (Downtown Condos): $901,667

98006 (Bellevue): $1,761,604

Here’s What The “Average” Home Price Can Get You In Seattle

For single-family homes within the average price range, it is common to find homes built in the 1920’s-1980’s. This comes with a wide range of updates or deferred maintenance within the inventory. If you are looking for something newer and more turn-key, your best option might be my current listing, this townhome! Pictured above is a 1,300 square foot 2020 built townhome featuring 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and 2 rooftop decks. Conveniently located steps away from Gilman Park and Downtown Ballard. For more information or a private tour, you can reach out to me directly.

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Monica Church is a Seattle based real estate agent selling on average 20 homes a year. She specializes in helping out of state buyers understand which neighborhoods will be best for them.

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