The Real Cost of Living Seattle, WA in 2023


Last Updated on February 14, 2024 by Nasir Hanif

There is nothing quite like living in Seattle. A city surrounded by water bodies and mountains and one that provides an irresistible blend of vibrant culture, beautiful nature, and a laid-back lifestyle. To top it off, it is one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States according to recent studies.

Seattle offers a booming tech scene with plenty of career opportunities to choose from. It is also one of the nation’s most educated cities with over 60% of its adult population having college degrees. As a result, the city attracts people from all over America, making it the center of art, food, and culture.

Unfortunately, living in Seattle can be expensive. The city has experienced a rapid increase in the cost of living due to cultural transformation and growth.

If you’re thinking of moving to Seattle, here’s an up-to-date guide to the real cost of living in Seattle, Washington in 2022.


When living in Seattle, your greatest expense will be your rent. There has been an influx of highly-paid professionals and engineers relocating from the Bay Area which has increased the cost of living in the city. Indeed, Seattle has seen a 20% rent increase in the past five years.

Rent prices in the city are nearly $500 higher than the national average which is about $1400 as of January 2021. If looking for furnished rentals, be prepared to spend up to $3000 per month for a 1-bedroom apartment.

The most expensive neighborhoods in the city are Pike Market and Bell town where the average rent is about $2500 per month.

Popular neighborhoods that charge monthly rent close to the city’s average include Pioneer Square, Ballard, and Broadway Hill. The city’s most affordable neighborhoods are Richmond Beach, The Highlands, and Innis Arden where renters pay $1350 per month on average.

Thinking of buying a house in Seattle? Be prepared to dig deep into your pocket. As of February 2021, the city’s median home purchase price was nearly $820, 000 – roughly three times the national median.

However, depending on your choice of location, you can buy a house for as low as $680,000 in neighborhoods like Rainier Beach or as high as a million dollars in residential areas like Queen Anne and Magnolia.


Seattle is among the ten most walkable cities in America with tons of fun things to explore. It also provides a reliable public transport system consisting of ferry lines, light rail, and regional buses. In fact, you will hardly need a car to move around the city.

A one-way bus ticket costs between $2.50 and $3.50, depending on the neighborhood you begin from, the distance you travel, and the time of day. For instance, a single employed adult living in Emerald City can spend nearly $5000 annually on transportation.

If you commute regularly, it is advisable to buy the Orca card for around $100. It serves as a single pass for the whole regional transport system.

If you decide to drive, the city has some of the worst traffic in the United States, and gas is very expensive. Depending on the distance and direction of your trip, expect to spend a couple of hours in bumper-to-bumper traffic every day.

Read More: What is a ferry and why is it used? Here are some interesting details about it.


Seattle has lots of great food. If you’re a seafood lover, Pike Place Market will be your heaven. Unfortunately, the city’s high sales tax of 10.10% is applied to all foods and drinks prepared at bars and restaurants.

A dinner for two at a mid-scale restaurant will cost between $80 and $90 on average. The average cost of a one-person meal at a local dining establishment is about $30. This is not sustainable if you’re operating on a tight budget.

Groceries follow a similar trend, only with a higher difference. Most residents spend an average of $450 on groceries monthly, which is almost $70 higher than the national average.

Fitness and Entertainment

As the saying goes, ‘all work and no play is not good for the soul,’ fitness and entertainment are crucial elements to keep you creative, relaxed, and energized.

Fitness in Seattle can be expensive. Fortunately, you can use nature as your gym by enjoying the many recreational and outdoor activities provided by the city. However, if you prefer a structured class or need equipment for your workouts, be prepared to pay a membership fee of about $60 every month.

You can also set up a small home gym, if your apartment has some extra space to help you save money.

For entertainment and recreation, there are plenty of things to do in this dynamic city. If you’re a sport’s lover, Seattle has an enthusiastic sports culture. It is the home to baseball’s Mariners, football’s Seahawks, and hockey’s kraken. Tickets to watch the game are very expensive, about $450 per ticket. If you prefer going to the movies, a ticket, popcorn, and drinks will cost you $15.


An important factor that you must not forget to include in your living costs if you’re moving to Seattle is the high sales tax. It is an extra expense for everything you buy.

Now that you’re loaded with crucial information about living cost in Seattle, you can decide if moving to this dynamic city is the right move for you.