10 Most Expensive Places To Live In Washington For 2019


We used science and data to determine which cities in Washington that will put a big dent in your wallet.

Editor’s Note: We updated this article for 2019. This is our fourth time ranking the most expensive places to live in Washington.

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Everyone wants a home that mixes affordability with comfort and Washington does this very well. Families love the Evergreen State’s beaches, midlands, and mountains as tourists before moving here and calling it home.

But before you decide to relocate, you have to do some research into the exact cost of living around the state — and that’s how we’re going to help you.

These are the places in Washington that cost a pretty penny — the most expensive cities in the state.

After we saved up for months and could finally afford it, we landed on this list of the ten most expensive cities in Washington for 2019.

So where is the most expensive place to live in Washington? That would be Bellingham.

So hopefully Connell (the cheapest place to live in Washington) can show these guys how to live on a budget in the coming years. Read on for how these places had costs rise faster than inflation.

And if you already knew these places were expensive, check out some more reading about Washington and the most expensive cities in the country:

The 10 Most Expensive Places To Live In Washington For 2019

Bellingham, WA

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 85,388
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 6.9x (3rd most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 49.9x (21st most expensive)
More on Bellingham: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Bellingham is the largest city in and the county seat of Whatcom County in the U.S. state of Washington. It is the thirteenth-largest city in the state, with 80,885 residents as of the 2010 US Census, and is part of the sixth-largest metropolitan area in the state. The boundaries of the city encompass the former towns of Fairhaven, Whatcom, Sehome, and Bellingham.

The median income in Bellingham comes in at $47,886 and the median home value is $328,300 for 2019.

Lynnwood, WA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 37,242
Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 3)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 5.6x (9th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 52.8x (34th most expensive)
More on Lynnwood: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Lynnwood is a city in Snohomish County, Washington, United States. The city is part of the Seattle metropolitan area and is located 16 miles north of Seattle and 13 miles south of Everett, near the junction of Interstate 5 and Interstate 405. It is the fourth-largest city in Snohomish County, with a population of 36,485 in the 2010 U.S. census.

The median income in Lynnwood comes in at $58,852 and the median home value is $331,300 for 2019.

Pullman, WA

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 32,382
Rank Last Year: 3 (Up 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 7.9x (1st most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 40.6x (1st most expensive)
More on Pullman: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Pullman is the largest city in Whitman County, located in southeastern Washington state within the Palouse region of the Pacific Northwest. The population was 29,799 at the 2010 census, estimated to have reached 31,682 in 2014. Originally incorporated as Three Forks, the city was later renamed after industrialist George Pullman.

The median income in Pullman comes in at $30,548 and the median home value is $240,600 for 2019.

Seattle, WA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 688,245
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 6.8x (4th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 57.8x (65th most expensive)
More on Seattle: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Seattle ) is a seaport city on the west coast of the United States. It is the seat of King County, Washington. With an estimated 704,352 residents as of 2016, Seattle is the largest city in both the state of Washington and the Pacific Northwest region of North America. In July 2013, it was the fastest-growing major city in the United States and remained in the Top 5 in May 2015 with an annual growth rate of 2.1%. In July 2016, Seattle was again the fastest-growing major U.S. city, with a 3.1% annual growth rate. The city is situated on an isthmus between Puget Sound and Lake Washington, about 100 miles south of the Canada-United States border. A major gateway for trade with Asia, Seattle is the fourth-largest port in North America in terms of container handling as of 2015.

The median income in Seattle comes in at $79,565 and the median home value is $537,800 for 2019.

Bellevue, WA

Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 139,014
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 5)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 6.3x (5th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 60.5x (77th most expensive)
More on Bellevue: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Bellevue comes in at $105,402 and the median home value is $665,700 for 2019.

Seatac, WA

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 28,597
Rank Last Year: 13 (Up 7)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 5.2x (19th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 47.1x (13th most expensive)
More on Seatac: Real Estate | Data | Photos

SeaTac or Seatac is a city in southern King County, Washington, United States, and an outlying suburb of Seattle, Washington. The name SeaTac is a combination of the first syllables of Seattle and Tacoma.

The median income in Seatac comes in at $51,025 and the median home value is $264,500 for 2019.

Ellensburg, WA

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 19,307
Rank Last Year: 7 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 6.0x (6th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 41.6x (3rd most expensive)
More on Ellensburg: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Ellensburg is a city in, and the county seat of, Kittitas County, Washington, United States. The population was 19,786 in a 2016 census estimate. Ellensburg is located just east of the Cascade Range on Interstate 90 and is known as the most centrally located city in the state. Ellensburg is the home of Central Washington University.

The median income in Ellensburg comes in at $36,016 and the median home value is $216,200 for 2019.

Tukwila, WA

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 20,025
Rank Last Year: 8 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 5.1x (22nd most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 45.3x (11th most expensive)
More on Tukwila: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Tukwila is a suburban city in King County, Washington, United States. The northern edge of Tukwila borders the city of Seattle. The population was 19,107 at the 2010 census. The population was 20,018 at the 2015 Estimate from Office of Financial Management. The City of Tukwila is a community of communities: residents of many diverse origins make Tukwila their home, a large commercial center draws workers and consumers to the city daily, and industry thrives with the confluence of rivers, freeways, railroads, and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

The median income in Tukwila comes in at $51,318 and the median home value is $260,200 for 2019.

Renton, WA

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 99,692
Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 4)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 4.8x (35th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 52.8x (32nd most expensive)
More on Renton: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Renton is a city in King County, Washington, United States. Situated 11 miles southeast of downtown Seattle, Washington, Renton straddles the southeast shore of Lake Washington, at the mouth of the Cedar River. While long an important salmon fishing area for Native Americans, Renton was first settled by people of European descent in the 1860s, and its early economy was based on coal mining, clay production, and timber export. Today, Renton is best known as the final assembly point for the Boeing 737 family of commercial airplanes, but it is also home to a growing number of well known manufacturing, technology, and healthcare organizations, including Boeing Commercial Airplanes Division, Paccar, Kaiser Permanente, IKEA, Providence Health & Services, and Wizards of the Coast. As of 2016, the population in Renton is 101,300, up from 90,927 at the 2010 census. Renton currently is the 8th largest city in Washington State, and is the 4th largest in King County. The National Football League’s Seattle Seahawks have a training facility in Renton. It is the second-largest facility in the NFL at 200,000 square feet.

The median income in Renton comes in at $70,661 and the median home value is $339,800 for 2019.

Port Townsend, WA

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 9,315
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 8)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 5.9x (7th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 54.9x (49th most expensive)
More on Port Townsend: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Port Townsend is a city in Jefferson County, Washington, United States. The population was 9,113 at the 2010 census, an increase of 9.3% over the 2000 census. It is the county seat and only incorporated city of Jefferson County. In addition to its natural scenery at the northeast tip of the Olympic Peninsula, the city is also known for the many Victorian buildings remaining from its late 19th century heyday, numerous annual cultural events, and as a maritime center for independent boatbuilders and related industries and crafts. The Port Townsend Historic District is a U.S. National Historic Landmark District.

The median income in Port Townsend comes in at $50,330 and the median home value is $298,700 for 2019.

How We Determined The Most Expensive Places To Live In The Evergreen State For 2019

Map Of The Cheapest Places To Live In Washington
The two most important things to think about when it comes to being able to afford if you can live comes down to:

  1. How much do money do I make?
  2. How much do I have spend to live there?

You need to understand your costs in the context of how much money you make.

For example, if the median household earns $100,000 and spends $40,000 on housing it’s actually cheaper to live there than a place with a median income of $50,000 and housing costs of $21,000. You might spend more on housing, but you have more money overall to play with.

With that example in mind, we derived several statistics from the latest Census American Community Survey 2013-2017 around incomes and costs. They are:

  • Median Home Price / Median Income (lower is better)
  • Median Income / Median Rent (Higher is better)
  • Median Home Price

We added simply median home price because high home prices generally correlate with higher expenses for all costs related to homes (heating, electricity, etc).

You can then compare these metrics in each of the places in Washington to figure out which is the most expensive.

What you are left with is a “Cost of Living Index” by taking the average rank of each of these metrics for each city.

So we used that cost of living index in order to rank all of the 117 places in Washington that have more than 5,000 people.

The place with the highest cost of living in Washington according to the data is Bellingham.

Taking A Chunk Out Of Your Paycheck In Washington For 2019

Well there you have it, the places in Washington that have the highest cost of living, with Bellingham ranking as the most expensive city in the Evergreen State.

Here’s a look at the most affordable cities in Washington according to the data:

  1. Connell
  2. Ephrata
  3. Quincy

For more Washington reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Most Expensive Cities In Washington

Rank City ExpensiveScore Population Home/Income Ratio Income/Rent Ratio
1 Bellingham 18.33 85,388 6.9x 49.9x
2 Lynnwood 24.0 37,242 5.6x 52.8x
3 Pullman 24.0 32,382 7.9x 40.6x
4 Seattle 25.67 688,245 6.8x 57.8x
5 Bellevue 28.33 139,014 6.3x 60.5x
6 Seatac 30.33 28,597 5.2x 47.1x
7 Ellensburg 31.0 19,307 6.0x 41.6x
8 Tukwila 31.33 20,025 5.1x 45.3x
9 Renton 31.33 99,692 4.8x 52.8x
10 Port Townsend 32.67 9,315 5.9x 54.9x
11 Anacortes 33.0 16,425 5.5x 57.8x
12 Burien 33.33 50,729 5.2x 54.8x
13 Issaquah 34.33 35,629 5.0x 57.8x
14 Mercer Island 34.67 24,768 7.6x 71.6x
15 Woodinville 34.67 11,675 5.4x 63.6x
16 Sequim 35.0 6,819 5.3x 43.0x
17 Everett 35.33 107,560 4.9x 49.7x
18 Des Moines 36.0 31,080 4.8x 51.5x
19 Lynden 36.0 13,452 4.8x 52.8x
20 Cheney 36.0 11,735 5.3x 41.6x
21 Gig Harbor 36.67 8,651 5.1x 58.2x
22 Oak Harbor 37.0 22,527 4.9x 44.0x
23 Snohomish 37.33 9,713 5.4x 58.4x
24 Shoreline 38.33 55,431 5.1x 59.3x
25 Mountlake Terrace 38.67 20,922 4.5x 52.3x
26 Poulsbo 39.0 10,005 5.1x 56.6x
27 Kirkland 39.0 86,772 5.0x 63.5x
28 Dupont 39.67 9,303 3.9x 44.6x
29 Edmonds 39.67 41,309 5.4x 64.9x
30 Newcastle 40.0 11,346 5.3x 71.3x
31 Redmond 41.33 60,712 5.0x 66.6x
32 Ocean Shores 41.67 5,714 4.9x 44.2x
33 Bothell 41.67 44,082 4.6x 57.2x
34 Bainbridge Island 42.67 23,689 5.7x 83.3x
35 Mill Creek 42.67 19,706 4.8x 60.2x
36 Lakewood 43.33 59,102 4.9x 51.4x
37 Fircrest 43.67 6,666 4.6x 53.9x
38 Lake Forest Park 44.33 13,247 5.0x 67.9x
39 Federal Way 45.33 94,905 4.5x 53.7x
40 Olympia 45.67 49,928 4.8x 53.9x
41 Chehalis 46.0 7,337 4.8x 43.1x
42 University Place 47.0 32,528 4.9x 61.4x
43 Pacific 47.0 7,113 4.4x 47.9x
44 Normandy Park 47.67 6,634 5.3x 80.6x
45 Enumclaw 48.0 11,670 4.6x 53.1x
46 Kent 48.0 126,561 4.4x 54.2x
47 Port Angeles 49.0 19,419 4.7x 47.3x
48 Kenmore 49.33 22,154 4.9x 73.2x
49 Mukilteo 49.67 21,101 4.7x 67.5x
50 Fife 52.83 9,805 4.1x 52.1x
51 Sumner 53.0 9,789 4.4x 53.8x
52 Vancouver 53.33 171,393 4.3x 52.7x
53 College Place 55.33 9,041 4.4x 47.6x
54 Steilacoom 55.67 6,199 4.6x 66.1x
55 Sammamish 56.67 62,877 4.3x 75.1x
56 Yelm 57.0 8,425 3.8x 47.2x
57 North Bend 58.67 6,645 4.5x 74.9x
58 Longview 59.33 36,740 4.3x 49.0x
59 Puyallup 59.67 39,637 4.2x 58.4x
60 Lacey 59.83 46,655 3.8x 52.7x
61 Burlington 60.67 8,590 3.9x 50.1x
62 Shelton 61.33 9,882 3.9x 44.1x
63 Wenatchee 61.67 33,544 4.6x 56.8x
64 Selah 61.67 7,652 4.2x 53.9x
65 Stanwood 61.67 6,825 4.5x 64.4x
66 Brier 62.33 6,697 3.6x 60.5x
67 Covington 63.0 19,918 3.2x 55.1x
68 Tacoma 63.0 207,280 4.1x 54.7x
69 Maple Valley 63.33 25,375 3.4x 58.5x
70 Auburn 63.33 77,440 4.0x 57.0x
71 Bremerton 65.0 39,584 4.0x 53.1x
72 Lake Stevens 65.0 31,022 3.6x 57.5x
73 Snoqualmie 65.0 12,944 3.8x 73.9x
74 Mount Vernon 66.0 33,787 4.2x 55.9x
75 Orting 68.0 7,460 3.1x 50.7x
76 Clarkston 68.67 7,344 4.0x 52.6x
77 Arlington 69.0 18,884 3.8x 60.3x
78 East Wenatchee 69.33 13,624 4.4x 61.4x
79 Port Orchard 69.33 13,476 4.1x 65.3x
80 Liberty Lake 69.67 8,905 4.1x 64.6x
81 Edgewood 69.67 10,165 3.7x 70.2x
82 Monroe 70.33 18,149 3.8x 64.7x
83 Centralia 70.33 16,771 3.6x 47.3x
84 Walla Walla 70.67 32,585 3.8x 54.2x
85 Marysville 70.67 66,178 3.7x 58.5x
86 Ridgefield 71.33 6,637 3.5x 66.1x
87 Yakima 71.67 93,182 3.8x 53.3x
88 Ferndale 71.67 13,171 4.3x 68.0x
89 Kelso 72.67 11,864 3.5x 46.0x
90 Camas 72.67 22,086 3.8x 85.2x
91 Bonney Lake 75.0 19,560 3.2x 60.5x
92 Milton 76.67 7,481 3.5x 59.6x
93 Tumwater 77.0 22,005 3.6x 58.6x
94 Spokane 78.33 212,982 3.7x 55.6x
95 Spokane Valley 78.33 94,424 3.7x 56.1x
96 Battle Ground 79.33 19,439 3.8x 65.3x
97 Airway Heights 80.33 8,017 3.2x 54.0x
98 Union Gap 80.33 6,152 2.5x 45.3x
99 Duvall 82.67 7,683 2.8x 108.1x
100 Washougal 84.0 15,241 3.5x 74.2x

About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.