Most Expensive Places To Live In Washington For 2020


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 2020. This is our sixth 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 2020.

So where is the most expensive place to live in Washington? That would be Lynnwood.
the 2014-2018 American Community Survey for the 118 places in Washington with more than 5,000 people.

What's the most expensive place to live in Washington? Well, HomeSnacks crunched the numbers and discovered that Lynnwood is the most expensive place to live in Washington.

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 2020

Lynnwood, WA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 37,671
Rank Last Year: 2 (Up 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 6.1x (8th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 49.4x (18th 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 $59,416 and the median home value is $360,300 for 2020.

Bellingham, WA

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 87,071
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 6.8x (4th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 50.9x (24th 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 $50,844 and the median home value is $347,100 for 2020.

Seattle, WA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 708,823
Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 7.1x (3rd most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 57.2x (61st 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 $85,562 and the median home value is $605,200 for 2020.

Pullman, WA

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 33,050
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 8.5x (1st most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 38.3x (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 $30,205 and the median home value is $258,200 for 2020.

Woodinville, WA

Overall SnackAbility

9.5
/10

Population: 12,026
Rank Last Year: 14 (Up 9)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 5.8x (11th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 55.6x (53rd most expensive)
More on Woodinville: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Woodinville is a city in King County, Washington, United States. The population was 10,938 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Seattle metropolitan area. There is also a much larger population with Woodinville mailing addresses in adjacent unincorporated areas of King and Snohomish counties. Woodinville has waterfront parks on the Sammamish River, sweeping winery and brewery grounds, and densely wooded residential areas.

The median income in Woodinville comes in at $100,306 and the median home value is $577,300 for 2020.

Issaquah, WA

Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 36,938
Rank Last Year: 13 (Up 8)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 5.6x (16th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 54.5x (47th most expensive)
More on Issaquah: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Issaquah is a city in King County, Washington, United States. The population was 37,322 in a 2016 census estimate. Located in a valley and bisected by Interstate 90, the city is bordered by the Sammamish Plateau to the north and the Issaquah Alps to the south.

The median income in Issaquah comes in at $101,508 and the median home value is $564,400 for 2020.

Burien, WA

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 51,326
Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 5)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 5.6x (13th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 52.7x (35th most expensive)
More on Burien: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Burien is a suburban city in King County, Washington, United States, located south of Seattle on Puget Sound. As of the 2010 Census, Burien's population was 33,313, which is a 49.7% increase since incorporation. An annexation in 2010 increased the city's population to about 50,000.

The median income in Burien comes in at $62,315 and the median home value is $351,100 for 2020.

Des Moines, WA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 31,518
Rank Last Year: 19 (Up 11)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 5.2x (23rd most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 49.8x (21st most expensive)
More on Des Moines: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Des Moines is a city in King County, Washington, United States. The population was 29,673 as of the 2010 census.

The median income in Des Moines comes in at $63,875 and the median home value is $329,500 for 2020.

Bellevue, WA

Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 142,242
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 4)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 6.6x (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 $112,283 and the median home value is $737,000 for 2020.

Shoreline, WA

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 56,020
Rank Last Year: 24 (Up 14)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 5.6x (14th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 56.6x (55th most expensive)
More on Shoreline: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Shoreline is a city in King County, Washington, United States, 9 miles north of Downtown Seattle bordering the northern Seattle city limits. As of the 2010 census, the population was 53,007, making it the 20th largest city in the state of Washington.

The median income in Shoreline comes in at $80,489 and the median home value is $452,100 for 2020.

How We Determined The Most Expensive Places To Live In The Evergreen State For 2020

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 2014-2018 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 118 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 Lynnwood. You can download the data here.

Taking A Chunk Out Of Your Paycheck In Washington For 2020

Well there you have it, the places in Washington that have the highest cost of living, with Lynnwood 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. Quincy
  3. Ephrata

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 Lynnwood 18.67 37,671 6.1x 49.4x
2 Bellingham 20.33 87,071 6.8x 50.9x
3 Seattle 24.0 708,823 7.1x 57.2x
4 Pullman 24.67 33,050 8.5x 38.3x
5 Woodinville 25.0 12,026 5.8x 55.6x
6 Issaquah 25.0 36,938 5.6x 54.5x
7 Burien 26.67 51,326 5.6x 52.7x
8 Des Moines 28.0 31,518 5.2x 49.8x
9 Bellevue 28.33 142,242 6.6x 60.5x
10 Shoreline 30.33 56,020 5.6x 56.6x
11 Sequim 31.0 7,100 6.1x 40.6x
12 Everett 32.0 108,941 5.1x 48.8x
13 Renton 32.33 101,054 4.9x 52.3x
14 Mountlake Terrace 33.67 21,106 4.8x 51.9x
15 Lynden 33.67 13,862 5.1x 52.6x
16 Tukwila 34.33 20,198 5.0x 47.4x
17 Ellensburg 34.67 19,799 5.6x 43.0x
18 Port Townsend 35.0 9,428 5.9x 54.6x
19 Mercer Island 35.67 25,492 8.0x 72.0x
20 Kirkland 36.0 88,079 5.5x 61.8x
21 Anacortes 36.67 16,725 5.5x 58.2x
22 Gig Harbor 37.33 9,382 5.2x 58.4x
23 Newcastle 37.67 11,559 5.8x 68.4x
24 Oak Harbor 37.67 22,820 5.0x 45.2x
25 Mukilteo 38.67 21,264 5.2x 61.1x
26 Seatac 38.67 28,925 4.9x 49.6x
27 Poulsbo 39.67 10,301 4.9x 54.4x
28 Ocean Shores 40.33 5,814 5.0x 43.2x
29 Edmonds 40.67 41,770 5.5x 61.8x
30 Normandy Park 40.67 6,678 6.2x 73.2x
31 Bothell 41.0 44,994 5.0x 58.7x
32 Redmond 42.33 63,197 5.1x 66.5x
33 Stanwood 42.33 6,973 5.0x 55.1x
34 Cheney 42.67 11,962 5.0x 42.9x
35 Mill Creek 43.67 20,164 4.8x 59.1x
36 Bainbridge Island 45.0 24,060 5.7x 82.4x
37 Kent 45.67 128,057 4.6x 53.6x
38 Dupont 45.67 9,379 3.8x 46.6x
39 Federal Way 46.67 96,110 4.7x 53.9x
40 Enumclaw 47.0 11,768 4.7x 52.5x
41 Lakewood 47.33 59,606 4.9x 51.7x
42 Sumner 47.33 9,898 4.7x 53.1x
43 Fife 47.33 9,968 4.4x 49.9x
44 Lake Forest Park 49.0 13,378 5.0x 72.6x
45 Snohomish 49.33 9,875 5.2x 63.5x
46 Port Angeles 49.33 19,615 4.7x 46.3x
47 Vancouver 50.0 178,413 4.4x 51.5x
48 Olympia 50.33 50,836 4.7x 53.8x
49 Kenmore 52.67 22,546 5.0x 77.3x
50 Sammamish 53.0 64,049 4.5x 72.8x
51 Pacific 53.0 7,177 4.3x 52.2x
52 University Place 54.33 32,907 4.8x 62.2x
53 Burlington 55.67 8,743 4.3x 49.3x
54 Tacoma 57.0 210,103 4.3x 53.0x
55 Chehalis 57.33 7,404 4.3x 48.4x
56 Auburn 59.67 79,110 4.3x 58.2x
57 East Wenatchee 60.33 13,817 4.9x 58.3x
58 North Bend 60.67 6,830 4.6x 81.4x
59 Longview 61.0 37,092 4.3x 50.9x
60 Bremerton 61.33 40,220 4.2x 51.5x
61 Lacey 61.67 47,852 3.8x 51.5x
62 Lake Stevens 62.67 31,778 3.7x 57.9x
63 Shelton 62.67 9,996 3.9x 44.3x
64 Fircrest 62.67 6,711 4.2x 61.0x
65 Yelm 63.33 8,772 3.6x 48.5x
66 Puyallup 63.33 40,305 4.2x 60.3x
67 Mount Vernon 63.33 34,504 4.4x 56.0x
68 Steilacoom 63.33 6,270 4.4x 68.2x
69 Brier 63.67 6,819 3.7x 61.3x
70 Maple Valley 63.67 25,953 3.5x 58.5x
71 Covington 63.67 20,447 3.4x 56.6x
72 Marysville 63.67 67,567 3.8x 56.6x
73 Snoqualmie 64.0 13,317 4.0x 79.6x
74 Monroe 64.33 18,503 4.0x 60.9x
75 Tumwater 65.33 22,500 4.0x 56.7x
76 Wenatchee 65.67 34,094 4.6x 58.3x
77 Selah 66.0 7,766 4.2x 54.3x
78 Ridgefield 66.67 7,178 3.9x 65.3x
79 Walla Walla 68.17 32,731 3.9x 53.0x
80 College Place 68.5 9,136 4.0x 53.4x
81 Ferndale 69.0 13,622 4.5x 67.1x
82 Blaine 71.0 5,172 4.3x 68.8x
83 Kelso 71.33 11,983 3.6x 44.9x
84 Orting 71.67 7,732 3.0x 51.1x
85 Port Orchard 72.0 13,788 4.1x 63.3x
86 Centralia 72.33 16,932 3.6x 47.7x
87 Bonney Lake 73.67 20,313 3.4x 60.4x
88 Arlington 74.33 19,154 3.9x 63.7x
89 Edgewood 74.67 10,599 3.7x 76.8x
90 Spokane Valley 75.33 96,070 3.8x 54.8x
91 Milton 75.33 7,543 3.7x 59.4x
92 Camas 75.67 22,615 3.8x 87.5x
93 Clarkston 77.33 7,360 3.8x 53.4x
94 Battle Ground 79.0 19,932 3.7x 61.7x
95 Airway Heights 80.67 8,285 3.4x 53.3x
96 Duvall 80.67 7,811 2.9x 76.5x
97 Yakima 81.0 93,416 3.7x 55.3x
98 Liberty Lake 81.33 9,382 3.9x 69.5x
99 Spokane 83.33 214,804 3.6x 56.8x
100 Union Gap 85.0 6,142 2.7x 49.8x

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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.