The 10 Most Expensive Places To Live In Washington For 2021


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

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Editor’s Note: We updated this article for 2021. This is our seventh time ranking the most expensive places to live in Washington.

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 2021.

So where is the most expensive place to live in Washington? That would be Lynnwood.
the 2015-2019 American Community Survey for the 120 places in Washington with more than 5,000 people.

Here are the 10 most expensive places to live in Washington for 2021:

  1. Lynnwood
  2. Bellingham
  3. Seattle
  4. Mountlake Terrace
  5. Issaquah
  6. Pullman
  7. Woodinville
  8. Shoreline
  9. Renton
  10. Tukwila

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 Quincy (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 2021

1. LynnwoodLynnwood, WA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 38,143
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 6.2x (8th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 48.9x (15th most expensive)
More on Lynnwood: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Lynnwood comes in at $63,743 and the median home value is $395,300 for 2021.

2. BellinghamBellingham, WA

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 88,764
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 7.0x (5th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 50.6x (27th most expensive)
More on Bellingham: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Bellingham comes in at $53,396 and the median home value is $374,700 for 2021.

3. SeattleSeattle, WA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 724,305
Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 7.2x (3rd most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 57.2x (63rd most expensive)
More on Seattle: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Seattle comes in at $92,263 and the median home value is $663,100 for 2021.

4. Mountlake TerraceMountlake Terrace, WA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 21,210
Rank Last Year: 14 (Up 10)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 5.4x (22nd most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 49.8x (2most expensive)
More on Mountlake Terrace: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Mountlake Terrace comes in at $72,955 and the median home value is $392,600 for 2021.

5. IssaquahIssaquah, WA

Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 37,965
Rank Last Year: 5 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 5.9x (15th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 55.3x (5most expensive)
More on Issaquah: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Issaquah comes in at $109,676 and the median home value is $642,300 for 2021.

6. PullmanPullman, WA

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 33,598
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 8.7x (most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 37.8x (most expensive)
More on Pullman: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Pullman comes in at $31,487 and the median home value is $272,400 for 2021.

7. WoodinvilleWoodinville, WA

Overall SnackAbility

9.5
/10

Population: 12,383
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 5.9x (14th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 56.6x (55th most expensive)
More on Woodinville: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Woodinville comes in at $106,145 and the median home value is $623,600 for 2021.

8. ShorelineShoreline, WA

Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 56,267
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 6.0x (10th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 55.2x (50th most expensive)
More on Shoreline: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Shoreline comes in at $86,827 and the median home value is $519,900 for 2021.

9. RentonRenton, WA

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 101,484
Rank Last Year: 13 (Up 4)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 5.2x (32nd most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 50.4x (24th most expensive)
More on Renton: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Renton comes in at $77,739 and the median home value is $400,500 for 2021.

10. TukwilaTukwila, WA

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 20,196
Rank Last Year: 16 (Up 6)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 5.4x (2most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 45.3x (6th most expensive)
More on Tukwila: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Tukwila comes in at $58,097 and the median home value is $315,000 for 2021.

How We Determined The Most Expensive Places To Live In The Evergreen State For 2021

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 2015-2019 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 120 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 2021

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. Quincy
  2. Ephrata
  3. Toppenish

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 17.67 38,143 6.2x 48.9x
2 Bellingham 21.67 88,764 7.0x 50.6x
3 Seattle 24.33 724,305 7.2x 57.2x
4 Mountlake Terrace 24.67 21,210 5.4x 49.8x
5 Issaquah 25.0 37,965 5.9x 55.3x
6 Pullman 25.67 33,598 8.7x 37.8x
7 Woodinville 26.67 12,383 5.9x 56.6x
8 Shoreline 27.0 56,267 6.0x 55.2x
9 Renton 28.0 101,484 5.2x 50.4x
10 Tukwila 29.0 20,196 5.4x 45.3x
11 Burien 30.33 51,477 5.6x 53.2x
12 Port Townsend 31.67 9,551 6.6x 53.7x
13 Bellevue 32.33 144,403 6.7x 61.9x
14 Everett 33.33 109,766 5.3x 49.0x
15 Mercer Island 34.33 25,675 8.3x 68.3x
16 Normandy Park 34.33 6,670 7.1x 62.1x
17 Sequim 34.33 7,248 5.9x 41.4x
18 Ellensburg 34.67 20,167 5.9x 39.5x
19 Des Moines 35.33 31,734 5.1x 52.5x
20 Edmonds 36.33 42,040 6.0x 60.9x
21 Sumner 37.0 10,053 5.3x 52.8x
22 Mill Creek 37.67 20,553 5.2x 57.3x
23 Seatac 37.67 29,019 5.1x 49.0x
24 Bothell 37.67 45,749 5.3x 58.2x
25 Lynden 39.0 14,281 5.3x 54.7x
26 Gig Harbor 39.0 9,854 5.6x 59.4x
27 Kirkland 39.0 89,438 5.7x 63.0x
28 Oak Harbor 39.33 23,089 5.0x 45.1x
29 Mukilteo 39.33 21,336 5.4x 60.4x
30 Kent 40.33 131,118 4.8x 52.0x
31 Anacortes 40.67 16,977 5.7x 60.2x
32 Federal Way 40.67 96,526 4.9x 50.5x
33 Poulsbo 41.33 10,602 4.9x 54.2x
34 Newcastle 42.0 11,750 5.9x 71.6x
35 Bainbridge Island 42.67 24,486 6.0x 75.9x
36 Lakewood 43.67 60,111 5.2x 50.3x
37 Redmond 43.67 65,558 5.3x 68.5x
38 Ocean Shores 45.67 5,975 5.1x 46.8x
39 Olympia 45.67 51,534 5.0x 52.3x
40 Burlington 46.67 8,881 4.9x 45.5x
41 Cheney 47.17 12,165 5.0x 45.4x
42 Pacific 47.67 7,215 4.7x 49.2x
43 University Place 47.67 33,326 5.1x 59.8x
44 Fife 48.0 10,096 4.4x 49.0x
45 Enumclaw 48.67 11,879 4.9x 53.1x
46 Vancouver 49.67 180,556 4.6x 50.6x
47 Ridgefield 50.33 7,767 4.1x 55.5x
48 Kenmore 52.67 22,724 5.2x 76.6x
49 Sammamish 52.67 64,674 4.8x 72.7x
50 Snohomish 55.33 9,976 5.1x 67.3x
51 Puyallup 55.67 40,991 4.5x 56.9x
52 Port Angeles 56.33 19,832 4.6x 50.1x
53 Tacoma 56.33 212,869 4.5x 52.8x
54 Lake Forest Park 57.0 13,430 4.9x 78.4x
55 Dupont 57.33 9,435 3.6x 50.5x
56 Port Orchard 57.33 14,062 4.6x 57.1x
57 Bremerton 57.67 40,631 4.5x 51.0x
58 Sedro-Woolley 58.33 11,739 4.0x 48.6x
59 East Wenatchee 58.67 13,960 5.1x 57.8x
60 Chehalis 60.0 7,497 4.3x 48.7x
61 Auburn 60.33 80,134 4.5x 58.5x
62 Maple Valley 60.33 26,352 3.6x 57.0x
63 Lake Stevens 60.33 32,487 3.8x 55.9x
64 North Bend 61.0 6,983 4.8x 89.3x
65 Milton 63.0 7,715 4.1x 56.4x
66 Snoqualmie 64.0 13,480 4.2x 74.3x
67 Wenatchee 64.0 34,188 4.8x 56.9x
68 Shelton 64.0 10,167 4.0x 43.8x
69 Brier 64.0 6,843 4.0x 65.6x
70 Blaine 64.33 5,313 4.7x 66.9x
71 Lacey 64.67 49,248 3.9x 50.8x
72 Monroe 65.33 18,865 4.2x 61.8x
73 Marysville 65.33 68,633 4.0x 58.0x
74 Longview 66.33 37,520 4.2x 52.3x
75 Orting 66.67 8,012 3.4x 49.1x
76 Steilacoom 67.0 6,303 4.4x 71.5x
77 Fircrest 67.33 6,795 4.3x 64.5x
78 Stanwood 68.0 7,068 4.5x 70.7x
79 Walla Walla 68.83 32,793 4.0x 52.5x
80 Tumwater 69.0 22,974 4.1x 58.3x
81 Kelso 69.67 12,123 3.8x 46.9x
82 Edgewood 69.67 11,264 4.1x 73.5x
83 Centralia 71.0 17,216 3.7x 48.5x
84 Covington 72.33 20,825 3.4x 59.6x
85 College Place 72.67 9,182 4.0x 53.3x
86 Camas 75.0 23,200 4.0x 90.3x
87 Spokane Valley 75.0 97,562 3.9x 54.9x
88 Mount Vernon 75.33 35,026 4.3x 60.9x
89 Arlington 75.33 19,483 3.9x 61.6x
90 Yelm 76.67 8,985 3.4x 54.6x
91 Selah 77.33 7,856 3.9x 56.6x
92 Bonney Lake 77.33 20,707 3.4x 60.5x
93 Yakima 79.33 93,413 3.8x 54.8x
94 Duvall 79.67 7,901 3.0x 72.9x
95 Battle Ground 79.67 20,406 3.8x 60.4x
96 Ferndale 81.0 14,043 4.1x 73.4x
97 Sultan 81.0 5,166 3.7x 61.4x
98 Othello 81.17 8,100 3.5x 53.0x
99 Union Gap 82.33 6,163 2.6x 47.6x
100 Woodland 82.67 6,071 4.3x 68.1x

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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.