Survey: Seattle-Tacoma cost of living is among highest in U.S.

May 12th, 2022 | By | Category: News

Taking into account the cost of consumer goods, services, and housing, the overall cost of living in the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue metropolitan area is 12 percent higher than the national average, making it one of the least affordable regions anywhere in the U.S.

That’s one of the results of a nationwide survey by Porch, an online company that provides referrals for home improvement contractorrs, relocation, and other services for homeowners.

The survey covered 350 metropolitan areas and all 50 states. Full results are at https://porch.com/advice/cities-where-your-dollar-goes-the-furthest

The survey came at a time when inflation has been the biggest economic concern. Price increases have been at historic highs through much of 2021 and into 2022, with energy and vehicle costs increasing more than 40 percent since the beginning of 2021.

A number of factors explain the recent nationwide trends in price increases, Porch reported. Strong fiscal stimulus from the federal government and rapid recovery in many sectors have brought more money into the U.S. economy, while a tight labor market has led to wage increases for many workers. With more money to spend, consumer demand has increased, but ongoing issues with global supply chains have made many physical goods scarce. The result has been price increases in nearly every category, which puts pressure on households’ finances.

One common measure of inflation is the Consumer Price Index (CPI), calculated by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The CPI measures prices paid for a set of typical consumer expenses, including food, energy, transportation, apparel, shelter, and more. The year-over-year percentage change in the CPI topped 5 percent in every month since June 2021 and reached 7.5 percent in January 2022.

Analysis from the Porch survey rates the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue area as the the fifth-least affordable nationally. Its overall cost of living (12 percent) is based largely on its extreme cost of housing (52 percent above the national average).

The high cost of housing is one of the factors making life in the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue areas so expensive.

The cost of goods is also above the national average (by 11 percent). But the cost of utilities help reign in the overall cost of living by being about 9 percent below the national average.

The other element that figures in the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue affordability is its per capita personal income, which at $80,420 is well above the national average of $59,510.

The S&P/Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index, which tracks the change in residential home prices around the country, showed year-over-year increases of more than 10 percent for every month in 2021, peaking at 20 percent in August. Aside from a brief span in 2013 and 2014, growth in home prices hadn’t topped 10 percent since the peak of the housing bubble in the early to mid-2000s.

Among states, ones with the highest prices for goods, services, and housing include Hawaii, New Jersey, California, and New York—all more than 10 percent above the national average. On the other end of the scale are Mississippi, West Virginia, Arkansas, Alabama, and Kentucky, with prices 10-plus percent below the average.

Share