Why Is Seattle So Expensive? (13 Reasons Why)

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Morgan Stephens

Morgan Stephens has been to 43 countries and counting, and he's never content to stay in one place for too long. Right now, he's living in South Korea, but he's always on the lookout for his next adventure.

When you think about Seattle, what comes to your mind is its incredible view, access to kayaking and hiking, and its overall outdoor lifestyle.

However, many people don’t realize how rich Seattle is until they experience living in the city, so if you want to know more about why Seattle is expensive, look at what I found out!

Why Is Seattle So Expensive?

Seattle is expensive mainly because the city is one of the wealthiest cities in the US. Seattle’s home to two of the most famous and prominent companies worldwide, Microsoft and Amazon, helping people earn more. So, Seattle’s overall necessities and lifestyle are above average; that’s why the city has become significantly expensive.

Want to know more about why Seattle is so expensive? Here are the 13 reasons; keep reading!

1. Seattle Has Expensive Goods And Services

Everything in Seattle is expensive, from haircuts to movie tickets. In fact, a low-end haircut typically costs $55, and high-end haircuts cost even more.

Additionally, purchasing basic things and using necessary services in Seattle are more costly, such as food and transportation.

Therefore, Seattle’s high quality of living is a continuous cycle. Because it is wealthy, it will remain to be more so for its people to be able to afford to live there.

2. Seattle Is Home To Fortune Companies

The fact that Seattle is home to both Microsoft and Amazon is one of the reasons for the city’s higher price of living.

That said, Seattle is noted for being a tech city, among other things that attract a specific demographic.

Additionally, the city is home to software developers and other tech-minded folks hoping to work for Microsoft and Amazon.

Therefore, both these companies create jobs that increase the number of workers and the population in Seattle.

As a result, demand for housing, transportation, and goods has increased because employees who work for large companies are well compensated.

Thus, the expensiveness of the city remains.

3. Seattle’s High Salary

Many people in Seattle have increased earnings given the presence of tech offices. So, people earn a lot from their field of work.

Naturally, since most people have a lot of money, the city drives up its prices to gather as much money from its people.

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Also, because a group of people earns a lot of money, they heavily influence the city’s markups. As a result, the town grows highly expensive for people who do not make a high salary.

4. Seattle Has A Rich Tourism

Expenses will always be high in any tourist attraction, and Seattle is a popular tourist destination. Every year, people flock to the city’s famed Space Needle.

However, it also has difficulty being a travel destination, which raises the cost of living in the city. In addition, of course, tourists must pay for food, a place to stay, and other necessities.

Naturally, businesses seek to make money off of them. As a result, the cost of many services and items has increased.

5. Seattle Has Expensive Housing Industry

5. Seattle Has Expensive Housing Industry

The housing costs in Seattle are crazy, as any newbie or resident will tell you. In fact, a one-bedroom apartment in Seattle costs over $2,000 on average.

Moreover, houses often start at $800,000 and only increase from there. According to recent patterns, costs drop as you get further out from Seattle.

That said, if you wish to reside within the city limits, though, be prepared to pay premium rent.

But, of course, several factors contribute to Seattle’s high property values; one of them is the scarcity of supplies.

Further, there aren’t many apartments or houses for rent or sale in Seattle. So, if one is available, it will be in high demand.

As a result, the market or rental price rises, which justifies the city’s higher cost of living.

6. Land In Seattle Cost A Fortune

The most significant factor for Seattle’s high value is the cost of land and zoning. Also, the vast majority of Seattle’s land is zoned for single-family homes.

Moreover, the rest is divided into numerous groups, making Seattle pricey because businesses and other sectors that wish to purchase land property in Seattle are limited.

As a result, because there is so little land available for sale, manufacturers wishing to conduct business in Seattle will purchase land extremely high.

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Overall, the Seattle property market is highly-priced and impacts daily living, making everything else in the city more expensive.

7. Food And Restaurants In Seattle Are Expensive

Seattle’s foods and restaurantsare other factors for the city’s high cost, and the residents take their meals very seriously.

Also, restaurants demand extravagant charges for various reasons; one is the physical location. In addition, lease and property taxes are expensive to run a business in the city.

Of course, the company must raise its prices to cover these expenses.

8. Seattle’s Sales Tax

Residents of Seattle are not subject to income taxes. Instead, it funds its government and activities using a sales tax.

Moreover, the city’s sales tax is 10.25%, divided among the state, city government, and public transportation.

Of course, the funds will then be distributed to the city of Seattle, the state of Washington, and other organizations.

Therefore, the high sales tax may be enough to significantly increase their expenses that drive the city to be more expensive for some consumers.

9. Seattle’s Transportation Expenses

Seattle’s high cost of living is due to more than just housing, as the city is very pricey due to transportation costs.

In fact, on a typical market day, the regular gas price in Seattle is over $5, increasing public transit fare costs.

Of course, it is always more expensive to import fuel than to mine your own, and Seattle has to increase petrol prices to cover the costs.

Overall, it makes getting around and driving in Seattle more expensive.

10. Seattle’s Perfect Climate

The city’s climate is another major draw that drives up living expenses. Although Seattle is known for its intense winters, it also has a popularity for beautiful summers.

Further, the city’s temperatures stay moderate, making it pleasant to spend time outside in the summer.

Further, many people may be searching for property in climate havens as global climate change increases, and Seattle is one of them.

As a result, the demand for housing in Seattle grows, and house prices increase even higher.

11. Seattle Is Close To Nature

Seattle’s emerald city reputation is well-deserved.

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That said, the name refers to the natural beauty that the city has all year round, owing to the evergreen forests that enclose Seattle.

In addition, all three of Washington’s magnificent national parks are within a two-hour drive from Seattle.

Naturally, this factor invites many nature lovers to choose and visit Seattle, which adds up to the expensiveness of the city due to its in-demand natural resources.

12. Seattle Is A Very Safe Place

If you choose Seattle, you will never feel unsafe your whole life, as the city has a relatively close

neighborhood and has minimal reported crimes.

In fact, Seattle is among the safest cities in the United States. Also, it’s a fairly walkable area with little in the way of violent or even minor crime.

That said, if a place is known for its safety, people will be encouraged to visit; this will drive the expenses and the cost of living in the city.

13. Seattle Is An Intelligent City

Seattle boasts a high concentration of intellectuals, earning the title in 2018 of America’s smartest city.

In fact, Seattle has the highest rate of Bachelor’s degree holders in the country, at 47%. So, it contributed a lot to the success of the city.

As a result, being home to intelligent people puts the city in demand for big employers and investors, which again helps the city become expensive.

To learn more, you can also read our posts on why Oregon is so expensive, why Palo Alto is so expensive, and why Toronto is so expensive.


Finally, the ultimate reason Seattle is so expensive is the community-wide impact that digital titans Microsoft and Amazon have had.

Further, their success has resulted in increased salaries, which marked up the rate in the housing industry and the price of every necessity.


  • Morgan Stephens

    Morgan Stephens has been to 43 countries and counting, and he's never content to stay in one place for too long. Right now, he's living in South Korea, but he's always on the lookout for his next adventure.

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