When I was a moody high school student, I remember driving around in my slowly-falling-apart-probably-not-very-safe Volkswagen Golf vowing to never live in Tacoma, or anywhere in Washington State. Paris or London were so much more cosmopolitan. (I was little bit of a snob when I was sixteen). Now, however, at the wise old age of 30, after living in a few different states and countries, I’ve realized how special the Pacific Northwest is, and my partner and I are currently preparing to move back to the area.
While discussing this move, however, we’ve wondered about where in the area we should actually live. Seattle, as you may have heard, is a pretty pricey place to buy a home these days, especially for first-time home buyers like my partner and me. This isn’t to say that living in the city is impossible–buying a home in Seattle proper right now might just take a bit more creativity and patience.
Luckily, Washington is home to many lovely, evergreen-filled, bustling cities and towns. Zillow’s economic research team recently examined the cost of buying homes in the greater Seattle area. Here are the top five most affordable cities in Western Washington, along with the percentage of income needed to buy a home and cover mortgage costs there.
1. Marysville: 16.2%
Marysville sits along the Puget Sound, just north of Everett. In early 2017, the median home price in Marysville was $308,000. Compare this to Seattle, where the median home price was $604,000. By the end of 2017, the median home price in Marysville was $346,900, while Seattle’s was $718,700. Additionally, according to Zillow, Marysville is a buyers’ market, which means that it’s an ideal time to buy homes in this area. Despite its affordability, Marysville is also only a 35 to 40 minutes drive from Seattle.
2. Tacoma: 17.4%
Just south of Seattle and Federal Way and north of Olympia, Tacoma is very conveniently located. At the end of 2017, the average home in Tacoma cost around $268,200. Like Marysville, the city is currently experiencing a buyer’s market. What’s more, Tacoma is full of cozy, up-and-coming neighborhoods like North Tacoma, Old Town, and the downtown area. The city is also home to plenty of diverse and delicious restaurants, coffee shops, bars, and shopping options.
Another random fact: U-Haul rated Tacoma as the fifth hottest city in America right now, based on the net gain of one-way U-Haul truck rentals entering a city versus leaving a city each year.
3. Auburn: 17.8%
Auburn is south of Seattle and just east of Federal Way. Its median home price in 2017 was $430,000, and the city has both new development and a charming old town. Auburn is a 40 minute drive to Seattle, and it also easy public transportation options for those who prefer to commute by train or bus.
Behind Marysville, Tacoma, and Auburn, the fourth and fifth most affordable cities are Kent at 19.5% and Federal Way at 20.1%.
Perhaps you picture yourself joining the U-haul exodus to Tacoma or moving elsewhere in Washington. If so, get in touch with The SeaReal Team at 206-518-5518 or firstname.lastname@example.org and they will help you find a home that fits with your budget.