Cost of living Essex County NJ (NY Metro) vs Seattle Metro
July 5, 2018 7:37 PM   Subscribe

Hi, My wife and I live in the very nice but pricey area outside of NYC - Essex County NJ. An opportunity has popped up which would take us to Seattle. I am wondering about the differences in cost of living.

I commute to NYC every day, the property taxes are extremely high, and home prices are through the roof here. A quick search of real estate in Seattle proper yields similar home prices perhaps slightly higher. But, what about the suburbs that surround the area? I'm trying to my an informed assessment of what I might find.

Does anyone have experience with the 2 areas as far as cost?
posted by Shanachie to Work & Money (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
I live in Seattle now and grew up in southern CT.

The biggest thing is probably taxes. WA has no state income tax. This is horrendously regressive, but, hey, ~5% of your income back each year...? The property tax rate in King County is less than 1%, which is 40% of Essex county's.

I'm sure others can speak to housing prices in the burbs; the impression I get is that the larger houses in the competitive school districts are still pretty expensive.
posted by batter_my_heart at 7:51 PM on July 5, 2018


You might want to say where in Seattle your job offer will be (general area.)

Seattle's mass transit options are rudimentary compared to New York and the location of your job is likely to strongly influence where it makes sense to live, having a rather direct impact on your housing costs.
posted by Nerd of the North at 9:07 PM on July 5, 2018 [5 favorites]


There's a HUGE range of prices in Seattle suburbs. Many areas of the East Side (ie, east of Lake Washington, like Bellevue, Kirkland, Redmond) will be as expensive in parts as, say, Montclair. The South King County suburbs (Burien, Tukwila, Kent, Renton), are more working-to-middle-class, though it varies. The Northern suburbs are mixed.

One thing that Seattle doesn't really have much of, unlike the Tri-State area, is "urban suburbs" like Jersey City. Bellevue has a decent downtown, but it's small, it's mostly urban malls, and that's it. Just something to keep in mind. Suburban living here is truly suburban.

Also, usually I'd recommend looking at some of those sites that will compare cost of living for cities, but I fear that would be out of date for Seattle. Prices for so many things (not just housing) are rising rapidly.

However, I do feel you get a bit more bang for your housing buck here than you would in the NY metro area for a similar price. Newer housing stock, bigger yards, etc.
posted by lunasol at 9:30 PM on July 5, 2018 [1 favorite]


All numbers for comparison purposes only.

NerdWallet's cost of living calculator:
I currently live in:
Bergen-Passaic, NJ
I want to live in:
Seattle, WA
My current income:
$100,000
To maintain your standard of living in Seattle, WA, you need to earn:
$115,147
Using a different cost-of-living calculator I have access to, a pay of about $114,322 in the outer-ring suburbs (to the east, the Eastside) of Seattle is equivalent to $122,399 in the city of Seattle, which is equivalent to $103,400 in the Newark-Elizabeth area.

You definitely don't need this amount of money to live there, I lived on much less.

WA has no income tax and lower property taxes, but some of the highest sales taxes. Many people commute into the city, along the major north-south axis (I-5, the faux bus rapid transit, the light rail, the big double-decker commutter busses) or from the Eastside across the lake (I-90 bridge , and the 520 bridge or around on I-405). Rents and property prices are increasing rapidly throughout the region. People come in from as far away as Everett and Tacoma.

Transit is not an comprehensive or as round-the-clock as the NY Metro area.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:08 AM on July 6, 2018 [1 favorite]


I'd think the property tax savings would be considerable. King County is 1%, whereas Essex is what, 2.25%?

My parents live in Union County and pay more in property tax than I pay in mortgage payments. It is insane.
posted by DarlingBri at 8:45 AM on July 6, 2018


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