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Olympia Cost of Living [2024] 💰 | What’s the Cost of Living in Olympia Washington?

Last Updated on: 23rd March 2024, 06:23 pm

Looking for the perfect place to live in Washington with affordable living and a great quality of life? Living in Olympia offers the best of both worlds: it’s just an hour from Seattle and 30 minutes to Tacoma, yet feels worlds away. Olympia has a more small-town feel with a downtown waterfront area and amazing outdoor recreation at your fingertips. You aren’t far from Brewery Park at Tumwater Falls, Millersylvania State Park, and the Capitol State Forest.

Best of all, the cost of living in Olympia, Washington, is very affordable compared to Seattle, Bellevue, and many other large cities. Here’s what you can expect from the Olympia cost of living with a breakdown of average costs for housing, transportation, utilities, taxes, and more.

Olympia Washington Cost of Living Index

The Olympia cost of living index is 110.3. That means Olympia has a cost of living 10.3% higher than the national average. By comparison, the Washington cost of living index is 113.

Except for utilities, almost everything in Olympia is more expensive than the national average:  

  • Transportation in Olympia: 26.7% more expensive
  • Healthcare in Olympia: 25.3% more expensive
  • Groceries in Olympia: 13.6% more expensive
  • Miscellaneous goods and services: 9.3% more expensive
  • Housing in Olympia: 8.9% more expensive
  • Utilities in Olympia: 6.6% less expensive

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is another way to look at the cost of living in Olympia, Washington. The CPI is reported monthly and lists prices consumers pay living in a city in the region. Olympia is part of the Pacific Western region and the Seattle area.

The CPI for the Seattle area was up 4.3% year-over-year in February 2024. Energy prices dropped 2.9%, but housing and medical care increased the most. Food prices were up 1.3% year-over-year.

By comparison, the CPI for the average U.S. city rose 3.2% year-over-year. In the Pacific region, the Consumer Price Index rose 3.5%.

The Consumer Expenditures (CE) Survey reports the spending habits of households nationwide and in the four main regions. Olympia is part of the West region. In 2022, the average household had a mean gross income of $99,055 or $87,630 after taxes. The typical household spent a mean $78,778 per year on:

  • Housing: $27,512 (including $2,431 in property taxes, $2,443 in maintenance and insurance, $4,006 in mortgage interest and charges, $4,269 in utilities)
  • Transportation: $12,767
  • Food: $9,829 ($6,022 at home, $3,807 away from home)
  • Personal insurance and pensions: $9,253
  • Healthcare: $5,638
  • Entertainment: $4,268
  • Apparel: $2,035

Cost of Household Items, Utilities & Groceries in Olympia

According to bill pay service Doxo, bills in Olympia, Washington, are $10,091 higher than the national average per year. The average Olympia household pays $2,967 in bills every month. That accounts for 39% of the typical household’s income.

Average monthly bills according to Doxo include:

  • Olympia mortgage payment: $1,880 (US: $1,402)
  • Olympia rent: $1,545 (US: $1,300)
  • Auto loan: $469 (US: $496)
  • Olympia utilities: $386 (US: $362)
  • Auto insurance: $358 (US: $209)
  • Cell phone: $187 (US: $121)
  • Cable and internet: $178 (US: $122)

The City of Olympia provides trash collection and water utility services. The typical single-family household is billed every other month for $307.52 (or $153.76 per month). Puget Sound Energy provides natural gas and electricity in Olympia. The average gas and electric bill is about $150 per month.

According to the BLS, the average cost of electricity in the metro area was 13.5 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) in February 2024 – 22% lower than the national average cost of electricity, 17.3 cents per kWh. The average price for natural gas was $1.146 per therm, also 22% below the national average.

Average gas prices in the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue area were $4.23 in February 2024, $0.21 higher than the national average. For the past five years, gas prices have been $0.12 to $0.21 higher than the national average.

Here’s what you can expect to pay for common expenses in Olympia:

  • Steak (one pound ribeye): $15.18
  • Ground beef (1 pound): $5.50
  • Milk (half gallon): $1.87
  • Eggs (one dozen): $1.74
  • Potatoes (five-pound bag): $4.41
  • Bread (one loaf): $4.05
  • Movie ticket: $10.92
  • Beer (6-pack Heineken): $10.82
  • Haircut: $25.63

Olympia Real Estate Market

The Olympia housing market is fairly competitive, especially for a smaller city. The Olympia WA median home price is $522,500 – up 6.6% year-over-year – with a median sales price of $292 per square foot. The median price for a single-family home is $530,000.

The Olympia median home price varies by area:

  • South Westside: $399,750
  • Northwest Olympia: $485,000
  • Northeast Olympia: $555,000
  • Southeast Olympia: $575,000

While home prices across the country have been declining for the first time in a decade, Olympia has bucked the trend. In spring 2023, prices in Olympia, Tumwater, and Lacey were up 1.2% year-over-year with a median home value of $498,8000. By spring 2024, the average home price in Olympia WA was up nearly 7% from the previous year.

Rising home prices aren’t the only issue buyers need to be aware of when navigating the Olympia real estate market. The Olympia metro area recently ranked 4th among small metro areas for homes selling above asking price. In 2021, over 65% of homes in the metro area sold over asking price with a sale-to-list ratio of 103.7%. In 2024, 18% of homes in the past year had sold over list price.

This isn’t surprising for Washington state: several small metro areas in the state made the top ten including Bremerton and Bellingham. Spokane was the only mid-sized metro area in the top 15, but the Seattle metro area ranked 6th among large metro areas.

Homes for sale in Olympia are also selling faster. In 2024, homes had an average of 42 days on market, down almost 25% from 56 days the previous year.

Graph of the median sale price in Olympia, WA

Average Rent in Olympia WA

The homeownership rate in Olympia is just 48%, well below the national average of 65%. The city has a good supply of rental properties including dozens of apartment complexes. The average rent in Olympia WA is $1,723 according to RentCafe, very close to the national average of $1,702. Renters, at least, enjoy a more affordable cost of living in Olympia Washington, a city not otherwise known for its affordability.

One-bedroom apartments in Olympia start at $1,075 to $1,745. Copper Trail, Capitol House Apartments, Cambridge Court, and The Park at Cooper Point Apartments are all on the lower end of this scale and below average for the city. The most expensive one-bedroom units are in luxury communities like Little Tuscany Apartments & Townhomes and Briggs Village Apartments.

Average Salary & Household Income in Olympia

How much do you need to earn to afford the Olympia, Washington, cost of living? The Olympia living wage is $24.01 for a single adult according to the MIT Living Wage Calculator. An adult with one child must earn $41.53 an hour. For a household with two adults and two children, a single working adult needs to earn $44.09 to support the household. Both adults would need to earn $28.93.

The average salary in Olympia, Washington, is $74,000 per year or $21.80 per hour, according to Payscale. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported $31.71 as the average hourly wage in Olympia in 2022, about 7% higher than the national average. Wages were higher than the national average in construction, healthcare, community and social services, protective services, and personal care services but lower in business and finance operations, art and design, and legal occupations.

Over the past year, wages and salaries increased 4.3% in the Seattle metro area, according to the BLS. That’s the same as the national average. Among the 15 largest metro areas, wages and salaries increased at least 4% in all but four. Miami had the greatest increase in wages at 5.1%.

The Olympia median household income is $73,851. That’s about 80% lower than the Olympia metro area ($88,895) and Washington state ($90,325). About 35% of households earn less than $50,000. The per capita income in Olympia is $41,904, very close to average for the metro area.

Income, Sales & Property Taxes in Olympia, Washington

Taxes are a major aspect of the cost of living in Olympia WA. Here’s an overview of common Olympia taxes.

Olympia WA Sales Tax Rate

The combined property tax in Olympia is 9.8% effective 2024. This includes the Washington state sales tax of 6.5% and the local Olympia sales tax of 3.3%.

Olympia Washington Property Tax Rate

In Washington state, homes are appraised at 100% of their fair market value by the county assessor. Washington’s state constitution limits regular or non-voter-approved combined property taxes to 1% of the property’s market value or $10 per $1,000.

You can see a breakdown of Thurston County property tax rates. In Olympia, property tax rates per $1,000 include:

  • State of Washington state schools: $2.24 per $1,000
  • Thurston County general fund, road fund, and conservation: $1.64 per $1,000
  • City of Olympia: $2.00 per $1,000
  • Olympia #111 school district: $4.11 per $1,000
  • Olympia Metropolitan Park District: $0.50 per $1,000
  • Port of Olympia: $0.13 per $1,000
  • Timberland Regional Library: $0.23 per $1,000
  • PUD #1: $0.01 per $1,000
  • Medic One: $0.33 per $1,000

Washington State Income Tax

Washington state does not have income tax for personal or corporate income tax. There is a 7% capital gains tax, however.

What Is the Cost of Living in Olympia vs Seattle & Tacoma?

How does the Olympia cost of living compare to other Washington metro areas? Here’s the cost of living index for Olympia, Seattle, and Tacoma, plus average expenses and income.

Washington State Cost of Living Comparison:
Olympia, Seattle & Tacoma

Olympia Seattle Tacoma
Cost of living index 110.3 145.7 108.7
Median home price $522,500 $769,900 $460,000
Average rent $1,723 $2,267 $1,676
Average monthly bills $2,967 $3,049 $2,468
Median household income $73,851 $116,068 $69,956
Average hourly wage $21.80 $26.02 $22.48

Washington State is known for its high cost of living that’s about 13% higher than the national average. Olympia is still one of the most affordable places to live in Washington, especially compared to the Seattle metro area. Seattle was recently ranked 9th among U.S. cities with the highest cost of living!

Despite high housing costs, you’ll find the cost of living in Olympia, Washington, very affordable for the area. Recreation, transportation, and utilities are all more reasonable than the notoriously expensive Olympia real estate market which isn’t much different from other cities in Washington.

Are you ready to make Olympia your new home? All Ready Moving & Storage is here to help with dependable, affordable moving services. Call our movers in Olympia today at (360) 507-2447 to get started with a free moving quote.

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