The city of Tacoma, WA has long been recognized by the nickname “City of Destiny”. If you’re considering calling this great area home, there are likely some things you’ll want to know first.
What does it cost to live in Tacoma? How’s the housing market? Can you afford it? With so many questions about how much it costs to live in Tacoma, you may feel like it will take forever to find all the answers.
But with this comprehensive guide, you can learn everything you’ll want to know about the cost of living in Tacoma, average expenses, the real estate market, and more. Take a look and see if this is your “city of destiny”!
Tacoma Cost of Living Index
Determining the cost to live in Tacoma depends on where you decide to live, your lifestyle choices, and the number of people in your household. But one of the best ways to determine whether you can afford to live here is by reviewing the Tacoma cost of living index. This unique system allows you to see a comparison of how much it costs to live in Tacoma compared to numbers in the U.S.
According to this index, a cost of living comparison between Tacoma and Seattle shows that Tacoma is less expensive to live in. The biggest difference for the Tacoma cost of living is its much more affordable housing market than the big city.
But the Tacoma living cost is about 8.7% higher than the national average. The main reasons for this difference are the higher expenses for things like groceries, housing, local transportation, and healthcare. But these living costs in Tacoma are also the lowest they have been in more than 3 years.
Consumer expenditures in Tacoma are no more than one or two percent different that averages across the nation. On average, people relocating to Tacoma can expect to pay the following percentages of their living expenses on:
Consumer Expenditures in Tacoma (by % of Household Income)
- Housing 34.5%
- Transportation 14.1%
- Food 13.4%
- Personal insurance 12.6%
- Healthcare 6.3%
- Entertainment 5.1%
- Other 14%
Cost of Items in Tacoma
Before moving to a new city, it’s always nice to have a general idea of what you can expect to pay for your everyday expenses, entertainment, and other items. These details will help you determine the cost of maintaining your lifestyle as well as the average cost of groceries in Tacoma so you can calculate your monthly food prices.
Based on where you live now, you could end up paying either more or less for basic goods and services such as a gallon of milk ($2.42), a dozen eggs ($1.85), and a cell phone bill ($188.10).
It’s also important to identify regular expenses you’ll pay at your home such as the average water bill and the average electrical bill in Tacoma. With an average utility bill in Tacoma of about $127.65 per month, understanding the cost of electricity and other utilities is a great way to ensure you are able to afford the home you plan to purchase or rent.
Another item to be aware of is the costly price of gas in Tacoma, which is more expensive than the average across the United States. At about $3.14 per gallon, this will be a factor in your daily commute to work, dropping kids off a school, and other trips you’ll need to take around the city.
This list will give you an idea of the cost of items in Tacoma:
- Steak (Ribeye, 1lb.) $12.50
- Milk (regular 1/2 gallon) $2.42
- Eggs (1 Dozen) $1.85
- Potatoes (5 lb bag) $2.82
- Bread (1 loaf) $4.04
- Beer (Heineken’s 6 pack) $9.97
- Average Cell Phone Bill $188.10
- Average Cost of Gasoline (per gallon) $3.14
- Average Cost of Utilities (per month) $127.65
- McDonald’s Burger (1/4 Pounder) $4.51
- Large Pizza $11.57
- Movie Ticket (1st run) $13.13
Tacoma vs. Seattle Cost of Living
A review of the average costs between these two popular cities shows that Tacoma is much more affordable. When comparing the Tacoma vs. Seattle cost of living, you’ll see that Tacoma is about 33.62% lower.
Essentially every expense is less in Tacoma including groceries, utilities, transportation, and healthcare.
But the biggest factor that has a major impact on the Tacoma vs. Seattle cost of living is the housing market. Home prices in Tacoma are an average of 116% less than they are in Seattle.
Tacoma Real Estate Market
With an evenly split population of homeowners and renters, the homeownership rate in Tacoma, WA is 50.4%. The Tacoma housing market is currently considered hot as properties in the area are only staying listed for an average of 17 days.
Currently, the average price of a home in Tacoma is $347,000, which is an increase of about 14.4% over the past year. This average equals out to about $215 per square foot. The real estate market in Tacoma typically expects an average down payment of 9.3%.
While you consider Tacoma house prices, make sure the location you choose is close enough to your place of work as well as the cost of gasoline since it adds to your overall living costs. The average commute time in Tacoma is about 27 minutes in both directions.
Tacoma Rental Market – Average Rent in Tacoma
Now that you know what to expect when it comes to buying a home, how much is an apartment in Tacoma? With the other 50% of people residing in the area renting their living spaces, you may also be interested in the average cost of rent in Tacoma.
Rent prices in Tacoma have risen by about 8.87% in the last year. The average price of Tacoma rent is around $1,410 per month. You’ll see a range between $1,211 per month for one-bedroom locations and about $1,454 per month for two-bedroom apartments.
Compared to Seattle, the average rent in Tacoma is anywhere from $646 to $996 less per month, so once again Tacoma is more affordable for housing expenditures.
Average Salary & Household Income in Tacoma
Wondering how much you need to make to live in Tacoma? Since you have an idea of the living expenses in Tacoma, the next step is to determine if you can afford to live here based on your income.
The most recent reports show that the average salary in Tacoma is $62,000 per year. These numbers are seeing an increase of about 4.4% year over year as the average expenses in Tacoma continue to change.
On the other hand, the median household income in Tacoma is $55,506 per year, which is about 10% less than the national average. A couple of the top employers in Tacoma are the McChord Air Force Base as well as the MultiCare Health System hospitals. And as the seat of Pierce County, numerous government jobs can be found in the area as well.
The most common industries contributing to the median salary in Tacoma are health care, retail trade, and manufacturing. While the highest-paid Tacoma salaries go to computer & math occupations, engineers, health practitioners, and other technical careers.
Income, Sales, & Property Taxes in Tacoma, WA
State Income Tax
As one of the seven states that don’t have a personal income tax, you won’t see this on your paystubs when you live in Tacoma, WA.
Although Washington doesn’t have a state income tax, it does have higher than average sales tax rates. Ranking 4th highest out of the 50 states, the Tacoma sales tax rate is 10.2%. This includes the Washington sales tax, Pierce County sales tax, and the local Tacoma rate.
- Washington State sales tax rate 6.500%
- Pierce County sales tax rate 2.800%
- Tacoma sales tax rate 0.900%
- Total Sales Tax 10.200%
A look at the property tax in Tacoma points to a slightly higher rate than both the state of Washington and the national average:
- Tacoma property tax rate 1.210%
- Washington property tax rate 1.031%
- National property tax rate 1.081%
For example, if you purchased a home for $250,000, then the Tacoma property taxes would be about $3,025 per year.
Does the Cost of Living in Tacoma Fit Your Budget?
It’s always great to consider the standard of living you can expect when thinking about relocating to a new city. And while the Tacoma cost of living might be a bit more pricey than the national average, it’s truly a great place to live if it fits your household income and overall budget.
Planning on moving to Tacoma? Count on our top-rated Tacoma movers to handle the job! Call All Ready Moving today at (360) 507-2447 or complete the Request a Quote form above for a free moving estimate!