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The 5 Most Affordable Cities in Washington

Looking to move to the Pacific Northwest on a budget? Well, these five cities are a great place to start.

By Bonnie Burch on January 31, 2018

When you think of Washington, the first things that come to mind are usually apples, natural beauty and mild weather.

Yet, those who live in this Pacific Northwest state also know it offers great deals on housing, healthcare, groceries and utilities.

Using our tried-and-true methodology, Livability.com has come up with a list of the five most affordable cities in Washington. But this isn’t just a tally of cheap cities. Instead, quality of life was considered along with data from other cities to find the best bang for your residential buck.

Here’s a list of the most affordable cities in Washington state:

  1. Olympia, WA
  2. Richland, WA
  3. Bothell, WA
  4. Auburn, WA
  5. Redmond, WA

1. Olympia

The state capital, Olympia has boating and fishing opportunities in Puget Sound, to-die-for seafood restaurants along the waterfront, and a growing arts community. On a clear day, you can even see Mount Rainier, which is a little more than an hour drive from the city.

Here the median household income is $52,834 with the median home price coming in at $240,800, which is lower than the state average.

Historic artesian wells still provide clean drinking water for those who know where to look and fill their bottles, although this is more of a fun activity rather than a water bill saving measure.

Richland WA

2. Richland

A part of the Tri-Cities area, which includes Pasco and Kennewick, Richland’s history is wrapped up in the Manhattan Project facility at the Hanford nuclear site.

The city is still known as a technology hub. The median household income is an impressive $69,372, while the median home price is $200,800. Residents enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking and biking on an extensive trail system, golfing and water sports on the Columbia and Yakima rivers.

The area has some of the most fertile agricultural land in the state, which is good for growing crops such as wine grapes and potatoes.

Richland is home to a renaissance fair, a classic car and street rod event and music and arts festivals.

3. Bothell

Those who want to live close to Seattle but don’t want to pay its expensive cost of living prices often chose Bothell as a more affordable alternative.The median home price is $344,600 – not too bad for this area. The median household income is $75,643.

While logging is mostly in the past, Bothell residents celebrate their own culture such as walks in urban/rural parks, a 1880s Pioneer Cemetery and a lavish Fourth of July event known as the Freedom Festival. 

4. Auburn

A little east of Tacoma and south of Seattle, Auburn, WA provides a gateway to both major metropolitan areas. And that’s a good thing, as the city is a transportation hub with major roadways and the Transit Center, a station that provides bus, light rail and Sounder train service to the Puget Sound area. Those who live here can expect a median home price of $231,200, with a median household income of $57,635.

Thoroughbred horse racing at Emerald Downs (pictured above), golf and performing arts are just some of the attractions that entertain residents.

Redmond, WA
Redmond / Courtesy of Richard Cassan under a CC 2.0 license.

5. Redmond

A high-tech city, Redmond, WA is the home headquarters to computer software king Microsoft and video gaming systems company Nintendo of America. The city has also been recognized as a Best Place to Live and Top 99 Beer City. 

In addition to the tech industry, Redmond is also known as the “Bicycle Capital of the Northwest.” The Redmond Bike Derby, which is held during the summer’s Derby Days, is the longest running bicycle race in North America. With an extensive network of off- and on-street bike lanes and trails, Redmond also boasts a large share of bicycling commuters, so residents save on automobile purchases, car insurance prices and gas.

The median household price is a robust $462,200. However, residents here also command higher salaries, with a median household income of $99,586. In fact, Redmond is so great that it landed a spot on the 2018 Top 100 Best Places to Live list

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