Bellingham, Beyond the Scenery: The Real Cost of Living in Bellingham vs Seattle

Dated: February 9 2024

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Bellingham, Beyond the Scenery:

The Real Cost of Living in Bellingham vs Seattle


If you've been thinking about making Bellingham your home, you’ve likely been dazzled and drawn in by the scenery. Our beautiful city, nestled between the Cascades and the Puget Sound, has a lot to offer. But before you take the leap and make the move, let's talk about the nitty-gritty of living costs – from gas prices to housing – and how they stack up against our bigger sibling to the south, Seattle.
 

Gas Prices:

Driving around Bellingham you’ll notice there is less congestion than in a larger city, and our gas prices are relatively friendly, hanging slightly above the national average. You'll find yourself paying about $3.75 per gallon, which isn't too shabby. Now, let's compare that to Seattle where the hustle, bustle and larger city sprawl will mean more frequent fill-ups and gas prices that often edge a little higher, coming in around $4.20 per gallon.
 

Groceries:

Our neck of the woods is all about fresh, local goods. While groceries are around 13% pricier than the national average you’ll find plenty of options for hyper-local products from places like Joe’s Garden, Youngstock’s, the Community Food Co-op, and more. And trust me, that fresh produce from the Bellingham Farmers' Market is well worth the extra buck! Seattle, being a bigger city, has a grocery cost 25% higher than the national average, though as a cultural hub it admittedly has more variety.
 

Housing:

Now, let's talk about the elephant in the room – housing. Bellingham's become quite the hotspot, so rental and real estate prices have felt the impact. Renting a one-bedroom apartment usually starts around $1,600 a month, and if you're thinking about owning a slice of Bellingham, the median price for a standalone home is currently about $685,000. Seattle's housing market is even steeper with a median home price of $875,000 and rents around $2,800, making Bellingham the more wallet-friendly option.
 

Utilities:

Every home needs the essentials – electricity, water, heating, and internet. For an average-sized apartment in Bellingham, you're looking at around $250 to $300 a month for utilities. While these costs might not be pocket change, they're less than what you'd find in Seattle where the average is closer to $330 to $380. 

While the cost of living in Bellingham is 20% higher than the national average, the quality of life here is top-notch with abundant natural beauty, outdoor recreation and a flourishing downtown core. And when you compare it to Seattle, where the cost of living is 50% above the national average, you'll find that Bellingham delivers on charm with a lower price tag. So, if you're considering making this city your home, grab a cup of local coffee (or a beer), take a stroll along the waterfront, and know that you're in for a fantastic adventure without the Seattle-sized price tag. Cheers future Dwellinghamsters!

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Emily Wyss

Emily moved to Bellingham in 2003 after growing up on Lopez Island, she currently lives in the Sunnyland neighborhood with her wife, son, and 2 dogs. She began her Real Estate career 11+ years ago and....

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