Cost Of Living In Renton, Washington (Taxes, Housing & More)

Mary Newman
by Mary Newman

A suburb of Seattle, Renton, Washington has that big-city feel with a few small-town touches that make it unique. Many people think just because you’re moving outside Seattle itself, it’s going to get less expensive… that isn’t always the case.

With a cost of living index of 139, Renton isn’t the affordable Seattle paradise some people would like. But there are a lot of things to see and do in Renton, and it is better priced than some other alternatives.

Is Renton right for you? Before you make the move, be sure to get all the facts, because it isn’t cheap!

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Housing Costs in Renton, Washington

Median Home Prices in Renton, Washington Compared

LocationMedian Home ValueHomeownership Rate
Washington State$400,24061.5%
United States$320,00065.8%

As you can clearly see, homes in Renton are more expensive than both the state average and the national average. The housing cost of living index is a staggering 197.9, making it nearly twice as expensive as the average US city. Homeownership rates are also lower than average, in part because of the high cost of homes.

Median Home Prices in Renton, Washington

Median Home PricesPercentage of Homes
$995,000 and Above4%
Sub $132,9995.8%

Wow! It’s clear that Renton deserves the high housing cost of living index it gets. The bulk of the homes in Renton are valued between $400,000-$500,000. Only 5.1% of homes in Renton are vacant – this includes both apartments and single-family homes. It’s no wonder the housing market is crazy, there is nothing empty!

49.8% of homes in Renton are single-family dwellings, with 26% being larger apartment complexes. 8% of homes are smaller apartment buildings, and just 4.1% of homes are townhouses. 43.7% of homes were built between 1970 and 1999, with 29.4% being built since 2000, and just 22.8% being built between 1940 and 1969.

30.3% of homes have 3 bedrooms, with 29.5% of homes having 2 bedrooms, and 16.9% of homes having 4 bedrooms. Just 14.2% have 1 bedroom.

Rental Costs in Renton, Washington

Housing SizeRentonRenton MetroWashingtonUnited States
1 Bedroom$1573$1526$1127$930
2 Bedroom$1918$1883$1401$1148
3 Bedroom$2760$2712$2006$1537
4 Bedroom$3258$3218$2374$1791

The housing cost of living index makes sense when you see these rental prices, which are nearly double the national average and significantly higher than the state average. The Renton metro area isn’t much cheaper, and that is become it includes the Seattle-Tacoma metro area as well. There are a lot of people living there, and the cost of living is certainly at a premium price.

From 2019 to 2020, the average rent increased in 39 states across the nation, and Washington state was among them. In fact, Washington comes in eighth on the list of the states with the highest average rental prices in the country, with an average rent of $1,258 per month. The average monthly rent for an apartment in Renton, Washington, however, is $1,768.

To put things in perspective, the following table outlines how the average monthly rent in Renton compares to other cities in Washington state:

City Average Monthly Rent
Seattle, WA$2,169
Bellevue, WA$2,481
Spokane, WA$1,276
Tacoma, WA$1,539
Renton, WA$1,768
Yakima, WA$828

Taxes in Renton, Washington

Taxpayers in Renton, Washington enjoy no personal income tax and property taxes that are generally lower than the national average, but have to deal with a higher-than-average sales tax.

Sales Tax in Renton, Washington

Washington state has a base sales tax of 6.5%. This is lower than the national average of 7.12%. However, it’s important to remember each local government can impose its own taxes on top of that. In Renton, sales tax for all sold goods is 10.1%, which is noticeably higher than the national average. Think about it: for every $100 you spend, you can expect to pay an extra $10+ in taxes. That adds up fast and is a ‘hidden expensive’ many people don’t think about before moving.

Property Taxes in Renton, Washington

The average county property tax rate in King County is 0.930%, lower than the national average of 1.070% – but exactly on track with the state’s average.

For a homeowner in Renton who purchased their home at the median price of $464,310, they are still paying $4,318 annually in property taxes. This is nearly $600 less than what would they spend at the national average rate, though!

Income Taxes in Renton, Washington

What Renton will cost you in sales tax, it seems they try to make up for it in other ways. The entire state of Washington is one of only a few in the US that does not have a state income tax! While residents still need to pay their federal income taxes, of course, there are no additional state taxes on top of it. This makes Washington State ideal to retire to… if the cost of living wasn’t so high, that is.

Utility Costs in Renton, Washington

Surprisingly enough, Renton really shines when it comes to affordable utilities! With a utility cost of living index at just 72, it is noticeable cheaper than the rest of the nation. For an average 915 square foot apartment, a Renton resident can expect to pay about $117/month for all their basic utilities. This includes heating, cooling, electricity, garbage, and water. The average high-speed internet bill is just $70/month.

The average rate of residential electricity in Renton is 10.36¢/kWh. This is less than the national average of 11.88¢/kWh, but significantly higher than the average for the state of Washington, which is just 8.53¢/kWh.

Food Costs in Renton, Washington

Item of Food in Renton, WashingtonPrice
Average Meal for 1$18-$20
Mid-Range Meal for 2$60-$65
Gallon of Milk$3-$3.25
Loaf of Fresh Bread$2.50-$3
12 Eggs$2
1lb of Chicken$3.50-$3.75
1lb of Bananas$0.75

As you can see, the cost of food is relatively on-par with the rest of the United States. With a grocery cost of living index at 104.1, it is only marginally more expensive to eat in Renton.

The median household income in Renton is an impressive $74,756. Budget experts recommend households spend approximately 11% of their yearly income on food and groceries. This gives the average Renton household about $8,223 a year for food, or $685 a month. Even with a slightly higher than average grocery bill, this is more than reasonable.

Transportation Costs in Renton, Washington

Transportation costs are another important factor that you must consider in order to determine the overall cost of living in a particular location. These include expenses such as gas prices, public transportation costs, and car insurance premiums. The transportation cost of living index in Renton is 142.9, making it much more expensive than the national average to get around.

Residents of Renton spend 30.9 minutes one-way for their commute on average, which is higher than the national average of 26.4. 74.6% of residents drive, while an impressive 11.1% carpool. 7.1% choose to take the mass transit options.

Cost of a Gallon of Gas, Compared

LocationPrice Per Gallon
United States$2.60

As you can see, the price of gas is also much higher than the average in Renton.

Public Transportation in Renton, Washington

The city of Renton has both a bus and train system for residents to easily get around with. Sound Transit is the light rail system that runs between Tacoma, Seattle, and Bellevue, hitting Renton and providing easy access to all 3 cities. Depending on where you pick up the light rail system, fares can cost anywhere from $2.25 to $5.50 per adult. One-way low-income adult fares and youth rates are $1.50 no matter how far you go.

The King Country Metro system also has a bus system that runs through Renton, and it is just $2.75 per adult, $1.50 for youth riders (6-18).

Overall, Renton has some of the best public transportation within the state. If you need to go somewhere and you don’t drive, or choose not to, you’ll rarely struggle.

Annual Car Insurance Premiums in Renton, Washington

The average cost of car insurance in Renton, Washington is $1,358 annually for full coverage. This is lower than the national average of $1,674 but quite a bit higher than the statewide average of $1,176. However, your rate for car insurance can vary based on your age, driving record, the insurance company you choose, and whether you opt for full or minimum coverage.

To help illustrate how car insurance premiums vary based on where you live in Washington State, the following table outlines average car insurance rates in five Washington State cities:

CityAverage Annual Premium for Full CoveragePercent Increase in Average Annual Premium

Schools in Renton, Washington

There are 34 elementary schools, 18 middle schools, and 18 high schools in Renton. 36 schools are within the public district, and 67 are private schools. The Renton public school district services about 16,000 students each school year.

Public schools in Renton regularly are within the top 50% of the state. The average math proficiency score is 48%, slightly lower than the state’s average of 51, and the average reading proficiency score is 56%, again lower than the state average of 61%.

The student: teacher ratio in Renton is 19:1, higher than the state average of 18:1 and the national average of 16:1.

Entertainment Costs in Renton, Washington

Being so close to both Tacoma and Seattle, there is truly no shortage of things to do – especially if you don’t mind jumping on the light rail and traveling to another city. Within Renton itself, however, there is the Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park by the water, the Jimi Hendrix Grave Site, and Riverview Park, all free to visit.

The Renton History Museum is just $5 a person with free parking, and regularly cycles exhibits featuring Renton’s history and journey. The Henry Moses Aquatic Center features wave pools and water slides, and is just $14 for non-residents or $8 for residents.

If you’re more in a gambling mood, Renton has two casinos – Fortune Poker and Silver Dollar Casino. We can’t say what it will cost you… depends on how well you play, I suppose!

Clothing Costs in Renton, Washington

Item of ClothingPrice
1 Pair of Name-Brand Jeans$54
1 Summer Dress (From a Chain Retail Store)$34
1 Pair of Name-Brand Shoes$90
1 Pair of Dress Shoes$95

Clothing and household goods are generally comparable in price to the rest of the United States. Within Renton itself there are numerous shopping malls and plazas, meaning there is plenty of opportunities to shop around to find prices you like. The Landing is a popular shopping center located in Renton, which offers 63 stores and tons of dining opportunities.

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Should You Move to Renton, Washington?

Renton is a charming city in the Seattle metro area that has a lot to offer single professionals and families alike… if you can get past the incredibly high cost of living, that is. While residents enjoy relatively affordable property taxes and no personal income tax, Renton isn’t cheap to live in, and nearly every aspect of life in Renton reflects that.

If you need to be in the area for work or school, or you’re looking for a less expensive alternative to Seattle itself, Renton is a good choice. But don’t expect your dollar to go as far as other US cities!

If you’re not completely sold on Renton, but are still considering relocating to the Evergreen State, check out 10 Best & Safest Places To Live In Washington State.

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Mary Newman
Mary Newman

Mary Newman thought that home improvement was all painting and putting down throw rugs... until she bought a fixer upper, and realized it's so much more. With a passion for helping others NOT make the mistakes she did, Mary seeks to always improve her home - and yours, too!

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