What Is The Cost Of Living In Seattle Vs. Dallas?

Jessica Stone
by Jessica Stone

When considering places to settle down, Seattle and Dallas may be at the top of your list. Both cities have much to offer potential residents and are among the fastest-growing cities in the nation. Known as the Emerald City, Seattle is surrounded by lush green forests, snow-capped landscapes, and features excellent culinary offerings, an outdoor lifestyle, plenty of entertainment, and four wonderful seasons.

Whereas, Dallas offers excellent job growth, a central location, cultural diversity, and great schools. However, how do these two cities stack up when it comes to cost of living?

The overall cost of living index in Seattle, Washington is 167.8, meaning it is nearly 68% more expensive to live in Seattle than the national average (100). Dallas, Texas, on the other hand, has a cost of living index of 101, so it is considerably more affordable than Seattle and pretty on par with the national average. Seattle’s median home price is $851,400, which is about 192% higher than the national average of $291,700. Meanwhile, the median home price in Dallas is just $259,800 – a whopping 69.5% less than Seattle.

Aside from median housing prices, let’s take a deeper look at how the cost of living compares in Seattle vs. Dallas.

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Home Prices in Seattle vs. Dallas

The cost of owning a home in Seattle is substantially higher than the rest of the country. Whereas, home prices in Dallas tend to be below the national average. The median cost of a home in Seattle is a staggering $851,400, while Dallas’ median home price is only $259,800. With this in mind, more affordable home prices can be seen as a significant advantage to choosing to live in Dallas over Seattle.

Based on an overall US average of 100, Seattle’s housing index is 309 and Dallas’ is just 92.2. This means that housing in Dallas, Texas is about 69.9%. cheaper than Seattle, Washington. Of course, prices can vary based on your specific location in either city. The closer you are to the city center in Seattle or Dallas, the higher the prices will be. So, consider moving further away from the downtown area to save money in either city.

Rent Prices in Seattle vs. Dallas

Like home prices, rental prices vary depending on a number of factors, including size, specific location, and quality. The average rent for an apartment in Seattle, Washington is $2,169 a month and the average apartment size is roughly 692 square feet. Though, the rent you will pay in Seattle ultimately comes down to the neighborhood that you choose to live in.

For example, the most affordable neighborhood in Seattle is Innis Arden, with average rental prices coming in at about $1,333 per month. Whereas, Pike Market and Belltown are the most expensive neighborhoods in the city, with average monthly rents of $2,294.

With that said, refer to the table below for a breakdown of the average monthly rents in some of the many Seattle neighborhoods:

NeighborhoodAverage Monthly Rent
Pike Market$2,294
Central Waterfront$2,177
Seattle Central Business District$2,155
East Queen Anne$2,064

The average rent for an apartment in Dallas, Texas is $1,383 per month and the average apartment size is 848 square feet. This means that, on average, apartments are both cheaper and larger in Dallas than Seattle. Though, like Seattle, rental prices in Dallas vary depending on the neighborhood you live in. For example, the most expensive neighborhoods in Dallas are Brighten Lofts North, Brighton Lofts South, and Grammercy Place, each with an average rent of $2,834 per month. Whereas, Arbor Ridge is the most affordable neighborhood in the city, where average rent goes for only $777 per month.

The following table outlines a more comprehensive look at the average monthly rent in some of the many Dallas neighborhoods:

NeighborhoodAverage Monthly Rent
Brighton Lofts North$2,834
Caruth Hills$2,500
Downtown Dallas$2,131
Bryan Place$1,882
Carriage Square$1,758
Oak Lawn$1,726
Walnut Square$1,473

Taxes in Seattle vs. Dallas

Taxes are another crucial consideration when you’re comparing the cost of living in two different cities. There are some noteworthy differences between the taxes in Seattle versus the taxes in Dallas, described in further detail below. However, overall, the taxes in Dallas, Texas are about 18.3% cheaper than Seattle, Washington.

State Income Tax

Fortunately, both Washington and Texas are among the few states that do not collect a state income tax of any kind. This means that whether you are a doctor, lawyer, teacher, or dog-walker, you don’t have to a state income tax on your earnings in Washington or Texas. You do, however, still have to file your federal income tax return and pay your federal income taxes.

Sales Tax

Both Seattle and Dallas have relatively high sales taxes. While the base rate in Washington is 6.5%, there are additional city and county sales taxes on top of this rate. This brings the total sales tax in Seattle to a whopping 10.10%. The situation is very similar in Texas.

Texas’ statewide sales tax is 6.25%, but with the extra county and city sales taxes the total sales tax in Dallas is 8.25%. This is the highest rate in the state and also happens to be the rate in most major cities in Texas. While sales taxes may be higher in Seattle than Texas, the Seattle rate may be somewhat easier to swallow considering the lack of state income tax. Though, Texas also does not have a state income tax.

Property Tax

Seattle’s average effective property tax rate is 0.99%, which is lower than the national average of 1.07%. This means that Seattle homeowners only pay 0.99% of their home’s assessed value in property taxes each year. Texas, on the other hand, has some of the highest property taxes in the country.

In Dallas County alone, the average effective rate is a staggering 1.93%. This equates to thousands of dollars in property tax payments annually for the average Dallas homeowner. Property taxes in the entire state of Texas have been an issue between the local government and the state for many years. While some state representatives seek to cap rates, cities and counties oppose this because property taxes are the main source of local revenue in many areas.

Taxes in Seattle vs. Dallas Comparison

CityIncome TaxSales TaxProperty Tax
Seattle, WANone10.10%0.99% (average effective rate)
Dallas, TXNone8.25%1.93% (average effective rate)

Income & Economy in Seattle vs. Dallas

The median household income in Seattle is $79,565 which is around 38% higher than the national median income of $57,652. When compared to Dallas, however, Dallas residents earn only almost 41% less than Seattle residents – with a Dallas’ median household income of $47,285. Overall, there’s a good chance that you could earn more money living in Seattle than in Dallas.

The two cities also differ when it comes to unemployment rates. Seattle’s unemployment rate of 4.8% is much lower than Dallas’ unemployment rate of 7.4%. Not to mention, Seattle’s unemployment rate is far below the national average of 6.0%, while Dallas’ is slightly higher.

Grocery Expenses in Seattle vs. Dallas

As groceries and food are an expense that people encounter on a daily basis, the overall grocery and food index are another factor that can impact the cost of living in a particular city. If you lived in Dallas instead of Seattle, you’d be looking at about a 8.8% savings on food and groceries

The overall grocery cost index in Seattle is more than the national average of 100, coming in at approximately 108.7. Whereas, Dallas’ grocery index is below the national average, at 99.1. Examine the following table for a more detailed look at the average prices on groceries in Seattle vs. Dallas:

Food ItemSeattleDallas
Bread (one loaf)$3.39$2.80
Gallon of milk$3.56$3.06
Dozen eggs$2.95$2.06
Local cheese (8 oz)$8.15$4.21
Boneless chicken breast (1 lb.)$5.23$3.85
Apples (1 lb.)$2.24$1.58
Tomatoes (1 lb.)$2.63$1.34
Bananas (1 lb.)$0.78$0.79

Transportation Costs in Seattle vs. Dallas

Whether you choose to live in Seattle or Dallas, transportation costs are an important factor to consider when calculating the overall cost of living in both cities. These costs include expenses like gas prices, vehicle purchase costs, bus fares, monthly transit fees, and other public transportation expenses.

According to World Population Review, Seattle is considered the sixth-worst city for traffic in the nation but has the country’s best public transportation system. Dallas, on the other hand, doesn’t even make the top ten list for the cities with the worst traffic. Despite being a city that favors personal vehicles, the public transportation in Dallas is somewhat decent. With this in mind, living in Dallas instead of Seattle would save you approximately 14.8% in transportation costs.

Cost FactorSeattle Dallas
Gallon of gas$3.19$2.15
Monthly public transit pass$99.00$96.00
Taxi trip in downtown (approx. five miles)$16.92$11.55
New Volkswagen Golf$25,000$22,500

Entertainment & Miscellaneous Costs in Seattle vs. Dallas

Cost FactorAverage Price in SeattleAverage Price in Dallas
Monthly local gym membership$57.46$41.20
Movie ticket$14.00$12.00
Pack of cigarettes$10.00$7.52
Domestic beer (1 pint)$6.50$5.00
Cappuccino (mid-range area)$4.83$4.42
Pair of running shoes$95.94$78.59
Fast food combo meal$10.00$8.00

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Seattle vs. Dallas: Which is More Expensive?

When you consider the overall cost of living index, both Seattle and Dallas are more expensive than the national average. However, when you compare these two cities together, it is about 66% more expensive to live in Seattle than Dallas. The cost savings in Dallas is primarily contributed to the more affordable housing costs, though Dallas residents also enjoy cheaper food and groceries, transportation, and miscellaneous costs.

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Jessica Stone
Jessica Stone

Jessica considers herself a home improvement and design enthusiast. She grew up surrounded by constant home improvement projects and owes most of what she knows to helping her dad renovate her childhood home. Being a Los Angeles resident, Jessica spends a lot of her time looking for her next DIY project and sharing her love for home design.

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