Are you ready to pack your bags and head to Oregon’s largest city? Before you do so, it is crucial to learn more about the actual cost of living in Portland, Oregon, to be able to organize your finances accordingly. From housing and utilities to transportation and taxes, there are quite a few aspects to take into consideration. The overall cost of living in the City of Roses is higher than the national average, but still lower compared to some other popular destinations.
If you’re wondering, What is the cheapest place to live in Oregon? you should know that your chosen destination is not even among the ten most affordable places in the state. If you’re looking for an affordable place, you should consider Umatilla, Hermiston, Pendleton, or some other small town.
Nonetheless, that doesn’t mean that moving to Portland is not an idea worth considering. On the contrary – living in Portland, Oregon, comes with a wide range of advantages, from vibrant art and culture to a high standard of living. Now before you start packing your bags, let’s see how much you should plan to allocate for monthly expenses.
Finding a New Place in Portland: Brace Yourself for High Housing Prices
Before you start getting organized to move, there are some crucial steps to take, including finding your future home. For those of you moving from a small town to a big city, it might be somewhat challenging to decide which part of the area to pick. To narrow your choice down, start with some of the best neighborhoods in Portland. Of course, “the best” depends on your requirements and preferences, but no matter what you’re looking for, you’ll be able to find it here. Among other things, the home price will, without a doubt, affect your final decision, so let’s see what you should expect.
When it comes to housing prices, you should be prepared for somewhat high figures, considering that housing here is more expensive than the national average.
If you’re moving from an apartment to a house, you might even be tempted to think about buying a house. Namely, regardless of the high house prices, more than 50% of the residents own their homes. If you’re considering this option, it might be a good idea to save up some money. According to data provided by Zillow, the median home value is over $460,000, while the median rent price is close to $2,000. If you would like to save a few bucks and live in a more spacious place, you should consider moving to the suburbs.
When it comes to apartments, according to some estimates, renting turns out to be as expensive as buying in the long run. Let’s see some figures to help you get the idea.
Renting Apartments Can Be Just as Expensive as Buying
If you’re moving to the city alone and a house is too big for you, you might be looking for a studio or a one-bedroom apartment. But even so, you shouldn’t expect to find an affordable place that meets your requirements that easily.
According to data provided by Numbeo, if you’re looking for a one-bedroom apartment in the center, you should expect the average monthly rent of about $1,600. The rent per month for a flat of the same size outside the downtown area is somewhat cheaper – around $1,200. When it comes to larger apartments, the data shows that the average rent for a three-bedroom place goes as high as $2,900 in the downtown area, and about $2,000 on the outskirts.
When it comes to buying, the price per square foot for a place in the center goes beyond $370. Naturally, apartments outside the center are cheaper, so in this case, you should expect to pay $250 per square foot.
Remember to Include Utilities
When you find the place of your dreams, no matter how satisfied you are with the price, remember that there’s more. Here you come to a rather expensive aspect of living in Portland: utilities. The data gathered by Numbeo suggest that the average utility costs are higher than the national average of $152.
Namely, you should plan to allocate over $170 for essential utilities, including water, electricity, cooling, heating, and garbage. What about the Internet? Naturally, you can’t imagine your life without it, so be sure you add about $70 for this service.
Unfortunately, you shouldn’t expect these expenses to be any lower. On the contrary – water and sewer costs are even likely to rise, so brace yourself.
Utility Costs Are a Major Contributor to the High Cost of Living in Portland, Oregon
In addition to the high housing prices, rising utility costs are another factor making the City of Roses as expensive as it is today. When you sit down and start planning your monthly budget, don’t forget to include these expenses to get the real picture. If you’re planning to rent an apartment, be sure you ask the landlord about the monthly utilities, as these are usually not included in the rent price. Only after you take your calculator and add all these side expenses can you decide whether you’ve picked a place that really fits your budget.
Getting Around: How Much Do You Need for Transportation?
To start with, we’re sure you’ll be happy to hear that Portland Airport (PDX) is less than a 30-minute drive away from downtown. After you settle in, there is a wide range of options for getting around town.
When it comes to public transportation, a one-way ticket is $2.50. For those of you planning to use public transportation regularly, buying a monthly pass for $100 is the more affordable option. If, however, you’d rather get around in your car, you should know that the price for a gallon of gas is around $3.40.
What Is the Best Mode of Transport?
The most convenient mode of transport depends on one’s personal preferences. According to US News, the city has an excellent public transportation network, with most people relying on buses and light rail.
If you’d rather enjoy the comfort of your own car, it’s time to consider shipping your four-wheeler to the new location. Shipping your car cross country might sound like much of a trouble. However, it doesn’t have to be if you have professional Portland movers by your side. They can provide you with auto transport and car shipping service and deliver your vehicle at your future address.
When you’re not in that much of a hurry and the weather is nice, walking or biking is an idea worth entertaining, too. Portland is known for having the highest number of bicycle commuters in the entire country, so you might decide to join them. It also has a high walkability score, meaning that it’s quite convenient to get from point A to point B on foot.
Food Prices Are Somewhat Higher than the National Average
After you figure out how to pack kitchen items for moving, it’s time to start thinking about grocery shopping. So, how much money should you plan to spend on groceries when you relocate to the City of Roses?
The cost of living index shows that food prices are somewhat higher than the national average. When it comes to some specific items, a loaf of white bread is about $3.30, a pack of 12 eggs is $3.20, while a gallon of milk is about $3.40. Overall, the minimum amount of money that you should expect to spend on food per month is over $400. Even if some prices might seem too high, the good news is that there’s no tax on food here, so the price you see is the price you pay.
At some point, you’ll get tired of cooking, and you’ll want to check out some of the best restaurants in Portland. When that happens, here’s how much money you should allocate for eating out.
Does It Cost Too Much to Eat Out?
There are several first-class restaurants that you have to check out, so be sure you include the costs of eating out in your monthly budget. The data on Numbeo suggest that a meal in an inexpensive restaurant is $14. If you go to a mid-range restaurant, you should expect to pay $55 for a three-course meal for two people. The same service but in a high-end venue will cost you some $30 more.
How Much Money Do You Need to Live Comfortably in Portland, Oregon?
Considering that a single person spends more than $1,000 a month without rent, you would need to earn a salary of about $55,000 – $60,000 a year to live comfortably here. You might be able to make ends meet with less than that, but if you want to be able to afford more, you should pursue a better-paid job.
To be able to plan your budget and see whether you can, in fact, live comfortably here, you should get a job before you move. That way, you’ll know how much you’ll earn, and you won’t even need a calculator to see if your income is enough for a comfortable lifestyle in Oregon’s largest city. Just don’t forget about some of the most important things to consider when relocating for a job.
Cost of Living in Portland vs. Seattle
As previously mentioned, Oregon imposes zero tax on food. Now, to make the news even better, we should tell you that this is one of the five states that have no statewide sales or use tax. Compared to nearby Seattle, Washington, where the sales tax is 10.1%, your chosen destination is rather affordable in this respect. However, do keep in mind that you’ll still be expected to pay personal income tax, which can be somewhat high (5%-9% rates).
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Other aspects, too, make Seattle the more expensive destination, 31% more expensive, to be more precise. According to Numbeo, the monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Seattle is over $2,100, while these figures go as high as $3,700 for a three-bedroom apartment. It’s enough to say that you need a salary of more than $72,000 per year to live comfortably in Seattle.
Cost of Living in Portland, Oregon Compared to Other Major US Cities: Is Portland Expensive to Live?
Even though it’s not among the most affordable places ever, the City of Roses is still much more affordable than many other popular US cities. New York is 43% more expensive, while San Francisco is as much as 105% more expensive. There are, of course, more affordable options, too. For instance, Columbus, Ohio, is about 34% cheaper than Portland.
Does living here seem manageable financially speaking? When you find a well-paid job, this lovely place will not seem that expensive, after all. And then, you get to focus on everything it has to offer – rich culture, great outdoor activities to spend your free time, open and friendly people. Meeting new neighbors might seem awkward now, but when you move there, you’ll see that it doesn’t have to be that way.