Are you thinking about moving to Washington State? You should know that WA is a piece of heaven for all outdoor enthusiasts. Also, some of the most successful companies in the world have found their home here. Job opportunities are fantastic, especially in the tech-related industry, but a lot is going on in farming and agriculture. So, before you start packing your suitcases, you should know a few other things about WA.
Things To Know Before Moving to Washington State
WA has the most beautiful countryside in the Pacific Northwest. That area, also known as Cascadia, is maybe the most stunning region in the US. Cascadia is made of Idaho, WA, Oregon, and parts of Wyoming and Montana. Over 16 million people live in Cascadia, and half of them in WA.
The Cascade Mountains run through the countryside, dividing it into parts – East and West Washington. They are very diverse in weather and features. The most populated cities in the state are Seattle, Tacoma, Vancouver, and Olympia. WA is also a home of four volcanoes, including Glacier Peak and Mount Adams. Fortunately, it’s been about forty years since the last eruption.
Moving to Washington State From California (or, Anywhere Else) – Pros and Cons
Besides it’s stunning outdoors, WA has many other advantages, including education, a growing economy, and job opportunities. The downsides of being a resident here are the higher everyday expenses, unpopular tax policies, and weather.
Soon after you relocate to WA, you’ll notice how residents here take good care of their health, both physical and mental. It means that WA has fewer overweight individuals than many other states in the US. Also, the state’s among most educated ones — over 44% of its population owns Associates and higher degrees.
If you are in search of good employment, consider relocating to the Pacific Northwest. Some of the most successful companies have their headquarters here. Just to name a few – Amazon, Google, Boeing, and Starbucks have found their home in the WA.
The variety of industries is developing here, making WA so appealing for investors from other countries.
The highest minimum wage
$9.47 – the amount that a standard worker in WA earns per hour, and this is the highest minimum wage per hour in the entire US.
It is an environmentally conscious state
Nature’s beauties, including forests, water, and parks make WA so appealing for newcomers. In 2005, WA was voted the number #1 bike-friendly area in the US. Good water and air quality, a lot of green space, amazing green buildings, and culture of waste recycling are the things that confirm how much WA appreciates and embraces nature.
WA’s national parks are suitable for different outdoor activities, including cycling, hiking, and rock climbing. Reservations of water such as the ocean, lakes, and rivers are typical for those who like to sail and kayak. If you are a winter sports enthusiast, mountain crests are perfect for them.
There are no income taxes
WA is among the seven US states with no income taxes.
Low violent crime rate
The possibility that a WA resident experiences a violent crime is almost 30% lower than in the other parts of the US. The probability rate is 1 in 331. There’s a bigger chance of property crime, though, almost 50% more than in the rest of the US.
Disadvantages of Moving to WA
Cost of Living
Whether you are relocating to Vancouver or SEA, the cost of living in WA is higher than in most parts of the US. For instance, the cost of living in Seattle is almost 50% higher than the US average, while in Vancouver, you will have to pay more for most things than in some other parts of the nation.
Besides the benefit of non-existing income tax, the sales taxes are higher than in most places in the United States.
The Cascada Range splits WA into two climate zones. The state’s central and eastern parts have a dry climate with extreme temperatures, while the western part is characterized by a moderate climate with an abundance of rainfall. Also, there’s a considerable probability of hurricanes and storms, and you should know that WA has four active volcanoes.
Unemployment is an issue
Even though the market offers different employment opportunities, unemployment is still a problem here. Speaking in the language of figures, the rate in the WA is 6.4%, placing it in the top ten countries with the same problem in the US.
A high rate of property crime
WA is on the top when it comes to property crimes in the US.
The Best Places to Live in the Evergreen State
When someone says WA, most of us think about the Emerald City – Seattle. It’s not a surprise because we are talking about a vibrant and open-minded community that is suitable for folks of all ages. Being a resident in SEA means living in a place that’s full of opportunities, and it is environmentally conscious.
SEA is full of bicycle riders and coffee lovers. If you are moving with pets, you’ll be glad to know that they are welcome in many of the city’s bars, cafes, and shops.
Its highness – Seattle!
Those looking for an ideal place to settle in, Wallingford neighborhood could be it. Centrally located, it is a perfect mixture of a suburb and an urban center. Large family houses and pretty tree-lines, in combination with trendy restaurants, bars, coffee shops, and records stores, make this neighborhood so appealing to newcomers.
However, like most places in the SEA, the housing may not be cheap. According to Zillow, renting a two-bedroom apartment is around $2,000, and for buying a house, the median price of homes in Wallingford is $797,250.
Besides being one of the oldest Seattle neighborhoods, North Admiral also is a stunning blend of suburban blockhouses and beachfront mansions. Though it was considered to be a bit too far out of town, nowadays it is accessible thanks to the opening of a large shale bridge that connects it with downtown.
There are a lot of opportunities for buying real estate here. According to Zillow, the median value of houses is $800,000, and for renting a two-bedroom apartment, according to apartments.com, you will need around $2,000.
Elsewhere in Seattle
Do you know where the center of the Universe is? Well, if you ask residents of Fremont, they will tell you that it’s right there. This popular neighborhood is packed with trendy coffee shops, hippie clothes stores, and modern condominiums.
Fremont is a unique area with a carefree vibe, especially popular with the alternative folks. According to apartments.com, renting a two-bedroom apartment will cost you approximately $2,000 per month, while, according to Zillow, the median price of houses is $699,974.
Ballard is another SEA community famous for being a mixture of old apartment blocks and new condo developments. It is a family-oriented neighborhood filled with some of the best restaurants in Seattle, popular among all residents, especially on weekends. And, did someone say beach? Yes, Ballard also has a beach suitable for gatherings and outdoor activities, including picnics, barbecuing, and kite-surfing.
If you are looking for a more affordable suburb in SEA, stop right here because Greenwood is a place for you. It is just 15 minutes from downtown, and it is ideal for young families. Here, you will see traditional single houses as well as modern constructions, including a lot of family-friendly restaurants and coffee shops and cocktail bars.
According to Zillow, to afford a two-bedroom apartment, you will need around $2,500 per month. On the other hand, the median price of houses is $649,000.
Other Great Places in WA to Call Home
We all know how fantastic SEA is, but let’s see what the rest of WA has to offer. Who knows, one of the following places might be your future home.
Only a 25-minutes drive away from the SEA, Bellevue is a town that offers a calm vibe, but also has a lot of entertainment options. It has a Sculpture garden, a Botanical garden, a fantastic Art museum and Children’s science and tech museum. With a population of around 142,200, it is the state’s fifth-largest town, and it’s more affordable than the SEA.
Redmond is an excellent place for all those seeking employment. If you are moving with kids, you should know that this town has one of the best school systems in the country, and that’s why it is such a popular option for families.
Sammamish, Bainbridge Island, or Tacoma, Which One Is The Best for Living?
Though less affordable than Redmond, Sammamish is one of the most popular places for those relocating to WA. It has a population of 52,000, and it’s just 25 miles away from SEA. It sits next to the beautiful Lake Sammamish, and it is ideal for outdoor activities. The schooling system is also quite good, ranking the city as one of the most desirable places to raise a family.
Those who are in love with nature should consider moving to Bainbridge Island. Its residents are passionate about hiking, sailing, fishing, and generally enjoying the outdoors. SEA is just next door, and, in a poll conducted by CNN, the town once was the second-best place to live in Washington.
Tacoma is growing in popularity each year because Seattle’s high house prices force people to move out to the neighboring cities. It is known for its Museum of glass, which attracts visitors from around the state and beyond.
Tacoma is one of the best cities for young professionals, due to its much lower everyday expenses than the Emerald City. According to apartments.com, to rent a two-bedroom apartment, you will need around $1,200, while, according to Zillow, $314,950 is the median price of houses.
Famous for being one of the prettiest cities in the country, Spokane is just 92 miles away from the US-Canada border, and within an hour’s drive from over 70 rivers and lakes, including gorgeous Lake Coeur d’Alene.
However, the city itself can be proud of its outdoors, too, including the Selkirk Mountains and Spoken River running through it. So, if you are an outdoor person, Spokane could be the place you are looking for.
According to apartments.com, renting a two-bedroom apartment here can cost you around $1,200 per month. On the other hand, according to Zillow, the median price of homes currently listed in Spokane is $259,972. Housing options and everyday expenses in Spokane are more affordable than in many other parts of the country.
The Job Market
Back in 2017, WA has been voted the top place for business in the entire US. The job market is still growing, making the region one of the most popular locations to seek job opportunities.
The Evergreen State Industry
Microsoft, a brainchild of Bill Gates, is one of the most significant exports of WA. Other exemplary businesses, including Zillow, Expedia, and Amazon, are also here.
Facebook, Twitter, Google, Apple, and eBay have engineering offices here. The industry is not going to slow down any time soon because over 220,000 people are employed in tech-related businesses, from game developers to software engineers.
With more than 1,400 companies providing jobs, building products and services for the likes of Airbus, Embraer, Boeing, and Bombardier, the Aerospace industry is also one of the state’s leading industries. With more than 80,000 employers, Boeing is SEA’s top employer.
Forest Products Sector
At number three of WA’s manufacturing sectors is the Forest Products Sector. Since 165 years ago, the industry has been providing a vast assortment of jobs for Washington’s residents, and it’s still going strong. There is always a need for forest products such as window frames, doors, furniture, and paper.
With fabulous 39,500 farms that grow over 300 different crops, farming is also an essential sector in WA. The region grows over 2.5 million tons of apples per year, and six out of every ten apples consumed in the United States come from WA.
Who are The Top Employers in WA?
Besides Boing, there is also Microsoft, which employs over 20,000 people in Redmond’s city. Another significant employer is Walmart, with more than 20,000 workers, along with Amazon, and Joint Base Lewis-McChord, a US Air Force base with around 56,000 staff.
Considering Home Prices and Cost of Living, Is It Expensive to Live in Washington State?
Relocating to SEA could be considered expensive; however, when you are a resident in some of the Emerald City’s neighboring cities, such as Tacoma, life is more affordable. The everyday expenses are high wherever you are in WA, but there are also great job opportunities, and WA ranks first in the country in terms of minimum wage.
When it comes to renting a place, prices can vary depending on whether you are planning to move to Seattle, which is more expensive than, say, Tacoma. The average rent in SEA for a two-bedroom apartment is $2,500 per month, while the same sized place in Tacoma would cost you around $1,200 per month.
The cost of buying a property in WA, a house to be specific, can be considered expensive, and the middle value of a homes is over $400,000. Houses spend around 75 days in the market, which is not long at all, so it is a great market if you are a seller. Those with tight budgets should consider looking outside the Emerald City because house prices in Emerald City are around $700,000.
Opposite groceries, utility bills are more affordable, and it will cost you around 25% less than the national average.
Compared to the national average, people in WA spend 17% less on their annual healthcare insurance.
According to Avalara, the WA sales tax is currently 6.5%. However, local municipalities have the right to raise it higher, so the total tax rate can be as high as 10.4$.
How Long Does it Take to Become a Resident of Washington State?
According to Access Washington, it is not hard to become a resident of WA. You should take specific actions, proving that you are planning to live in WA on a more than transient or temporary basis. Those actions include obtaining a WA driver license, registering to vote, or buying a property, and maintaining a residence for personal use.
Relocating to WA May Be One of The Best Moves You Made in Your Life
Despite the higher general costs and unpopular tax policies, the WA has so much to offer. Start with stunning nature, kind and open-minded people, oriented to education, and job opportunities that will make your career blossom. If you are thinking of relocating to WA, we say, go for it!
But first, you should organize your move, and maybe think about the cheapest way to move out of state. With the help of reliable professionals who provide packing and moving services, you’ll not have to worry about will your belongings be delivered safely and undamaged to your new location. Consider contacting Seattle movers and let the packing begin!