Considering moving to Washington State? | Pros and Cons

Have you been thinking about moving to Washington State? We don’t blame you; the northwest is a very desirable place to be. Here you’ll find the pros and cons of relocating to Washington. Team Sno-King brings over 15 years of real estate brokerage experience, Contact us if we can help you relocate.


moving to Washington George pic

Overview of Washington State

Washington state is located in the spectacular Pacific Northwest region of the United States. Named after George Washington, it was carved out of the west section of the Western Territory which was given up by the British way back in 1846.  The Pacific ocean skirts the Western edge of the state with Oregon to the South, Idaho to the East, and the Canadian Province of British Columbia to the North. Olympia is the state capital which lies 61 miles South on Interstate 5. 

Washington state is bustling with a population of 7.4 million people. 60% of those residents live in the Seattle Metropolitan Area (includes King, Snohomish, and Pierce counties which contain surrounding satellites and suburbs). It’s the 13th most populous state in the U.S. with the population increasing exponentially year after year. Hosting a new and improved silicon valley tech sector and housing some of the largest companies in the United States, it’s no wonder so many people are attracted to this beautiful state.  Check out the table below for the population change over 10-year-intervals; pretty staggering. 

moving to Washington State populations stats
Population Change Over 10-Year-Intervals | Washington State

The Puget Sound region itself sits inland from the Pacific Ocean containing fjords, bays, and islands shaped by epic glaciers. The rest of the state, West of the Cascade mountain range has stunning rain forests, (covered by mostly conifer trees), lakes and rivers (teeming with trout and seasonal salmon). East of the Cascades, you’ll find a semi-arid region with deserts and huge agricultural areas. The beauty of this state comes with equally stunning environmental hazards like 5 active volcanoes, and heavy tectonic plate activity bringing earthquake risk to the region. 


PROS of Moving to Washington State

1# Jobs, Jobs & More Jobs

moving to Washington State jobs

Washington state has one of the best job markets in the United States, especially when it comes to it’s new tech sector. With companies like Amazon, Starbucks, Costco, Boeing and Microsoft residing here, it’s no wonder there is no shortage of jobs and decent salaries to go around. The median income in Washington State is $66,174 and the unemployment rate is at 4.6% at the time of this writing. Software engineers are doing very well with a median salary of $113,480. The minimum wage in Seattle was raised to $15 an hour marking the city much more approachable. 

#2 Nature & Outdoor Activities

Owl, Oregon, Tree, Portland Oregon, Bird, Wildlife

There’s no shortage of breathtaking scenery in the Pacific Northwest. There are many beautiful parks, coastal beaches, hiking trails, fishing locations, moss-covered rain-forests, crystal-clear lakes, and mountains for the adventurous types; The 14,500 snow-capped peak of Mt. Rainer is a signature site. Many of these locations are protected by the state’s three national parks, 120 state parks, countless wilderness areas, recreation areas and preserves. 

Clean water is not hard to come by West of the Cascades. Washington gets 73 inches of rain on average, per year. The US average is a mere 38 inches of rain per year. With the global climate changing rapidly, living in a region that has ample fresh drinking water is becoming more and more important!

#3 No Income Tax!

Washington state does not have a personal or corporate income tax. However, people or businesses that engage in business in Washington are subject to business and occupation (B&O) and/or public utility tax. The business’s gross receipts determine the amount of tax they are required to pay. Businesses that make retail sales or provide retail services may be required to collect and submit retail sales tax

From the Department of Revenue –

#4 Public Schools

Children, Infant, Girl, School, Reading, Studying

A lot of folks consider moving to Washington State because of the overall diversity of the population. The schools are diverse with growing hispanic and asian populations. Washington has the #12 largest school system in the United States. There are many good options to choose from for your children. Check out our post on the top public school districts in the greater Seattle area.

CONS of Moving to Washington State

#1 Cost of Living

Especially in the greater Seattle area, the cost of living is high. The tech sector is bringing in higher income workers, driving up the median home price. At the time of this writing the median home price in Seattle is $713,000. The farther away from the main hubs you go, the lower the price gets; the median for the state is $369,900. Check out the cost of living table below comparing Washington’s cost of living score to the U.S. average of 100. Check out our blog for frequent updates on Seattle housing market data. Have questions? Contact Team Sno-King

COST OF LIVINGWashingtonUnited States
  Overall131.1100
  Grocery107.2100
  Health80.2100
  Housing197.8100
  Median Home Cost$369,900$236,100
  Utilities74100
  Transportation126.3100
  Miscellaneous99.4100

#2 Traffic

Seattle, Downtown, City, Buildings, Urban, America

Autonomous cars cannot come out fast enough! Seattleites spend way too much time in their vehicles; Seattle traffic is the 9th worst in the U.S. with the average driver spending 55 hours per year in their vehicle. With the population growing more each year, this problem isn’t going to be solved any time soon.

#3 Weather 

Grab a cup of coffee, because you likely won’t be getting enough Vitamin D here most of the year. As stated above, Washington state gets 73 inches of rain per year! The precipitation keeps it lush and green, but expect roughly 150 days of rain per year and lots of cloudy days. Temperatures are pretty mellow most of the year averaging an annual high of 61°F (16 °C) and a low of 46°F.(16 °C)

The year’s hottest days are normally at the end of July and beginning of August. The average temperature peaks then with daily highs of 77 °F (25 °C) and nighttime lows of 58 °F (14 °C). Humidity is pretty high in this region with an average of 77% annually.  If you’re the type that likes average humidity and lots of sunny days, Western Washington might not be the best option for you. You’ll find the climate a lot more arid east of the Cascades with more extreme temperatures. 

#4 Crime Rates

Washington’s 2019 property crime rate per 1000 residents is higher than the national average. Burglary is at 5.90 compared to 4.3 in the rest of the nation. Theft sits at 21.94 compared to 16.94 nationally, and motor vehicle theft is at 3.89 compared 2.87 nationally. 

The violent crime rate in 2019 is also slightly unnerving and should be taken into consideration when deciding to move to Washington State. The murder rate is .03 to .05 from WA to the U.S respectively. Rape from .44 to .42. Robbery is lower than the national average at .73 to .98, and assault is 1.85 to 2.49. 

Violent Crimes 2019

State/NationMurderRapeRobbery Assault
WA0.030.440.731.85
U.S.0.050.420.982.49

Property Crimes 2019

State/NationBurglaryTheftMotor Theft
WA5.9021.943.89
U.S.4.3016.942.37


We hope you found this post on considering moving to Washington state helpful. Relocating can be one of the most important decisions you’ll make in your lifetime! Team Sno-King is your trusted advisor when searching for real estate in the greater Seattle area.  Search for a home on our home page or Contact Us with any questions you may have. We can show you any properties you’re interested in. Thanks for reading! 

Team Sno-King | Kelly Right Real Estate 425.446.1494

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