Portland Old Town
April 13, 2020 Posted in City Guides
Milly Andrews

Born and raised in Portland, Milly has had a lot of experience moving and writing about the relocation process.

What Is the Cost of Living in Portland, Oregon? The 2020 Guide

Are you looking for a place where you can enjoy the best coffee ever and the scenic view of the Chinese and Japanese gardens? If so, it’s just a step away from you. But first things first: you should research the cost of living in Portland.

the woman is sitting by the table with a calculator and piggy bank Before relocating figure out how much you should save up

If you’re in search of a family-friendly city overflowing with lovely people, attractions, breweries, cafes, outdoor venues, and abundant cultural life, City of Roses has it all. You can immerse yourself in its amenities and find out why it is so appealing to many people.

But before giving yourself up to things to do in Portland, you should become familiar with its housing options and overall costs. So, if you want to know how much money you’re going to need before moving to Portland, the cost of living calculator can make your research much easier. With this calculator, you can compare the expenses in your current location to the costs in a new location.

What to Know About the Cost of Living in Portland Before Moving There?

Portland, known as “The City of Roses,” “Beervana,” “PDX,” and “Little Beirut,” is considered one of the most expensive cities in the U.S. It’s one of the nation’s growing metro areas with a population of nearly 650,000 and the cost of living index 31% above the U.S. average.

If your wish is to live in this urban area with innumerable cultural events, mind-boggling landscapes, a family-friendly environment, and quirky neighborhoods, we understand you completely. This metropolis can offer some of the best neighborhoods in Portland for a fulfilled and high-quality life.

According to Kiplinger and Areavibes, the City of Roses’ COL index is above the national average in most categories. So, here is some data you should take into consideration before hiring professional Portland movers and throwing a goodbye party:

  • Housing-related costs are 82% above the national avg.
  • Transportation-related expenses are 17% higher
  • Healthcare is 12% more expensive than in other cities
  • COL index is 8% higher than the state avg.
  • COL index is 27% higher than the national avg.
  • Oregon’s general sales tax is 100% lower than the national avg.
  • The state income charge is 125% higher than the national avg.
PDX area view If you would like to move to PDX, you should know what they say: "Portland is where young people go to retire."

What Are the Home Prices Like

Although more than half of the homes in PDX are priced between $390,000 and $990,000, most people own a home, which makes for a 52.1% homeownership rate. According to Zillow, the median home value is around $456,000, and the median price per square foot is $290.

How high of a salary you need to buy a home in PDX should be one of the essential questions before relocating here. According to some research, buyers should make a yearly income of around $80,766 to afford all mortgages related to median-priced homes.

The median household income in PDX is $73,000 per year. That being said, if you’re thinking about a new house, maybe you should rent it, which is still a more affordable housing solution.

PDX during the day You can use a COL calculator to compare PDX's prices to your hometown

Rentals in PDX

Depending on yours and your family members’ needs, but above all, your budget, you can opt for a one-, two-, or three-bedroom apartment. So, to better organize yourself and plan your financial expenses, let’s take a look at how much money should be set aside for rent per month, according to Numbeo and Oregonlive:

  • One-bedroom apartment: between $1,150 to $1,600
  • Two-bedroom apartment: about $1,200
  • Three-bedrooms apartment: between $1,900 to $2,900

Although Portland’s median rent is above the national average, it is still more affordable than Seattle (higher by 24,75%), San Francisco (+ 56,75%), and Los Angeles (+ 31%).

If you have doubts or additional questions about renting or buying, speaking with a financial advisor might be helpful.

Downtown What is the best housing option - to rent or buy a home? That depends on your financial means.

Utilities in Oregon Are Much Higher than Most Americans Pay

On the national level, utilities are about $152. In PDX, be prepared to pay more than that, mainly due to water and sewer costs, which have been rising here.

According to Numbeo and Zumper, the cost for utilities for a 915 sq ft apartment is about $170, and it includes gas, electricity, trash and recycling, and water and sewage. Being without Internet services is unimaginable today, so you should add a sum of about $70 for that, too.

calculator with cost written on it Be ready to pay more for utilities here

What Are the Options for Transportation

The City of Roses might be the most bike-friendly city in the U.S., particularly owing to the fact that Portlanders are known as eco-conscious citizens. And that’s not all. They can boast an excellent public transport system, which means you can explore all the city’s amenities in the way that suits you the best – on foot, on two or even four wheels.

With its comprehensive and connected Trimet Public Transportation System, you can use rail, bus, or streetcar services. Depending on your requirements and daily routine, you can purchase a one-way ($ 2.50), daily ($5), or monthly pass ticket ($100).

If you like using the taxi service, an hour’s drive will cost you about $40, and if you opt for your own vehicle, you should put aside about $3.5 for gasoline per gallon, based on Numbeo’s data.

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The Crucial Thing About Portland’s Transportation

PDX’s public transportation system was ranked as 10th best in the nation in 2018. That being said, you can live in PDX without a vehicle, literally.

This way you won’t just save your money and avoid congested streets, but you’ll take care of the environment and global pollution. According to some research and carbon footprint calculators, cutting out your car may reduce your annual CO2 emissions from 11,405 pounds to 4,782.

Furthermore, you can save more than $9,738 per year by choosing public transportation instead of your vehicle.

subway in PDX In PDX, you don't need a car since the transportation system is among the best in the U.S.

Food and Groceries

When it comes to food and grocery costs, PDX has prices that are 15% higher than in the rest of the country, according to PayScale. Let’s find out what Numbeo says regarding market prices in Portland:

  • A gallon of milk:  app. $3.5
  • A loaf of fresh white bread: app. $3
  • 12 eggs: app. $3
  • Local cheese (1lb): app. $7
  • Chicken fillets (1lb): app. $5.5
  • Beef round (1lb): app. $7
  • Apples (1lb): app. $2.5
  • Potato (1lb): app. $1
  • Lettuce (1 head): app. $2.00
  • A gallon of water: app. $5
  • Bottle of wine (mid-range): app. $15.00
  • Domestic beer: app. $2.00
  • Imported beer: app. $4.00
  • Cigarettes 20 pack (Marlboro): app. $7.00

If you’re a type of person who can’t imagine a day without restaurant dining or fast food meals, prices are from $14.00 to $55.00 in restaurants and about $7.50 in McDonald’s.

Restaurant fans will definitely enjoy the famous Portland Dining Month and dozens of participating restaurants. As one of the most significant food events in PDX, it features budget-friendly options. A number of best restaurants in Portland will serve three-course meals for $33. So, this might be an excellent opportunity for a lot of people not just to try new dishes and visit old favorites, but to save some money, too.

Oregon – the State of Hops and Beers

One of the most popular products in Oregon is, for sure, a beer. Although hops were used for pillows in the beginning, at the end of the 20th century, craft beer became extremely popular. And that’s how it all began.

Today, beer and coffee are definitely the most popular drinks in PDX. The number of breweries is over 150, which is super high compared to the whole state of Massachusetts, for example – it has just 185 breweries.

Even though Oregon produces about 13 million pounds of hops, whose estimated value is approximately $70 million, the average price for a big glass of local beer in Beervana is $5. And that is pricier than the rest of the country by a full dollar.

stack of money Your salary will be above the U.S. avg. in Little Beirut

No Sales Taxes in Oregon and Portland

The best thing about moving to PXD is that there is no sales tax. That means what you see on the sticker price is the correct and entire sum. Oregon belongs to the five states in the U.S. without sales charges, which makes it a perfect place for small and large purchases. Still, these states may levy another kind of taxes, but the lack of sales tax is especially appealing to out of state visitors.

How Does the Free-Charge System Affect Income Tax?

Despite the no sales tax advantages, state funds have to come from somewhere. That means Oregonians pay a bit higher income tax to compensate for the difference. If you compare to other states, Oregon has a high personal income tax, but it doesn’t charge intangibles, such as bonds and stock accounts.

girl sitting in a pub reading a book Beer or coffee? You can't go wrong whatever you pick

The Cost of Living Index and Median Income Are Slightly Higher Than in Other U.S. Cities

Living in Oregon’s largest city can provide you with all the comforts of home, no matter whether you are a family person, young professional, or entrepreneur. Little Beirut possesses all the crucial factors necessary for high living standards. Yes, compared to other cities in the U.S., the cost of living in Portland is higher than the national average. But, that might be a drawback only at first glance. If you consider that Oregon’s median household income is above the U.S. average, you will realize that your fear of relocation to PDX is unfounded. You can compare it to your hometown by using a COL calculator and find out how expensive Little Beirut is.

Living Costs – Portland VS Major Cities

So, if your dream has always been to buy your own property, in Little Beirut, that’s achievable, perhaps much more than in other bigger cities. Let’s find out what the median home sales price and rent for one-bedroom apartments is in Los Angeles, Seattle, San Francisco, and New York. (data from Smartasset.com)

City Median Price of Home (single-family) Monthly Rent for one-bedroom Apartments
Portland $389,000 $1,130
Seattle $489,600 $1,330
Los Angeles $576,100 $1,365
San Francisco $952,400 $2,470
New York City $403,900 $2,100

PDX Is a Great City to Live in

If you’re moving to Beervana, you should know that the largest Oregon city has something for everyone. So, before you hire professional moving services and schedule the date of your move, be familiar with all advantages this relocation brings you.

PDX is well-known for its livability, food, drink, culture, arts, excellent job opportunities, Portland schools – you name it. Truth is that housing options, both in terms of renting and buying properties, are pricey, but if you can afford it, you will easily find some of the best areas to live in Portland, Oregon.


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