You May Be Surprised.
Affordable housing is a hot topic in Seattle. And most people just think of it in terms of rent or mortgage prices. But one major financial factor is often overlooked: the cost of transportation.
If your family is like the average household in Seattle, you are spending 17 percent of your income on transportation and 30 percent on housing. Have you ever thought about how one influences the other? Where you live definitely affects how much you pay for both.
WORK and PLAY
Consider how your home’s location affects your lifestyle. If you live in a low-density neighborhood, you might work downtown and commute by car or bus. The closest grocery store is several miles away so you drive to shop. Your friends who live nearby often visit but you rarely see those who live on the other side of the city. There are plenty of activities to do nearby but may still be a long walk away so you drive.
If you live downtown, you walk to work, the grocery store, the gym, entertainment and more. You invite friends over for dinner if they work downtown and can walk home with you. Using the transit options of bus, light rail, taxis and rideshare, it’s easy to meet people around the city. In fact, you might not even own a car.
The point is, choosing where to live is also choosing how to live. This impacts more than your commute – it dictates how easy it is to shop for groceries and other necessities. And the choice does not have to be between downtown and the city limits. Seattle’s neighborhoods are filled with urban villages that provide many of the benefits of downtown living while keeping that small-community feel so many people love.
Home Sweet Home
Living in the city can appear more expensive than in the suburbs, but once you look outside of simple housing costs, the other factors can be surprising. The Center for Neighborhood Technology analyzes housing and transportation costs to determine such information, as depicted on the related map. Notice how many of the areas where living is considered affordable shrink when including transportation costs.
Living closer to work and daily needs has helped many people’s budgets by shedding the expense of a second car or giving up car ownership altogether.
There is more to finding an affordable home than the list price. And, just as importantly, where you live affects your lifestyle and all the expenses that come with it. Seattle is a beautiful place with so much to offer, so find a home that suits your needs and your budget.