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Cost of Living in Portland OR (2024) | Is Portland Affordable? [GUIDE]

Last Updated on: 19th August 2021, 05:50 am

We know you’re asking what the cost of living in Portland is, and we’re going to give you all the answers! Before relocating to a new area, it’s important to know just how much you’re going to spend in that city and whether or not you can afford it. You’ll start wondering just how much money you need to make to live in Portland, and we want to give you the most accurate estimate.

In this guide, we go over everything from tax to home prices, and by the end, you’ll know exactly whether Portland is affordable enough for you to live there.

Portland Cost of Living Index

How much does it cost to live in Portland? That’s the million dollar question that we all want to know, and the answer is, it depends. Are you single? Do you have a family? What’s the quality of life in Portland that you’re looking for? So many things go into this answer, so there’s no way to give you an exact number.

However, the best estimate is looking at the Portland cost of living index. This data shows you how much more expensive (or affordable) Portland is compared to the national average. At first glance, it doesn’t seem like much is going in Portland’s favor. Is Portland expensive? Yes. It’s 34% more expensive than the national average.

Housing in Portland is 84.3% more expensive than the national average, and the only thing below the national average is Portland’s utilities, which are 12.8% cheaper than the average. From the looks of it, Portland is getting more expensive too. The consumer price index shows that Portland’s cost of living has increased by 3.9% since last year. And those who live in Portland also spend about 30% of their income on housing.

Cost of Items in Portland

When you’re asking how expensive it is to live in Portland, you have to look at the average prices of things. You know you’ll be spending money on your home, transportation, groceries, utilities, and more, so those are all things you have to consider.

It’s really helpful to look at the average cost of groceries in Portland. That’s a big expense, and it can definitely add up. Another good thing to look at is the average cost of gas in Portland. Since you’ll likely be driving around, this could factor into whether or not you can afford to live in Portland as well.

Thankfully, we did all the research for you. We put together a cost of living comparison so you can look at just how much you spend on each of these items and how much they cost in Portland:

  • Steak (Ribeye, 1lb.) $13.55
  • Milk (regular 1/2 gallon) $1.95
  • Eggs (1 Dozen) $1.98
  • Potatoes (5 lb bag) $1.98
  • Bread (1 loaf) $4.29
  • Beer (Heineken’s 6 pack) $10.92
  • Average Cell Phone Bill $165.47
  • Average Cost of Gasoline (per gallon) $3.30
  • Average Cost of Utilities (per month) $140.72
  • McDonald’s Burger (1/4 Pounder) $5.17
  • Large Pizza $12.56
  • Movie Ticket (1st run) $11.72

Portland vs Seattle Cost of Living

Portland and Seattle are often compared, and the cost of living in Portland is actually 7% cheaper than the cost of living in Seattle. The average price of a home in Portland is 27% cheaper than it is in Seattle. Though neither of these cities are considered to be affordable by any means, Portland is much more affordable than Seattle is.

The only thing that is cheaper in Seattle is your electric bill. But the overall cost of living in Portland is more affordable. You’d need to make $46,151.10 in Portland to live the same quality of life as you would on $50,000 in Seattle.

portland cost of livingPortland Real Estate Market

The Portland housing market is considered to be somewhat competitive. The home ownership rate is 52%, so about half of all those living in Portland own their homes. The average cost of a home in Portland is currently $460,000, which amounts to about $248 a square foot. This is pretty expensive for how small the homes are, but it could be because so many people work in Portland. With the average commute time in Portland at just 23 minutes, it’s clear that people don’t have to drive far to get to their work.

If you’re wanting to purchase a home in Portland, most people are putting down 21.3%, and the homes are selling in just 36 days. There also isn’t too much wiggle room on price because most homes sold for just 1% under the listing price.

Portland Rental Market

The other half of people living in Portland are renting their apartment or home. The Portland rental trends are actually on their way down, meaning that the apartments are becoming more affordable. With average rent for an apartment currently at $1,453, that’s an 11.56% decrease from last year!

Portland rent prices are going down, but they seem to have stabilized. Compared to a month ago, there was actually a small 0.62% increase in price. Still, renting in Portland is more affordable than buying. Some areas of Portland are fairly inexpensive, like Parkrose. Rent there for a one bedroom is just $1,073 compared to a rent of $1,955 in Pearl District. One bedrooms currently rent for an average of $1,350, and two bedrooms rent for an average of $1,590.

Average Salary & Household Income in Portland

cost of living in portland

If you’re asking how much I need to make to live in Portland, it depends on the lifestyle you want to live. The average salary in Portland is $67,000. Or, if you look at it hourly, the average income in Portland is $19.43 an hour. The wage in Portland is trending up, and it’s at a 1.3% increase. However, the cost of living trend is also up 29%.

Some jobs, like software engineers, make more money with an average of $82,000. Then, there are other jobs, like account manager, that make a little less at $56,000. Some of the other popular jobs are mechanical engineers, marketing managers, operations managers, and project managers.

The top employers in Portland are Nike, Intel, Daimler Trucks, Oregon Health and Science University, and Kaiser Permanente. 

Income, Sales, & Property Taxes in Portland, OR

Though every city and state pay taxes, it’s often one of the last things people think about when looking at the average cost of living in Portland. However, over time, taxes can really add up to a lot of money. It’s one thing to consider if you’re going to move.

Income Tax

Portland has what’s considered to be a progressive income tax. The tax rate begins at 5% and rises to 9.9% depending on how much you make. This is slightly higher than other states, but it’s because Oregon relies mostly on tax dollars.

Sales Tax

Tax rates for income are so high because Oregon doesn’t have sales tax. The Portland sales tax rate is 0%. This isn’t one you’ll need to consider when looking at your living expenses in Portland.

Property Taxes

The property taxes in Oregon are surprisingly very low. They are anywhere from 1%-1.8%, and Portland’s property tax rate is estimated to be 1.074%. This is about in range of the Oregon average and the national average. If you have a $450,000 home, you’d end up paying just over $4,500 in property tax each year.

Can You Afford the Cost of Living in Portland?

If the Portland living expenses seem to fit your budget, this is a great town to live in. Filled with quirky people and delicious food trucks, you can’t get much better than this pacific northwest town. 

And if you’re moving to Portland, you’ll need some help. It’s best to hire a professional Portland moving company. At PDX Moving, we hire trustworthy movers that get the job done! Give us a call today or fill out our form for a free quote. We can’t wait to help.


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