The general rule of homeownership is you shouldn’t spend more than 28% of your income on housing. While that number is somewhat arbitrary, it certainly doesn’t match what many Washington state residents are paying during a time of skyrocketing home prices.
Using the latest data from the U.S. Census’ Quick Facts, Estately found the percentage of the median household income for homeowners in Washington’s 25 largest cities that was spent on mortgages, real estate taxes, various insurances, and other costs and fees. The results show Bellingham homeowners spend the highest percentage of their income on their homes (45.83%), while Sammamish, which has the highest income of any large Washington city, spends the lowest percentage (24.01%).
Overall, east is best when it comes to what Washington residents spend on their homes. The lowest percentages were found in affluent cities east of Lake Washington (Sammamish—25th, Redmond—22nd, and Kirkland—20th) and in cities east of the Cascades (Richland—24th, Pasco—23rd, and Kennewick—21st). The highest spending percentages were found scattered along the I-5 corridor (Bellingham—1st, Burien—2nd, Lakewood—3rd, Everett—4th, Seattle—5th, and Federal Way—6th).
So is the situation similar for renters? Yes.
Overall, Washington renters face the same conditions as Washington home buyers. The exceptions are Seattle renters, who pay a significantly lower percentage, and Lacey renters, who pay a higher percentage.