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The REAL Cost of Living in the Portland Metropolitan Area!

Updated: May 17


View of the Portland Metro Area and Mt. Hood
View of Portland, Oregon and Mt. Hood

Have you ever wondered what living in the Portland Metropolitan Area would be like? If so, you aren't alone. Approximately 1.8 Million Oregonians call the Portland Metro Area home. (the total population of the Portland Metro Area is 2.5 Million if you factor in the cities in Southern Washington). Oregonians living in the Portland Metro Area account for nearly half of the state's population. With plentiful jobs, beautiful surroundings, abundant recreation, amazing cities, and friendly people, it's easy to see why living in the Portland Metro Area would be appealing. One of the most significant factors in anyone's decision-making about where to live should be the cost of living. Can you afford to live in the Portland Metro Area? To help with your decision-making, I've calculated the REAL cost of living in 19 Portland Metro Area cities. I added the cost of all the below monthly expenses by city and summarized and ranked each city from most affordable to least affordable. Below is a summary of the costs and how I came up with the numbers.


Just want to get to the rankings? Click here!


Cost Summary/Explanation

  • Housing > I figured out the cost of living to rent and buy a home in each of the cities:

    • Rent: I researched several rental websites to come up with a realistic rental amount on the lower end. Numbers were for a one-bedroom or studio if one was available. Any utilities that were included were deducted from the utility expense below.

    • Buy: I researched multiple home listing websites to determine what it would take to buy a small starter home. I looked at three-bedroom single-family homes only. To figure out the monthly payment, I assumed good credit, today's interest rate, with a 20% down payment, and calculated the principal and interest along with taxes and insurance. For property taxes, I got the info online. For homeowners insurance, I used lemonade.com as they were lower in cost than others I looked at.

  • Utilities > I estimated it takes $440 a month to pay for cell phone, internet, cable, water, sewer, garbage, electricity, and gas. If any utilities were included with the rental, I deducted $ to account for that.

  • Transportation > I found a 2011 Hyundai for sale from an online dealer for $6,995 that got good mileage and seemed in good condition. I used the five-year amortized payment for this car which was $136 a month. I figured 10,000 miles at $.40/per mile to pay for gas/maintenance and $70 a month for car insurance (the average price I found looking at multiple companies). The total transportation cost is $539 a month.

  • Healthcare > I used $368 a month as my estimated average employee contribution and out-of-pocket expenses in 2022* for healthcare. If you are a retiree, between Medicare, supplemental insurance, and out-of-pocket expenses, your total will likely be higher than this and go up as you age. For simplicity, we're going to use $368 for this blog post.

  • Taxes > I figured 25% for taxes which would be very close for the income I was looking at for this. This includes Federal, State, Social Security, and Workers Comp.

  • Food > This was the biggest surprise to me. I searched online at three different Fred Meyer and Safeway locations in the Portland Metro Area. I then went into the Tualatin Fred Meyer to validate what I saw online. All four stores were within $4 of each other for the below groceries, which I determined would feed just about anyone for a month and do it way healthier than the average diet. The total cost to feed someone for a month was just $173.43. For my purpose, I added $50 for extras someone would want/need. Feel free to get on the Fred Meyer or Safeway websites to validate this if you want!



  • Other > For all other items one would need to live such as clothing, personal care items... I estimated $250 a month.


Living in the Portland Metropolitan Area > Most Affordable to Least Affordable


#1 Portland, Oregon > The REAL cost of living in Portland, Oregon, is $42,000 yearly to rent and $64,000 to buy (#1 to buy, too!). If you live in Portland, Oregon, the cost for a one-bedroom rental is $900+ a month, with water, sewer, and garbage included. To live in Portland, Oregon, and buy a three-bedroom home, you'd be around $339,000, giving you a monthly payment of approximately $2,033 with property taxes and insurance. Portland is a big city, and prices vary depending on the area, but there were multiple rentals and homes for sale at or close to these prices in good areas. CLICK HERE for more information on what it's like to live in Portland, Oregon, including info on schools, neighborhoods, things to do, pros and cons, and answers to some FAQs about living in Portland, Oregon.


Cost of Living in Portland Oregon - Living in Portland Oregon
White Stag Sign - Portland Oregon

#2 Forest Grove, Oregon > The REAL cost of living in Forest Grove, Oregon, is $44,000 a year to rent and $74,000 to buy (tied #9 to buy). To rent a one-bedroom and live in Forest Grove will set you back $1,025 a month with water, sewer, and garbage included. Thinking of buying a home in Forest Grove? Buying a three-bedroom home would set you back $440,000, giving you a monthly payment of approximately $2,620 with property taxes and hazard insurance included. For more information on living in Forest Grove, Oregon, CLICK HERE.


Cost of Living - Forest Grove Oregon
Rainbow Over Forest Grove Oregon - Photo by Ian Burk


# 3 Gresham, Oregon > The REAL cost of living in Gresham, Oregon, is $46,000 a year to rent and $65,000 to buy (tied #2 to buy). Renting a one-bedroom and living in Gresham will set you back $1,150 a month with water, sewer, and garbage included. If you're looking to buy a home in Gresham, Oregon, a three-bedroom home would cost $350,000, giving you a monthly payment of $2,098 with taxes and insurance included. For more information on living in Gresham, Oregon, such as things to do, neighborhoods, schools, and answers to some FAQs about living in Gresham, Oregon, CLICK HERE.


Cost of Living in Gresham Oregon - Bella Vista Park
Bella Vista Park in Gresham, Oregon - Photo by Gary Matthews

#4 (tied) Oregon City, Oregon > The REAL cost of living in Oregon City, Oregon, is $47,000 to rent and $70,000 to buy (tied for #5). To live in Oregon City, Oregon, and rent a one-bedroom, you can expect to pay around $1,200 a month with water, sewer, and garbage included. To live in Oregon City, Oregon, and buy a home, you'll pay roughly $400,000 and have a payment, including property taxes and insurance, of around $2,388 a month. For more information about living in Oregon City, Oregon, check out the Oregon City page on our website. CLICK HERE


Cost of Living in Oregon City Oregon
Oregon City Arch Bridge, Connecting Oregon City and West Linn


#4 (tied) Tigard, Oregon > The REAL cost of living in Tigard, Oregon, is $47,000 to rent and $81,000 to buy (tied for #14). Living in Tigard, Oregon, and renting a one-bedroom will set you back at least $1,200 a month with water, sewer, and garbage included. To live in Tigard, Oregon, and buy a home, you'll pay roughly $515,000 and have a payment, including property taxes and insurance, of around $3,055 a month. For more information on living in Tigard, Oregon, including info on schools, neighborhoods, things to do, and answer to some FAQs about living in Tigard, check out the Tigard page on our website. CLICK HERE.


Cost of Living in Tigard Oregon
Tigard Oregon - Summerlake Park

#6 Newberg, Oregon > The REAL cost of living in Newberg, Oregon, is $47,000 a year if you're renting and $70,000 if you're looking to buy (tied #5 to buy). To live in Newberg, Oregon, and rent a one-bedroom, you can expect to pay $1,225 a month with water, sewer, and garbage included. To live in Newberg, Oregon, and buy a home, you'll pay roughly $400,000 and have a monthly payment, including taxes and insurance, of around $2,388. For more info on living in Newberg, Oregon, including info on schools, neighborhoods, things to do, and pros and cons, CLICK HERE to go to the Newberg page of our website.


Cost of Living in Newberg, Oregon
Newberg Oregon - Photo by Todd Klingler



#7 (tied) Scappoose, Oregon > The REAL cost of living in Scappoose, Oregon, is $48,000 to rent a one-bedroom. If looking to buy in Scappoose, you'll need to make $70,000 a year (tied for #5 to buy). To rent in Scappoose it would run you roughly $1,250 a month with water, sewer, and garbage included. Buying a home in Scappoose, you can expect to pay at least $400,000 and have a $2,388-a-month payment. For more information on what living in Scappoose, Oregon, is like, check out the Scappoose page on our website for info on schools, things to do, and answers to some FAQs about Scappoose. CLICK HERE


Cost of Living in Scappoose Oregon
Scappoose Oregon Area, Sauvie Island

#7 (tied) West Linn, Oregon > The REAL cost of living in West Linn, Oregon, is $48,000 a year to rent and $81,000 to buy (tied for #14 to buy). Living in West Linn, Oregon, and renting a one-bedroom, you can expect to pay $1,250 monthly, with water, sewer, garbage, and included. If you want to live in West Linn and buy a three-bedroom home, you can expect to pay $515,000 and have a payment, including taxes and insurance, of around $3,055 a month. For more information about living in West Linn, Oregon, including info on schools, neighborhoods, things to do, and answers to some FAQs, CLICK HERE.


Cost of Living in West Linn Oregon
Willamette Falls in West Linn Oregon

#9 (tied) Hillsboro, Oregon > The REAL cost of living in Hillsboro, Oregon, is $48,000 to rent and $72,000 to buy (#8 to buy). To live in Hillsboro, Oregon, and rent a one-bedroom, you can expect to pay $1,300 a month with water, sewer, and garbage included. To live in Hillsboro, Oregon, and buy a home, you'll pay roughly $425,000 and have a payment, including property taxes and insurance, of around $2,533 a month. For more information on living in Hillsboro, Oregon, including info on Hillsboro schools, neighborhoods, things to do, and answers to some FAQs about living in Hillsboro, Oregon, CLICK HERE.


Living in Hillsboro Oregon - Reeds Crossing - Cost of Living in Hillsboro Oregon
Cost of Living in Hillsboro Oregon

#9 (tied) Beaverton, Oregon > The REAL cost of living in Beaverton, Oregon, is $48,000 to rent and $77,000 to buy (#13 to buy). If you are looking to move to Beaverton, Oregon, and rent a one-bedroom, it will cost you roughly $1,300 a month with water, sewer, and garbage included. Living in Beaverton, Oregon, and buying a home, will set you back roughly $475,000, giving you a payment of $2,833 a month, including property taxes and insurance. For more information about living in Beaverton, Oregon, including info on Beaverton schools, neighborhoods, things to do, and answers to some FAQs about living in Beaverton, Oregon, CLICK HERE


Living in Beaverton Oregon - Murray Hill Pond - Cost of Living in Beaverton Oregon
Cost of Living in Beaverton Oregon

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#9 (tied) Milwaukie, Oregon > The REAL cost of living in Milwaukie, Oregon, is $48,000 to rent and $74,000 if you want to Milwaukie, Oregon, and buy a house (tied #9 to buy). To live in Milwaukie and rent, you'd likely pay at least $1,300 a month, including water, sewer, and garbage. To live in Milwaukie, Oregon, and buy a house, your payment would be about $2,620 a month for a $440,000 starter house. The Milwaukie page on my website has more information about moving to and living in Milwaukie, Oregon. To get there, CLICK HERE.


Cost of Living in Milwaukie Oregon
Milwaukie Oregon - Willamette River

#12 Tualatin, Oregon > The REAL cost of living in Tualatin, Oregon, is $50,000 to rent a one-bedroom. If you want to move to Tualatin and buy a home, you'll need approximately an $83,000 yearly income to afford to live there (#17 to buy). Renting a one-bedroom in Tualatin, Oregon, will cost you roughly $1,400 a month with water, sewer, and garbage included. If you want to move to Tualatin and buy a home, expect prices to start around $540,000, which would put your payment at roughly $3,201 with taxes and insurance included. For info on Tualatin, schools, neighborhoods, answers to FAQs, and to get a sense of what living in Tualatin, Oregon, is like, check out the Tualatin page on our website. CLICK HERE. To ask questions/get more info about Tualatin, check out our Facebook Group > https://www.facebook.com/groups/livingintualatin


Living in Tualatin Oregon - Tualatin Commons - Cost of Living in Tualatin Oregon
Cost of Living in Tualatin Oregon

#13 Canby, Oregon > The REAL cost of living in Canby, Oregon, is $51,000 to rent a one-bedroom and $74,000 to move to Canby, Oregon, and buy a home (tied #9 to buy). Renting in Canby, Oregon, will set you back around $1,450 a month, with water, sewer, and garbage included. If you are looking to move to Canby, Oregon, and buy a home, prices start at around $450,000, which would give you a monthly payment of $3,346 with insurance and taxes included. For more information on Canby schools, things to do, answers to FAQs, and info on what living in Canby, Oregon, looks like, check out the Canby page on our website. CLICK HERE


Cost of Living in Canby Oregon
Canby Oregon - Renaissance Fair

#14 Gladstone, Oregon > The REAL cost of living in Gladstone, Oregon, is $51,000 to rent a one-bedroom and $67,000 to buy a home in Gladstone, Oregon (#4 to buy). The small discrepancy between the cost of living to rent and buy make buying in Gladstone the better value if you can swing it. If choosing to rent in Gladstone, Oregon, expect rents to start at $1,475 a month, with water, sewer, and garbage included. If you are looking to move to Gladstone, Oregon, and buy a home, prices start at around $365,000, which would give you a monthly payment of $2,179 with insurance and taxes included. To find out more about Gladstone, Oregon, and what living there is like, CLICK HERE.


Cost of Living in Gladstone Oregon
View Overlooking Gladstone Oregon

#15 Wilsonville, Oregon > The REAL cost of living in Wilsonville, Oregon, is $51,000 to rent a one-bedroom and $85,000 to buy a home and move to Wilsonville, Oregon (#18 to buy). Monthly rent in Wilsonville, Oregon, will set you back around $1,500, with water, sewer, and garbage included. If you are looking to move to Wilsonville, Oregon, and buy a home, you can expect prices to start at around $565,000, which would give you a monthly payment of $3,346 with insurance and taxes included. For more information on Wilsonville, schools, neighborhoods, things to do, and what living in Wilsonville, Oregon, is like, check out the Wilsonville page on our website. CLICK HERE


Cost of Living in Wilsonville Oregon
Wilsonville Oregon - Willamette River

#16 (tied) Happy Valley, Oregon > The REAL cost of living in Happy Valley, Oregon, is $52,000 to rent a one-bedroom and $74,000 if you want to buy a home in Happy Valley, Oregon (tied #9 to buy). You can expect rent in Happy Valley to start at $1,500 a month, with water, sewer, and garbage included. If you want to move to Happy Valley, Oregon, expect prices to start at around $450,000, which would give you a payment of $2,678 a month, with insurance and taxes included. CLICK HERE to find out more about living in Happy Valley, Oregon, including info on schools, things to do, and some answers to FAQs about living in Happy Valley.


Living in Happy Valley Oregon - Cost of Living
Cost of Living in Happy Valley Oregon

#16 (tied) Lake Oswego, Oregon > The REAL cost of living in Lake Oswego, Oregon, is $52,000 to rent a one-bedroom and $89,000 to buy a home and move to Lake Oswego, Oregon (#19 to buy). Rental homes in Lake Oswego start at $1,500 a month, with water, sewer, and garbage included. If you're thinking of buying a home in Lake Oswego, Oregon, prices start at around $610,000, which would give you a payment of $3.607 a month, with insurance and taxes included. CLICK HERE to find out more about living in Lake Oswego, Oregon, including info on schools, neighborhoods, things to do, answers to FAQs, and the pros and cons of living in Lake Oswego. To ask questions/get more info about Tualatin, check out our Facebook Group > https://www.facebook.com/groups/livinginlakeoswego


Living in Lake Oswego Oregon - Downtown Turn Around - Cost of Living in Lake Oswego Oregon
Cost of Living in Lake Oswego Oregon

#18 Sherwood, Oregon > The REAL cost of living in Sherwood, Oregon, is $53,000 to rent a one-bedroom and $81,000 to buy a home and move to Sherwood, Oregon (tied #14 to buy). Monthly rent in Sherwood, Oregon, will set you back around $1,575, with water, sewer, and garbage included. If you are looking to move to Sherwood, Oregon, and buy a home, you can expect prices to start at around $525,000, which would give you a monthly payment of $3,114 with insurance and taxes included. For more information on Sherwood, Oregon, including schools, neighborhoods, things to do, and what living in Sherwood, Oregon, is like, check out the Sherwood page on our website. CLICK HERE


Cost of Living in Sherwood Oregon - Sherwood High School
Sherwood High School - Photo by Todd Klingler

#19 Troutdale, Oregon > The REAL cost of living in Troutdale, Oregon, is $53,000 to rent a one-bedroom and $65,000 to move to Troutdale, Oregon, and buy a home (tied #2 to buy). The lack of rentals in Troutdale and the monthly cost, along with the lower prices to buy compared to the rest of the Portland Metro, make buying in Troutdale, Oregon, the better option. You can expect to pay around $1,595 a month if renting in Troutdale, with water, sewer, and garbage included. If you are looking to move to Troutdale, Oregon, and buy a home, prices start at around $350,000, which would give you a monthly payment of $2,098 with insurance and taxes included. For more information on Troutdale, Oregon, CLICK HERE to go to the Troutdale page on our website to learn more about this fabulous city.



Summary


I really enjoyed doing the research for this post and the city pages on my website (which have a lot of good info on each of the cities - check it out!). I learned a great deal about all the cities. There are many attractions/things to do I didn't know about, and I am eager for my family to check out in the coming years. A few things that really stood out to me:


>Food costs > I did not expect $223 to go so far. Undoubtedly, the average person would want more variety. But what I've listed would be enough to feed the average person and do it in a healthy manner. Plus, with the extra $50, you can splurge some or buy a few six-packs of Buoy (the best beer around IMO and from Astoria, Oregon)


>Housing / Renting > In several cities, it was tough to find rentals, and the prices were close to what it took to buy. The lack of rentals drove up the cost of living in certain cities that I might have expected to be lower. The conversation about the lack of rentals is legit. Even with that in mind, with more high-paying jobs in the Portland Metro Area, compared to other sections of Oregon, it's tough to see how the Portland Metro it isn't the most affordable area to live in Oregon from a wage/cost of living ratio.


>Housing / Buying > If you want to relocate to the Portland Metro Area, buying seems the far better/easier option in a lot of the cities. Most towns have a decent supply of homes for sale, and the prices in some areas seem pretty reasonable. There isn't a massive gap in the monthly payment between buying/renting if you have a 20% down payment. I realize not everyone's in the position to do that, but it seems like the better option for those that are. If it's something you're interested in exploring, CLICK HERE to email me and set up a time to talk, or just call me at 971-275-2465. I can help get you on the right track from a financing perspective to help you buy. Do you have an area(s) in mind and just want to receive emails when homes matching your criteria get listed? CLICK HERE to get added to Listing Alert and get homes matching your criteria sent to your inbox the second they get listed.




*Stephen Miller, Medical Plan Costs Expected to See Bigger Rise in 2023, SHRM, August 16, 2022, https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/benefits/pages/health-plan-costs-expected-to-rise-in-2023.aspx


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