Moving to Olympia, WA – 2022 Cost of Living and Relocation Guide
Believe it or not, there is a hidden sense of pride when you say that you live in the state capital city. One such city we are talking about is Olympia. Being the capital city of the state of Washington, Olympia is fairly small as compared to the other state capitals of the country. Regardless of that fact, Olympia still takes great pride in its very stable and healthy economy.
The city earned the name “Olympia” as it offers a stellar view of the Olympic Mountains to the northwest. The city is also home to one of the largest Farmer’s Market in Washington which is a testament to the city’s reliance on natural foods. There are a lot more interesting insights and facts about Olympia that make it a great city to live in. So, here’s a detailed article about what’s in store for you should you decide to make a move to Olympia.
Speaking of the cold and cozy season, winters in Olympia are pretty grey and rainy (so keep an umbrella with you handy at all times). In terms of temperatures, the cold is mild and average temperatures fall between 30°F to 40°F. But keep in mind that December is the coldest month of the year, with an average low temperature of 33.4°F (0.8°C). Despite the moderate cold, the city rarely has days when the temperatures hit below 0°C.
Olympia experiences warm weather for about 3 months on average. The average daily high temperature touches the 73°F (22.7°C) mark. August tends to be the hottest month of the year with an average high of 78°F (25.5°C). So, if you are planning on some warm-weather activities, mid-July to late August would be the most suitable time for you. All in all, you will get the full experience of the Pacific Northwest with Olympia’s beautiful summers.
The start of the flowering season a.k.a. Spring season starts around March and lasts till May end. The average temperature touches the 54°F (12.2°C) to 65°F (18.3°C) range during the spring season. Again, this is a great weather condition to enjoy outdoor activities or plan a picnic in the park.
The months from September to November bring in the beloved Autumn season. The average high temperature around this time is 47°F (8.3°C) and the average low is around 36°F (2.3°C). Due to the flexible weather conditions, this is an ideal time of the year to go for a walk in the forest or visit a deer park for that matter.
The city of Olympia has a well-maintained transportation system and it is due to the combined efforts of the state and the city to provide the best transportation facilities to their residents. To give you an overview of how you can commute in and around the city of Olympia, here’s some detailed information about different types of transport methods you can avail of.
Intercity Transit is a public transportation agency that primarily serves Olympia, Tumwater, Yelm, and Lacey, with 21 bus lines distributed across Thurston County. Another gem transit service offered by Intercity Transit that you’ll probably see yourself depending on is the free “Dash” shuttle route. The Dash covers an interesting route and traverses through the Capitol Campus and downtown Olympia. On weekdays, Dash runs every 15 minutes, and on weekends, it runs every 10 minutes. As a result, owing to this fairly regular service, you won’t have to wait an hour for your ride.
Notable mention – The American Public Transportation Association awarded Intercity Transit with the “America’s Best Public Transportation System” award in the midsize category in 2009.
The closest airport to depend on if you move to Olympia is the Olympia Regional Airport. It is situated just south of the city in Tumwater and is a 10-minute drive from downtown Olympia.
The major transit station within the city is the Centennial Station. From here you can board railway lines such as the Amtrak Cascades. This train route travels between Vancouver, British Columbia, and Eugene, Oregon in the Pacific Northwest.
As mentioned earlier Olympia truly takes pride in its stable and growing economy that continues to benefit the residents in and around. The major chunk of the city’s economy is dependent upon government employment owning to it being the capital of Washington state. Most of the jobs are with the federal, state, and local government. You should also know that the state of Washington is the largest employer in the county. Overall, the state has an unemployment rate of 5.6% which is decent in comparison to the nation’s, which is at 6%.
To give you a rough idea of who the big players in contributing largely to the city’s economy, below is a list for the same.
Some Of The Largest Employers Of The City Are –
- State of Washington
- Local Government
- Providence St. Peter Hospital
- Federal Government
- Group Health Cooperative
- Columbia Capital Medical Center
- St. Martin’s University
- Walmart Stores Inc
- Costco Wholesale Corp
See Also: Top U.S. Cities for Job Seekers
The average home value in Olympia stands at $503,519. The city saw a 24% jump in home values over the past year alone. This seems fairly expensive but almost aligns with the state average. Given the fact that it is a state capital, these housing rates are a relatively good bargain.
The average rent for an 866 sq. ft. apartment in Olympia is about $1,500 for an apartment. This is still an acceptable figure given the fact that Olympia is a state capital. Of course, the price will depend on what part of the city you choose to reside in. If you don’t wish to spend a thousand bucks on rent alone, consider moving to places like Northeast Olympia, Wildwood, and Governor Stevens. The rent in these places comes about to be in the range of $460-$500. As you go more towards the famous and plush areas like the Downtown or the South Capitol, the rent prices are bound to be on the expensive side of the spectrum.
The crime rate in Olympia is one aspect that you might want to keep a close eye on. Olympia has a crime index of 8 out of 100, 100 being the safest. The city has a crime rate of 36 per one thousand residents. According to NeighborhoodScout data, the chances of property crimes are higher than that of violent crimes in Olympia.
The safest neighborhoods in and around Olympia are Bordeaux, Schneiders Prairie, Boston Harbor, and South Bay to name a few. You must keep in mind that crimes are bound to happen irrespective of the location. What you can do from your side is be mindful of your surroundings and try avoiding situations that don’t feel very safe.
As per PayScale data, the cost of living in Olympia is 4% higher than the national average. When you compare it to the other state capitals, Olympia’s cost of living is very low. To give you a good idea of what your monthly expenses will look like, should you decide to move to Olympia, here is a quick breakdown of the same.
Coming down to the basic expenses, the utility prices in the city are 7% higher than the national average. An average electricity bill in the city of Olympia for 2 people would be in the range of $175-$180. Your phone bill, depending on the carrier you use, can cost you around $190. Speaking of regular expenses, a carton of eggs will set you back $1.95 and a gallon of milk will cost around $2.10.
Your good old pal doctor will charge you around $130 per visit. Not that it is entirely in your hands to not fall sick or get injured, but an 18% higher than the national average healthcare is not a pretty statistic to have.
The median household income in Olympia is $60,000. Though the numbers are less than the national average, you can still afford a decent lifestyle in this vibrant city. At the end of the day, whichever part of the city you choose to move to, the city ensures that you won’t feel detached from the community at any given time.
- Washington State University
- Evergreen State College
- South Puget Sound Community College
- Saint Martin’s University
- UMass Global
- Olympia High School
- Pope John Paul II High School
- Jefferson Middle School
- Centennial Elementary School
- Washington Middle School
Situated in the downtown area, the elegant South Capitol building is one of the major attractions in this part of the city. The building is surrounded by the South Capitol neighborhood which is rich in historic vibes and architecture. You will find numerous old-growth trees completing the entire historic ensemble theme. There are numerous sports fields and picnic areas in this neighborhood. If you want to keep the athlete in you at the top of your game, this is the place to be.
Median Home Value: $540,000
Median Rent: $1,450
With a mix of modern and historic themed houses, the Cain Road area has garnered a lot of attention from all age groups. Another key selling point of this neighborhood is its close proximity to the downtown area. The area is filled with a number of quality restaurants and cafes to choose from on a weekend outing.
Median Home Value: $576,931
Median Rent: $1,430
If you are a beach person, East Bay Drive is the best place for you to move to in Olympia. You will find gorgeous homes with waterside views that enhance the overall charm of the neighborhood by leaps and bounds. However, the prices of the properties here are on the expensive side given the kind of luxury they come with.
Median Home Value: $690,000
Median Rent: $1,440
Another great neighborhood within close range of downtown and the capitol. This neighborhood will give you all the vintage vibes as the homes here date back to the 1950s. If you are one of those who enjoy a quiet and serene neighborhood away from the regular hustle-bustle, Northwest Olympia is the place to be.
Median Home Value: $460,010
Median Rent: $1,245
A neighborhood built on the idea of creating a homely and residential community, Castlewood is the perfect location to move to if you have kids in your family. Your little ones are going to love the various parks this area has and all the other fun activities that they can engage in. This part of the city also has great schools like the Margaret McKenny Elementary School and the Washington Middle School, which can help with your child’s education.
Median Home Value: $320,000
Median Rent: $1,195
Is Olympia Washington A Nice Place To Live?
A city with a stable economy and less unemployment rate certainly helps make a case for Olympia being a great place to live. If you generally avoid overcrowded streets, Olympia is a great place for you to live your life in peace and tranquility.
Is It Expensive To Live In Olympia Washington?
Although Olympia is a state capital, the average cost of living in the city is just 4% higher than the national average. As compared to other state capitals, the city is quite affordable to live in.
The city Olympia and Tacoma are 30 minutes apart from each other but quite different from each other. Olympia has more of a small-town feel while Tacoma is more congested. The city of Olympia also has some fantastic colleges due to which it runs like a town meant for students. From the financial aspect, Olympia is 4.1% less expensive than Tacoma when it comes to the cost of living. However, do note that Olympia housing costs are 1.7% higher than in Tacoma.
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