Living in suburbs costs $11,000 less a year than Seattle

People who buy homes in the surburbs save $948 a month over people who choose to buy in Seattle, but finding available homes for sale remains a problem. (Jim Davis / The Herald Business Journal)

People who buy homes in the suburbs save more than $11,000 a year over people who buy in Seattle. Good luck finding a home though.

That’s the summary of two new reports released Monday on housing in the Puget Sound area.

The first report found that families spend $54,668 a year on housing and child care who buy their homes in Seattle.

That compares with $43,292 a year for people who live in the surrounding suburbs, according to the report from real estate company Zillow and, an online company that specializes in finding and managing family care.

So families in the suburbs save $11,376 a year or $948 a month over families in Seattle.

At the same time, the total number of homes on the market continues to plummet. Last month, only 840 homes total were listed in Snohomish County, according to the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

That’s 32.5 percent less than February 2016 when 1,244 homes were available on the market. It’s a continuous problem that’s plagued the Puget Sound region for months where people won’t sell their home, because they’re worried about where to live.

“Our robust market has created extreme conditions and we’re seeing frenzy hot activity on each new listing coming on the market,” said J. Lennox Scott, chairman and CEO of John L. Scott, the Issaquah real estate office, in a statement. “We’re also experiencing some of the lowest inventory levels on record.”

Snohomish and King counties both have less than a month of supply on the market. Month of supply is how long it would take for all the homes to sell in the market if no other homes were added.

Still Scott and other brokers expect more homes will be added to the market starting this spring with May being a more traditional listing time.

Families looking to buy — and to save money — should look away from the urban core, according to the Zillow and report. The companies looked at property taxes, mortgage payments and child care costs at metropolitan areas around the U.S.

The most expensive was New York where people in the city pay $6,000 more a month than suburbanites. The cost of living in the city is cheaper in several metropolitan areas; the biggest was in Philadelphia where it costs nearly $14,000 a year more to live in the suburbs.

In the Puget Sound area, the report found that people in Seattle pay $28,349 a year for housing and property taxes and $26,319 for child care, based on the costs for two children. People who live in the suburbs pay $21,289 for housing costs and $22,003 for child care costs.

People in the suburbs also enjoy larger homes, according to the report. The median-sized home in the suburbs around Seattle was 1,816 square feet compared with 1,592 square feet or a difference of 224 square feet.

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