Is Seattle calling out for you? Perched between the Olympic and Cascade Mountains, along Puget Sound, the Emerald City has a charm like no other. Filled with evergreen trees and offering a more temperate climate, the City of Seattle is a breath of fresh air compared to hot & humid Houston. On top of that, there are so many activities and opportunities here! If you’re seriously considering moving to Seattle from Houston, you’ll want to do some research. This handy guide makes it super easy to compare the two cities and see precisely how the Northwest might be your next home.

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What to Know About Moving from Houston to Seattle

Ready to trade in the high humidity of Houston for the northwestern splendor of Seattle? Before you set up moving services, give yourself the advantage of knowing what the Emerald City is all about.

Taxes

One thing you don’t have to worry about in Houston is paying individual income tax. And the same is true in Washington State! The (slightly) bad news is that sales tax is a bit higher in Seattle. Whereas Houston collects a minimum combined sales tax rate of 8.25%, the City of Seattle has a minimum combined sales tax rate of 10.1%. 

Are you interested in buying a house? You’ll be pleasantly surprised. Seattle has an average county tax rate of only 0.953%. The rate is more than double in Houston at 2.090%. For example, an $800,000 home would cost you $7,624 in property taxes annually in Seattle. The property tax bill on that same house would come out to the tune of $16,720 per year in the City of Houston!

Economy and Job Growth

As one of the Top 25 fastest growing cities in America, Seattle is home to big corporations. These include Amazon, Boeing, and Microsoft. Not too bad! Houston, in contrast, has one of the largest city economies in the US. The tech industry mainly boosts the Emerald City’s thriving economy, but Seattle is also home to large employers like the University of Washington and Providence Health & Services.

So, how is future job growth in Seattle looking? Fantastic! Over the next ten years, the city is projected to see an increase of nearly 44%. Houston, on the other hand, will see a less enthusiastic 30.9% in the same period. Seattle is sizzling!

Weather and Climate

Sick of being drenched in sweat in Houston? Humidity way too overbearing? With an average summer temperature of 93°F, no wonder you want out of there! When you get to Seattle, you’ll get to enjoy a much more pleasant summer high of 76°F. As for winter, averages temperatures aren’t too different. Expect to see about 37°F in January for Seattle. Houston has an average winter temp of 43°F. One thing to keep in mind is that the Seattle metro area basically has two seasons: summer and rainy time. So definitely invest in some raincoats and boots.

Geography

Moving from Houston to Seattle is quite a feat – it can take nearly 40 hours to drive to the Northwest city – and with that distance comes a significant change in scenery. Once you get there, though, it will take your breath away. If you’re used to only the gulf coastal plain and Buffalo Bayou of Houston, prepare yourself for the majestic beauty of the surrounding mountains, Lake Washington, and Puget Sound (which has 2,500 miles of shoreline and some 1.6 million acres). As a seaport city, Seattle is less than 100 miles away from the Pacific Ocean. 

Housing and Cost of Living

The West Coast is notoriously for high costs, and Seattle is no exception. By no means is it as expensive as say San Francisco – the Bay Area city commands an astounding index of 269.3 – but it’s a bit more than you’re used to in Houston. Currently, the cost of living in Seattle is 172.3. Houston is below the US average of 100, with a cost of living index of 96.5. 

Okay, now for housing prices. You might want to sit down for this information. Houston currently has a median list price of $283,000 (with a median rent of $1,500 per month). In Seattle, it’s a bit more. The current median list price is a staggering $767,906 (with a median rent of $2,600 per month). Ouch! It’s not the most expensive housing market in the West Coast, but it certainly is a lot more than you’re probably used to in Space City. But with as much as Seattle offers, this might not be a dealbreaker.

Things to Do

Seattle is never without fun stuff to do! Yes, it can be overcast quite a bit, but you shouldn’t have a reason to be bored here. From bountiful nature adventures to arts & culture to nightlife, the Emerald City is ready to show you exciting ways to spend your free time!

Into food? Pike Place Market is a great first, second, and third spot. You’ll find over 100 vendors offering everything from super fresh seafood and organic produce to artisan cheese and bread. There’s also the Starbucks Reserve Roastery there for the coffee aficionados.

Those into arts & culture will want to visit the Seattle Arts Museum (SAM) not only for its collections but also for several annual events that include dance parties and film screenings. Nature lover? Along with being surrounded by gorgeous Puget Sound and a host of majestic mountains, there are no less than 485 parks within city limits. And for those into nightlife and live entertainment, popular spots include Neumos, The Crocodile, and The Tractor Tavern

Culture, Diversity, and Demographics

When looking at diversity in Seattle, it’s less racially and ethnically diverse than surrounding King County and other major cities. According to US News, Houston is one of the Top 10 most diverse cities in the US

As for demographics in Seattle, the city is 67.4% White, 11.6% Asian, 8.9% Hispanic & Latino, 5.6% Black, and 6.5% mixed/other. Houston is 37.8% White, 35.9% Hispanic & Latino, 17.2% Black, 7.3% Asian, and 1.9% mixed/other. As you can see, even though it has a higher concentration of Asian and mixed/other residents, Seattle has a much higher percentage of White residents than that of Houston.

Crime Rates

Houston doesn’t exactly have a stellar reputation when it comes to public safety. It’s actually one of the most dangerous cities in the United States. When it comes to violent crime in Seattle, it’s much lower than H-Town (with an index of 32.3 versus 50.4). However, both cities could undoubtedly improve in property crime rates: Seattle has an index of 76.9, while Houston has an index of 63.2. For context, the national average for property crime is only 35.4.

Are you looking for the safest neighborhoods in Seattle, WA? Check out Alki, Ballard (see below), Lower Queen Ann, Magnolia, Sunset Hill, and Wallingford. All offer some of the most family-friendly living in the city.

Food

Houston may be known for its barbecue and Tex-Mex cuisine, but when it comes to variety, Seattle comes out on top! From seafood to Vietnamese to fresh organic produce (courtesy of the numerous farmers’ markets all over the city), there’s something tasty for everybody. 

Like pho? Pho 99 offers up one of the best bowls in the Northwest. If clam chowder is your vibe, Pike Place Chowder is a must-visit at Pike Place Market. For the best burgers and shakes around, Dick’s Drive-In is the move. And if you have a sweet tooth, Fran’s Chocolate (which is a fave of Barack Obama’s) will dazzle you with its handmade chocolates, salted caramel, and chocolate-covered fruit.

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Best Neighborhoods in Seattle

Here are some of the top communities to call home in the Emerald City.

Ballard

Look for a lively and hip neighborhood? Maybe on the northwestern side of Seattle? Ballard is the best! Once known for its shipyards and marinas, this neighborhood has transformed into one of the most desirable mini-communities in Seattle. There’s a nice mix of vintage apartments and newer condos. Learn more about Ballard here.

Belltown

Headed north of downtown, we find ourselves in arguably one of the Top 3 neighborhoods in the city. Ideal for young professionals, this community is bustling with locals and tourists alike. Don’t have a car or don’t like driving? You’re in luck! This area is highly walkable, with easy shopping – Pike Place Market is super close – and convenient public transport. Get more info here.

Capitol Hill

Offering proximity to Downtown Seattle and some of the most sought-after real estate in the city, Capitol Hill has been considered the epicenter for the LGBTQ community since the 1960s. Nightlife and entertainment are topnotch, and there are some great parts of the neighborhood perfect for raising a family. Discover more details about Capitol Hill here.

Fremont

How many places can claim to be the Center of the Universe? Fremont can! Since 1991, it has held that particular title. If you’re looking for a neighborhood devoid of the many common gentrification elements found in a lot of other communities in Seattle, this is the spot for you. Quirky, hip, and with the right amount of counterculture vibe, Fremont offers a bohemian feel. Check out more here.

Pioneer Square

Occupying the southwestern portion of the downtown area, Pioneer Square was the first neighborhood settled by pioneers, way back in 1852. It’s also one of the least densely populated mini-communities in Seattle. This historic spot is a nice mix of stately and modern. Find out more details here.

North Queen Anne

Upscale yet suburban and even down-home, North Queen Anne is a popular neighborhood for young professionals. Comprised of picket fences, hip shops, trendy bistros, and a host of other great amenities, this neighborhood is perfect for ambitious singles and families alike. Learn more here.


Cost of Moving from Houston to Seattle

On average, it costs about $4,000-$6,000 to move from Houston to Seattle. Though this might sound expensive, consider that you are hauling your stuff about 2,330 miles across the country. The total cost of your move will depend on several variables, including your origin and destination cities, the time of year you’re moving, the size of your household, and which services you require. The best way to get an accurate estimate is by scheduling an in-home or virtual (no contact) walkthrough with a licensed and insured interstate mover. Get free moving quotes from the best Houston to Seattle movers now!

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Devin Barroga

Ever been bitten by the wanderlust bug? It's a powerful force, one which has captivated Devin for his entire life.... Read More