While people may think of Seattle when it comes to living in Washington, the state is more than just the Emerald City.
When it comes to finding the cheapest places to live in Washington, you don’t have to give up the benefits of urban life in exchange for affordable rent.
There are many cities and towns across the state where you’ll still find outstanding restaurants and culture with rent prices well below the statewide average.
Washington state average rent prices
Rent for a one-bedroom apartment across the state averages $2,069 per month, a decrease of 7.1 percent from the previous year.
The cheapest cities in Washington for renters
While some people prefer the cultural center of Washington in Seattle, the average rent price is always on the rise. As a result, Washingtonians are heading east for new opportunities and more affordable housing.
Instead of having to look for another small apartment at higher prices every year, you can find the perfect spot to call home while also enjoying community attractions.
- One-bedroom average rent price: $1,320
- Average rent change in the past year: -19.37%
Just shy of 125 years old, Richland has a vibrant history, from the days when local Native Americans helped feed the Lewis and Clark expedition to being home to the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. As the southeast Washington city approaches 60,000 residents, it continues to build on its reputation as one of the best cities to live in the state.
With a great park and trail system, you can explore the area along the Columbia River. The city hosts outdoor concerts during the summer months, as well as being home to an outstanding theater scene. It has a vibrant cultural environment, including the REACH Museum. Enjoy a delicious meal at any of its excellent restaurants.
Source: Rent.com / 112 Tacoma Blvd S
- One-bedroom average rent price: $1,295
- Average rent change in the past year: N/A
Located about 30 minutes south of Seattle, Pacific is a small community, with about 7,000 residents. With a suburban feel, Pacific is often mistaken for being part of nearby Auburn. A true bedroom community, Pacific offers a small-town atmosphere, while having restaurants, shopping and dining options available in a short drive.
An excellent city to raise a family, Pacific is home to a good school district, as well as a nice park system, highlighted by Pacific City Park, situated along the White River.
8. Moses Lake
- One-bedroom average rent price: $1,287
- Average rent change in the past year: 31.32%
With more than 100 miles of shoreline, Moses Lake is an inviting area to live and explore. Named in honor of Chief Moses, a leader of the Sinkiuse-Columbia nation, the central Washington community has long been known for its agricultural roots. However, that’s changed over the years, as major companies have moved to the region. Still maintaining a small-town feel, Moses Lake keeps growing, as its population nears mid-20,000.
With a culinary scene that challenges any larger city, you’ll find outstanding fare at eateries such as Michael’s on the Lake, with a casual-elegant style, as well as Rock Top Burgers and Brew, which offers a casual family dining environment.
- One-bedroom average rent price: $1,249
- Average rent change in the past year: -3.64%
While several people may confuse the city with the airport because of its name, SeaTac is far from an airport town. With about 29,000 living in a 10-square mile area, SeaTac might look like a densely-populated suburb perfectly situated between Seattle and Tacoma, but it is, in fact, its own city. As part of Seattle’s Southside, SeaTac offers plenty of green space, such as Highline Botanical Garden, with seven small gardens offering beautiful views.
Only a 20-minute commute to Seattle, SeaTac offers families an opportunity to live outside the city, while also enjoying the perks of nearby major attractions, such as the Woodland Park Zoo and Seattle Aquarium.
- One-bedroom average rent price: $1,137
- Average rent change in the past year: -14.47%
With an estimated 85,000 residents, Kennewick is one of the state’s fastest-growing cities. As the largest of the Tri-Cities (Pasco and Richland are the others) in southeastern Washington, you can find more than 150 wineries within a 60-mile radius of Kennewick, showcased with its Columbia Gardens, a riverfront urban wine and artisan village featuring two wineries and four tasting rooms.
Historic downtown Kennewick includes impressive restaurants, shops and art galleries. Seattle may have the Kraken, but Kennewick roots on the Tri-City Americans ice hockey franchise.
Kennewick is one of the best and cheapest places to live in Washington and is perfect whether you’re single, a couple just starting out or a family looking for a new place to call home.
5. Spokane Valley
- One-bedroom average rent price: $1,117
- Average rent change in the past year: -15.69%
As Spokane’s largest suburb, Spokane Valley is also one of the cheapest places to live in Washington. With a great nature scene, the area is perfect for hiking trails and kayaking rivers during the summer and hitting the slopes at Mt. Spokane for skiing, snowboarding and cross-country skiing, or just about any other winter sport you can think of. With Dishman Hills Natural Area, the Spokane River and other outlets, such as Centennial Trail, nature enthusiasts enjoy exploring the region.
Located between Spokane and Coeur d’Alene, ID, Spokane Valley offers a great area to raise a family. Known for its shopping, locals also enjoy the majestic views, as well as the culinary scene the three cities offer.
4. West Richland
- One-bedroom average rent price: $1,032
- Average rent change in the past year: -2.72%
With a vibrant winery scene in the area, West Richland offers an excellent location for wineries. More than 50 vineyards call the Red Mountain region home, producing outstanding varieties each year. While the city of about 12,000 is a popular destination for wine aficionados, it’s actually considered one of the best cities to raise a family in the state.
As one of the cheapest places to live in Washington, West Richland is part of the larger Tri-Cities metropolitan area, along with Pasco, Richland and Kennewick. With the close proximity to the larger cities for dining, sports and cultural events, West Richland offers a suburban lifestyle, along with public park and nature experiences.
Source: Rent.com / Garfield Station
- One-bedroom average rent price: $1,024
- Average rent change in the past year: 15.01%
Home to Pacific Lutheran University, Parkland sits in the shadow of Mt. Rainier. You’ll pass through the Tacoma suburb any time you head to Mt. Rainier National Park. However, not to be outdone, Parkland is home to its own natural attraction, the 4.5-acre Parkland Prairie. With 15 varieties of wild grasses and flowers, it offers nature fans an opportunity to explore the outdoors in an urban environment.
As one of the cheapest places to live in Washington, Parkland is a great location to raise a family, with an excellent education system and only a 45-minute commute to Seattle. With about 35,000 people, Parkland has worked with nearby Midland and Spanaway to create improved community services, such as transportation, shopping and public parks.
- One-bedroom average rent price: $1,023
- Average rent change in the past year: -14.81%
Probably the most famous spot in Spokane is Spokane Falls. The spot offers a rich view in one of the cheapest places to live in Washington. Riverfront Park features a variety of attractions, including the Numerica SkyRide, a gondola ride that takes you from the park past the scenic falls and through downtown before returning to the park. Spokane ranks as one of the best natural locations in the country, with several hiking trails, kayaking and canoeing opportunities and winter sports.
Sports fans will enjoy cheering on college basketball powerhouse Gonzaga University. And foodies will love Spokane’s eclectic dining scene, ranging from upscale eateries to casual dining. Finally, you’ll also find unique coffee houses, such as Atticus Coffee and Gifts, named for a character in “To Kill a Mockingbird.”
- One-bedroom rent price: $810
- Average rent change in the past year: -10.50%
Cheney is best-known for Eastern Washington University’s all-red football field. However, it’s also one of the cheapest places to live in Washington. Cheney, with a population of nearly 13,000, is about 17 miles southwest of Spokane.
As part of the Inland Northwest, Cheney offers the feel of a small town while minutes from the larger cities of Spokane and Spokane Valley, with their perks of being larger cities. Cheney is also a family-friendly community, with a parks and recreation department offering programs designed to help children develop skills and talents.
The 25 cheapest places to live in Washington
With communities, such as Gig Harbor, Tacoma, Bremerton and Des Moines, on the list, the 25 cheapest places to live in Washington feature fun and friendly cities. While the entire state is seemingly awash in natural beauty, each city brings its own special charm and uniqueness to help you decide where to live.
Rent prices are based on a rolling weighted average from Apartment Guide and Rent.com’s multifamily rental property inventory of one-bedroom apartments. Data was pulled in December 2020 and goes back for one year. We use a weighted average formula that more accurately represents price availability for each individual unit type and reduces the influence of seasonality on rent prices in specific markets.
Cities with insufficient inventory were excluded from this report.
The rent information included in this article is used for illustrative purposes only. The data contained herein do not constitute financial advice or a pricing guarantee for any apartment.