Average Cost of Living in Rhode Island

Rhode Island is known for its colonial beach towns and spectacular coastlines. If you love water sports like surfing and sailing, it could be the place for you. But the cost of living in Rhode Island has changed over the years. 

How much are you really paying to live here? Get an idea of the average cost of living in Rhode Island; we’ll look at average utility costs, transportation costs, food costs, and healthcare expenses. We’ll also cover the real estate market details and housing prices in Rhode Island to help you decide if it’s the best time to move.

The Real Estate Market in Rhode Island

The Real Estate Market in Rhode Island

There are more houses for sale in Rhode Island today than at the same time last year, with the average house sale price up 25 percent. Homes are also staying on the market for just half the time, compared to the same period 12 months ago, pointing to a hot real estate market. If you are thinking of selling your house and moving out of state, this is the best time to go for it.

There are over 460,000 housing units available for residence in Rhode Island, both owned and rented. Currently, just over 60% of those residences consist of homes owned, while the remaining 39% are rentals.

Although more people moved out of the state than moved there last year, you don’t have to be discouraged. There are companies that buy houses in Providence that will be happy to take your property off you. 

On top of that, the workforce is booming in fields like healthcare and higher education, so with some added creative ways to sell a house, it might not be a lost cause. 

What Affects the Cost of Living in Rhode Island

Living in a small coastal state like Rhode Island means you’re going to have a higher cost of living, but for the most part, this is offset by the quality of life, as well as by higher wages. Healthcare also tends to be significantly cheaper than it is in other parts of the country.

Keep reading for a breakdown of each of these areas of concern:

Bills and Utility Costs

Residents of Rhode Island pay an average of $521.98 in monthly bills and utility costs when you consider standard rates for gas, electric, internet and cable, and water. 

Looking at the cost of living in Rhode Island, utilities make the state the third most expensive for bills and utilities when compared to the rest of the US.

Gas and electricity affect most of these costs. As a northern New England state, long, cold winters mean more demand for natural gas, the primary source of heat for the area. 

Distance from the pipeline impacts higher rates on top of high usage. Higher electricity costs are influenced by limited use compared to gas.

Over three-quarters of renters in Rhode Island will pay utilities on top of their monthly rent this year, with the remaining quarter having utilities included in their rent. With lower rent prices than average, this will impact renters but is still an essential factor for many.

Transportation Costs

Rhode Island has a public bus system. However, most residents drive, with a small number of residents who cycle, walk, or use other forms of transportation.

While gas prices in Rhode Island are up significantly from last year, they are still lower than the national average. 

For potential residents keeping in mind the cost of living in Rhode Island, gas prices in the state are slightly higher than in Massachusetts and much lower than in Connecticut.

Expect to pay a high annual rate for vehicle insurance, with the average rate being $1,873. This is almost $300 more than Connecticut rates and about $500 more than Massachusetts residents pay.

Housing Prices in Rhode Island

The average selling price of a home in Rhode Island is $262,000, which is $45,000 more than the average price for a home in the US. 

However, residents tend to make close to the national average for income, which means a mortgage will typically work out to 20% of their yearly earnings. This is reasonable when you are thinking about the cost of living in Rhode Island.

Expect property taxes to be reasonably priced in the state, not being the lowest or the highest. Take a look at this breakdown by the US Census Bureau with Rhode Island in twelfth place, compared to neighboring states:

  • #1 is New Jersey with a rate of 2.13%
  • #5 is Connecticut with a rate of 1.73%
  • #12 is Rhode Island with a rate of 1.37%
  • #18 is Massachusetts with a rate of 1.08%

Renters in Rhode Island have an easier time than homeowners, with local rent prices hovering at around $1000, making it cheaper to rent in Rhode Island than buy. Though there are cash home buyers in Bristol who are willing to take your home off you without the hassle of finding and convincing a buyer to move. 

Computing Food & Shopping Expenses

Food & Shopping

Food and shopping options have an impact on the cost of living in Rhode Island. Statistics show that Rhode Island residents pay slightly more per month on groceries than the rest of the United States. While this is only a 6% increase, it can be significant depending on your income.

There are significantly more grocery stores available to residents, though the prices tend to be higher in more densely populated areas, such as Providence. 

There is also a higher percentage of food insecurity in Providence than in other parts of the state, impacting some residents’ living costs in Rhode Island.

Health and Medical Costs

Residents of Rhode Island will benefit from low health and medical costs. Health insurance rates are 20% lower than the average without sacrificing the quality of service at local hospitals.

Reports contribute this low cost and an excellent level of care to the teamwork between local politicians and health care leaders. 

Over the last several years, these leaders saw the challenges that affect the quality of life for Rhode Island residents but they are working to address these challenges.

Average Cost of Living in Rhode Island

To live comfortably, a single resident with no children will need to receive an annual income of just under $31,000. A family of four (two adults, two children), where both adults work, will need to receive an income of $88,237 annually.

Rhode Island has a minimum wage of $11.50 per hour, which is lower than both Connecticut and Massachusetts but higher than the federal minimum wage. 

This is beneficial while Rhode Island is increasing jobs in a market already home to big companies like CVS Pharmacies, the US Department of Navy, and Lifespan Finance. These bigger companies will drive more people to move to Rhode Island.

While the cost of living in Rhode Island is high, grocery prices are similar to the national average. Gas prices and auto insurance are high, but rent is lower than average. 

Ready to Move Out of Rhode Island?

The cost of living in Rhode Island is higher than the national average across all major cities in the state. Selling your house now and taking the money to invest in a home in a different state can be a breath of fresh air and probably save your pocket some money in the long run. 

Are you ready to take the next step? Buy my house in Rhode Island!

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