Cost of Living in Lancaster, PA

Housing costs, taxes, cost of living in Lancaster, PA, and other helpful info.

Are you planning on a move to Lancaster, Pennsylvania? If yes, that’s fantastic news! Lancaster is, without a doubt, one of the best small cities in the United States. It offers an excellent mix of people, places, amenities, and benefits. It’s also safe, clean, and very walkable. The climate? Not the best in Winter (unless you adore snow), but Spring, Summer, and Fall here can be spectacular. For outdoor-types, Lancaster offers a wide variety of opportunities to get outside and have a good time. The surrounding Lancaster County is one of the most scenic in the U.S. In short, it’s a fantastic place to live, work, raise a family, and retire too. (Lancaster has an excellent healthcare system and good hospitals).

As with moving anywhere, it’s a good idea to know what your cost-of-living will be when living in Lancaster. That knowledge can help you with various important tasks, including creating a budget and deciding what size home to purchase. One bit of good financial news is that Lancaster has low housing costs compared to the national average. You’ll pay less for housing here than over 40% of your fellow Americans. Both home prices and rental prices are affordable, which makes living in Lancaster a little bit easier on your bank account.

By the way, if you’re moving here and you have problems with your closing, MooveIn Self Storage can help. Over the years, we’ve seen many people arrive here only to have the closing on their new home fall through. That forces them to make a difficult choice; where to put their stuff until the closing happens. Most choose to put it in the storage their moving company offers, but, frankly, that’s a costly option. The Lancaster storage units MooveIn has located all over the area, however, are affordable. They’re also clean, safe, and monitored by 24/7 video cameras. If you have important questions about storing your things, you can chat online with one of our friendly managers. Now let’s take a closer look at Lancaster’s living costs in this Handy Pricing Guide to Living in Lancaster. Enjoy.

Lancaster’s Overall Cost of Living

Basing it on a U.S. average of 100, the cost of living in Lancaster is 86.8. That’s not the best, but it’s definitely not the worst in the United States by any means. Out of seven significant variables, Lancaster is only over 100 in two of them, transportation and utilities. But for housing, healthcare, groceries, and other expenses, Lancaster is lower than the national average. Lancaster is also 12% lower than the average of Pennsylvania while being almost 14% lower than the national average.

Looking specifically at housing, Lancaster is approximately 35% lower than the national average. One place where Lancaster does take a hit, to be frank, is when it comes to taxes. We’re about 18% higher than the national average as far as general sales taxes go. Also, the state income tax is 38% higher than the national average, which is substantial. Still, with the cost of housing as low as it is, things average out quite nicely. Lancaster’s cost-of-living gets a solid B+ overall. That’s good enough to place it in the Top 10% of small cities in the U.S.!

What is the Average Cost of Utilities in Lancaster, PA?

The average cost of utilities in Lancaster, PA is just slightly higher than the national average. A household with two people costs about $200 per month in utility bills. For a one-person-household, utilities average as much as $150 per month. We will break those out below.

What’s the average electric bill in Lancaster, PA?

When it comes to electric bills Lancaster, PA, ranks about $5 more per month higher than the national average. The average electricity bill in Lancaster is about $115 per month, per household.

What’s the average water bill in Lancaster, PA?

In Lancaster, PA, the average water bill is on par with the national average. The average customer currently receives a monthly $120 water and sewer bill.

How Does Lancaster Rank When Compared to the U.S.?

We’re very proud to say that, in 2018, Lancaster is one of the best places to live in the United States. It was by U.S. News who voted our city number 32 out of 125 cities in the country. Here’s an excerpt from the newspaper itself:

Coming in at No. 32 (out of 125), Lancaster County was chosen for its “balance between natural and commercial spaces” and its appeal to both “close-knit church communities (and) the indie coffee shop scene.”

The U.S. News

Some of the other reasons that Lancaster is so popular include the median home price, which is 35% lower than the national average. Also, for commuters, Lancaster has a very short commute time of 23.1 minutes. As of this writing, the unemployment rate was less than 4% in Lancaster, which is favorable.

Cost of Living in Lancaster, PA: What About Taxes?

When you live in the city of Lancaster and own real estate, you’re assessed property tax by the county, the city, and the school district. Elected officials in their respective sectors set the rates for all three of these taxing bodies. That includes the county commissioners, who set the tax rate for property taxes. It also consists of the Mayor as well as the City Council, who set the tax rate for the city. Lastly, you’ll pay school district taxes based on the rate your School Board sets. (There are three school districts in Lancaster including Lancaster, Conestoga Valley, and Lampeter-Strasburg

Earned Income Taxes

As far as earned income taxes (EIT) go, yes, Lancaster does levy them on your income. The rate for city residents is 1.1%, of which 0.6% goes to the city and 0.5% to your school district. As with most cities, these taxes come through payroll deductions by your employer.

Local Services Tax

If you work in Lancaster and earn more than $12,000 a year, you’ll have a Local Services Tax. As of right now, that tax is $52 per person. Approximately $47 of it goes to the city, and the other $5 goes to your school district. Regardless of where you live in Lancaster, you pay this tax to the city if you work in the city.

How Can You Pay Your Taxes In Lancaster

Lancaster gives you the option to pay your taxes with a check or to pay online. They offer a secure website to make that more convenient, but they do include a small convenience fee. You can also mail your check to the Treasury Office or drop it outside their door. If paying online, you can use a credit card or an e-check on Lancaster’s secure website. If using a check, be cautious. Lancaster will charge you a fee for nonsufficient funds (NSF) if your check bounces. If it does, you’ll be paying an extra $50 in penalties (and nobody wants that).

Cost of Living in Lancaster, PA: What About Tax Rebates?

Residents of Lancaster who earn under $12,000 a year are eligible for a tax rebate. If eligible, you’ll receive the full amount of taxes you paid for the Local Services Tax. Contact the Lancaster County Tax Collection Bureau at 717-569-4521 if you want to apply for this rebate. You can also visit their website at and get a lot more useful information.

If you’re on a fixed income and moving to Lancaster, You may be eligible for the Tax and Rent Rebate program Pennsylvania offers. To be eligible, you need to be 65 years or older, although you only need to be 50 or older if you’re a widow or widower. If you’re 18 years or older and suffer from a disability, you can also apply. If you’re accepted, you’ll receive $650 towards the amount of money you paid in either property taxes or rent.

Lancaster’s Housing Costs

If there’s one area where Lancaster sings, financially speaking, it’s housing costs. Compared to the rest of the United States, we’re nearly 35% less overall. We’re also lower than the state average for Pennsylvania. For example, the national median home value in the States is approximately $185,000. Here in Lancaster, the median home value is just over $109,000.

As for rental costs in Lancaster, you’ll be glad to know they’re also below the national average. Not only that but, in the last fiscal year, they dropped over 11%. The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment is Lancaster $825 a month. A two-bedroom apartment in Lancaster will set you back $1059 a month on average. Both of those are very good compared to the rest of the United States. The median rent in Lancaster overall is affordable for many folks at $922.

Cost of Living in Lancaster, PA

Cost of Living in Lancaster, PA Brought To You By MooveIn

Whether you own or rent, if you’re running out of space and need extra, MooveIn Storage can help! You’ll find our safe, clean storage locations all over the Lancaster area. We take pride in all of our sites, all of which offer excellent, affordable, and secure storage for all your valuables.

What can you store in one of our Lancaster storage units? You name it, as long as it’s not flammable, we can store it! Your collection of antique G.I. Joe action figures. All of the equipment or stock (or both) for your home business. Years’ worth of files from your office. All of your BMX motorcycle gear and your motorcycles. Your camping, boating, and other outdoor equipment. Whatever you need to store, we keep it clean, safe, and secure.

If you’re not sure what you need, you can chat with one of our friendly managers online. Or, if you’re ready, you can rent a storage unit right now. Just use our online application, choose the right size storage unit, and that’s it! There’s no deposit necessary, and your storage unit will be waiting when you arrive. Even better, we only offer month-to-month leases. If your plans change, you won’t be stuck in a long-term contract with MooveIn.

MoveIn Self Storage offers 24/7 video security monitors as well as a keypad-controlled front gate at every location. Additionally, all of our locations are well lit at night to keep you even safer. We care about your safety and provide everything we can to make storage with us exceptionally safe.

We’re MooveIn Self Storage, and we’re glad you’re moving to Lancaster. We know you’re going to love living here because we do too! Best of luck with your move and with your new life in Lancaster!

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