Cost of Living in Lancaster, PA

Thought about moving to Lancaster, PA? This charming city, filled with history and character, has much to offer, and it’s no wonder why you may consider moving here. But before you pack your bags, let's dive into the nitty-gritty and explore the all-important topic of the cost of living.

Housing Costs

In Lancaster, PA, the housing market offers a diverse range of options to suit various preferences. If you're looking to buy, the average home price hovers around $250,000. This gets you either a piece of Lancaster's rich history or a cozy modern home. When it comes to renting, Lancaster provides flexibility. The average monthly cost of renting an apartment is approximately $1,200. This allows residents to choose housing options that align with their lifestyle and budget. Whether you're in the market to buy or prefer the flexibility of renting, Lancaster's housing costs are generally reasonable.

Utilities and Bills

Let's now break down the cost of utilities in Lancaster, PA. Electricity The average monthly cost for electricity in Lancaster is approximately $50 to $100, depending on the size of the household and usage. Water and Sewer Expect to pay around $30 to $50 per month for these services. Heating Heating costs vary, especially during the colder months. On average, residents allocate $50 to $100 per month for heating expenses, which may include gas or other heating sources. Internet and Cable The average monthly cost for a basic internet and cable package in Lancaster ranges from $50 to $100. Trash Collection Waste management is another consideration. Trash collection services typically cost around $15 to $25 per month. Home Maintenance Setting aside funds for home maintenance is advisable. This can include repairs, lawn care, and other unforeseen expenses, with an average monthly budget of $50 to $100. When you add up these components, the total average for utilities and bills in Lancaster, PA, falls within the range of $245 to $425 per month.

Transportation Expenses

While Lancaster is not that big of a city and doesn’t require long commutes, it will likely still be helpful for you to see the costs of transportation, which include: Public Transportation Lancaster provides a reasonably priced public transportation system. The average monthly cost of using public transit is around $60 to $80. Fuel Costs For residents who rely on their vehicles, the average monthly expense for fuel is approximately $150. This estimate considers regular commuting and day-to-day travel within the city. Vehicle Maintenance Keeping a vehicle in good working condition involves regular maintenance. Residents often budget around $50 to $100 per month for expenses like oil changes, tire rotations, and other routine services. Parking Fees Depending on your living situation and work location, parking fees may also be a concern for you. Monthly parking fees in Lancaster range from $20 to $50. Vehicle Insurance Car insurance is a necessary expense that prevents, well, bigger expenses that can hurt your wallet way more. In Lancaster, residents typically allocate $80 to $150 per month for vehicle insurance, depending on factors such as coverage, driving history, and the type of vehicle. When you sum up these components, the total average transportation expenses in Lancaster, PA, fall within the range of $360 to $530 per month.

Food and Grocery Expenses

Grocery shopping won't send you into shock, and dining out? Count on dropping $15 to $25 per person at a local restaurant.

Healthcare Costs

As we all know, healthcare is a priority. Medical expenses? Right around the national average. Here are the details: Health Insurance The average monthly cost for health insurance in Lancaster ranges from $200 to $500, depending on factors such as coverage level, age, and family size. Out-of-Pocket Medical Expenses Even with insurance, there are often out-of-pocket expenses such as co-pays and deductibles. Residents should budget an additional $50 to $100 per month for these potential costs. Prescription Medications Set aside $20 to $50 per month for medications, though this can be higher for those with specific medical conditions. Dental Care Dental expenses are a part of overall healthcare. Budgeting around $20 to $50 per month for dental check-ups and potential treatments is common. Vision Care Regular eye check-ups and the cost of eyeglasses or contact lenses contribute to vision care expenses. Residents typically allocate $10 to $30 per month for these needs.

Education Expenses

We'll now delve into both public and private schooling. So, if you've got kids, you'll want to pay attention here. Public Schooling Public school education is generally funded through local taxes. This means there might not be direct out-of-pocket expenses for tuition, but there could be costs associated with school supplies, extracurricular activities, and other miscellaneous fees. Families typically budget around $50 to $100 per month for these expenses. Private Schooling If families opt for private schools, tuition becomes a significant expense. Private school tuition in Lancaster can range from $5,000 to $15,000 per year, depending on the school's reputation, facilities, and grade level. On a monthly basis, this translates to approximately $400 to $1,250. Some famous private schools in Lancaster include Lancaster Country Day School and Lancaster Catholic High School. Higher Education Tuition at a local community college can range from $3,000 to $6,000 per year, while a four-year university may have annual tuition ranging from $10,000 to $30,000 or more. Monthly budgeting for higher education expenses often falls between $300 and $2,500. When you consider all these components, the total average education expenses in Lancaster, PA, can range from $400 to $3,000 per month.

Entertainment and Recreation

Now, these can range from the bare minimum to as much as you please. It all depends on your preferences and how much you’re willing to spend. Lancaster has a lot of things to do, like amusement parks, museums, and more, so you’ll not get bored, that’s for sure.

Taxes in Lancaster

Now, let's get into taxes. Of course, keep in mind that we're just a local moving company and are not tax professionals. With that out of the way, here's a rundown on Lancaster taxes. Income Tax Pennsylvania has a flat income tax rate of 3.07%. This rate applies to all income levels, meaning everyone pays the same percentage of their income in state income tax. Local municipalities, however, do not impose an additional income tax. Property Tax Property taxes in Lancaster are primarily used to fund local school districts. The property tax rate varies depending on the school district in which the property is located. Rates can range, but on average, Lancaster County's property tax rate is around 1.5% of the assessed property value. Sales Tax The state imposes a 6% sales tax on most retail sales of tangible goods. Additionally, there is a local sales tax of 1% in Lancaster County, bringing the total sales tax to 7%. Certain items, such as food and clothing, are exempt from state sales tax. Local Taxes Lancaster City imposes a Local Services Tax (LST) of $156 annually on individuals working within the city limits. This tax helps fund local services, including police and fire protection. Real Estate Transfer Tax When real estate is sold, a real estate transfer tax is imposed. In Lancaster County, the total transfer tax is 2%, split equally between the buyer and the seller. Earned Income Tax (EIT) Some local school districts may impose an Earned Income Tax, typically around 1%. This tax is levied on earned income (wages, salaries, and other compensation) and is used to fund local schools.

Comparison with National Averages

To sum it up, the cost of living in Lancaster, PA, for a single person is around $2,500 per month, while for a family of four, it can be around $5,000. These tend to be lower than the national average.  Affordable housing options, reasonable utility costs, and moderate expenses for transportation, groceries, and healthcare contribute to a more budget-friendly living experience in comparison to many other areas across the United States.


That’s about it! Hope this guide was helpful to you in determining whether your lifestyle matches Lancaster’s cost of living. One thing is for sure - we will keep publishing similar blogs for locations in Lancaster County, PA, and surrounding areas, so make sure to stay tuned. Want help moving to Lancaster? Call us for a moving quote today!