From hip, bustling neighborhoods surrounded by tech industry opportunities, to rural settings in an urban area, suburban Seattle offers a wide range of residential options to meet the needs of everyone moving to or within the metro area. Like local wine? Try Woodinville. Want great schools? Try Maple Valley. Like many metro areas, the tradeoff is between housing prices vs. acceptable commuting times. But no matter what, we’re pretty sure you’ll love all of these.
With a growing downtown area and a population of more than 130,000, Bellevue almost defies the description of a suburb. But, being separated from Seattle by Lake Washington, it has been able to establish its own identity. The school district is among the highest-rated in state. The city is also home to Bellevue College, the third-largest college in the state with more than 32,000 students and moving rapidly from a two-year school into offering a variety of bachelor’s degrees in innovative and in-demand areas, especially those related to the booming tech industry.
Bellevue is split on either side of I-405, which runs north-south through the city. West of the interstate includes downtown and the Lake Washington shoreline. As such, the median price in April 2016 for a single family home west of I-405 – an area that includes luminaries such as Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson - was $1.8 million; while east of 405 it was $735,000. The median household income was about $91,000 compared with the statewide average of $58,405. About 32% of the residents are single.
A much smaller town of slightly more than 11,000, Woodinville is much more rural in character. Like much of the Seattle area, median home prices have climbed quickly in recent years. Although just 30 minutes from downtown, Woodinville is home to more than 90 wineries. The amphitheater at Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery hosts a concert series with the likes of Paul Simon, Lyle Lovett, Bob Dylan, Jackson Browne and Bonnie Raitt.
Woodinville is listed as a hot housing market with a median home price of $665,800, up 12.3% over the past year, with about 92% home ownership. The median household income is about $121,000. About 24% of the residents are single.
Set in the Snoqualmie Valley in the shadow of the Cascade Mountains, North Bend is moving from a small bedroom community to more of a commuter town. But the city still remains a bit off the radar despite being less than 40 miles from Sea-Tac airport. North Bend is well-known to some because of the television series Twin Peaks, which immortalized the local restaurant, Twede's Cafe.
Like much of the Seattle metro area, housing costs are on the rise in North Bend. Home median home value is $442,800, a 13.5% increase from the previous year. The median age for North Bend is 42, and about 35% of residents are single.
Maple Valley, about 30 miles southeast of downtown Seattle, is one of the fastest growing suburbs in an area, jumping from 14,209 residents in 2000 to more than 24,000 by 2014. The Tahoma school district, which serves Maple Valley, is highly ranked. Housing options include single-family homes, apartments, townhomes, condos and senior housing. Although the median price for a single-family home has risen to about $370,000, it is significantly lower than many nearby suburbs. About 91% are home owners.
For recreation, the city has three lakes, two golf courses, and several miles of trails. About 22% of the residents are single.
Issaquah is a city of about 32,000 at the south end of Lake Sammamish, about 17 miles from downtown Seattle and eight miles from Bellevue and Redmond. Like many of the Seattle suburbs, the Issaquah School District is highly rated. For outdoor enthusiasts, or simply those who enjoy the view, Issaquah is surrounded by Squak Mountain, Cougar Mountain, Tiger Mountain, and Lake Sammamish State Park. Housing prices have climbed, but are on par with the rest of the booming Seattle area.
In terms of percent increase in the red-hot Seattle area housing market, Issaquah is among the highest with a 14.5% jump in median home value to about $628,000. About 24% of the residents are single.
If you don’t mind a 20-minute ferry ride being part of your daily commute, Vashon Island offers a somewhat unconventional suburban option. Covering about 37 square miles – about the size of Manhattan - Vashon is the largest island in Puget Sound south of Admiralty Inlet. Although home prices have climbed, the prospect of commuting across the water has kept prices below that of the mainland. The town of Vashon, about five miles from the Fauntleroy ferry dock, has banks, restaurants, grocery stores and a movie theater. Residents relish their counter-culture reputation. Commuters to Seattle rely on the Vashon-to-Fauntleroy ferry or the water taxi to downtown Seattle.
The average median home price on Vashon has climbed to $525,000, but away from the water, prices drop considerably. Vashon Island has the largest proportion of people 50 to 59 year olds in the area at 23.3% About 43% of the residents are single.
Other highly regarded suburbs, although some are extremely costly, are Mercer Island (in the middle of Lake Washington), Redmond, Newcastle, Sammamish, Kirkland, Edmonds and Bothell. Housing is more affordable in the southern suburbs of Des Moines, Renton, Burien, Kent and Federal Way.