Hey and welcome back to another SMB insider. 

Today we wanted to quickly chat about home sweet home… and that is Seattle. The place we love thiiiiiiiiiis much. Yup, Seattle and its surrounding areas offer great locations to work, live and play in Washington and continues to get better year-in, year-out. However today, it’s getting increasingly pricier to buy a home within the Seattle city limits, and rightly so

In order to help new potential homebuyers with a lil’ more clarity, we decided to put together a unique list for you guys out there currently searching or soon to be looking for a home. Without further edu, Here are Seattle’s Mortgage Broker Top 5 Seattle suburbs to purchase a home in 2021. We’ll be covering…

  • The best school districts 
  • The safest neighborhoods for families
  • The best combination of price, location and even outdoor living. 

So grab yourself a seat, a warm cup of joe, and let’s dig in. 

In April 2018, the median price in the city rose to just under $820,000, a 112% increase over the previous five years. After a small dip, Seattle home prices have again surged in 2020, rising by over 10% within 12 months. On top of that, according to projections by Zillow, this is forecasted to rise by another 11.1% in 2021. Yup, crazy right? Unfortunately, for some prospective home buyers, that number might be unattainable.

Seattle Home Prices Increase

In the past year alone, Seattle home prices increased by an average of 10.9%

Even if you can afford that high price tag, the cost of city life can be tough. This has led to many people instead opting to buy their homes in the (...beautiful) suburbs of Seattle rather than within the city itself.  

With that, these homebuyers are seeking more value, more square footage and more yard space for their hard earned benjamins $$$. Many homebuyers want to get away from the hustle n’ bustle and inner-city chaos of downtown Seattle, and let’s be real - now that remote work and work from home is the norm. So, there is really no need to spend these huge sums of money, to pay the big premium just to have a shorter commute. 

Chances are, if you’re here reading this article, then you could someday be one of these people choosing to opt for Seattle suburbs in the not-so distant future. If that’s you, here’s your quick digest so you can start getting your feet wet: 

1. Sammamish, WA

Sammamish Washington Suburb

Boy oh boy, Sammamish has the best of the best. Surrounded by the Beautiful (with a capital B) Lake Sammamish, and isn’t too far from the popular urban amenities. This location has also got quite a wide selection of homes to choose from, including many houses built in 2001 or after. They’re generally spacious giving you ample room to stretch your legs, and, if that’s not enough, the city offers plenty of parks and trails to meet your explorative nature-loving needs.

Home prices in this area are a little steeper than other suburbs at an average of around $1M. Commute times can also be a drag, usually about an hour or so, if you work in Seattle. Nonetheless, the area makes up for it. With lots of fantastic scenery to offer, Sammamish is known for having one of the lowest crime rates in the Seattle metro area, coming in at the 5th safest city in America and has been ranked as one of the top 10 places to live according to Money Magazine. On top of that, it’s #1 ranked Friendliest Town in the United States according to Forbes, and Niche.com even ranks it as the #2 place to raise a family in Washington State, with an A+ rating for schools. All-in-all, Sammamish gets two big thumbs up from us here at SMB.  

Other stats include:

  • Population: 65,892
  • Average family income: $153,000

2. Snoqualmie, WA

Snoqualmie Washington Suburb

When it comes to its distance from Seattle, Snoqualmie is a teeny-tiny bit farther out than. Even though it is 25 miles east of downtown Seattle, it’s located conveniently off of Interstate 90 which makes commute times around 40 to 75 minutes. The small town holds a surprising amount of key attractions for homebuyers. With the average price for homes in Snoqualmie sitting at around $773,644 (which is up dramatically from 2019.) Zillow now predicts prices will rise another 11.6% in 2021. 

Beyond that, the setting of Snoqualmie is quintessentially Washington. Many of the landmarks in the town and nearby (including the scenic Snoqualmie Falls) were used as establishing shots for the television show, Twin Peaks. (Quick side note: Over at SMB, this is hands-down Joe’s favvvvorite show by the way - don’t tell him we told you.

Jokes aside, Snoqualmie’s historic commercial district has attracted endless curious shoppers for decades and the newly developed Snoqualmie Ridge area provides a brand new business park, retail area, new homes, and a PGA Tour-sanctioned golf course. Can’t beat that. 

Niche ranks this area as the #3 best suburb to buy a house in the Seattle area, giving its school district an A rating. Which is probably why this area has become one of the most popular places to move to in the 2000s according to the US Census Bureau.

Here are the stats:

  • Population: 13,622
  • Average household income: $135,386
  • 10 total public schools in one school district

3. Redmond, WA

Redmond Washington Suburb

Redmond, home to the only velodrome in Washington State, is also best known as the location of the Microsoft headquarters, but you couldn’t do much better if you’re looking to buy a home there. The “Bicycle Capital of the Northwest” is chock-full of everything from rustic farmhouses to modern condos. With a median home price of $955,065, local home values have rocketed, and are still predicted to rise by another 11.6% by the end of 2021. 

This area features more tech companies located here including, Tableau, Nintendo, SpaceX and Hyperloop. In fact, one of the main reasons Redmond is so magnetic to businesses is the lack of business taxes, unlike neighboring towns. 

Redmond also maintains the intangible “cool” factor of Seattle without the steep prices. Arts and culture are prevalent with events like Poets in the Park, the Redmond Arts Festival and year-round entertainment from the Eastside Symphony and Second Story Repertory Theater. If you like live performance, this is your town. While there are plenty of places to work within the city limits, the commute to Seattle is typically around 20 to 30 minutes. With that, the rated A+ local schools making Redmond a popular choice for families as well as single tech workers. 

Time for some stats:

  • Population: 71,929
  • Average household income: $99,586
  • 15 total public schools in one school district

4. Duvall, WA

Duvall Washington Suburb

Duvall, located 25 miles northeast of Seattle, is a bucolic small town, beautifully set around backdrops of water, forests and mountains. This King County suburb is popular for music festivals, classic car shows and is a top choice for those who want to do their own vegetable growing. Let’s just say - you won’t be bored.  

With that, Duvall is virtually devoid of violent crime and the property crime is one of the lowest in King County. There’s also no question you will enjoy the small town feel and tight-knit community that Duvall has to offer. Originally established in 1913, Duvall has managed to keep its boutique small town charm.

With a slightly lower housing price range, young families, newly wed professional couples and retirees may all be attracted to this Seattle suburb. Schools are highly rated as well. In fact, its been named the #1 best suburb to buy a house in the Seattle area.  

The median home price here in the area is merely above $700,000, and in terms of commute, you’re looking at a 90-minute journey into Seattle and prices are, again, are expected to go up by another 11.2% in 2021, but, like many other locales east of Seattle, Duvall enjoys a high market appreciation. So, now is definitely the time to invest in Duvall before home prices rise significantly. 

Here’s the stats:

  • Population: 8,107
  • Average household income: $125,000
  • 6 total public schools in one school district

5. Maple Valley, WA

Maple Valley Washington Suburb

Maple Valley has an incredible outdoorsy feel with the lowest median home price on our list at around $560,000. That’s partially because it’s situated about 30 miles southeast of Seattle with average commute times around an hour or more. It is, however, just as close to Tacoma if you happen to work there. It’s also located right on Lake Wilderness and is literally within walking distance of a bevy of natural sites with good rankings for Schools too.

Real estate for sale is mostly made up of new construction homes, with some vacant lots still available for those who want to build their own custom homes as well. In the past, many have used this as a ‘bedroom community’ for finding more houses for their money and still commuting into Seattle. However, those who can work remotely from home may increasingly find this the top choice of suburbs for them. So, in a nutshell, don’t make assumptions about Maple Valley until you’ve found out for yourself what all the fuss is about.

You also don’t have to be rich to live here. The average household income is the only one on our list that is under $100,000. It’s also a fairly new city, having been incorporated in 1997. But, it’s clearly on the upswing with a population of just over 25,000. In fact, back in 1990, the population was as little as 1,000. 

Here’s the stats:

  • Population: 27,202
  • Average household income: $67,159
  • 15 total public schools in one school district

Aaaaaand... there you have it! Just like that - Our list of top Seattle suburbs to buy in 2021 offers a glimpse of your choices for lifestyle, commute, and homes on offer. All-in-all, there are plenty of great options to choose from with the exclusive, the closer-to-downtown types, as well as the more rural areas with that small town vibe, lots of natural beauty right outside your doorstep and so you can go explore until your heart’s content. 

But, one quick word of advice - If you're looking to get the most out of your investment, do what you can to stay away from the crazy down-town housing market of Seattle Washington. These places outlined above; Sammamish, Snoqualmie, Redmond, Duvall, and Maple Valley, are our top 5 picks for suburbs to purchase a home in the surrounding area.

So, the question is, where will you buy a home in Seattle, WA this year?

About the Author

Helping Seattleites buy their dream homes for over 15 years. Founder of Seattle's Mortgage Broker and author of Homeownership Simplified: The Truth about ZERO Down.