Last updated July 27, 2019
Seattle and its surrounding areas offer great locations to work, live, and play in Washington. Even so, it’s getting increasingly pricier to buy a home in the Seattle city limits. Here are our Top 5 Seattle suburbs to purchase a home in 2019.
In April 2018, the median price in the city rose to just under $820,000, a 112% increase over the last five years. For some prospective home buyers, that number might be unattainable.
Even if you can afford that high price tag, city life can be tough.
For that reason, many people are opting to buy their homes in the suburbs of Seattle rather than within the city itself.
You may be one of those people in the near future. If that’s the case, here’s the best places to start shopping around.
1. Sammamish, WA
Sammamish has the best of every world. It’s surrounded by nature (including the beautiful Lake Sammamish) without being too far from some very urban amenities. It’s also got quite a selection of homes to choose from, including many houses built in 2001 or after. Lots are 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 needs.
Home prices here are a little steeper than other suburbs at an average of around $624,000. Commute times can also be a drag if you work in Seattle proper (usually about an hour). Even so, the city has a lot to offer, especially for prospective homebuyers. It also has one of the lowest crime rates in the Seattle metro area. Other stats include:
- Population: 63,773
- Average household income: $153,000
- Unemployment rate: 4%
- 18 total public schools in two school districts
2. Snoqualmie, WA
Snoqualmie is even farther out of the way than Sammamish when it comes to its distance from Seattle. But, the small town actually offers a surprising amount for homebuyers. The average price for homes in Snoqualmie is around $471,000. And, 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.
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. Its historic commercial district has attracted curious shoppers for decades and the newly developed Snoqualmie Ridge area provides a business park, retail area, new homes, and a PGA Tour-sanctioned golf course. The town also has:
- Population: 13,190
- Average household income: $131,000
- Unemployment rate: 3.8%
- 10 total public schools in one school district
3. Redmond, WA
Redmond is 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 $525,000, you also don’t have to worry about breaking the bank.
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 and the Redmond Arts Festival and year-round entertainment from the Eastside Symphony and Second Story Repertory Theater. And, while there are plenty of places to work within the city limits, the commute to Seattle is usually only around 20 to 30 minutes.
- Population: 62,110
- Average household income: $107,000
- Unemployment rate: 4.6%
- 15 total public schools in one school district
4. Duvall, WA
Duvall is a bucolic small town located about 25 miles northeast of Seattle. On bad days, your commute to Seattle could be as long as 90 minutes, but the median home price in the area is just above $400,000. Plus, Duvall is virtually devoid of violent crime and the property crime rate in the city is one of the lowest in King County.
Like many other locales east of Seattle, Duvall enjoys a high market appreciation. So, now is the time to invest in Duvall before home prices rise significantly. There’s also no question that you will enjoy the small town feel and tight-knit community that Duvall has to offer. It also offers:
- Population: 7,674
- Average household income: $125,000
- Unemployment rate: 5.9%
- 6 total public schools in one school district
5. Maple Valley, WA
Maple Valley has the lowest median home price on our list at around $312,000. 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.
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 around 25,000. In 1990, that population was just around 1,000.
- Average household income: $98,000
- Unemployment rate: 7.5%
- 15 total public schools in one school district
There you have it!
If you're looking to get the most out of your investment, and stay away from the crazy down-town housing market of Seattle Washington—Sammamish, Snoqualmie, Redmond, Duvall, and Maple Valley, are my top 5 picks for suburbs to purchase a home in the surrounding area.