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Housing

Eastside on the Rise

The Eastside continues to experience a boom of new residents and new jobs. Growth is being experienced in Bellevue and beyond. King County’s population has increased over 7 percent since 2000 and continues to rise! It’s a great time to work and play in Washington’s Eastside.

Temporary Rentals

Eastside on the Rise

If you’re new to the area, you may be seeking temporary housing prior to purchasing property. While the apartment vacancy rate has declined to about 4 percent over the past year, in 2008 it’s projected that over 800 new apartments will be available for rental. The average monthly rent on the Eastside has increased to about $1,200.

Apartments are easy to find; there are rentals in every major neighborhood on the Eastside. Navigate through listings on the Web at www.craigslist.com or http://rentals.nwsource.com. You may also pick up any of the free apartment guides available on street corners and around most shopping complexes.

Renting a House

Bellevue and the Eastside are great locales for renting a home from an existing owner. Due to rising real estate costs, permanent residents are increasingly looking to compete in the market and are often interested in owning more than one property, with the purpose of short- or long-term renting.

Renting a home versus an apartment is especially advantageous to families and other group-renters seeking both adequate space and affordability. The Internet is a good source for finding homes for rent.

Eastside Real Estate

Two indicators for a strong housing market are low interest rates and job growth. The Greater Eastside is experiencing both. As the residential real estate market cools in other parts of the nation, Seattle, Bellevue and the Eastside’s market remains healthy. Home prices are often described in simple terms as products of supply and demand, but several factors — land availability, job and population growth and interest rates — make the housing market more complex.

Housing

The expert opinion is that Seattle and Bellevue outperform other cities because they are relatively unusual. Bellevue is a city on the rise. It was once a bedroom community and is now growing by leaps and bounds, adding up to the factors that lead to a booming housing market: increase in population, rise in number of businesses and a general economic improvement year-to-year. Seattle is one of a handful of the nation’s most attractive cities. A quick look at census data shows house prices growing faster than the national average for 50 years, with projected increases well through 2010. What does this mean? Major home appreciation is a pattern that may go on for a long time, and that means there’s no better time than now to own property in and around Bellevue, Seattle and surrounding areas.

Housing Costs

Trends in housing show that prices and sales of homes and condominiums on the Eastside are slowing while prices of rentals are increasing. The median price for single-family homes and condominiums starts at about $320,000, going up steadily from there as properties become more exceptional – up to several million for lakeside mansions or those infamous high-rise Seattle penthouses.

Salaries and employment opportunity in the Eastside continually outpace the rate of inflation. One thing that helps make the Greater Eastside more affordable is that employees earn above-average incomes. Though housing prices are relatively high on the Eastside, Bellevue residents pay roughly at the national average for the percent of income spent on housing.

Growth Management Planning

King County experienced rapid population and job growth in the past decade, spurring demand for housing. During the same period, Washington implemented its Growth Management Act (GMA), which contains urban sprawl and encourages efficient use of infrastructure. The act also protects open spaces and environmentally sensitive areas.

Housing Options

Another outgrowth of the comprehensive planning process is the emergence of master planned communities and urban villages. Now in various stages of planning or construction, these large developments typically feature a mixture of “live, work, play” amenities. Prospective residents will find a wonderful variety of home styles with a wide array of prices.

King County real estate

Although single-family homes remain the dominant style in the Puget Sound region, condominiums are an increasingly popular lifestyle choice. Of King County’s current inventory of condominiums, nearly half the listings were built since 1996. By a wide margin, floor plans with two or fewer bedrooms are most prevalent. Within this category, condo seekers will find a dazzling array of architectural designs, from artist’s lofts or similar “live-work” layouts in the heart of the larger cities to garden townhouses in rural settings.

In Bellevue, the number of residents living downtown has grown exponentially in the past 10 years. The city forecasts that 14,000 people will live downtown by 2020. Developers are following the successful formula of building high-rise condominiums that offer retail space at street level. The concept brings the downtown to life after work with a steady stream of patrons and residents visiting popular shops and restaurants.

In addition to master-planned communities and condominiums, newcomers will find a good selection of conventional and innovative home styles. As a general guide, expect to pay premium prices for homes that boast panoramic views or that feature waterfront access or similar sought-after amenities.

In Bellevue, residents find homes fit for every size of family at any stage of life, whether it’s a waterfront estate, suburban rambler or high-rise building. Neighborhoods are a diverse mix of upscale, urban downtown condos and quiet residential homes. Community involvement is paramount in all neighborhoods, where residents focus on youth, cultural and family-oriented activities.

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