Bellevue, WA=Great Schools, But Is It Affordable?

It’s ironic that the articles about schools linked below were recently published, as last week I met with a past client who raised this very issue.   My last post commented  on home values and school systems.

My client bought his first home from me 5 years ago.  It was a new home in a city with an excellent school system, but not the top school system on Seattle’s eastside. Now that his daughter is 5 years old, he’s looking at the different school systems even more closely.  He’s done his homework and checked out such websites as Great Schools and Education. com.  He’s read about the different school systems in the area and narrowed his choice down to the Bellevue, WA Schools.  The Bellevue Schools have been honored in a variety of places.  The high schools listed are in Newsweek’s Top 100 list and US News’ list.

But is the Bellevue School district affordable? My client wanted to know.  He had questions about what he could afford and find in Bellevue. He owns a 5 year old home with 2300+ square feet out in Sammamish.

According to the article, Bellevue is not an affordable town.  (Affordable is a relative term and each area will have a different affordability scale.) No matter where you live and what the affordability is of homes in your area, the rule of thumb is if a home is in a desirable school district, then it’s probably more expensive than a similar home in a less desirable district.

But even in some expensive school districts, prices can vary.

So what types of homes and prices can you find in Bellevue, WA? Here’s a snapshot of a typical week’s homes for sale during a week in July, 2010, which is representative of the housing available in Bellevue.

In Bellevue, homes can be found ranging from the high $200’s to multi-million dollar homes. If you divide Bellevue into areas, it’s easier to see what you can get in each area of Bellevue. Bellevue is divided into three main areas, West, East, and South Bellevue.

West Bellevue

The home of Bill Gates Jr, Charles Simonyi and other billionaires and uber-millionaires has some of the most expensive real estate in the country.  (West Bellevue, also includes the towns of Hunts Point, Yarrow Point, and Medina, some of the priciest locations in the state and the country.)

Here’s a sampling of the homes available this week in West Bellevue:

Under $500,000- 4 homes

some of which are truly lot value with small, older homes.  One home is a remodeled, most need to be remodeled and are small.

$500,000-$1,000,000-  35 homes

Ranging from homes built in the mid 50’s to the 60’s  with 1400-2000 square feet to larger homes with a huge variety of square footage.   Most of the homes were built from 1950-to the end of the century.  Newer homes in this price range are generally smaller.

$1,000,000+  66 homes

often with gracious appointments, lush grounds,  views or waterfront.  There’s an abundance of styles, ages, and square footage available.  These homes are among the priciest homes in the area with a significant number of multimillion dollar homes.

East Bellevue

Under $300,000  10 homes

older ranch style homes with square footage usually around 1500 square feet.  Some homes are bank owned, some in need of remodeling.

$300-$500,000    105 homes

(notice how many more homes are available in this price range than the other Bellevue neighborhoods.  Here’s where you can find more home for your money and in less expensive neighborhoods)

$500-$1,000,000   79 homes

You’ll find large ramblers, 2 story hoomes, and all other styles.  the homes in East Bellevue in this price range are usually terrific homes.  East Bellevue is the most affordable part of Bellevue to find a home.

$1,000,000+  18 homes

some with waterfront on Lake Sammamish, others are new construction.

South Bellevue

Under $300,000   4 homes  One is a short sale, 1 is partially remodeled, and two are older smaller homes.

$300-$500,000  33 homes

Ranging from small rambler (ranch style) homes of 1000 square feet  up to two story homes built in the 1960-1980’s with 2800 square feet.  There are mid-entry and tri-level homes along with one and two story homes in this price range.  Mid-entry and tri-level homes will be the most affordable and offer the most square footage for the money.  If you want a home with some size and in good condition, you’ll be spending closer to $500,000.  The lower end of this price range buys you a small home.

$500-$1,000,000  57 homes

Here you’ll find larger one level homes with 3 and 4 bedrooms.  Two story homes built after 1980 with square footage ranging up to 3000+.  You’ll also find large mid-entry and tri-level homes.

$1,000,000+ 37 homes

Upscale neighborhoods with drop dead gorgeous views of Seattle, Bellevue, the mountains, and lakes abound with homes ranging from mid-century modern ramblers on large lots to all styles of homes with views and lots of square footage.  Many of the homes were built after 1980.  Homes can be found with substantial square footage, high end amenities, and excellent quality and finish work.

The most affordable part of Bellevue is East Bellevue, although there are affordable houses all over.  However, what you can get for your money is vastly different in each of these areas as you can see from the above. There are options, though, and everyone has to decide the value of the schools in relation to the type of home available.

Are there great schools in other parts of the Seattle-Eastside? Yes, if you look at the lists above, other schools in Lake Washington School District, as an example pop up.  Woodinville High School is another great school.  These are not the only great schools.  There are more out there on the eastside.  Bellevue has some affordable housing, but some home buyers may want newer or larger homes for the money and may need to look at other Seattle-eastside cities.

The beauty of the Seattle-eastside is there are great schools and some great housing all over. There are options.

Posted on July 22, 2010 at 10:54 am
The Beaupain Team | Category: Bellevue Real Estate, Bellevue, WA, For Buyers, For Sellers, Real Estate, Uncategorized | Tagged , , ,

Top 5 "Smart" Reasons To Live in Bellevue, Washington

Downtown Bellevue

Bellevue, Washington is a “smart” city in more ways than one. Three articles from vastly different sources gave “smart” reasons to live in Bellevue.  The Northwest Asian Weekly,  highlighted many of the reasons the Asian community has flocked to the city of Bellevue in recent years.

US News and World Report announced its list of top schools in the nation today. Several Bellevue Schools made the list.

Lastly,  an article in the  NRDC, The National Resource Defense Council, Smarter Cities blog commended Bellevue for its use of hydro-power as part of Washington State’s “Shrink Your Carbon Footprint.”

Bellevue is a “smart” place to live because of:

  • The quality of life
  • Education
  • Economic growth
  • Prosperity
  • A good balance with a strong business climate combined with “smarter” energy sources

The Northwest Asian Weekly had some great quotes, which sum up many of the most important reasons why Bellevue has become a “smart” place to live.  The reasons it is a great place, a smart place, make Bellevue a great place to live for everyone.

The Quality of Life:

Bellevue’s prosperity has attracted Asians from other countries and from surrounding cities. The corporate job opportunities, low-crime rate, city facilities and services, high-ranking school district, low property taxes, and appreciating real estate values in Bellevue satisfy the criteria that many immigrants look for in finding a place that represents what they feel America has to offer, as well as a place where their children can thrive.


The higher influx of immigrants is also reflected in Bellevue’s school district where Asian languages are among the top 10 languages spoken among the student body. Immigrants valuing college education for their children cite the quality of the schools as one of the main reasons for moving to Bellevue. In 2009, five Bellevue high schools — International, Interlake, Newport, Sammamish, and Bellevue — were ranked in the top 100 public schools in the nation by Newsweek.

Today, US News and World Report published its list of the top schools in the country. Other high schools in King County made the list, but Bellevue had four schools honored:

  • The International School:  # 10 out of the top 100 Gold.
  • Newport High:  #72 out of 100 Gold.
  • Bellevue High:  #78 out of 100 Gold.
  • Interlake High: Silver medal

The economic climate:

“Bellevue is now home to the headquarters of many small and large businesses, many of which are technology companies that started in the 1990s and are still growing with their global presence,”  said Debadutta Dash, co-chair of Washington State India Trade Relations Action Committee.

“Perhaps nowhere else than in the Bellevue area could you find such a high concentration of individuals and businesses with international connections,” said HSBC Bank Vice President-Manager Victor Melnik.


Based on per capita income, Bellevue is ranked as the 15th wealthiest of the 522 communities in Washington.

The NRDC blog Smarter Cities blog highlights Bellevue as a city which is part of the Washington State’s plan to shrink carbon emissions through hydro-power.  Bellevue achieves its growth as a burgeoning economic center while balancing its carbon footprint.    In addition, Bellevue has lots of green with 90 parks and many walking trails.

Why do you think Bellevue is a “smart” place to live?

Posted on May 6, 2010 at 10:26 am
The Beaupain Team | Category: Bellevue Real Estate, Bellevue, WA | Tagged , , , , , ,