Bellevue Real EstateBellevue, WAFor BuyersFor SellersReal EstateUncategorized July 22, 2010

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.