As a Realtor with Windermere Real Estate in Bellevue Washingon and one who has lived in Bellevue for many years, I've pulled together some of the most compelling reasons why Bellevue continues to attract people to establish a residence here. It's all about the quality of life, and it's no coincidence that CNN's Money Magazine has twice featured Bellevue WA as one of America's Top 100 Cities to live. In 2008 it was #1 on that list and in 2010 it was #4. Like a good wine, the City of Bellevue only gets better as it ages--it is becoming more interesting and cosmopolitan with each passing year.
Employment opportunities abound here, we've got the jobs! The resilient economy here is supported by a diversified base of financial, service, technology, and manufacturing companies. Bellevue is home to over 30 major corporate employers, companies like T-Mobile, Unigard Insurance, Boeing, Google, Expedia, Amazon, Paccar, Coinstar, and Vulcan (Paul Allen's company).
Even though Microsoft's world headquarters are offically in Redmond (withing a half mile of Bellevue's north boundary) we have approximately 7,000 Microsoft employees in our office parks and downtown Bellevue office buildings. Most live within 20 minutes of their homes, and many live within walking distance in the vibrant new condo towers like Bellevue Towers, added 4 years ago.
Short Commuting Times--Bellevue is connected to Seattle by two bridges that cross Lake Washington, making the trip to Seattle only 10-15 minutes. The surrounding cities of Kirkland, Redmond, Sammamish, Newcastle, Fall City, Carnation, North Bend, Duvall, Bothell--all these cities are within a 10-35 minute commuting radius. From ultra chic downtown condo living to the laid back rural lifestyle--it's all within this range for commuters.
Seattle's Big City Amenities When you're that close, all the big city amenities are yours to enjoy, making life more enjoyable. Things like the Seattle Symphony, the many live theaters, the Seattle Art Museum, Pike Place Market, Pioneer Square, and Professional Sports team venues including the Seattle Mariners, the Seattle Seahawks, the Seattle Sounders.
Bellevue's Civic Culture is Evolving Bellevue has its own Philharmonic Orchestra and Bellevue Art Museum, and is fund raising now for the Tateuchi Center, a performing arts center that will rival Seattle's Benaroya Hall. There is talk of a new stadium being erected to house an NBA team and a pro Hockey team--Bellevue is in the running as well as Seattle to build such a stadium.
Puget Sound's Mild Climate has four distinct seasons, another reason people move here, and once here they stay here. We aren't tormented by blistering hot temperatures in the summer months, nor are we faced with harsh winters with weeks of sub-freezing temperatures. With perhaps one modest snowstorm each winter in the City, most of our snow is where it belongs--in the passes.
An Outstanding Bellevue Parks system with nearly 100 parks, including five great Community Centers! There's a slate of park programs for youth, adults, and families to enjoy, plus the Bellevue Municiple Golf Course. Some favorites parks of mine include the Botanical Garden wiith its adjacent Wilburton Hill Park featuring with an amazing new lighted soccer field, two baseball diamonds, and lots of forested trails for year round walks with your dog or trail running.
Recreational Opportunities abound here including boating or watersports on either Lake Washington (west boundary) or Lake Sammamish (east boundary), or Puget Sound (20 minutes west). Hiking, bird watching, hunting, fishing, ice skating in Bellevue's Downtown Park, road cycling or mountain biking are popular sports here, soccer leagues, organized sports of any kind, with the varied climate it's all possible and without traveling long distances to get started.
There is no shortage of outdoor recreation opportunities here, including kayaking or canoeing into the Bellefield Park nature preserve. Kayak or canoe rentals can be had from the Enatai Beach Park just below Interstate 90 where it joins Bellevue from Mercer Island.
For day trips, going east on I-90 you can be at a trailhead of one of many hikes into the foothills or the Cascade Mountains themselves. If you like skiing or shoe shoeing, that is within 45 minutes at Snoqualmie Pass where one of our favorite destinations is Alpental for great trails into the forest for winter showshoe outings--Snow Lake Trail. Or, within 30 minutes you can be boarding a ferry with your bicycle from Elliott Bay in Seattle to visit Vashon or Bainbridge Islands for a day of cycling and change of pace to a less harried existence.
Access to Travel by Land, Air, or Sea You can hop aboard a Luxury Cruise liner in Seattle's Elliot Bay if you want to escape by sea or travel 30 minutes to the SeaTac Airport for all destinations requiring air travel. Or, within 45 minutes continuing east on I-90 you can arrive at the ski resorts at Snoqualmie summit, or continue east to travel to Boston for a cross country road trip. If you want to go to Victoria BC for the day, you can board the Victoria Clipper in Elliot Bay and be there in two hours, then back the same day. If you want to fly by seaplane, you can also do that with Lake Union Air and go to the San Juan Islands for the weekend.
Cultural diversity within our poplulation has become the norm ever since Microsoft and other high tech companies began adding professionals from India, Asia, and other parts of the world. The demographics as noted on the City of Bellevue's website indicate we have an Asian population around 25%, with over 30% of our residents being foreign born. Bellevue's population is around 124,000 but we have more jobs than residents (140,000) jobs as the Eastside's regional city.
A Vibrant Downtown featuring beautiful skycrapers, new condominium buildings, and amazing shopping opportunities at the Bellevue Collection, the retail empire of Kemper Development including Bellevue Square, Bellevue Place, and Lincoln Square. The Bellevue Collection ranks among the highest grossing retail shopping destinations in the country, with their enviable list of outstanding retailers. Other major Bellevue shopping areas include The Bravern with its list of ultra high-end retailers anchored by Neiman Marcus, just 8 blocks east of Bellevue Square, Crossroads Mall which is a fascinating community hub that one has to experience to understand and appreciate.
Bellevue's nightlife has really come alive these last several years with the addition of many new restaurants and venues mostly in the core along Bellevue Way and in the Westin Hotel vicinity. On any given weekend night, it has gotten so busy you must plan to be early, make a reservation, or just learn to expect to wait to be seated at the bar of Ruth's Chris Steak House, P.F. Chang's China Bistro, Pearl, Earl's, McCormick & Schmick's, The Munch Bar, Blue Martini, or others.
Great Schools, both public and private that scholastically rank among the highest in the state. People are always talking about the great schools here, including our own Bellevue College that has earned quite a reputation since starting its early years as a two year college, now an accredited four year university. Visit this site to get more information about Bellevue's schools and the their respective scholastic scores.
The real estate market here is active in all price ranges with about 2 months of inventory at present absorption rates. Like all areas in the nation we have homeowners who've faced negative equity trends, so short sales and bank owned properties have been a drag on the market but our trend has now turned up, dramatically in the second quarter. We are now seeing much shorter market times, firming values, and multiple offers instead of a slow market.
The average 4 bedroom home sale in Bellevue of all zip codes during the most recent 90-day period (all price ranges) is $634,000. That buys you a home of 2,575 square feet. 90 days ago, homes priced from $850,000 and up were averaging 124 days on market, with 19 sales of $1,000,000 or more in the last 90 days, selling at 96% of the list price. Now you're lucky to get a well cared for home in the first 45 days of its list date, if it's priced right.
Bellevue's Waterfront communities We have a number of great waterfront commuities surrounding Bellevue. People often ask me about Yarrow Point homes for sale, or the acclaimed Hunts Point where some of the uber wealthy live. But we have more areas like Evergreen Point, the celebrated City of Medina where Bill Gates lives, Meydenbauer Bay, Beaux Arts, Enatai, Shoreland Drive, Chism Park, and Newport Shores. Each has its own character and personality but the variety will allow anyone who wants to live on the water a great selection.
The point is well taken I hope that Bellevue is a community whose theme is dominated by waterfront on Lake Washington, or to the east side of Bellevue our City is bordered by Lake Sammamish. We are never far from being able to see or use the lake with all the public access via our amazing Bellevue Parks Department.
Bellevue's View Communities The best of Bellevue's view neighborhoods include Vuecrest, Clyde Hill, Medina Heights, Meydenbauer, Lochleven, Spring Hills, Evergreen Point, and Yarrow Point--all considered West Bellevue real estate.
Leaving West Bellevue and going East of the 405 Freeway brings consideration of several view neighborhoods like Pike's Peak, Somerset, Lakemont, Pinnacle, and The Summit. These names will encompass the most likely choices for buyers who want view but aren't willing to pay West Bellevue prices which will run at least two hundred thousand dollars more.
Market Update: Our local real estate market has definitely entered the turn going from a buyer's market to a seller's market, and just over the last few weeks has the pyschology in the market changed. We have seen a good portion of the inventory dry up, now area wide in King County we have an average of 1.8 months of inventory at the current pace of sales. Homes that once were plentiful and with very attractive pricing, have now grown scarce in all price ranges. Some areas have less than a months inventory, which results in multiple offers and prices being bid up. We have excellent data to share with our clients. I invite you to make an inquiry for what this means to you in your real estate search.