5 Most Affordable Neighborhoods For First-Time Homebuyers in King County

January 28, 2020
Last updated:
January 15, 2024
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If you’re a first-time home buyer looking to buy in King County, you may be discouraged by the very high home prices that characterize this county. That said, there are also a number of affordable spots that buyers may look at that will better fit within their budget.

Out of all counties in Washington State, King County easily has some of the most expensive cities in the entire state. The biggest city in Washington – Seattle – is one of the priciest cities with home values topping $815,865, as of January 2024. Many other centers also contribute to King County’s average home price of $799,604, including the likes of Bellevue (the average home price of $1,300,183), Kirkland (the average home price of $1,102,449), and Redmond (the average home price of $1,237,336).

But as expensive as King County may be, there are plenty of other spots that offer all the amenities and comforts of a city but at much lower housing prices. This is especially important for first-time homebuyers who may have limited down payment funds and a tight budget for a new home.

So, Where Can First-time Homebuyers in Washington Find a Relatively Affordable Home in King County? Here Are the Top 5 Spots to Consider.

  1. Auburn
  2. Kent
  3. Renton
  4. Maple Valley
  5. Federal Way

1. Auburn, WA

For anyone who has an affinity for Seattle but cannot afford the sky-high home prices to live there, Auburn might make a great alternative. Within about a half-hour drive to Seattle but with lower home prices, Auburn makes a great place for first-time homebuyers to save some money without compromising city life.

In fact, home prices in Auburn are nearly half of what they are in Seattle at approximately $568,248 as of January 2024. For those who wish to take advantage of much lower home prices while tapping into an opportunity to build equity quickly through appreciation in value, Auburn might be a great place to look.

According to Zillow, the real estate market in Auburn is very competitive now. That means demand is high for this area, which should drive prices higher. Over the past 12 months, prices in Auburn have increased by 1.2%

Auburn, WA is not just within easy access to Seattle, but to Tacoma as well. That gives buyers a great opportunity to take advantage of potential employment opportunities in both centers. There is also a lot to be entertained by when living in Auburn, including horse racing at Emerald Downs, lots of great golf courses, and plenty of performing arts attractions for residents to enjoy.

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2. Kent WA

Also within a half-hour’s drive to Seattle, Kent is a diverse community that offers an eclectic mix of suburban and urban vibes. Many different types of buyers seek out Kent as their number one choice for their first home, including families and young professionals who appreciate the affordability of the area and close proximity to city-like amenities.

As of January 2024, the median home price in Kent is $601,951. And like Auburn, the housing market in Kent is healthy right now. Home values in Kent have increased by 1.3% over the past 12 months.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, as well as many reviews, Kent ranks among the best cities in the US for outdoor activities. It’s also ranked high for being one of the most diverse cities in the country, making it an attractive place for first-time homebuyers in Washington State to plant roots.

3. Renton WA

Just a quick 20 minutes southeast of Seattle is Renton, a flourishing town that is filled with many young families and new homeowners who appreciate the affordable housing prices in comparison to its neighboring Seattle. The diverse residents of Renton enjoy the suburban traits of the city with the urban feel that spills over from Seattle to the north.

Housing options include newer subdivisions of single-family homes, townhomes, and condos, along with older mid-century homes in more established neighborhoods. The median home price in Renton is $697,938 as of January 2024. Over the past year, prices in the area have increased by 1.9%.

4. Maple Valley WA

There’s a trend to this list: all these places are not just much more affordable than Seattle but still within close proximity, but they’re also currently experiencing hot housing markets right now. And Maple Valley is no exception. While slightly further away from Seattle compared to the other areas on this list, Maple Valley is still a feasible 45-minute drive from the largest city in Washington State.

First-time homebuyers can find bigger homes and lots in Maple Valley for roughly the same price as homes in neighborhoods closer to Seattle. This makes the area particularly attractive for families. Maple Valley is also one of the state’s fastest-growing locations, making it an up-and-coming hot spot that is growing in demand.

As of January 2024, the median home price in Maple Valley is $750,327. Prices have increased 0.8% over the past year. 

There are tons of housing options available for first-time buyers, including condos, townhomes, and single-family homes in planned developments. Many homes sit on multiple-acre lots, giving homeowners plenty of space to roam.

5. Federal Way WA

It seems that all of the more affordable spots in King County are experiencing a hot housing market at the moment, and that includes Federal Way. Just east of Maple Valley, Federal Way is one of the best places to live in the state of Washington for those who enjoy the outdoors. Its natural beauty and stunning greenspace provide locals with a gorgeous backdrop to gaze at as they go about their day, whether it’s walking to school, driving to work, or simply taking a leisurely stroll.

As of January 2024, the median home price in Federal Way is $554,206. Home values in Federal Way have increased by 1.6% over the past year. Affordable home prices coupled with stunning natural landscapes and a quick drive to Seattle make Federal Way one of the best places for first-time homebuyers to invest their capital in real estate.

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Want to Apply For a Home Loan?

If you’re a first-time homebuyer looking to buy in King County, you’ll need financing to help you make this big purchase, and Sammamish Mortgage can help. We are a family owned and operated Mortgage Company that has been proudly serving the Pacific Northwest since 1992. We currently lend in all of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Colorado and offer many mortgage programs with flexible qualification criteria. Get in touch with Sammamish Mortgage today!

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