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Summary: 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 $767,900. Many other centers also contribute to King County’s average home price of $667,200, including the likes of Bellevue (average home price of $987,600), Kirkland (average home price of $801,200), and Redmond (average home price of $897,700).
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.
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 $423,800 as of June 2020. 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 hot right now. That means demand is high for this area, which should drive prices higher. Over the past 12 months, prices in Auburn have increased 9.2%. That means if you get in the market today, your home may increase in value quite a bit in a short period of time, helping you build equity in your home.
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.
Also within a half hour’s drive to Seattle is Kent, which 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 the time of this writing, the median home price in Kent $448,800. And like Auburn, the housing market in Kent is sizzling right now. Home values in Kent have increased 8.4% 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.
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 currently $522,400. Over the past year, prices in the area have gone up 7.4%.
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.
Right now, the median home price in Maple Valley is $523,200. Prices have increased 7.5% over the past year. It’s a hot housing market in Maple Valley right now, and first-time buyers who get in early enough can take advantage of price appreciation as a result of the current market conditions.
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.
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 2020, the median home price in Federal Way is $416,500. Home values in Federal Way have increased 9.9% over the past year. Affordable home prices coupled with stunning natural landscapes and a quick drive to Seattle make Federal Way is one of the best places for first-time homebuyers to invest their capital in real estate.
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 who 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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