Leaving Seattle didn't mean leaving behind an ultra-competitive real estate market in 2020. Home prices soared in many suburbs across the Puget Sound region—and they were already high to begin with.
But some cities remain much more affordable than their neighbors. Here are a handful of communities that had some of the lowest median sale prices last year, according to data from Northwest Multiple Listing Service.
The homes in this city of nearly 100,000 (and unincorporated Dash Point) were less expensive than anywhere else in King County last year. Communities south of Seattle have long been less pricey than suburbs on the Eastside, but some have recently experienced significant price hikes. Federal Way may go that route once the Link's arrival is imminent. For now, shoppers can find reasonably priced homes in the shadow of Dash Point State Park and a shopping and restaurant scene befitting one of Washington's larger cities.
Median sale price (including Dash Point): $430,000
Go west, bargain buyers (well, maybe not to Bainbridge). Homes in Kitsap County weren't quite as expensive as King, Pierce, or Snohomish counties in 2020. Fast ferry expansion means a less soul-crushing commute to the city when that's a thing again. Bremerton got on board early with the swifter boat rides and has seen its prices pop as a result. They're still low by Western Washington standards though. You're not getting in early if you choose this burgeoning city as your next home, but you may be getting in just in time.
Median sale price, West Bremerton: $325,000
Median sale price, East Bremerton: $361,000
Another suburb south of Seattle has ranked as one of King County's three least expensive cities for the past few years. Located to the east of Federal Way, Auburn's a bit smaller and a bit closer to mountain escapes. Outlets and arts organizations make the case for sticking around on the weekends.
Median sale price: $444,000
Snohomish County's seat isn't its least expensive city, but it's certainly an affordable nexus by Puget Sound region standards. Prices here and in Mukilteo rose considerably in 2020, and for good reason: A bevy of transit options (check out the renovated ferry terminal in Mukilteo) connect these cities to employment and recreational hubs. No need to wait for back-to-office to set down roots.
Median sale price (including Mukilteo): $520,000
Lake Forest Park
Just north of Seattle, this small city offers two of the Eastside's main draws—Lake Washington access and views—from the other side of that placid mass of water. But you can find a house for less than the price of a Belltown condo.
Median sale price: $650,000