The City of Bellevue, with 100 parks within its 31 square miles, beckons well-educated individuals and families who enjoy an active, affluent lifestyle.
More than 64% of the adult residents in this city of 135,000 hold college degrees. The number who hold Bachelors Degrees, Masters Degrees and doctorates is more than double the national average.
These highly educated people are drawn to Bellevue for both the lifestyle and the abundance of jobs in education, medicine, technology and upper management positions in the retail industry. They’re also drawn by the schools, which promise quality education for their children.
Bellevue has 34 public schools, 28 private schools, and 7 post-secondary schools. Overall, these schools rank 8 (out of ten) in the Great Schools ranking. In addition, a U.S. News and World report “(http://www.usnews.com/education/best-high-schools/washington/districts/bellevue-school-district) noted that all 6 of Bellevue’s High Schools received gold, silver or bronze medals in the U.S. News Best High Schools rankings.
Post-secondary schools include the City University of Seattle, Cambridge College, Bellevue Community College, Bellevue Beauty School, Berlitz Language Centers, Crace, Inc. Dale Carnegie Training, and the Montessori College for Early Education.
Real Estate Values Still on the Rise…
Homes in Bellevue are in high demand, and thus are expensive. As of this writing, average selling prices are at a peak of $646,000. Pricing has seen a few dips along the way, but at no time have Bellevue home prices dropped below 2006 levels. Sales prices over the past five years have appreciated by 37% and have been steadily rising since January 2014.
Along with home prices, the overall cost of living in Bellevue is at the high end of the spectrum. However, the income per capita is 73.7% greater than the national average, and 58.9% higher than the Washington average. The median household income tops $91,000.
Employment opportunities, which rose 5% from 2011 to 2013, are still rising. Bellevue’s largest employers are:
- Bellevue Community College
- Bellevue School District
- City of Bellevue
- Expedia Inc.
- Nordstrom Inc.
- Overlake Hospital Medical Center
- Puget Sound Energy
- Symetra Financial
- T-Mobile USA
While Bellevue does have some unemployment, it’s interesting to note that more individuals are employed in Bellevue than live there. In 2014 estimated employment was at 138,000, while the city had 134,400 residents, including children.
This is no doubt due to the high cost of real estate within the city.
A bit of history…
The area now known as Bellevue was not always in demand. In fact, before the 1900’s it was a sparsely settled, heavily forested, boggy area that held no appeal for either the white settlers or the Native American tribes in the region.
Then, in 1867 coal was discovered; the Newcastle Coal Mine came into existence; and white settlers began to arrive. Two wealthy adventurers from Seattle, William Meydenbauer and Aaron Mercer, staked large claims in 1869, and the next 40 years saw a steady trickle of settlers, some of whom were Civil War veterans who had been awarded homesteads for their service.
Although not incorporated until 1953, Bellevue got its name, as well as its first school and post office, in the 1880’s. Some say the name came from the beautiful view (Bellevue in French) from the new post office’s window, while others say it was named after a city in Indiana that had been home to many of Bellevue’s prominent settlers.
First came coal mining, then logging and farming…
Settlers needed land for their homes and farms, so logging came about almost by necessity. Fortunately, the land that was cleared was fertile, and the farms yielded rich harvests. By the turn of the century, Bellevue was thriving as a farming community.
Fruits and vegetables were ferried across Lake Washington to be sold to the residents of Seattle, then shipped even farther after 1904, when a Northern Pacific rail line came through.
Life remained fairly constant until 1940, when the first bridge across Lake Washington was completed. This was a major event that heralded an influx of new residents to Bellevue.
The next big event came in 1946, with the opening of Bellevue Square – one of the first suburban shopping centers in the nation. When a Frederick & Nelson store opened in 1946, the event was celebrated with a radio broadcast and an orchestra.
Today Bellevue Square is home to more than 180 stores and attracts more than 16 million shoppers annually. Stores include Macy’s and Nordstrom as well as a number of nationally known specialty stores and restaurants.
After its incorporation as a city in 1953, Bellevue began to grow by leaps and bounds. Originally consisting of only 4.7 square miles along Meydenbauer Bay, it now encompasses more than 31 square miles.
No longer a suburb…
Over the past 20 years, Bellevue has shed its suburban status and become a thriving metropolis. The downtown area provides office space for thousands of professionals and offers condominiums and apartments for those who prefer an urban setting.
Now the fifth largest city in Washington, Bellevue serves as the metropolitan center for East King County. While many come seeking the high-paying jobs available here, Bellevue tends to attract families with children. In fact, approximately 20% of the population consists of children under the age of 18.
This is in large part due to the quality of the schools, but parents are also drawn to the family-oriented atmosphere and activities afforded by Bellevue’s 100 parks, abundant cultural offerings, and dozens of indoor attractions.
No matter what your interest, Bellevue no doubt has something to offer. Choices include:
- Indoor and outdoor swimming pools and numerous swim clubs.
- Indoor and outdoor tennis courts
- Skate plazas
- Four Golf courses, with more in nearby cities
- Community centers
- Fitness centers
- Lakefront beaches and boat launches
- Botanical gardens
- Walking tours
- Climbing walls
Among the more unusual parks in Bellevue are the Bellevue Challenge Course, where adventurous souls traverse a ropes course with crossings as high as 45 feet above the ground, and the Bellevue Zip Tour, where participants soar through the forest on 6.5 zip lines.
For a complete listing of outdoor adventure opportunities in Bellevue, go to VisitBellevueWashington.com (link to:http://www.visitbellevuewashington.com/things-to-do/outdoor-recreation/)
Youth activities include the Bellevue Youth Theatre, KidsQuest Children’s Museum, Bellevue Boys and Girls Club, youth sports leagues, and of course the green space and playgrounds offered in a multitude of parks.
Dog lovers appreciate the Robinswood Park – Off-Leash Dog Corral, with 3 separate fenced areas for dogs to play, and benches for the humans.
Night life does not seem to be high on Bellevue residents’ list of priorities, as the choices are rather slim. Bellevue is home to a billiards parlor, a bowling alley, and movie theatres, but most who prefer late-night cocktails and dancing choose Seattle night life.
Good food is a priority, and Bellevue restauranteurs have responded with hundreds of restaurants offering everything from quick takeout to four-star dining experiences. Several national chains have a presence in Bellevue. During the week, numerous food trucks serve employees searching for a meal that’s both fast and tasty. For those with a sweet tooth, specialty bakeries offer confections to test the resolve of any dieter.
The entire Northwest is known for its fine seafood, and Bellevue is no different. However, much of Bellevue’s culinary reputation rests on Asian cuisine. Foodies from around the region trek here to enjoy ethnic meals served up by chefs whose recipes and style originated in the Far East.
While Bellevue Square may be the most well-known, its 180+ stores are not the only choices available to residents. You’ll find a diverse selection of big box stores blended with small shops at Crossroads Bellevue, while the Market Place at Factoria offers well-known discount retail outlets, such as Nordstrom Rack.
High-end shoppers indulge their need for clothing and accessories from Hermes, Louis Vuitton, Neiman Marcus, DNA,?Jimmy Choo, Kreiss, and Ferragamo, and enjoy the convenience of valet parking at The Bravern, while those who seek the unique explore the many locally owned boutiques down town on historic Main Street.
Getting to work
Surveys show that Bellevue residents spend an average of 22 minutes commuting to and from work. While many do choose to commute with their own vehicles, Bellevue residents have the option of bus transport provided by both Metro Transit and Sound Transit. Service includes routes into Seattle and to SeaTac Airport. For detailed information, click here. (link to http://www.visitbellevuewashington.com/about-bellevue/transportation/buses/)
Work is underway on light rail service between Seattle and Bellevue.
Does Bellevue sound like the right city for you?
If so, I’d be happy to help you find the single family home, condo, or townhome that suits your wants, needs, and lifestyle. Click here (link to Bellevue home search on your site) to view the homes for sale in Bellevue today, or simply give me a call and tell me about your needs and get your questions answered.