Prosperity dominates the atmosphere in the thriving city of Redmond, Washington.
Redmond is home to more than twice the average number of individuals holding associate degrees, bachelors degrees, and masters degrees. Lured to Redmond by jobs in technology, these well-educated, high earning individuals fuel the demand for variety in shopping, dining, and entertainment – and the business community responds by providing the goods and services they want.
Based on a combination of factors, including lifestyle, job opportunities, education, and a stable housing market, Redmond has been named the 14th most “livable” city in Washington.
Home prices in Redmond are 67% higher than the Washington average and rental rates are 46% higher. As of mid-2015 the median home price in Redmond was just over $550,000 while the average rent asked stood at nearly $1,400. Slightly more than 50% of the citizens own their own homes.
Cost of living overall is also 28% higher. However, the per capita income is nearly 58% higher than the Washington average, and more than 72% higher than the National average. Conversely, the poverty level is nearly 50% less than the Washington State average, and 55% less than national averages. The unemployment rate is about half that of the national average.
Supply and demand drive real estate pricing, and Redmond’s supply is in demand. Located just 16 miles east of Seattle and connected by the Evergreen Point Floating Bridge across Lake Washington, Redmond has flourished as a suburb of Seattle since the bridge was completed in 1963.
It does, however, function as far more than a bedroom community to Seattle.
Here residents enjoy a wide variety of recreational and cultural choices, along with abundant shopping and dining opportunities. This is, of course, in answer to the needs of an ever-growing population. Redmond has grown by leaps and bounds. Growing from just over 1,400 in 1960 to more than 11,000 in 1970, the city has gained an average of 1,000 new residents each year. The estimated population in 2014 stood at just under 60,000.
A bit of History
Aside from the Native Americans who lived in the Redmond area for at least 6,000 years, the first settlers were Europeans who arrived in the late 1870’s. On September 9, 1870, Luke McRedmond filed a Homestead Act claim next to the Sammamish Slough. The following year Warren Perrigo settled next to him.
Because the rivers and streams were teeming with salmon, the community was first named Salmonberg. When more settlers arrived and the first post office was established in 1881, the name was changed to Melrose, after the successful Melrose House, an inn owned by the Perritos. McRedmond wasn’t happy about this, so when he became postmaster in 1883, he successfully petitioned to have the name changed to Redmond – after himself.
Jobs in Redmond were plentiful, due to the abundant forests and fish. Then, as now, the demand for goods and services invited merchants, so Redmond grew from a population of 116 in 1900 to 450 by 1910. Redmond was incorporated as a city on December 31, 1912.
Redmond continued to flourish until an economic downturn in the 1920’s – blamed in large part on Prohibition. When the saloons closed, a large portion of the city’s tax base evaporated. Lumber mills were also shutting down, due to aggressive logging and dwindling forests.
Fortunately, the land that had been deforested had good soil and was suitable for farming. Agriculture became the primary business through the Great Depression. Then, when the U.S. entered World War II, shipyard jobs and other wartime work helped bring prosperity.
After the war, the city began to grow in size as well as population. Between 1951 and 1967, the city grew over 30 times larger, due to annexations. In 1978, the U.S. Census Bureau proclaimed Redmond the fastest growing city in the state.
Population growth and the increasing prosperity were due in large part to the many technology companies that made the city their home. With these companies came highly educated, well paid citizens who demanded goods and services.
Unfortunately, with growth comes growing pains in the form of urban sprawl and traffic congestion. During rush hour it can take 2 hours to travel the 18 miles from Redmond to Downtown Seattle. This is a problem that’s being addressed by expansion of roads and a planned light rail service.
Fortunately – with the abundance of jobs, goods, and services in Redmond, many residents don’t have to make that trek. Studies show the average commute time to work at just over 20 minutes.
Today in Redmond…
Employment: Technology rules when it comes to offering the highest number of job opportunities in Redmond.
Not only is Redmond home to Microsoft Corporation, which moved its headquarters to Redmond in 1986 and employs more than 30,000 people, it is also home to at least 6 other technology-based companies. Aside from these, the largest employers are United Parcel Service, the Lake Washington School District, and Microsoft’s Eurest Dining Services.
With a growing population that must be served and visitors eager to enjoy Redmond’s recreational opportunities, employment opportunities also abound for those in retail sales and the hospitality industry, along with professionals in the financial, legal, medical, and other service professions.
Shopping, dining, and vacationing
While Redmond is home to an abundance small shops and boutiques, the Redmond Town Center, with more than 110 shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues is the largest draw. Built in response to
the commercial boom of the 1990’s, Redmond Town Center has become a major regional shopping center. Anchor stores include Macy’s, REI, Petco, and Bed Bath & Beyond.
With more than 200 eating establishments serving everything from burgers or pizza, to ethic cuisine, to seafood, steaks, and BBQ, there’s something in Redmond for every taste and wallet. Overnight visitors can choose from a wide selection of highly rated vacation rentals and 4-star hotels, including the Residence Inn by Mariott, located in Redmond Town Center.
Marymoore Park: Of Redmond’s 23 public parks, Marymoor Park is by far the most well-known. Encompassing 560 acres, it features a model airplane flying field, a climbing rock, a 48 acre off-leash dog park, sports fields for baseball and soccer, tennis courts, a cricket pitch, a velodrome, a community garden, and an outdoor theater.
The theater is famous for the Concerts at Marymoor – an annual summer series that has featured a wide variety of artists, many of them with International reputations. On Wednesday nights in summer, residents enjoy outdoor movies for the whole family for just the price of parking.
60 Acres Park: This park is known for soccer in Spring through Fall and for flying RC electric airplanes and gliders in winter.
The Farrel-McWhirter Farm Park is a free attraction and a perfect place to take the kids on a sunny day. There are no food concessions, but plenty of goats, pigs, cows, chickens, sheep, horses, ponies, and rabbits. Kids have plenty of space to run and play in one of two playgrounds and parents can take kids hiking on a family-friendly trail.
Idylwood Beach Park offers a sandy beach, a playground area, BBQ grills and picnic tables, plus a warm, friendly, neighborhood atmosphere.
Anderson Park is a shady oasis located in the downtown corridor, near Redmond Town Center. Residents call it their hidden treasure. Since it’s an easy walk from work for many, it’s a perfect place to take a sack lunch, and relax with a good book at lunch time. Playground equipment and sandboxes are geared to the 2-8 year old crowd. Two residences at the park can be rented for an overnight stay and are well-equipped for hosting a child’s birthday party.
Grass Lawn Park offers several tennis courts, a baseball field, soccer fields, a basketball court, a water fountain play area, jungle gyms, and separate play areas for big kids and small children. The BBQ area comes complete with a gazebo. Whether you and your kids like to play sports or you simply like to watch, there’s usually something to see and do at Grass Lawn.
The trails: Hikers, bikers, and horseback riders enjoy more than 17 miles of developed trails. The Sammamish River Trail connects to the Puget Power Trail, the Burke-Gilman Trail, and the East Lake Sammamish Trail.
Sammamish Lake offers swimming, boating, water skiing, and fishing for trout and bass.
Redmond Derby Days: This annual event has been celebrated since 1939, when it was called the Redmond Bicycle Derby. Now held annually each July, it’s a multi-day event including the bicycle race, a parade, entertainment stages, and a carnival with rides and attractions.
Performing arts are visible with a collection of outdoor sculptures throughout the streets and parks. Redmond is also home to the Eastside Symphony and the Second Story Repertory theater company.
Redmond Lights enlivens December with an annual community festival, including a tree-lighting ceremony, a luminary walk on the Sammamish Trail, music, and a carrousel, skating rink, and food sampling in the Redmond Town Center.
More: For a comprehensive list of events coming up in Redmond, visit ExperienceRedmond.com (Link to: http://experienceredmond.com/events/)
Local teens enjoy the Old Redmond Firehouse, where local bands perform with concert style speakers.
The city has designated several structures as landmarks, the oldest of which is the Justice White House (Hotel Redmond) built in 1889. Lodge Hall and the Odd Fellows Hall date to 1903, and the Redmond Pioneer Cemetery dates to 1904.
The Redmond Trading Company was built in 1908, and the Bill Brown Saloon celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2013. The Old Redmond Schoolhouse Community Center started life as the Redmond School in 1922.
Part of the Lake Washington School District, Redmond is home to eighteen highly rated public schools and ten private schools, including three private high schools, one of which is geared toward students of the performing arts. The DigiPen Institute of Technology and the secondary campus of Lake Washington Technical College are also located in Redmond.
The community is proud of the fact that 94% of its students complete high school (compared to 81% on a national average). 84% of residents have completed some college, while 67% hold an associate degree and 60% hold bachelors degrees. More than 25% hold Masters degrees – compared to a national average of less than 11%.
Would Redmond fit your lifestyle? If so, give me a call or click here to see the homes available today.
(Link to Redmond search page)