Jun

30

DowntownSeattle.com has recognized the Seattle waterfront as one of the area’s most notable locations. With dozens of neighborhoods there, many of which are home to waterfront houses near expansive Puget Sound or beautiful lakes such as Lake Washington or Lake Sammamish, which of these neighborhood communities is the best? There are many factors that can impact a buyer’s decision as to the best location to live, but these three neighborhoods are extremely popular choices for anyone who enjoys waterfront living. There are plenty of other great neighborhoods in and around Seattle to live in, but these stand out even among those, and here’s why.

South Lake Union

Among the neighborhoods in the Seattle metropolitan area, South Lake Union can boast many appealing qualities. South Lake Union has high walkability, or the ability to walk to local businesses, work, school, and recreation with ease. This accessibility heavily heightens the quality of life of South Lake Union’s residents, who can enjoy the waterfront lifestyle in Seattle with few obstacles. They can walk to a beach or a seafood shop, to their job, or to their neighbor’s party quickly and conveniently. South Lake Union has high quality waterfront property at a reasonable urban price, which easily places it as one of the top waterfront neighborhoods in Seattle.

Magnolia

Magnolia is another attractive choice for a prospective Seattleite. Magnolia is the second largest neighborhood in Seattle, and is in a prime location. From the Magnolia waterfront, there is a breathtaking view of Mount Rainier, the Puget Sound, and of course, the Seattle skyline. To have a waterfront home in Magnolia means to have a lifestyle of immersion in a community designed to be self sufficient and walkable. It is simple to find a great place to eat or a place to play among the prosperous Magnolia businesses. All in all, Magnolia has earned its place on the top Seattle waterfront neighborhood list because of its lifestyle: Magnolia residents live in luxury, with some wonderful things to see and places to walk to, all in one wonderful neighborhood.

Madison Park

Last but not least, Madison Park is also a great neighborhood to call home in Seattle. The waterfront homes in Madison Park are on the edge of Lake Washington with a beautiful view. Perhaps more importantly, the lake is so close that all water activities a resident could ever want, such as boating or swimming, are within a very reasonable walking distance. This is of the utmost importance to some, and it makes Madison Park the epitome of what it means to be a top Seattle waterfront neighborhood. Madison Park is upscale and has numerous restaurants, shops, and banks, as well as zoning for excellent Seattle schools nearby. A neighborhood like Madison Park is sure to please.

Though these three waterfront neighborhoods are on the list, there are easily another dozen that could be perfect for a buyer looking for waterfront real estate. All of them are great communities that cater well to the discerning homebuyer. WaterHavens has more information about a number of Seattle’s top neighborhoods for those looking to buy or sell.

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Aug

26

In Washington State, and the Seattle area in particular, real estate has been booming. With a healthy jobs market and plenty of great locations still available, it’s no surprise that buyers are snapping up homes as they become available. One of the most attractive features of the greater Seattle metropolitan area is its waterfront property, which is bordered by Lake Washington, Lake Sammamish, and the Puget Sound, among other bodies of water. Thanks to an array of features, including a gorgeous view and convenient transportation options, waterfront property continues to be a desirable choice for Washington residents. Where the market really shines, however, is in its luxury waterfront real estate.

A New Olson Kundig Home

As a shining beacon of what you can find on the waterfront, there’s a new waterfront home available from legendary Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen Architects. The home is available for $5.895 million, and it comes with all of the niceties and amenities you would expect with that kind of price tag, such as tall ceilings, floor to ceiling windows, custom millwork, columns, and an open concept floor plan. It even combines indoor and outdoor living by providing a dock with boatlift for your boat, terraces on the waterfront, and a large balcony off of the massive master suite to overlook the water of Lake Washington. This is just one example of the kind of luxury available on the waterfront in Seattle.

The Locale of Luxury Waterfront Real Estate

It’s one thing to buy a nice property on the waterfront, but it’s another thing entirely to buy something based on the location itself. Fortunately, waterfront property like the new Olson Kundig home is located in the prestigious Washington Park neighborhood. This area is known for many of Seattle’s most desirable waterfront locations, as well as elegant streets and famed residences. If you look for a waterfront home in this particular neighborhood, you’ll be in good company, as many of Seattle’s power brokers live in this community’s enormous and stylish waterfront houses. Of course, there are other waterfront communities throughout Seattle that offer plenty of perks, such as close proximity to the heart of Seattle and access to amazing cafes and shops.

Future Prospects for Seattle Real Estate

In general, the outlook for Seattle real estate is good. It has been outperforming the nation, with property prices up by over 15 percent compared to a year ago, according to Zillow. At the same time, bank-owned home sales make up less than 10 percent of total sales, which means the local real estate market is rebounding nicely. With the luxury of some of these waterfront homes, it’s clear that there’s still healthy demand in the area. If you’re interested in an attractive home with a fantastic view, and one that also happens to be a great investment, then it just might be worth your while to look into some quality waterfront real estate in one of the bustling Lake Washington communities in the greater Seattle metropolitan area.

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Aug

13

There’s an issue being discussed by the city of Bellevue and Washington State’s Department of Ecology. At stake is Bellevue’s shoreline plan, which is a document that outlines how to protect the city’s bodies of water, including Lake Washington, Lake Sammamish, and Phantom Lake. While there’s nothing objectionable in the intent of the plan, which is to protect the lakes within Bellevue’s borders, it’s become a problem with waterfront property homeowners who feel that certain provisions would create an unnecessary and unfair restriction on the usage of their own property.

The Waterfront Property Shoreline Plan

What was contained in the shoreline plan that irked many owners of waterfront houses along Lake Sammamish? In an early draft of the plan, the Department of Ecology asked for clear criteria for a property owner to show that an erosion-control structure is necessary in order to protect a home. It also called for limits on a process that could exempt property owners from some regulations. The Shoreline Master Program must be approved by Ecology before it will become law, which is where the conflict is coming in. Homeowners are worried the new plan would overly complicate the process of remodeling their homes or building new features like patios and docks, as it requires new houses to be situated at least 50 feet from the water and creates a 25-feet “vegetation conservation area” where native plants must be retained or replaced as needed.

Further Conflict

While existing homes are usually grandfathered in to their existing footprints, the plan still seems too invasive and controlling for many Lake Sammamish property owners, because of the onerous restrictions on new construction. This backlash led to the proposal being rewritten by Bellevue’s Planning Commission, which shook up and reformed appointments of many waterfront property-rights advocates. The inevitable problem was that the state Department of Ecology not only didn’t agree with the changes, but actually viewed many of them as violations of state regulations and was irritated at not being kept informed of the changes as they occurred. In fact, officials cited 101 elements of the plan that they deemed out of compliance.

Communication and Compromise on the Waterfront

Ultimately, the key to a future where these bodies of water and happy waterfront real estate owners can peacefully coexist is dependent on communication and compromise. While it’s not too pressing of an issue for existing homeowners who don’t feel the need to do any major remodels or near-water construction projects, the fact remains that the proposal would put major burdens on future waterfront property buyers. Since owning property along the lake is a fixture of the Seattle community, it’s really up to the Bellevue Planning Commission and Washington’s Department of Ecology to work out a compromise that won’t alienate existing and future homeowners along the water but will still get the job of protecting the water done right. On the positive side, both the Planning Commission in Bellevue and Ecology are prepared to reinitiate communication with each other on the proposal until the issue is resolved. In the end, both sides hope it will be better for everybody, including waterfront homeowners.

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