Living in Eastside, King County
East King County comprises 23 cities and towns a few miles east of Seattle, including the larger cities of Bellevue, Redmond, Kirkland, Renton, and Issaquah. Nearly two-thirds of King County’s residents reside in East King County and the area boasts one of the largest employment centers in Washington state due to the large information technology and manufacturing sectors. East King County is home to the headquarters of Microsoft as well as Nintendo North America, Facebook, Google, Amazon, SpaceX, and T-Mobile having a significant presence in the area.
Aerospace, biomedical, and healthcare companies have also chosen East King County for their offices. In addition to innovative, world-class companies, East King County boasts access to great year-round recreation, highly rated schools, excellent mass transit, and a diverse array of cultural activities, dining, and entertainment. Whether you are just starting out your professional career or you have been in the workforce for decades, there is a place for you in East King County.
WHAT IS THE ECONOMIC OUTLOOK OVER THE NEXT TEN YEARS?
During the pandemic, the Seattle MSA saw a loss of over 100,000 jobs while the Eastside gained over 4,000 jobs. That is due to the major tech companies we have located here which are growing rapidly and expected to continue to grow for years ahead. The Eastside region is expected to see a net increase of over 40,000 jobs between the years of 2021 and 2025.
East King County offers a high quality of life for everyone. Residents are among the highest earning, educated, and diverse across all regions in the US. There are plenty of outdoor recreational activities as well as a range of shopping and dining experiences. The Eastside offers quality public schools and post-secondary educational institutions.
WHAT OPPORTUNITIES ARE AVAILABLE IN THE TECHNOLOGY INDUSTRY?
The eastside is home to some of the country’s most influential technology leaders including Microsoft. Whether you are looking for an entry level or a senior position, you will find exceptional opportunities in rapidly growing companies here including Amazon, Meta and Google.
Housing is considered affordable when all housing costs are no more than 30% of a household's income. For rental units, this includes rent and utilities. For units that are owned, it includes mortgage, insurance, utilities, taxes, and all homeowner’s dues. When people spend more of their income on housing, they have less money available to spend on food, transportation, health care, savings and other needs. Most affordable housing programs assist people who earn 80% or less of the King County median income ($106,326).
Local companies have committed hundreds of millions of dollars to provide affordable housing options to our communities. Local governments will need to respond with code and comp plan changes in order to incentivize the private sector to meet this need and respond to this opportunity. An effective solution will reduce transportation pressure and ensure an available workforce.
In Kirkland, for example, residential is the predominant land use. Over 75 percent of the city’s land area is zoned for housing. This includes single family homes as well as multifamily apartments and condominiums. In addition, there has been an increase in mixed-use developments in the city's business districts in the last 15 years. Mixed use developments combine multifamily housing with other uses, such as offices and retail stores. Even as a high percentage of land is available for housing, demand for more housing outweighs the supply. This increases the cost of housing.
In Washington, the Growth Management Act (GMA) requires cities to plan for and manage population growth with goals focused on how we can encourage development in urban areas, meet transportation needs, and increase affordable housing.
King County policies also require that urban cities like Redmond plan for a greater share of the region’s housing to accommodate future growth.
In 2019, Redmond received a grant to develop a Housing Action Plan. The Plan will include an analysis of the existing housing stock, current and projected housing needs, and opportunities for housing.
Bellevue's Comprehensive Plan sets the vision for how the city develops and grows over the next 20 to 30 years. As the city's supply of developable land diminishes, the city must explore creative methods to increase housing opportunities while protecting existing neighborhoods and the environment. The plan's Housing Element supports innovative methods to achieve housing goals, while maintaining flexibility to fulfill different priorities in different neighborhoods.
Housing supply and housing demand in the Puget Sound region have become issues at the forefront of regional concern. As the region continues to experience an unprecedented economic boom, the concerns over rising housing prices, availability of housing, and neighborhood character are emerging as issues in need of focused solutions at the local and regional levels.