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Retirement in Seattle area
Old 07-05-2016, 06:18 PM   #1
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Retirement in Seattle area

Wanted to know if anyone has input on retiring in the Seattle area ?
(either Seattle itself, or one of the nearby communities like Lake Forest,
Kirkland, Bellevue, Redmond)

I'm already aware of the weather factor (rain/cloudy grey 9 months of the year), but I'd like to hear from others who may be familiar.

California is beautiful weather wise, but it's getting costlier and costlier.
Grew up in SF, and it seems like Seattle is similar.
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Old 07-05-2016, 06:20 PM   #2
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Old 07-05-2016, 07:50 PM   #3
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Port Angeles
Or if you really want to get away from it all Forks. (Its high enough to not be subject to the coming tsunami also.
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Old 07-05-2016, 08:06 PM   #4
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If COL is the big concern, I can't imagine Seattle being much different from most of CA (the Bay Area is in a category all its own).
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Old 07-05-2016, 08:08 PM   #5
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The smart thing to do for now is Issaquah or Sammamish. Just a few minutes east of Bellevue, much cheaper, and shockingly traffic free by comparison.

Port Angeles, Sequim, Forks, etc are all nice, but you need to take a ferry to get to the metropolis. Of course, many see that as just another bonus.
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Old 07-05-2016, 08:55 PM   #6
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Lived there for a decade starting in 1984-87 and return frequently to visit family. My take: nearly all of the area's advantages vs. California are gone. Cheaper than S.F. Bay Area but what isn't? Otherwise: same lousy weather as always, horrendous traffic and ongoing tech boom making things worse by the day.

Portland is suffering from similar problems but is much more livable. Eugene and Corvallis are also worth checking out, and Ashland while pricey is, as they say, "where every UC Berkeley professor hopes to retire."

I disagree with the favorable mentions of Issaquah, Sammamish and Port Angeles. The first two are busy bedroom communities for Seattle and PA is windy, grey and very remote. The whole West side of the Cascades is one big city now. A couple of years ago I'd have recommended Bellingham but it's not thoroughly overrun with folks fleeing Seattle gridlock.
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Old 07-05-2016, 09:05 PM   #7
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If I moved to Seattle, I would go west of it rather than east. Seems like having to take the ferry deters a lot of Seattle workers from living across the bay, and that keeps down the traffic and cost of living.

Just a perhaps uninformed observation from a frequent visitor to the area.
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Old 07-05-2016, 10:15 PM   #8
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I am just south of Seattle, Renton area. The only good part is my family is all here and we have lots of stores and hospitals. If I didn't care about family I might choose Vancouver WA. It is a nice smaller city near Portland. WA has no income tax and OR no sales tax so you could do some shopping in OR. My boyfriend is near Longview WA which is fine, no Costco but other stores and more small town but he is 27 miles from there so farm country.
It all depends on what you are looking for in a town or city or countryside. He likes a river and lakes and acreage without many people. I like stores and family.
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Old 07-06-2016, 10:15 AM   #9
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If I moved to Seattle, I would go west of it rather than east. Seems like having to take the ferry deters a lot of Seattle workers from living across the bay, and that keeps down the traffic and cost of living.

Just a perhaps uninformed observation from a frequent visitor to the area.
Living on the Kitsap Peninsula is certainly less expensive in terms of housing, shopping and general traffic, but ferry transport costs money! In addition, a commuter is looking at a one hour commute each way. Spend a little more in rent$ or house purchase in the Seattle suburbs, and major transportation (bus/train) has you in downtown in less than 45 minutes, at a lower cost. For commuters, most downtown employers subsidize public transportation costs to cut their city business taxes (they get a lower tax bill if a high percentage of their employees commute on public transport).

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Old 07-06-2016, 10:18 AM   #10
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True, but not all retirees feel the need to go downtown that often. If I lived there, would catch the ferry into town once a month, if that.
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Old 07-06-2016, 10:46 AM   #11
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You mentioned the weather factor, but the northwest is not the same as San Francisco- Seattle has 152 sunny days per year vs 259 in San Francisco. Portland gets 68 sunny days per year. The overcast skies can be a problem for some people. If you move there, perhaps you don't purchase a house for a year or so, to make sure you can adjust. I know- I've lived in both places. Indeed, a retired couple from LA bought the house next door, but were gone in a year.

If you can adjust, the NW is stunningly beautiful- especially in the summer.
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Old 07-06-2016, 10:50 AM   #12
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You mentioned the weather factor, but the northwest is not the same as San Francisco- Seattle has 152 days of sunny days vs 259 in San Francisco. Portland gets 68 sunny days per year. The overcast skies can be a problem for some people.
They don't make strong enough anti-depressants for that forecast.
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Old 07-06-2016, 11:39 AM   #13
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We lived over 25 years just S of Seattle and I grew up about half way between Seattle and Tacoma.
We now live in Eastern WA about 75 mils S of Spokane, second largest city in the state. Much, much drier and sunnier, not to mention way less expensive. MEDIAN home in Seattle is now over 450K. We cut our cost of living by at least 25% when we made the move. Property taxes are less as is sales tax (most of Puget Sound is now over 9% with a transit issue on Nov ballot that will take it over 10%); we are 7.9%.
Our DD & her family lives in the Puget Sound area so we are there frequently and always exhale when we hit the downhill side of the pass going East. The traffic and congestion is crushing.
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Old 07-06-2016, 11:51 AM   #14
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Born and raised in Seattle with just over 55 yrs experience so to speak. Now living in West Seattle and plan to ER there as well.
As others have mentioned the weather Nov-March can be a challenge but it's not extreme by any means (talking to folks from the mid-west confirms that).
June through September is pretty hard to beat IMHO (Western WA again). Eastern WA (Tri cities, Spokane, etc) is more extreme temp wise but basically zero humidity.


If in the greater Seattle, Tacoma, Bellevue area commute traffic is the biggest drawback but it you're ER'd you can avoid that.


You only need to get 30 miles out of the Seattle area to find "affordable" housing (again IMHO). My entry level Seattle home (1924 craftsman---1240 sq feet, not updated) just zillowed at $560K---which blows folks away when I tell them that if they live in the SE. Prop taxes are $4300. I could not afford to buy in Seattle again and would choose the suburbs or Eastern WA or as others have mentioned Vancouver WA (south near Portland OR).


No state income tax, 9.6% ST in the Seattle area. I've been to SF several times and certainly can see similarities weather wise.
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Old 07-06-2016, 12:55 PM   #15
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If I didn't care about family I might choose Vancouver WA. It is a nice smaller city near Portland. WA has no income tax and OR no sales tax so you could do some shopping in OR.
Shhhhhhh, Vancouver USA is a secret. Although not a really well kept one, population grew by 10,000 last year. But it is nice having access to Portland while still avoiding a lot of the taxes and traffic.
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Old 07-06-2016, 01:03 PM   #16
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I am a gloomy kind of person, so do not think the overcast sky or rain would bother me much. I can't handle being snow-bound though.

About Vancouver, WA, we stayed there for a couple of nights last year at an RV park during an RV trip. We explored the town a bit, and yes, there's no congestion like the larger towns.

PS. My wife and I both agree that we have way too much sunshine here in the SW. On a day with overcast sky, we both proclaim it a perfect day.
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Old 07-06-2016, 02:45 PM   #17
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I am a fairly biased Seattle native, currently living in the heart of Microsoft country in Redmond, but on a nice isolated 7 acre home site. Absolutely love it here, the weather is a nice moderate temp in the winter, no humidity, skiing 1 hour away, yet you could be biking the same day mid winter as we rarely get much snow down below the foothills. Rain is a myth, it only sprinkles most of the time, check the # if inches per year. Humidity does not exist in the way most know it. Eastside winerys are the new Napa, and tons of culture and outdoor activities year round.

You could get lower cost up north in Arlington or Bellingham or out north of Tulalip reservation, but for me its too far a drive to get to the best in dining and entertainment.

One tip is going out to Duvall or Carnation area. Cheaper homes, and not a bad drive into Redmond's new Costco if needed. A quick hop onto 520 west bound and your in Bellevue or Seattle.

So far...no income tax, but this is a democrat dominated politics, and the state is mostly voted by apartment dwellers in Seattle.
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Old 07-06-2016, 06:28 PM   #18
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I traveled to the far northwest a couple of times working and once on vacation. It's a really beautiful area, however I felt like it was the end of the earth.

And 1265 square feet for only $560K? My man cave is larger than that--no kidding.

Housing is simply unaffordable--like San Francisco or San Diego. Retirement and unaffordable are two words that don't go together. I have no desire to move anywhere that costs many times as much to live while my standard of living is not so good.

But home is home--no matter where it is.
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Old 07-06-2016, 07:24 PM   #19
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I traveled to the far northwest a couple of times working and once on vacation. It's a really beautiful area, however I felt like it was the end of the earth.

And 1265 square feet for only $560K? My man cave is larger than that--no kidding.

Housing is simply unaffordable--like San Francisco or San Diego. Retirement and unaffordable are two words that don't go together. I have no desire to move anywhere that costs many times as much to live while my standard of living is not so good.

But home is home--no matter where it is.
Someone just paid 1.7 million for a tear down house that hasn't been occupied for 17 years on my street. It is not the typical 1200 sq ft bungalow tear-down, the houses right here were very high quality. It was an epic estate spat. This is normal city lot in a very nice part of town, less than 1 mile from the Pike Place Market. Likely 8 town homes will wind up on the lot, but I think they will be hard pressed to get $1mm for each of them. If I were the developer I would be worried about the land cost, and of coarse market move during the development process. There is always a moment in Seattle real estate when porky shows up "That's all Folks!

Ha
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Old 07-06-2016, 07:31 PM   #20
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Bring lots of money to buy your retirement home.

Seattleā€™s devilish new home price record: $666,000 | The Seattle Times

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Seattle’s median single-family home cost $666,500 in June, easily beating out the old record set in February, according to figures released Wednesday by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service. Seattle home prices have risen 15.9 percent just in the past year and an astounding 74 percent in the last five years.
And the traffic is reported to be terrible. Rush hour starts at 3 and ends at 7.

Study: Traffic in Seattle still horrible, ranks 2nd-worst in U.S. for evening rush hour congestion - GeekWire



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TomTom published its Traffic Index 2016 today, and Seattle again tied for fourth-worst among U.S. cities for overall congestion levels, behind Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York. Cities like San Jose, Honolulu, Miami, Washington D.C., Portland, Ore., and Chicago followed.
Seattle’s traffic caused a 31 percent spike in extra travel time in 2015, TomTom’s data shows, which is identical to 2014.

Washington has the 2nd highest gas tax in the nation and I believe the highest liquor taxes in the nation. They pay dearly for not having an income tax.
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