Just over half an hour from Seattle, and closer still to major tech corporate campuses in Redmond and Bellevue, Sammamish attracts many of the people who work for Microsoft, Amazon, Expedia and other tech giants. The homes are pricey here, but average salaries are high too: Median family income is roughly $165,000, more than twice the median for the other spots MONEY analyzed. The current average list price for a single family residence in Sammamish is $1,227,275.
With an official motto of "Building Community Together," the city of Sammamish in King County, Washington, is as friendly as it gets. The unemployment rate is a low 5%, and the city's crime rate is approximately 90% lower than the national average.
“…Sammamish residents get a wealth of outdoor activities on their doorstep,” reports MONEY magazine. “The town’s 14 parks and preserves, some of which are home to bears and other wildlife, offer a range of activities — from hiking to cricket to ziplining to skateboarding.”
“Sammamish also claims a lively cultural community. Its arts commission maintains a busy schedule of exhibitions and oversees a popular fair that showcases the work of local artists. And a weekly summer concert series features an array of performers, from a Linda Ronstadt tribute band to the Sammamish Symphony.”
MONEY is a TIME publication. The magazine considered 583 communities in America based on nine categories: economic health, cost of living, diversity, public education, income, housing, crime, ease of living, and amenities. Using realtor.com, it found the “best places to live,” or “places that combine economic growth, affordability, and quality of life.”
Sammamish, Wash. ranks at no. 9 on the list. Frisco, Texas leads the pack, in case you’re wondering. The list stretches out to 50, but the Seattle suburb was the only Washington community to make the cut, and it’s only one of three out of the Northwest. Hillsboro, Ore, just outside of Portland, comes in at 39. Boise ranks at no. 46.
MONEY states that it didn’t entirely rely on the 135,000 data points used in the top 50 list. It also had reporters research “each spot, interviewing residents, checking out neighborhoods, and searching for the kinds of intangible factors that aren’t revealed by statistics. To ensure a geographically diverse set, we limited the list to no more than two places per state and one per county. In the top 15, we allowed only one place per state.”
Which means that out of all the places surrounding Seattle, Sammamish fit the affordability bill the most. At least when it comes to quality of life. That might be the factor skewing the results a little bit. The suburb isn’t exactly known for its reasonably-priced housing. The current average home value in Sammamish is $1,466,341 — the market there is considered “hot.” Home values in the area rose by 7.2 percent over the past year. Analyst expect prices to rise another 3.6 percent over the coming year. The median price per square foot in Sammamish ($408) is higher than the average for Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue-Metro area ($282).
For those that live here, once they put down their laptops, Sammamish residents get a wealth of outdoor activities on their doorstep. The town's 14 parks and preserves, some of which are home to bears and other wildlife, offer a range of activities — from hiking to cricket to ziplining to skateboarding. At just under 5,000 acres, Lake Sammamish is the sixth largest lake in Washington and is one of the major recreational lakes in the state. The lake provides activities for fishermen, boaters, jet skiers, water skiers, swimmers, picnickers, and those just wanting to enjoy the scenery.