Both Redmond and Bellevue, WA, made CNN Money’s “Best Places to Live in 2012″ list. Cities are rated for job opportunities, public schools, crime rate, accessibility to quality health care, and amenities.
With a population of about 55,000, Redmond is home to software giant Microsoft. Redmond is located west of the Cascade Mountains and 15 miles east of Seattle. Over 90 wineries are situated to the north. The average home list price in July 2012 was $518,982. The median annual income is $107,408, and the labor force grew at the pace of 13.27% from 2000 – 2011.
Bellevue, another city east of Seattle, shows a median annual income of $104,928, with job growth at 5.71% from 2000 – 2011. The city’s residential population is over 124,000, but the labor force exceeds that number. Major local employers include Microsoft, Expedia, Coinstar, and Puget Sound Energy.
Eastside drivers can anticipate some commuting relief. Voters recently approved East Link, a project to extend light rail from Seattle, across Lake Washington on Interstate 90, through Bellevue and on to the Overlake Transit Center in Redmond. Sound Transit hopes to start construction in 2015 and offer service to commuters by 2023.