With its glistening Lake Washington views and mansions set deep into the hills, the elite waterfront city of Medina, Washington, has long been home to such billionaire tech executives as Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos.
The nearly five-square-mile city of Medina—which has the second highest per-capita income in in the state—is bordered entirely to the north, west and south by Lake Washington, and to the east the city of Bellevue. It is connected to Seattle via the four-mile-long 520 Bridge, the world’s longest floating bridge.
For this Seattle and Bellingham suburb with a population of around 3,300, prices range from $600 to $700 a square foot ($1.6 million on average) for properties without water views to highs of up to $1,600 a square foot ($6 million to $8 million on average) for homes perched on the waterfront, says Janine Bolivar, a real estate broker at Windermere Bellevue Commons real estate agency in Bellevue.
Houses currently on the market range from $2.3 million to $8.3 million.
Each year, about 30 homes are listed on the market, Ms. Bolivar says, and most are built in the Northwest contemporary style. “These homes offer lodge-style comfort with a warm and contemporary look,” she adds. “You won’t find columns and colonials here.”
What makes it unique
This well-protected and patrolled town located about 10 minutes from Seattle offers little in retail beyond a post office and small grocery store. Instead, local residents are privy to endless nature and quiet. “In Medina if you go 27 miles an hour, you’ll get a ticket,” Ms. Bolivar says. “It’s a suburban neighborhood replete with gated, alarmed homes. You’re not going to drive through town and see people lollygagging around.”
In fact, gawkers interested in seeing Bill Gates’s home can only do so from the water, as his and most of the other compounds in town are situated far from the road.
With shopping non-existent, Medina residents head to The Bellevue Collection, an indoor high-end mall featuring such stores as Diane von Furstenberg, Intermix, Nordstrom, an Apple store, Ruth’s Chris Steak House and McCormick & Schmicks’s. It’s about two miles away from Medina.
Well-heeled residents can often be found taking it easy at the Overlake Golf & Country Club or sailing or boating on the lake.
There are a couple of private schools in Medina: Bellevue Christian School, which runs from kindergarten through 12th grade and St. Thomas School, a non-sectarian school that runs from preschool through eighth grade.
Who lives there now
The town’s residents are a veritable who’s who of tech executives. “The majority of the people coming through my open houses are executives from Amazon, Google and Nintendo,” Ms. Bolivar says. “Some are single, 30 years old and buying $3 to $4 million homes.”
Microsoft’s Bill and Melinda Gates; Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon; and Jeffrey Brotman, co-founder of Costco.
With more companies moving to downtown Bellevue, Medina will continue to appeal. “It’s so competitive that I have clients who want me to find them houses that aren’t even on the market yet so they don’t have to compete with other potential buyers,” Ms. Bolivar says. “We expect this to only continue.”
Real estate brokerage Windermere’s chief economist, Matthew Gardner, says he sees Medina as a very safe bet.
“Although Medina is certainly synonymous with tech entrepreneurs, the market is remarkably small and any drop in the technology market is unlikely to have any significant impact on housing in the city. I would note that there are just 17 single-family homes on the market in the city today and that only 43 homes have sold (through September) in 2016.”
“Given these numbers, and the fact that most homes are not subject to huge leverage, any collapse in the housing market could only come from some catastrophic event, which is highly unlikely,” he says.
More from Mansion Global:
Follow Mansion Global:Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | LinkedIn | Messenger
Write to us: email@example.com