Living in Eastern Washington
Learn more about Eastern Washington’s inviting towns and cities nestled across the state where sunshine, wineries and outdoor family fun is abundant. Discover Lake Chelan, Wenatchee, Winthrop, Yakima, Tri-Cities, Walla Walla and more.
A Playground East of the Mountains
By Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty / Dean Jones
Where can you get away from it all and to it all at the same time? Brokers say the answer is a three hour drive east of Seattle. Discover Eastern Washington - a playground of recreation and lifestyles promising some 300 days of year round sunshine and endless opportunities for family fun.
Lake Chelan is perhaps the most popular destination for Vitamin D-starved Seattleites. This pristine 50.5 mile glacier-fed lake meanders through the North Cascades making it a boater’s paradise by virtue of its easy access, cool crystal blue water and long, hot summer days. But the Lake Chelan area is much more than a reliable suntan -- it’s a cultural awakening as visitors discover world-class wineries, sophisticated eateries and a vibrant arts scene. Numerous golf courses are nearby as are countless outdoor excursions whether that is hiking local mountain ranges or zip-lining through the trees. And beyond being a summertime hotspot – the Lake Chelan area is an all-season affair with renowned snowmobiling, enviable cross-country skiing, and downhill skiing in the winter months and many popular festivals and events during the shoulder seasons.
"I was born and raised in Lake Chelan so I've witnessed the tremendous growth in the region and the emergence of more upscale lifestyles" says Brooke Steveson, a broker with Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty who specializes in the resort markets of Eastern Washington. “While I now live on Bainbridge Island, I return often to my second home in Chelan. I feel fortunate to live in a state where I can access such a diversity of activities, lifestyles and climates – I’m reminded again why we live here in the Pacific Northwest.”
Brooke represents a growing trend of Seattle-area residents that own second homes east of the Mountains and she predicts that many more plan to retire there. Some keep these retreats as family compounds where they are used exclusively by relatives and friends. Others choose to rent them out several weeks a year given high demand for vacation properties in the area. Some choose fractional ownership opportunities such as at The Lake House, where an owner’s personal use is complemented by hotel operation revenues.
“The (Lake Chelan) region is growing and provides a great long term investment opportunity,” she says. “Where else on the West Coast does a major population center enjoy such a multifaceted resort area like Lake Chelan – and it’s just three hours away? Brooke compares the favorable home values noting that Napa lacks the lake and has limited wintertime allure. And while Lake Tahoe has all the recreational amenities, she says it lacks a wine region.
But Chelan isn’t the only growth market on her radar – she’s also watching burgeoning markets in the Walla Walla wine region, the fast growing Tri-Cities area and unique listings in Winthrop and on Lake Roosevelt. Many residents from Eastern Washington have been also buying condominiums and investment property in Seattle and Bellevue, she says.
Brooke and her partner Dean Clausen represent a growing trend between brokers in the Sotheby’s International Realty network to form alliances as local experts, worldwide. “With ten thousand Baby-Boomers retiring every day in the US, there’s a significant market segment of homeowners that seek to downsize their primary residence and own one or more homes in other markets,” adds Dean. “We’re here to help them to fully explore their options.”
Dean says Seattle-area residents prefer a number of destination markets including Napa, CA., Palm Springs, CA., Sun Valley, ID, Maui and Oahu, HI and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. “I like to say we focus on sip, sun, snow, surf and sand,” muses Dean.
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