Meet the Global Families of Puget Sound

I love this article from ParentMap magazine written by Jiaying Grygiel. A big part of my business is working with new families relocating the Seattle area from other cities in the U.S and several of my client families are relocating to the U.S. as expats with plans to return to their home country.  An interesting and welcoming read.


Lake Washington School District - Bond Vote

UPDATE - May 1, 2016

Fourth time’s a charm: The Lake Washington School District passed a nearly $400 million construction bond last week after three failed attempts. Elsewhere in King and Snohomish counties, school-funding measures in the Issaquah, Vashon Island and Everett school districts also passed, but bonds in Kent and Marysville fell short.


At the end of April, the families of the Lake Washington School District (LWSD)  will find out if a much needed school bond has passed. The LWSD community has not passed a school bond measure for 4 years - yes, you read that correctly,4 years! The district has passed several school levies (renewals) during that time, but no large bond to fund new construction and upgrade many of the existing schools.

The district serves the communities of Kirkland, Redmond and part of Sammamish and is home to many well-regarded schools including the U.S. News and World Report number one ranked school in Washington State - International Community School .  The area contains the large Google office complex, is  very commutable to corporate headquarters of Microsoft, Nintendo's campus and downtown Bellevue plus several public transportation hubs to downtown Seattle. This area offers housing across many price points and communities including lakefront to suburban neighborhoods and acreage. 

In one year, LWSD has grown from the sixth largest district in the state to the fourth largest in the state.  They are anticipating by 2020-21 the district will enroll over 30,000 students. As of September 2016, 14% of classroom space across the district is held in portable buildings equaling 168 portables! 

The bond measure includes:

Two new elementary schools, one new middle school, much needed rebuild and enlargement of Juanita high school, rebuild and enlarge Kirkland middle school, rebuild and enlarge the very dated Mead elementary school.  Funds would also be allocated to remodel the Old Redmond School House for a district preschool and replace the portables at Explorer Community school and provide special education space to address Title IX and the Americans with Disability Act.

The $398 million bond measure would maintain the 2015 tax rate. As past construction levies are paid off, these bonds would replace those items. This measure is part of a long-term plan to meet the district's needs through 2029-30. Three subsequent bond measures will be up for vote in the following years to meet the longer-term needs of the district. As of now, the district is stating the subsequent measures would also maintain the 2015 tax rate.

Families of school age children are working hard to get the word out on the urgent need for funds to support their schools.  Community support for their schools is just one component to keep in mind when moving to a new area and viewing the history of bonds and levies is the recommended starting point. 


Techie Seattle Fuels Competitive Home Buying

Redfin, the Seattle-based real estate brokerage company, just released a list of the 30 most competitive neighborhoods in which to buy a home in tech-centric states. These neighborhoods are in Seattle, San Francisco, Boston and Portland, Oregon.  According to the December 29th, 2015 article in GeekWire - the Seattle area is now home to 13 out of the 30 most competitive neighborhoods for home buying with multiple bid situations and limited inventory.   Check out the last column in their chart -  ratio of all cash offers nearing 50% in certain Seattle area communities.

On the Eastside of Lake Washington, all the neighborhoods can be found within commutable distance to Microsoft, Nintendo and Google's offices.  The Lake Washington School District (LWSD) serves these neighborhoods - with the exception of Newport falling into the Bellevue School District and highly regarded Newport High School. LWSD is the fastest growing school district in the state - going from the 5th largest to the 3rd in just one year.  The LWSD district is hoping to pass a school bond measure next election, as all have failed over the past 5 years.  School facilities have not kept up with demand and several schools have severe overcrowding and are in need of upgrades. 

For the Seattle city neighborhoods, the majority on the list fall within the Northwest boundaries of the city and feed into the well regarded and more urban Roosevelt High School and Ballard High School.  Again, the district is feeling the squeeze with school overcrowding and rethinking boundaries with more families of school age children moving into Seattle neighborhoods.

For families with children, it continues to be important to look at schools, district management and potential boundary adjustments as an important part of your housing decision.



Seattle Residential Real Estate Overview - Bloomberg News

I have attached below the entire Bloomberg News article from July 7, 2015.  For all current Seattle residents, the residential real estate boom and personal interviews in the article do not come as a surprise.  The current boom is particularly important for families moving to the area to understand, as it impacts your ability to secure housing within desired public school districts and commute distance to work.

It is important to make housing and education decisions jointly, and I recommend double-checking the school boundaries before making any commitments.  A link is available on most school district websites which will confirm the neighborhood school for your new home address.   

Two key points from the article

"Seattle's inventory of residential properties for sale is the lowest on record, according to Redfin Corp., whose data dates to July 2007-2015. At the current sales pace, it would take less than two months for all homes on the market to find buyers.  We're probably going to have an inventory shortage for two to three years,” said Glenn Kelman, chief executive officer of Seattle-based Redfin.".

”The area, already home to Amazon and Microsoft, has attracted Facebook., which earlier this year agreed to lease most of a building in the city's South Lake Union neighborhood. Google has a satellite campus in Kirkland and Alibaba Group Holding is in talks to rent additional office space east of Seattle. Other homegrown technology companies include Zillow Group, Expedia and Zulily."

A nine year olds' account as a reluctant expat in Hong Kong

The young author of a recent Wall Street Journal article (link below) shows us what an international move looks like through the eyes of an elementary school age child.  As parents, our plates are full with all the logistics of a move and it is easy to forget the little things that might seem like big things to your children - missing old friends, worrying about making new friends, limited knowledge of the new city or country, new food (I'd skip the durian, too) and saying goodbye to their bedroom and in many cases a lot more of their "stuff."   

I will always remember my daughter, Grace, making a poster-sized sign and taping it on her bedroom door the day our Seattle area house went on the market - "This house is not for sale - GO AWAY!"  I have come to understand that home is where we are as a family, and with five moves within the Seattle area and 2 in Asia under our belt in the past five years, I think my children now agree.