The Fastest-Growing Suburbs in the Seattle Area

Buyers and renters seeking to escape Seattle’s frenzied market are heading to rapidly expanding towns south and east of the city

By Niki Stojnic


March 6, 2018

This article originally appeared in the March 2018 issue of Seattle Magazine.

This article appears in print in the March 2018 issue, as part of the “Best of the Burbs” cover story. Click here for the rest of the story.


Kirkland is far and away the fastest-growing suburb in King County—since 2010, the picturesque city on north Lake Washington has had its population grow by 72 percent—although some of this growth is the result of the 2011 annexation of several neighborhoods (Finn Hill, Juanita and Kingsgate).

The current population is about 87,000, and by 2035, the city is expected to have 94,000 residents. It’s been steadily densifying over the past couple of years: In the heart of downtown on Third Street and Park Lane, the Voda Apartments (formerly the Antique Mall) are slated to open this spring with 128 units and street-level retail; nearby, Kirkland Urban (formerly called Kirkland Park Place) is an ambitious, nearly 1.2 million-square-foot, mixed-use, pedestrian-oriented project.

East of Interstate 405, the city’s first Whole Foods Market, among other shops, is set to arrive at The Village at Totem Lake, a brand-new retail development. Growth projections by the City of Kirkland predict 8,361 new housing units by 2035, averaging about 363 housing units per year. (For more on Kirkland, click here.)


Burien—King County’s second-fastest-growing city—has seen its population increase by 52 percent since 2010. Burien annexed the southern part of White Center (also known as North Highline) in 2010; however, the Puget Sound Regional Council predicts the city’s population will continue to leap: from 49,371 in 2015 to 57,317 in 2035.

That trend is reflected in its recently expanded business district, which is beginning to resemble its city neighbor to the north, West Seattle. Look for PCC to move in next to Trader Joe’s in 2018, while Bakery Nouveau’s latest and largest location opened here last fall, adding to a bustling stretch of local shops concentrated along 152nd Street, including relative old-timers Elliott Bay Brewhouse & Pub and Grand Central Bakery.


Further south and east, sprawling Kent—the county’s third-fastest-growing city—has major commute appeal (see Transportation, here), with a Sounder train station and easy I-5 access.

Near downtown is hidden gem Mill Creek Canyon Earthworks Park, designed by Bauhaus artist Herbert Bayer. A King County Historic Landmark of sculpted berms and looping paths, the park is in the early stages of a a master-planned renovation that will make even more of the site accessible. The Green River runs through Kent as well, with trails for biking and walking.

It’s also the home base for a powerhouse employer: Jeff Bezos’ aerospace operation, Blue Origin. Kent annexed the Panther Lake area in 2010 and is expected to continue to grow, from 124,011 in 2015 to 136,295 in 2035.

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