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What average price per square foot looks like in seven Puget Sound cities

You get what you pay for, but in some neighborhoods that can be a lot more than in others

You get what you pay for, but in some neighborhoods that can be a lot more than in others. We focus a lot on housing prices but not as much on price per square foot, where you can really find out what you're getting for your money. Here are seven homes priced near their Seattle neighborhood's or city's average price per square foot. Imagine one square foot with hundreds of dollars stacked on it. Then, multiply. Exact comparisons are tough, but we kept it to homes around 2,000 square feet - if we could. They almost form an west-east line from the water to the mountains.

Let's start on the west side of the Sound in Silverdale. There, the average price per square foot is $165. That means getting a 2,284 square foot two story for $369,900 or $162/sf. It is a 1983-built, 3 bedroom, 2.25 bath sitting on 0.25 acres. There's a view of the water, natural landscaping, and relatively modern furnishings. They've already started the raised bed garden, which you might be able to expand significantly. Depending on your job, you might have a long commute.

Bainbridge is understandably pricier at an average price per square foot of $350. The combination of island living and Seattle access is in demand, evidently. Finding a house at the right size was tougher because many of them are more than 3,000 square feet., which also raises the price. Here's one though, that's also 3 bedrooms and 2 baths, but they're in 1,875 square feet with a price of $675,000 or $360/sf. It is a Craftsman on a cul-de-sac and 0.52 acres. That's more land and a newer (2009) house. You're also paying for fine details from the front door throughout.

Get into Seattle proper, like Capitol Hill, and the average is up to $528 per square foot. You're urban, which has a value; but you're also more likely to find really big or really small houses. Sitting somewhat in the middle is a 1,320 square foot townhome that was built in 2010. That was a tough time to be building homes. It's blocky on the outside, and has modern uses for glass and steel inside. And yet, it has two of the most natural views around: Mt. Rainier and the Cascades. Yet again, there are 3 bedrooms and 2.5 baths, but this time they are sitting in 1,320 square feet and an average of $530/sf. for a price of $699,000. That's remarkably similar to the Bainbridge house, but a lot smaller inside and outside (1,029 square foot lot). Of course, that may be what you want.

Expensive happens outside Seattle too, like in Medina with an average of $697 per square foot. Shift the market by one or two houses and make that crack $700. In Medina, the houses are big. So much for 2,000 square feet. Try doubling that even for the smaller houses in the neighborhood. Dropped right on that average is a 4,043 square foot, 1993 sprawling rambler priced at $2,819,000. And yet, it only has 1 more bedroom (4) and 3.25 baths. It is gorgeous, ornate; and sitting on 0.37 manicured acres. You get a lot when you pay a lot; and yet, some of the neighboring houses are over 10,000 square feet while others are twice as pricey for similar footage.

Bellevue may be right next door, but by the time you pull back from the water and encompass a larger area, the average comes down to $442 per square foot. At $437/sq ft, there's an 1,830 square foot one story that was built in 1952. As they point out in the listing, there are multi-million dollar homes all around, so the $799,000 is a fixer. It too, has a similar 3 bedrooms and 1.75 baths. Part of its value is the 0.26 acre lot. Of course, you might just be looking for a home with a convenient Eastside commute. How good are you with tools, contractors, and fending off (or negotiating with) developers?

Go east young (and old) people and look to Sammamish where the average price per square foot comes down to $306. At just a bit cheaper than that ($300/sf) is a 4 bedroom, 2.5 bath that has 2,230 square feet of space. It's a good guess that some of the rooms will be smaller than in the other houses. Inside, the 2001 styling will feel modern enough for some. The size brings down the price to $669,000. The other thing that helps is a smaller lot, 4,200 square feet. You will get to meet your neighbors.

One last stop before we run into the mountains is Carnation, where the average still hasn't come down to Silverdale's level. At $1 over the average of $263 per square foot, is a 4 bedroom, 2.5 bath house on 5 acres. Inside, it is 2,460 square feet. Outside you've got enough room to get lost in. Space for a three car garage, a large deck with a hot tub, and plenty of trees means you get a lot to work with for your $650,000. There's even enough room to fit in all the other houses and all the other lots for the second lowest price on the list.
· 922 NW 82nd St, Silverdale [Redfin]
· 10566 NE Quiet Valley Lane, Bainbridge Island [Redfin]
· 1823 E Glen St, Capitol Hill [Redfin]
· 2244 77th Ave NE, Medina [Redfin]
· 1415 109th Ave SE, Bellevue [Redfin]
· 22550 SE 13th St, Sammamish [Redfin]
· 28614 NE 52nd St, Carnation [Redfin]