• The median lot size in the Seattle metro area reached 5,200 sq. ft. in 2020, down 30% over the past two decades.
  • Meanwhile, home sizes in the metro area are 25% larger than they were 20 years ago.
  • Seattle and Tacoma are home to the three ZIP Codes with the smallest yard spaces in the metropolitan area.
  • ZIP Code 98580 in Roy is home to the biggest yards in the Seattle metro area.
  • Overall, the median lot size in Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA, sits at 8,400 square feet.

Home prices are now at historic highs. The median price of an existing home reached $341,600, with all major regions in the US posting double-digit increases. Rising demand for housing combined with the high cost of land and building materials has pushed lot sizes to new lows across the country. The median size of a lot for a new home was 7,900 square feet in 2020, down 11% compared to 2000. Meanwhile, homes are getting bigger – the median size of a single family home built in 2020 was 2,260 square feet, up 12% from two decades before.

As one of the cities which drive these trends, Seattle’s red-hot real estate market is only getting hotter. With roughly 70% of residential plots dedicated to single family living and an ever-growing population, available land is practically non-existent, adding a new level of competitiveness to the residential landscape. The median price of a home in the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue metro area has jumped 17.9% y-o-y to $653,400.

Those who can still find room to build in Seattle are delivering larger homes, often at the expense of yard space. But unlike many of the nation’s hotspots, and luckily for those who favor outdoor space, the area is geographically rich and spread-out enough to cater to all tastes and budgets. Seattle developers have been targeting suburban locations with good connections to the urban core where land is still available and affordable, allowing places like Black Diamond, Enumclaw, or Puyallup to visibly flourish with new development.

Let’s see how things evolved in Seattle in terms of lot sizes in the last 20 years and where we can still find homes with sizable yards.

Seattle metro sees median lot size decreasing by over 30% over the past two decades

Driven by changes in Seattle and Tacoma, lot sizes in the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue metropolitan area experienced a significant drop, from roughly 7,600 square feet in 2000 to 5,200 square feet currently. During the same period, the median size of a new home increased by about 25%, from a median size of a little under 2,200 square feet two decades ago to 2,700 square feet last year. The overall median lot size in the Seattle metropolitan area currently sits at 8,400 square feet.

The median lot size for the city of Seattle stands at almost 1,180 square feet, down almost 70% from 20 years ago. A surge in townhouse construction is one of the reasons for the sharp drop in the median lot size in the city – about 40% of the homes built in 2000 in Seattle were townhouses, compared to 70% last year.

Tacoma has also seen lot sizes drop, from 7,700 sq. ft. in 2000 to 5,750 square feet last year. On the other hand, the median lot size for homes built in 2020 in Bellevue was over 10,000 square feet, approximately the same as two decades previously.

Shrinking Lot Sizes Make Yard Space a Hot Commodity in Seattle

Bigger homes on smaller lots means new homes in Seattle benefit from a lot less outdoor space than they used to. To see where Seattleites on the move would find small outdoor spaces, or on the other hand, where they can still enjoy plenty of yard space while being close to the urban action, we’ve looked at ZIP Codes in the entire metropolitan area and ranked them by land plot size.

We calculated median available outdoor space by subtracting the ‘footprint’ home size — averaging the space over all the stories of a property — from the lot size area to identify  the Seattle ZIP Codes with the largest and smallest yards.

Westlake and Cascade are Metro Seattle’s areas with the smallest yard space available

The metropolitan area’s zip codes with the smallest yards are, naturally, located in Seattle’s bustling Downtown and adjacent neighborhoods, where residents are trading backyard space for easy access to entertainment, culture and a more intense lifestyle.

Top 10 Seattle Metro Neighborhoods With The Smallest Yards

RankZIPCityNeighborhoodMedian Yard size
(sq. ft)
198109SeattleWestlake, Cascade, Queen Anne2444
298107SeattleAdams, Ballard2452
398402TacomaNorth End2508
498102SeattleEastlake, Cascade2518
598122SeattleMinor, Central District2552
698119SeattleWest Quenn Anne, Queen Anne2648
798103SeattleWoodland Park, Green Lake2661
898144SeattleAtlantic, Central District2796
998424TacomaFife3081
1098105SeattleUniversity District3172
Source: STORAGECafé analysis of Property Shark data
98109 in Seattle has the smallest yards in the metropolitan area – a median area of 2,400 square feet. Covering parts of Westlake, Cascade and Queen Anne neighborhoods near Downtown Seattle, the area features some of the most charming residences, albeit small in terms of lot sizes. The ZIP code with the second-smallest backyards, 98107, is also located in the heart of Seattle and includes Adams and Ballard neighborhoods – the median backyards there are a little over 2,450 square feet. The third metropolitan area ZIP code with the smallest backyards, 98402, located in Tacoma, contains the North End neighborhood. Houses in the area have a median backyard of a little over 2,500 square feet – however, North End is famous for its sprawling waterfront parks, so residents still have the opportunity to spend plenty of time outdoors.

Want Outdoor Space? Head to Roy and Ravensdale

Last year was a red-letter moment for the housing market. The pandemic has effectively fueled a trend that had been a long time in the making, with many people rearranging housing priorities, either out of necessity or by sheer will. After years of seeking proximity to bustling downtowns, many are now going for greener, more spacious neighborhoods. This is where Seattleites find the silver lining as suburban Seattle is packed with homes that sit on extensive green acreage – if they’re willing to commute, that is – or adopt the work-from-home setup long-term, which is now more common than it has ever been. The tech-oriented Seattle Metro workforce in particular is more likely to be working remotely than employees in other areas of the country, with Microsoft alone having almost 54,000 employees still working from home.

Here are the top 10 ZIP Codes with the biggest yard space in the Seattle metro area:

1. ZIP code 98580 – Roy, Spanaway, North Yelm

Homes in the 98580 ZIP Code boast yards with a median square footage of 97,800  – that’s almost two full-sized football stadiums. The area, located close to Tacoma and about an hour away from Seattle, features mostly ranch-style properties, and a laidback vibe. Spanaway Lake provides swimming beaches, and a beautiful golf course is located nearby – even more opportunities for outdoor fun.

2. ZIP code 98051 – Ravensdale, Hobart and Maple Valley

With sprawling backyards of over 95,000 square feet, the approx. 3,300 people calling 98051 home get to enjoy both room to breathe and easy access to the city, as both Tacoma and Seattle are a mere 30 minutes’ drive away. The Kanaskat-Palmer State Park and the Cedar River Trail are nearby and are excellent spots for active family fun.

3. ZIP code 98050 – Preston, King County

The median size of a backyard in the 98050 ZIP code, which is located mostly in the unincorporated community of Preston, stands at over 81,000 square feet. Preston is within easy driving distance (14 miles) of Bellevue and is 22 miles east of Seattle.

4. ZIP code 98330 – Elbe, Pierce County

This small community of less than 200 residents, adjacent to Elbe Hills State Forest, is definitely close to nature, with the median amount of green space per single family home at almost 77,000 square feet. The Mount Rainier Scenic Railroad starts here, and the Mineral Lake, touted as one of the best spots for trout fishing in western Washington, is only three miles south from the town.

5. ZIP code 98394 – Vaughn, Pierce County

Homes in ZIP code 98394 – which contains the unincorporated community of Vaughn – have a median yard size of just a little under 70,000 square feet. The area is a 30 minutes’ drive away from Tacoma and an hour away from Seattle.

6. ZIP code 98024 – Fall City, King County

Homes in ZIP code 98024, which incorporates Fall City, benefit from lot sizes with over 60,000 square feet of outdoor space. There are around 6,000 residents here, and the community lies along the Snoqualmie River. The area is about 25 miles away from Seattle.

7. ZIP code 98328 – Eatonville, Pierce County

The approx. 10,000 residents of ZIP code 98328, consisting of Eatonville and some surrounding areas, enjoy homes with yards of over 55,000 square feet. Tacoma is about 34 miles away, while Seattle is 60 miles away.

8. ZIP code 98351 – Longbranch, Pierce County

Located on the very tip of the Key Peninsula, this small ZIP code with a population of 1,200 residents features homes with a median backyard size of almost 50,000 square feet. Seattle is about 65 miles away, while Tacoma is only 34 miles distant.

9. ZIP code 98333 – Fox Island, Pierce County

The median size of backyards in this island community is a little over 42,000 square feet. Commuting is quite accessible also: Tacoma is a mere 18 miles away, while Seattle is about 50 miles away.

10. ZIP code 98070 – Vashon Island, King County

Another island closes out the top 10 of the greenest ZIP codes in Seattle metropolitan area. The more than 10,000 residents of Vashon Island enjoy homes with a median backyard size of 40,000 square feet. The island is well connected via the Washington State Ferries System – you’ll reach both Seattle and Tacoma in about an hour. Also, you can use the King County Water Taxi system to access downtown Seattle.

Need more room to roam around at home? The self storage market in Seattle fills in the need for extra space

Self storage has become a hot necessity in today’s residential landscape. Whether living in a small city apartment with less space than stuff or enjoying a nice home with a large backyard that requires plenty of gardening equipment but no place for it, people need extra space. Seattle generally responds well to this need for storage space away from home, with price and inventory variations across the metropolitan area.

Seattle Metro Area Self Storage Street Rates and Availability

CityAverage
Street Rate
Self Storage
Per Capita
Seattle2024.8
Tacoma14210.9
Bellevue1727.5
Kent14210.2
Everett16010.6
Renton1608.4
Federal Way1389.6
Kirkland1627.6
Auburn1399.3
Marysville1656.5
Redmond1497.4
Sammamish1611.8
Lakewood1387.4
Shoreline17412.6
Olympia14218.4
Burien1708.2
Lacey15712.1
Bothell16713.3
Edmonds1715.8
Puyallup12042
Source: STORAGECafé analysis of Yardi Matrix data

Among the three major cities, residents of Tacoma are the luckiest in terms of self storage costs and availability, as they enjoy almost 11 square feet of self storage per capita and an average street rate of $142 per month for a 10×10 storage unit.

Bellevue, with about 8 square feet of storage space per capita, comes in with an average street rate of $172 per month. Seattle is the most expensive of the three major cities in the metropolitan area, with a monthly street rate of $202 for a 10×10 unit. Local inventory includes only 5 square feet of self storage space per capita.

Seattle Metro ZIP Codes By Yard Space

ZipMedian House Size
(sq.ft)
Median Lot Size
(sq.ft)
Median Yard Size
(sq. ft)
9858019469931797819
9805121409685695269
9805021308289581465
9833011767753776646
9839417167187469859
9802421806229160250
9832817565706455671
9835115065105749257
9833321844356042187
9807017304242740943
9832916204179640265
9834913944099939554
9833819924007138564
9807728404003238327
9844617823331031604
9801420603171229996
9829022583092829474
9807224802737725306
9844317282264721226
983048802183720864
9829220371916617974
9833520961854817080
9833222171759815921
9802218201629114664
9803934901692314574
9832119151527414076
9822318381435313009
9801921601402612831
9825113551393912628
9824112201393912593
982249801326412457
9829625141350412349
9828810801263211820
9837218341306811657
982568901261111423
9806822801265411400
9802724701306811343
9804519001228410945
9820612081197910937
9805324901250210921
9830313531209410884
9839119851199610744
9837318961199610624
9800526201258910527
9835415971150010335
9825216501143510286
9855814761089010137
980043100121539945
980403040119799828
980102120110649708
983231370106299514
982711723104549354
983711801106379349
981662000110649244
980753080108039077
984991517102658958
984981672102988949
983741991101238940
980262060100198909
980202396100198895
984451617100198823
98396154498978753
98466169899888567
980062630104118528
98385136299938467
980742660100198389
98467214495968362
98275244595838359
980282220100198283
98388181796668231
98059226096278093
98188164095838093
98042201095408028
98387171691007983
98036200491487804
98001189093657750
98422187289997747
98168150091487720
98148161089307557
98011222094097554
98037207287127523
98155178089737427
98047155084297310
98003177087127298
98272196487127258
98203180082767226
98390166085607224
98052230088867210
98007204088867176
98360197583777163
98092221084947150
98033235087997130
98204145282767078
98008206088437046
98023194384517017
98198168084516953
98043146082766929
98032172984076911
98058199084076906
98087202282766894
98208192482766814
98177220083646800
98465151279196759
98444134078026752
98146161081026744
98038207079716722
98031191080156610
98258198778416571
98021255178416451
98055190080156443
98034188080156420
98294156074056382
98030189075796287
98002146075366255
98270178274056236
98056199077106228
98125167076676181
98133160075796107
98178172073625872
98375203465995412
98408121363475356
98404126463825326
98407146962475276
98406147664295263
98409114459985126
98418109860465116
98065249064905052
98012231460984964
98405121259984824
98057155060114717
98403182059984600
98327212057544590
98201162260984587
98136174060114511
98106142054014293
98029224055324252
98118169056634220
98115182056194073
98126150050973996
98199204057503963
98108158052713912
98116170054013901
98117159048793402
98112225047483347
98105202044873172
98424190141513081
98144164040082796
98103156039642661
98119190037902648
98122165037462552
98102198540082518
98402157332502508
98107150537462452
98109197038332444
Source: STORAGECafé analysis of Property Shark data

Methodology:

Author

Maria Gatea is a creative writer for StorageCafe and RentCafe with a background in Journalism and Communication. After covering business and finance-related topics as a freelance writer for 15 years, she is now focusing on researching and writing about the real estate industry. You may contact Maria via email.

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