Washington state has a wide variety of landscapes to choose from. Washington has mountains, the ocean, the desert, and farm living. Many homes, on its 42.5 million acres, have breathtaking views of Mt. Rainier, the Olympic and Cascades Mountain Ranges. The western side of the state is known for the mild climate, making it a favorite place for people to retire. 5.5 million residents occupy the urban parts of the state in major cities like Seattle, Tacoma, Vancouver and Spokane. On the other side of the mountains, the eastern half of the state has beautiful rolling hills and wonderful farm land. There are 15.3 million acres of farmland in the state and about 787,000 people live in rural communities.
Prices for real estate have steadily increased over the last two decades, especially in the Northwest regions. There has been a major population increase, with an influx of Californians who are buying up what they consider to be cheap property has caused a major price jump in many parts of the state. Construction is doing its best to catch up to the demand. From the years 1990 to 2000 there was an increase in housing units of 20.6% and in 2000 there were a total of 2.4 million units of which 1.9 were in urban areas. The median housing price is $168,000.