A tough commute for each of you and getting worse every day. Try Mercer Island. Easy commute to the east side as well as Seattle. The I90 corridor is your best best bet for commute.
I love west seattle but after 34 years of real estate it has become apparent that commute is not only time consuming and stressful but unhealthy.
Find yourself an experienced ethical real estate agent to help you with your decission. Someone who has experience on the eastside as well as seattle. The extra time effort to carefully choose your agent will prove well worth you time. Check out Your-Road-Home.com and read the article Consultation, Interviewing Real Estate Agents. You will learn a series of questions and the correct answers so when you ask the agent your are interviewing the questions they will demonstrate their ethics and knowledge for with their answers.
Welcome to Seattle and Best of Luck, Stephen Webber
Yours is a great question! I think a lot of people are worried about the same thing. I am a 35 yr West Seattle resident and am also a Realtor in West Seattle and have been for 14 years. As mentioned by others here, since the replacement of the viaduct will be a planned event, hopefully it will be well thought out in advance as to how to deal with the work arounds. One of the positives that they are doing right now is they are starting the widening of the Spokane Street Viaduct which is the part of the West Seattle Bridge that goes between the bridge and I-5. That will help with the bottleneck that happens now with I-5. That will be completed in 2010. As far as property values go, I feel that any close-in city neighborhood is always going to be in high demand because of the close proximity to downtown & with West Seattle you are also close to the airport. We also have a large number of view properties and a beach! Lots of wonderful neighborhoods and price ranges to choose from. Come check us out!
I don't think that property values will go down necessarily. However, I just don't know how that excess volume will be dealt with if and when the viaduct comes down. I live in Burien, and I used to work downtown. During the aftermath of the Nisqually earthquake, when the viaduct was closed for a few weeks for evaluation, the commute was nightmarish - my 15 minute commute turned into an average of 2 hours each way.
Now, that was an unplanned event. If the state goes through with its promise to take the viaduct down, then I would imagine that they would have a plan as to how to deal with the huge volume of traffic traveling on Seattle surface streets. That may be worth looking into.
Having said that, West Seattle is a wonderful place to live. Good luck with your home search!