Home Improvement: Pools
Why is it so hard to buy a home in Silicon Valley? Most of it has to do with our ongoing and severe inventory shortage.
I initially wrote the article below on Feb 9, 2012. I thought it was bad then – and I suppose that relatively speaking, it was. But it’s much worse now!
Today is May 1, 2017, and I ran the numbers of available single family homes in Santa Clara County in a chart comparing since January of 2012. Have a look, and please note the year over year numbers:
The situation has only intensified since I first wrote this article in early 2012. There are many reasons for the problem: older people won’t sell for tax reasons (mostly capital gains). move up buyers who elect to stay and add on rather than deal with hugely increased property taxes. In general, home owners are opting to “buy and hold”.
Is it hard to buy a house in the San Jose area? You bet. And unfortunately, I don’t see an end in sight anytime soon.
Original article: Feb 9, 2012
Right now I’m working with a number of very frustrated home buyers. Silicon Valley real estate inventory is painfully low, and in the lower price ranges especially, that means multiple offers are fairly common. FHA home buyers, in particular, are getting out bid and out negotiated by all cash buyers, many of whom are investors.
How low is the inventory? Let’s have a look at January’s inventory for houses & duet homes (“class 1” or single family homes) over the last ten years in Santa Clara County (San Jose, Los Gatos, Campbell, etc.):
The average January inventory of available houses over the last 10 years is 2,636. At 1,382, January 2012’s available inventory of houses for sale in the San Jose area was just 52% of normal. Continue reading
If you are thinking of removing a pool, you may be wondering about the cost and process of doing it. There are a few approaches to this task, but most people in Silicon Valley decide to have the edges removed, break up the gunnite or concrete bottom (for drainage) and then add compacted soil before re-landscaping. A more expensive method is to remove all the pieces of rebar and concrete. The least expensive is to simply leave all of the pool in place, just add soil and landscape. With that last approach, anyone can view the backyard and see exactly where the pool once was (when seen in homes for sale, it lends itself to snickering – so not advised).
The typical method, partial removal, seems to cost between $10,000 and $20,000 in the San Jose area now (in 2014), depending largely upon what type of new landscaping goes in. The removal only takes about 1-2 weeks, some of that related to weather conditions and how busy the contractors are at the time.
Next, please enjoy 12 photos of the pool removal process, care of my clients and friends, whose home is in Willow Glen.
Do pools enhance property value in Silicon Valley back yards? Do they make homes easier or more difficult to sell in Santa Clara County? What’s the impact on resale value? The common wisdom is that it depends on the amount of yard or lot size, the price point and the location of the residence. When a pool takes up the majority (or virtually all) of the back yard, most often it makes the property undesirable to buyers – at least to most home buyers – and that, in turn, causes the sales price to slip a bit. It used to be that pools were almost a given on more expensive residential real estate, particularly if there is a lot of land. Today I ran the numbers, though, and it appears that things have changed. Below please find the “months of inventory” for homes with and without pools and note that it is very consistent, in the fields I checked, that it’s now harder to sell a home with a pool than without.