Silicon Valley neighborhoods
One question I get a lot is this: what does it cost to buy a 4 bedroom, 2 bath house of about 2000 square feet?
So to answer this question, let’s see what houses like this are selling for (4 bed, 2 bath, appx 2000 SF or 185 square meters) and see how the cost looks in one Santa Clara County / Silicon Valley area versus another.
Today I compared several areas and cities using this criteria: single family homes of 1800 – 2200 SF, 3-5 bedrooms, 2-3 bathrooms, on lot sizes of 6000 SF to 10,000 SF. Normally I would chart this over the last 2 months, or 60 days, but because of the low inventory causing the sellers market I have expanded the search to the last 3 months, or 90 days, for a better range. Because some areas have had a scarcity of inventory, I’ve added an addition to the chart titled NoS for Number of Sales within the given range.
Here’s how it shakes out in the “west valley areas” along the Highway 85 corridor, most of which are known to have good to great public schools. What areas are most affordable? One way of analyzing this is the “price per square foot” figure. Whenever I update the chart, I re-arrange the order of the cities from high to low based on the price per square foot, although there’s usually minimal movement.
Within this range, Campbell only had one sale over the last 90 days, so data for that segment may or may not be a good average. Both Los Altos and Saratoga had no sales within the last 90 days within these criteria, so their searches have been expanded to 0-180 days (or 6 months / half a year) and 0-120 days (or 4 months / a quarter year) respectively to provide data for comparison for this chart. Now that we have the data, let’s analyze it!
Locals to the San Jose area (Silicon Valley, Santa Clara County) know, and newcomers often do not, that we have micro-climates here. Our weather is mild everywhere, of course – we enjoy a “sub tropical climate” where citrus grows and palm trees thrive – but it varies a lot nonetheless.
What kind of variation exists in Santa Clara County’s weather?
Consider that our terrain is shaped somewhat like a funnel with the San Francisco Bay on the wide end, and the two mountain ranges making up the sides of the funnel, narrowing at its base (near Morgan Hill).
Together with our funnel shaped valley, the Pacific Ocean and the San Francisco Bay are the major influences on our climate. The Santa Cruz Mountains are warmer and wetter than the eastern foothills. The Pacific Ocean brings in the rain, fog and winds pulling storms in from the ocean to the valley. Much of the weather stops at or near the coastal mountains, though, and the influence lessens as you go east such that the east foothills are very, very different from the Santa Cruz Mountains. The areas close to the bay get more breezes than those sheltered by smaller valleys or nooks.
So what are Silicon Valley’s Micro-Climates?
Here are a few basic notes for newcomers:
Sometimes sellers want to sell their home without the representation of a licensed real estate agent (FSBO, For Sale By Owner). But to try to encourage agents to show their home to a buyer, those same sellers might offer a buyer’s agent a commission (often somewhere between 2.5 and 3%, but it varies). The sellers are surprised when they don’t get a ton of real estate professionals clamoring to see and show their properties.
What’s going on? Why are licensed real estate sales people sometimes (or often) reluctant to show the home of an “unrepresented seller” (or “for sale by owner” seller)?
There are a couple of reasons why Realtors and other licensees may not be wildly enthusiastic about getting into a transaction with an unrepresented seller.
- There is more liability for the licensed real estate professional
- There is the risk of “implied agency“
Sometimes, as you know, transactions don’t go as planned and buyers or sellers are both unhappy at the end and the whole mess may end up in court. (Knock on wood, this has not happened to me!) If it does, the judge may well look at everyone involved and find that there was one professional real estate person in the bunch. The liability may shift greatly onto that person – even if he or she was not representing both sides (was not a dual agent) and was not compensated for the responsibility of both sides. Continue reading
Updates at bottom. For original article (May 21, 2010) begin to read below:
Mount Umunhum sits high on the Santa Cruz Mountain range, and from there enjoys spectacular views. Looking inland, you can see San Jose & most of Santa Clara County, on a clear day even as far north as San Francisco from Mt. Umunhum. Turning toward the Pacific Ocean, from Mt. Umunhum’s heights you can see Santa Cruz and Monterey on a fogless day.
Selling a home is always stressful, no matter the reason. But some circumstances are tougher than others, and perhaps the worst is selling a house or home after the death of a loved one or in the face of declining health, particularly with serious or terminal illness, specifically if the sick individual is living at the home which must be sold. Today we’ll discuss that situation.
How can you sell a property if the owner usually cannot leave for buyer showings and cannot really keep the home in top condition?
It is of course not ideal to have the property being listed, marketed and sold not show well and if the seller cannot step out when home buyers visit. But there are strategies which may help. The goal is to sell the home quickly, which normally will also cause the price to be as high as possible (given everything).
First, before the home is ever actively marketed: Continue reading
I have been fortunate to have made 5 trips to Europe, one of them lasting 9 months, and will be returning again before the end of 2013 (this time to Belgium). It is so diverse, beautiful and compelling! Having experienced a little culture shock myself (when living in Florence, Italy, for one year of university), I’m very sympathetic about how hard an international move can be, and I understand that for Europeans moving to Silicon Valley, there can be an acute culture shock, particularly for those coming from more rural areas.
The bulk of Silicon Valley is located in Santa Clara County, which is at the southern end of the San Francisco Bay. In this county, there are approximately 1.8 million people, almost a million of them in the city of San Jose. Some areas, or districts, of San Jose have a distinctive character and are almost like towns or small cities themselves. So in this article I’ll mention both cities and towns, but also areas or districts of San Jose, which might appeal to our European transplants. Most of my comments will reference Santa Clara County or “south bay” locations, but I will also mention others on the San Francisco Peninsula and SF Bay Area too.
Architecture, Urban Centers and Charm
It is an unfortunate negative in Silicon Valley that much of our housing consists of ranch style tract homes, and truthfully, they are not exactly a work of art. New or newer homes tend to be on very tiny parcels of land (or “lots”) and for many people may simply feel too congested or crowded. But there are beautiful residential neighborhoods – you just need to know where to look! In many ways, the areas with higher charm can make our global home buyers feel more comfortable than if they were faced with only track, ranch neighborhoods.
Do you value unique, older architecture with Victorian, Craftsman, Tudor or other home styles? Then check out these areas:
- Within San Jose: the Japantown, Vendome, and Naglee Park areas of downtown San Jose. Also in central San Jose are the Rosegarden, Shasta Hanchett and Burbank neighborhoods which all boast some lovely older homes. Or, if you love classic Spanish Revival style homes with views, consider the old Alum Rock area of San Jose near the country club (golf course). The Willow Glen area of SJ (zip code 95120) is full of lovely old established neighborhoods with historic homes and tree lined streets. If your job takes you to downtown San Jose, all of these areas will be fairly close.
Please read the rest of this article on the Move2SiliconValley.com website:
The average sales price of houses sold in Santa Clara County has been sitting at just over one million dollars for the last four months. This isn’t shocking to Realtors active in the San Jose area, as we’ve seen appreciation going through the roof over the last 18 months or so. In many areas, home values are up about 20% over a year ago. But this fact did make front page news in today’s San Jose Mercury: Average Silicon Valley home tops $1 million.
What sort of home is that million dollar place in Silicon Valley? To provide a quick snapshot, I ran the closed sales of single family homes (mostly houses but also some duet homes) for the last week in this county. This is all of the county, both more and less expensive areas, with better and worse school districts, from Palo Alto to Gilroy. On average, these properties were 43 years old with living areas of approximately 2000 square feet on lots of about 11,000 SF and had been on the market for 22 days. The average list price was $1,055,765 and average sales price $1,089,940.
These numbers are horrifying for people considering our market from out of the area. But here – it’s just how it is.