Consider location issues broadly when deciding where you’d like to live in Silicon Valley

Waves of flowersOften home buyers assess real estate location issues based on only a few criteria, such as being within a particular zip code or school district, or opposed to a few things, such as busy roads, high voltage power lines or commercial properties.  Either approach can be too narrow (or too broad), so I’d like to suggest a few more elements to for factoring into the Silicon Valley neighborhood search.

  • Look at the street and several blocks surrounding it: are the homes and yards maintained?  Are there too many cars parked on the road or in driveways? Are there eyesores?
  • The nearby housing types and quality will impact properties values in the surrounding area.  If a house is too close to an apartment building, the apartment will hurt the value of the house.  If a small house is surrounded by larger, more expensive ones, they will pull the value of the small house up.  The old adage that it’s best to be the least expensive property in a more expensive area is true. So is the reverse.
  • Check sites such as to see how safe it is generally
  • You may also want to check the Megan’s Law database online too
  • Consider positive attributes, such as the walkscore or walkability.  You may not want to buy a house right next to a 7-11, but having one 3 blocks away may be very convenient for you (and good for resale value).
  • Also consider access to commute routes and transportation. The newest “plus” for a given location could be the bus stops for commuters working for Google or Apple.  Convenience is highly prized in Silicon Valley, hence the eternal popularity of homes in Santa Clara, for instance. (more…)

Real Estate Market Update for San Jose’s Alum Rock Neighborhood

It is a strong seller’s market in the Alum Rock area of San Jose right now: inventory is shrinking and prices are rising after hitting bottom a few months ago. Prices are still way off year over year, but for the last 4 months or so, prices have been rising in this part of Silicon Valley, and it’s quite dramatic.




As of a few days ago in this area of San Jose, there were 203 single family homes for sale and there were 114 that sold/closed in the last month. To get the “months of inventory” or absorption rate we just divide the 203 by the 114 and we get about 1.8 months of inventory, which makes it a very strong sellers market.

(Because it’s so affordable, first time homebuyers are flocking to Alum Rock in droves. Unfortunately, they are sometimes outbid by all-cash investors and left frustrated as homes get multiple offers and prices skyrocket out of reach.)

The absorption rate can be measured in days, weeks, months (or years) of inventory.  Below is a chart reflecting the days of inventory relative to the last 18 months or so.  As you can see, the absorption rate has been shrinking very, very dramatically (as prices have fallen through the floor).