Cupertino: Highly Regarded for High Tech, High Public School Scores

Cupertino - view from Ridge Vineyards

A view from Ridge Vineyards along Montebello Road

The City of Cupertino, often considered the heart of Silicon Valley, offers shorter commutes, strong public schools, abundant parks and open space, an active community center, and more. This city is home to both small and large tech companies, both startups and Apple Inc. It attracts professionals and entrepreneurs from around the world. All of this, in turn, creates a competitive real estate landscape.

This city is vibrant and offers fabulous restaurants and shops. These are sometimes not mentioned as they are overshadowed by the fame of the schools and the job centers, but are noteworthy as they contribute to a high quality of life for everyone there.

Cupertino schools

The public schools in Cupertino are outstanding, often at the top of the list in state rankings for test scores, 4 year college admissions, and notable academic awards earned by students here. Off campus, there are private schools that teach other languages, dance, art, religion, and culture on off hours or weekends.

Within the districts, some schools are more sought after than others. Monta Vista High and Lynbrook High are often the most desired by home buyers. But not all. Some parents prefer good schools that are not as competitive as these two may be. Each family should research the offerings and see what is the best fit for them and their needs.

Students are served by these districts:

Cupertino Union School District (K – 8)

Fremont Union High School District (9 – 12)

De Anza Community College

A tiny sliver of northeastern Cupertino is served by the Santa Clara Unified School District.

Comparing the real estate markets in Almaden, Los Gatos, Saratoga, Cupertino, Sunnyvale and Los Altos

Days on market for several "west valley" communities within Silicon Valley

Days on market for several “west valley” communities within Silicon Valley

For people relocating to Silicon Valley, often there’s not just one city, town or area which seems like a good fit.  Sometimes it may come down to what your money can buy or how difficult it is to purchase in one area versus another.   This is frequently the case with the “West Valley” areas where schools are good and the neighborhoods are tidy.

There are two statistics which are especially helpful in understanding the Santa Clara County real estate market.  One is the “days on market” or DOM.  The shorter this is, the hotter the market – and the harder it is to purchase.   The second is the sale price to list price ratio, which hints at the existence of multiple offers, overbids, and buyers giving away all of their rights.

Today, then, we’ll have a look at these, starting with Almaden, the southernmost area, and working our way north along the coastal range.  The charts below are all for single family homes (houses and duet homes, not condos or townhomes).

Almaden Valley is a district within the city of San Jose.  Its boundaries roughly follow the 95120 zip code, though there are some parts of nearby zip codes which somewhat overlap into Almaden too. How’s the Almaden market?  Red hot!  Days on market is crazy low – a mere 16! And the average sale price is almost 104% of list price…and rising!

Trends At a GlanceMay 2013Previous MonthYear-over-Year
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Sale vs. List Price0.0% (N/A)0.0%0.0% (N/A)
Days on Market(N/A)0(N/A)
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Los Gatos is a bit north of Almaden and has many micro-markets within it based on proximity to downtown Los Gatos, the school districts, view of the hills or valley and many other factors. (This is “in town”, zip codes 95030 and 95032, not the Los Gatos Mountains 95033.)  The market is also red hot in Los Gatos! The days on market are significantly longer (36 as opposed to Almaden’s 16), but the sale price to list price ratio is a tad higher here. (more…)

The Valley of Heart’s Delight, Silicon Valley’s Old Nickname

Silicon Valley was once called The Valley of Heart’s Delight

Where is it?

Silicon Valley,a region known for high tech (semiconductors, computers, biotech, software & more), mostly resides within Santa Clara County, is at the southern part of the San Francisco Bay Area in northern California.  Silicon Valley does not have strict geographical boundaries and includes a bit of the neighboring counties: Alameda County, San Mateo County, and Santa Cruz County.<br<


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The weather is good
The weather is mild – it’s a subtropical climate and the palm and redwood trees will back that up. At one time, during the orchard heyday, it came to be known as The Valley of the Heart’s Delight because of the fertility of the valley and the fabulous produce grown here.  Eventually the vineyards, fruit and nut trees gave way to housing in the post World War II boom, and as high tech and then biotech slowly took over as the regional industry, the moniker changed to Silicon Valley due to the making of semiconductors or chips here. (“Chips” are no longer manufactured here, though.)

Why we love it
The people who live in Silicon Valley love many things about it, including the weather, of course!  The level of education is high, the population delightfully diverse, and crime is low.  San Jose has about a million people and the rest of Santa Clara County has about 800,000 more, so we have many of the benefits of big city living – but without so much crowding as the valley is fairly spread out.

Add to that a close proximity to San Francisco (an hour north by car or train), Berkeley and Oakland (ditto the time up the East Bay by car or BART), the beach at Santa Cruz (about a half hour), Monterey/Carmel (90 minutes), etc. You can drive to Napa or Sonoma for wine tasting – or you could do it within a couple of miles of the airport at the J Lohr Wine Tasting Room just off The Alameda. Of course, our hills have plenty of wineries too, and they are found closer in (Los Gatos and Cupertino and the east foothills of San Jose). In other words, there are a lot of reasons why “The Valley of Heart’s Delight” still applies.

The Challenges
Every area has its plusses and its challenges.  Here the difficulties are few but not insignificant. The biggest complaint is the cost of housing, which is perhaps the most expensive in the nation (if not, it’s close to the top).  It’s hard enough on locals but a really unpleasant surprise for transferees who relocate to Silicon Valley.  The second problematic area is traffic.

For both of these, we tend to have some “work arounds”.  Avoiding traffic is something we do by scheduling trips across the valley between 9:30am and 3pm if at all possible.  Many employees here telecommute at least some of the time.  Several large companies, such as Google, provide shuttles so that their employees can carpool – often during “off hours”.

Housing in the San Jose, Los Gatos and Campbell areas (among others) can be trickier.  Entry level
houses in decent areas start at around $500,000 and if you want good schools, it is more like $600,000.  Need it to be turnkey and remodeled? That will push it into the $700,000 range – and we are talking about a small 1200- 1400 square foot house.  The price depends largely on the location, though, so if schools are not a big issue, a house can be purchased for less.  If you want that same house in Los Gatos or Saratoga and with the best schools, it will be upwards of a million dollars.

What are the workarounds?  Sometimes transferees will purchase a townhouse or condominium instead of a house.  This can enable them to get into the areas or schools they want and still do it in budget.  Many people will simply purchase real estate that needs updating or remodeling, and do it over time (rather than getting a perfect home when they move in).  It requires a shift in expectations…. Others, of course, will opt to rent, or instead to purchase in remote locations such as Brentwood or Mountain House and endure a fairly difficult commute.




Sunnyvale: One of the Lowest Crime Areas in the Nation


The city of Sunnyvale, CA, is known for low crime and high tech. Its a city of about 100,000 residents and many businesses. Its a quick hop to the Cal Train in Mountain View, so is in a good commute location both for Santa Clara County but also for jobs ‘on the peninsula’ too.

Like the rest of California, Sunnyvales history goes back to the days of Land Grants (first Spanish, then Mexican, then US Patents). The first non-native beginnings of this city were in 1842 with the Rancho Pastoria de las Borregas land grant, held by Estrada and Inez Castro and later becoming Mountain View and Sunnyvale. (The arrangement with land grants was that the land was free, but the owner had to occupy it. Such a deal!) Its interesting history, so take a look!


Wikipedia on the history of Sunnyvale, demographics, facts and interesting trivia.
Great Sunnyvale Info from Wikipedia
Information on Sunnyvale from my other website,
Sunnyvale Community Info
Tonos of information on city resources, city government, permits, and more.
City of Sunnyvale – Official Site
Great information for folks just arriving to Sunnyvale! From the City itself.
Sunnyvale New Resident Guide