Shasta Hanchett Park neighborhood

The Shasta Hanchett Park neighborhood in central San Jose is much beloved for its architectural charm and close-in location. There’s a wide variety of architectural styles to be found there – and not many ranch style houses. A large percentage of the houses have front porches, some with deep overhangs. Together with tree lined streets and sidewalks, it’s a welcoming feeling community and a scenic one.


Sierra Avenue in the Shasta Hanchett Park neighborhood, San Jose CA 95126


What are the homes like in the Shasta Hanchett Park neighborhood?

Home styles include Craftsman of various kinds (Bungalow, Prairie), Victorian, Spanish Eclectic, Mission Revival, Cottage, Tudor, Art Deco, Colonial, and some that look almost like ranch but defy a neat category. Some areas will feature several of the same style homes in a row. Part of Shasta Avenue, for example, has a group of Victorian homes. Many homes look much the same as originally intended from the front but have been extensively remodeled inside, and the county may show the construction date as  2002 or something  similar.

Some of the homes have basements. Many have detached garages. In some cases, the power lines are in front by the sidewalk, but most of the time they are along the back fences.

Most of these Shasta Hanchett neighborhood houses were designed as middle class homes. The houses and lots are not as large as some of the homes found along University Avenue in the Rose Garden.

The Shasta Hanchett Park neighborhood (and the Hester area) includes about 1165 single family homes, 128 condominiums or townhomes, and 78 other residential buildings, including small apartment buildings, duplexes – fourplexes, etc.  I pulled this data from the county records and it is approximate.

Seventy percent of the houses in this part of the city were built in the very late 1800s through the 1940s per my study of the county records. One is said to have been built in 1890 and 38 were said to be built in 1900. By the way, often when the county records say 1900 it’s code for “1900 or older, we don’t really know”.

Development continued through the forties, fifties, and so on. While there’s a mix of ages, it’s a large contingent of historic homes. Most are in beautiful condition and impeccably well tended.


Homes along Sierra Avenue, San Jose 95126, which were built in 1916 (left) and 1915 (right)


Some of the streets are narrow, and parking on both sides is disallowed for that reason. Martin Avenue enjoys a long stretch where it’s both extremely wide and also is lined with tall palm trees. Other streets offer a variety of trees and some feature a deep canopy of sycamore trees.


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…)