Silicon Valley desirability for tech workers may hinge on age

Just read an interesting article on how important tech workers feel it is to live in Silicon Valley:  Is Silicon Valley Still the Top Tech Hub?  This piece reports on a survey done by Indeed Prime which found that many high tech workers do not believe that living in Silicon Valley is all that important for their careers.  For all those polled, 68.3% said that living here is either “not that important” or “not at all important.”

I can almost hear local old timers saying “great, maybe we’ll get our calm environment back if they all go to Seattle, New York, or Austin!”

So what is happening?  High housing costs do scare people off of living in the San Francisco Bay Area, and San Jose and nearby specifically.  Recently, my 26 year old son (in high tech also – he’s a video game designer currently getting a master’s in that field) informed me that many of his old high school friends don’t feel like they’ll ever be able to afford to live here.  And they are all well employed. I can see that, and it’s terribly sad.

But I don’t think you can blame the lack of attachment by tech workers generally to Silicon Valley real estate prices, because the attachment to living in the Santa Clara Valley is not uniform across all types of tech workers.

Further into this article, there’s a breakdown by age – and here it gets interesting.  Many younger high tech folks find value in being here, but the interest wanes as the workers age (that could be due to housing and the availability of other alternative locations for work).

For those thinking that having a job in Silicon Valley is important or very important, the generational breakdown is as follows:

Millennials  45.5%

Gen X   32.5%

Baby Boomers  10.2%

Will we see a trend toward a younger, more transient population here?  Time will tell. But the other places luring Silicon Valley talent share some of our same challenges.  Alternative locations for high tech careers include New York (not known for being inexpensive) and Boston (also fairly pricey) as well as more affordable locations such as Austin (where prices have been going through the roof), Seattle (also seeing extremely steep appreciation in real estate costs), Washington DC, Atlanta, and Demver.

It is a very interesting bit of research and I encourage my readers to check it out.

Is Silicon Valley Still the Top Tech Hub?

 

Video clarifying Silicon Valley vs San Francisco

This video is pretty good overall, though it misses some areas which are part of Silicon Valley, mispronounces the names of many areas, and refers to Gordon Moore as George Moore. Despite some errors, it’s entertaining and brief, and I think newcomers will find it helpful as an intro to the San Francisco Bay Area and Silicon Valley regions of California.

Silicon Valley Homes for sale in Gated Communities

Looking for Silicon Valley homes for sale in gated communities?  They are nearly non-existent in Santa Clara County, San Mateo County, Alameda County, and Santa Cruz County.  But what we do have can be viewed at the search results below. The largest in San Jose will be on the east side in Evergreen – Silver Creek Valley Country Club, and nearby, a retirement community known as The Villages. On the west side there’s Rinconada Hills in Los Gatos, Rancho Deep Cliff in Cupertino, and a few places in south county as well as smaller condo complexes scattered throughout the valley.

By the way, you can “move” the map with your mouse and see what else is available in adjacent parts of Silicon Valley

Relocating to San Jose

Evergreen The Ranch view of Downtown San Jose

Evergreen The Ranch in the East Valley area of Santa Clara County – view of Downtown San Jose

Are you mulling over a job opportunity in the tech capital of the world, Silicon Valley?  If you’re relocating to San Jose, or nearby, there are a few helpful things to know right away.  Here’s a quick primer:

  • San Jose is located at the southern end of the San Francisco Bay, so is part of the SF Bay Metro Area (and is about 1 hour south of San Francisco, which locals call The City)
  • This sprawling city has a number of different districts or communities.  There are also quite a few school districts – school lines are not based on city or zip code boundaries.
  • The beach at Santa Cruz is anywhere from 30 – 60 minutes away from most of San Jose (assuming you don’t go at the peak of “beach traffic” timing on a weekend or holiday).
  • San Jose is also the home of Silicon Valley, which began here in Santa Clara County, but has now spread throughout the area
  • This city is the 10th largest in the United States (though poll most people who aren’t in The Golden State and they couldn’t tell you where it is).  The population recently hit the 1 million mark.  The county has about 1.9 million people and the Silicon Valley region (Santa Clara County, San Mateo County, and a little each of Santa Cruz County and Alameda County)
  • Home prices are just about the highest in the nation.  The average price of a house in the area is $1 million.  And that is not for
  • a big home, in most cases.  Sticker shock is the #1 reason why some people won’t move here – and why others move away.  Rents are, similarly, high.  It’s not uncommon to hear of people spending half their income on housing.
  • Weather is often ideal – 300 sunny days per year, so you won’t need that basement if you’re coming from someplace with long, cold winters.  Winter here is pretty much just December and January, and even in January you’ll see some trees pop alive with beautiful blossoms.
  • San Jose has frequently been named the best place to raise a kid.  Just google that 🙂
  • Next to housing or real estate prices, traffic is the second biggest complaint.

Looking for more info?  Here are some links:

Facts about San Jose, the Capital of Silicon Valley

San Jose is big and sprawling: where the the districts?

  1. 5 beds, 5 full, 2 half baths
    Home size: 8,451 sq ft
    Lot size: 1.09 ac
    Year built: 2002
  2. 5 beds, 6 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 7,004 sq ft
    Lot size: 2.37 ac
    Year built: 2005
  3. 6 beds, 6 full, 2 half baths
    Home size: 7,088 sq ft
    Lot size: 22,433 sqft
    Year built: 2013
  4. 5 beds, 6 full baths
    Home size: 15,074 sq ft
    Lot size: 52.02 ac
    Year built: 2015
  5. 5 beds, 3 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 4,107 sq ft
    Lot size: 13.68 ac
    Year built: 1991
  6. 5 beds, 5 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 5,744 sq ft
    Lot size: 1.04 ac
    Year built: 2001
  7. 7 beds, 3 full baths
    Home size: 6,000 sq ft
    Lot size: 16,988 sqft
    Year built: 1910
  8. 5 beds, 6 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 6,548 sq ft
    Lot size: 16,848 sqft
    Year built: 1971
  9. 4 beds, 5 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 5,101 sq ft
    Lot size: 13,764 sqft
    Year built: 2014
  10. 4 beds, 4 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 4,069 sq ft
    Lot size: 31,188 sqft
    Year built: 1976
  11. 4 beds, 4 full, 2 half baths
    Home size: 5,432 sq ft
    Lot size: 17,424 sqft
    Year built: 1994
  12. 5 beds, 4 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 4,000 sq ft
    Lot size: 10,846 sqft
    Year built: 2016
  13. 4 beds, 4 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 5,731 sq ft
    Lot size: 16,814 sqft
    Year built: 2000
  14. 5 beds, 5 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 5,238 sq ft
    Lot size: 20,000 sqft
    Year built: 1965
  15. 4 beds, 5 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 4,490 sq ft
    Lot size: 21,344 sqft
    Year built: 2006
  16. 4 beds, 3 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 5,205 sq ft
    Lot size: 14,679 sqft
    Year built: 2009
  17. 5 beds, 5 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 8,742 sq ft
    Lot size: 8.87 ac
    Year built: 1994
  18. 5 beds, 5 full baths
    Home size: 5,183 sq ft
    Lot size: 38,811 sqft
    Year built: 2002
  19. 5 beds, 4 full baths
    Home size: 4,273 sq ft
    Lot size: 1.00 ac
    Year built: 1980
  20. 5 beds, 5 full, 3 half baths
    Home size: 7,533 sq ft
    Lot size: 3.10 ac
    Year built: 2002
  21. 4 beds, 3 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 4,000 sq ft
    Lot size: 39.13 ac
    Year built: 1985
  22. 4 beds, 4 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 5,062 sq ft
    Lot size: 33,976 sqft
    Year built: 1997
  23. 5 beds, 4 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 3,450 sq ft
    Lot size: 7,971 sqft
    Year built: 2016
  24. 3 beds, 2 full, 2 half baths
    Home size: 3,665 sq ft
    Lot size: 2.10 ac
    Year built: 1986
  25. 5 beds, 4 full, 2 half baths
    Home size: 4,878 sq ft
    Lot size: 1.69 ac
    Year built: 1998

See all San Jose, California Real Estate.
(all data current as of 7/29/2016)

Listing information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Read full disclaimer.

Silicon Valley homes for sale

Graphic image of a magnifierIf you are searching for Silicon Valley real estate, or Silicon Valley homes for sale, you may discover that you get overwhelmed with choices and housing results.

The biggest problem is that the area is simply enormous.  Most agree that Silicon Valley is an area covering Santa Clara County, San Mateo County, part of Santa Cruz County (Scotts Valley) and part of Alameda County (Fremont – and some also add Union City and Newark). It’s a lot of territory – 1,854 square miles.  As of last year, this much territory was home to between just over 3 million people.

So if you are in house hunting mode, the very first thing you need to do is to understand your anchor point. The anchor point is the thing which you want to be near. For most people, that’s a work location (and in many cases, it may be 2 work locations). Sometimes it’s proximity to family members, a place of worship, a particular school or any number of things.  Most of the time, the main anchor point is the place of employment and desired commute time, tempered by things like good schools, shopping, parks, things to do, and quality of life.

Narrowing the home search geographically

Moving here to work in Scotts Valley?  Much of Santa Cruz County may work – but so could living in Los Gatos, Campbell or nearby, where you’d have a reverse commute.

Relocating for a job in Mountain View?  Most likely, you’ll eliminate Santa Cruz County due to distance and commute challenges with Highway 17 going over the Santa Cruz Mountains.

If good public schools matter, that will help to refine your search, as not all parts of the southern San Francisco Bay Area have equally good education.

Below I’ll post sample listings from communities noted for better public schools in Santa Clara County up to 1.2 million, which seems to be a very hot price point that many relocating home buyers can afford. I do also serve San Mateo and Santa Cruz Counties, but most of my clients are looking at Santa Clara Co., so limiting this search here.  Unfortunately, Alameda County (Fremont, Union City, and Newark are there) has a totally different MLS so usually I don’t work there – but am happy to introduce you to a great Realtor who does (please just email me and I will connect  you).

Santa Clara County homes for sale with good schools up to $1,200,000

Palo Alto

  1. 1 bed, 1 full bath
    Home size: 529 sq ft
    Lot size: 958 sqft
  2. 2 beds, 2 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 1,224 sq ft
    Lot size: 784 sqft
  3. 2 beds, 1 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 1,247 sq ft
    Lot size: 784 sqft
  4. 2 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 1,030 sq ft
    Lot size: 1,132 sqft
  5. 1 bed, 1 full bath
    Home size: 804 sq ft
    Lot size: 914 sqft

See all Real estate in the city of Palo Alto.
(all data current as of 7/29/2016)

Listing information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Read full disclaimer.

Los Altos

  1. 2 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 1,283 sq ft
    Lot size: 1,263 sqft

See all Real estate in the city of Los Altos.
(all data current as of 7/29/2016)

Listing information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Read full disclaimer.

Cupertino

  1. 2 beds, 2 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 1,240 sq ft
    Lot size: 784 sqft
  2. 2 beds, 1 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 1,191 sq ft
    Lot size: 784 sqft
  3. 2 beds, 2 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 1,216 sq ft
    Lot size: 1,611 sqft
  4. 2 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 1,154 sq ft
    Lot size: 1,219 sqft
  5. 2 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 1,199 sq ft
    Lot size: 1,176 sqft

See all Real estate in the city of Cupertino.
(all data current as of 7/29/2016)

Listing information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Read full disclaimer.

Saratoga

  1. 3 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 1,200 sq ft
    Lot size: 8,015 sqft
  2. 3 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 1,386 sq ft
    Lot size: 1,393 sqft
  3. 1 bed, 1 full bath
    Home size: 768 sq ft
    Lot size: 1,350 sqft
  4. 2 beds, 2 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 1,204 sq ft
    Lot size: 1,680 sqft
  5. 2 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 1,158 sq ft
    Lot size: 1,176 sqft

See all Real estate in the city of Saratoga.
(all data current as of 7/29/2016)

Listing information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Read full disclaimer.

Los Gatos

  1. 3 beds, 3 full baths
    Home size: 1,650 sq ft
    Lot size: 11,456 sqft
  2. 3 beds, 2 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 1,533 sq ft
    Lot size: 1,698 sqft
  3. 2 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 1,076 sq ft
  4. 3 beds, 2 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 2,175 sq ft
    Lot size: 2,700 sqft
  5. 3 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 1,413 sq ft
    Lot size: 435 sqft

See all Real estate in the city of Los Gatos.
(all data current as of 7/29/2016)

Listing information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Read full disclaimer.

Milpitas

  1. 4 beds, 3 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 2,406 sq ft
    Lot size: 1,916 sqft
  2. 3 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 1,024 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,098 sqft
  3. 3 beds, 2 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 1,770 sq ft
    Lot size: 1,611 sqft
  4. 3 beds, 2 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 1,980 sq ft
    Lot size: 1,350 sqft
  5. 3 beds, 3 full baths
    Home size: 1,243 sq ft
    Lot size: 1,350 sqft

See all Real estate in the city of Milpitas.
(all data current as of 7/29/2016)

Listing information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Read full disclaimer.

Almaden area of San Jose

  1. 4 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 1,850 sq ft
    Lot size: 9,408 sqft
  2. 4 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 2,006 sq ft
    Lot size: 8,276 sqft
  3. 2 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 1,124 sq ft
    Lot size: 2,265 sqft
  4. 3 beds, 2 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 2,046 sq ft
    Lot size: 2,439 sqft
  5. 3 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 1,766 sq ft
    Lot size: 10,193 sqft

See all Real estate in the Almaden Valley community.
(all data current as of 7/29/2016)

Listing information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Read full disclaimer.

Want more areas? Please search below, or use the widget in the sidebar.

What’s that smell? Odor problems in some communities

Angry faced iconOdor problems are a sensitive topic, whether you’re talking about someone just in from exercising or a whole town or neighborhood. Home for sale with a periodic stench? That won’t be listed in the MLS, and it may be down played in the disclosures.  This can be very upsetting if you learn it only after you move in.

The most common issues in Santa Clara County seem to relate to either agricultural areas, food processing, or sewer / sewage processing. Other issues can be at dumps, areas with standing water (bad idea as this can breed disease bearing mosquitos), and food or other consumable processing plants (not common in Silicon Valley). A brewery or coffee roasting plant can be stinky at times. Get downwind of any of these and it may be unpleasant.  On a much smaller scale, it’s possible to have a bad neighbor who creates an odor nuisance, making life unpleasant.  I’ve had clients tell me of neighbors who “go out to their back yard and smoke pot every day”, making my client’s back yard an unpleasant place and nearly unusable.  Other bad neighbor problems can be from yards with too many pets and not enough cleanup, or poor composting.

For folks relocating to Silicon Valley, though, it’s important to be aware of smelly or potentially smelly areas.  The locals know about them – and you should, too.

Communities with well known odor problems

Gilroy, in the “south county” area, is well known as the Garlic Capital of the World.  There’s a Garlic Festival late each July.  To be sure, the smell is strong when the garlic ripens in the field.  I can often smell it all the way in Los Gatos on a warm summer morning!  The smell is also strong when it’s getting processed at the plant along Highway 152.  Gilroy has a nice downtown area and is more affordable than most of Santa Clara County. It enjoys a Caltrain stop so offers an easier commute than most places in the San Jose area.

Morgan Hill, just a little north of Gilroy, but also in south county, has a mushroom festival (the Mushroom Mardi Gras in late May each year).  Mushrooms are a super food but mushroom farms smell pretty awful.  Currently, there are 3 mushroom farms in Morgan Hill. Buying in that beautiful city?  Visit the area many times, at different times of the day and week.  Talk to neighbors and see if you can find out if this is an issue for them – I want to note that it is not a problem everywhere.   Morgan Hill is also more affordable than most of the San Francisco Bay Area, also includes a very nice downtown, and features a Caltrain stop too. (I’m told that Google and Apple buses have stops there as well.)

Milpitas, on the northeast end of the county, sometimes has problems from the wind carrying smells from a landfill near the bay on the east side of Alviso. There’s also a sewer processing plant in the same general area that may be contributing to the challenge. It’s bad enough that there’s a whole website dedicated to this problem:  http://milpitas-odor.info/  This smell is not confined to just Milpitas but may be experienced in adjacent areas such as Alviso, north San Jose,  northern Santa Clara, and southern Fremont, but Milpitas appears to get the brunt of it. Milpitas has really strong public schools, is “close in” and convenient for many commuters, and is not as expensive as communities on the west side of the valley with similarly high scoring schools.  It’s a very good “bang for your buck” in terms of the amount of home / school you get for your money.  But the odor problems have been enormous ones over the years.

The Shoreline park in Mountain View was a landfill at one time, and years ago was well known to have issues with smells and also with spontaneous combustion fires that began as the gas from composting materials somehow lit.  That was almost 20 years ago and the situation has been corrected for many years now. (You can read more on that here.)

There’s a landfill in the Almaden area of San Jose near the Los Gatos border, the Guadalupe Landfill (that area was originally a mercury mine).  I’m not aware of odor problems coming from this one, but due to Milpitas’s ongoing nightmare with bad smells, some of the waste that might have gone to the Newby Island landfill will now be going to Guadalupe, starting in late 2017.

What can a newby to Silicon Valley do?

First, read the disclosures very, very carefully.  Often home buyers breeze through them and don’t ask probing questions on what something means.  A seller may write “occasional agricultural odors” and that doesn’t sound too bad.  What if that means half the time, you cannot miss the mushroom farm?  Ask questions to get more info on the disclosure answers.  And talk to neighbors as well as local real estate agents.

Second, learn where these items are located, if local: food processing plants, water processing plants, landfills, farms, ranches, homes with farm animals (if any).  You might be surprised that in Silicon Valley you could have a 4-H neighbor who’s raising a goat or some other type of animal – it may smell or be noisy!   In my east Los Gatos neighborhood, I was surprised that a neighbor about 5 houses away had goats for 4-H, and glad they weren’t any closer!

 

Slideshow of Silicon Valley neighborhoods

List of homes for sale by price point

Below please find a way of searching for homes by price point in much of Santa Clara County.  Listings for all of San Jose are first as this area is about half the county.  Below that, many areas are represented (but this is not all of the county).  Please use the Quick Search, immediately below, to see all possible results.

 

 

San Jose (all areas)

 

Beach Traffic

One of the many lures to the San Jose area and Santa Clara County generally is the fairly close proximity of the beach at Santa Cruz, Capitola, Rio del Mar, and other scenic places that line the Monterey Bay. From most of Santa Clara County, it’s under a one hour drive. If you live in Los Gatos, it could be just half of that.  That said, not all days are created equally when it comes to beach traffic. Go on a regular weekday in summer and it’s pretty much a piece of cake. Go on a weekend or holiday and it’s a whole other matter.

Photo of Capitola Beach as seen from the Capitola Pier on a sunny summer day with colorful beachfront condos lining the shore

Capitola Beach as seen from the Pier – photo by Mary Pope-Handy

Most of the locals know this about holidays or weekends and the shore: go early or don’t go.

How early is early enough?

If you want to get over the hill before it’s stop and go traffic, I suggest 9:30am or earlier.  It can be backed up as early as 9:30 or 10. Coming home from the coast, the line of cars may move sluggishly as early as 3 or 4pm if the fog rolls in early.

If you go early, you can enjoy breakfast with a bay view in Capitola on the esplanade. Or hit wonderful Gayle’s Bakery in that same town with some piping hot coffee before taking in a walk at the coast.  Sometimes there may be a marine layer (fog), but it usually burns off by late morning.  The beach will be fairly quiet if you arrive before the crowds.  Or go a little later and have an early lunch at the Crow’s Nest at the harbor.  Play in the surf  and sand and return around 3:30 or so, and it will be a lot easier than a 5pm trek across the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Related reading on MPH’s other sites:

Spending Summer Days In Santa Cruz? Some Tips & Favorite Places to Share (Valley of Heart’s Delight blog)

Beach towns in Santa Cruz County (from popehandy.com)

California and Bay Area Real Estate Market at a Glance

Today we’ll take a look at the housing market from a very high overview position, that is, by metro area within California. How’s the San Francisco Bay Area, which includes Silicon Valley, faring in comparison to the rest of the state? And how is the real estate market within the 9 Bay Area Counties? Have a look at the statistics to get a sense of the market at a glance. (Note: SFH stands for Single Family Homes.)

Silicon Valley is found primarily in Santa Clara County, but also substantially in San Mateo County.  There are some pockets, very small, also in Alameda County and Santa Cruz County.  Santa Cruz County is not considered part of the SF Bay Area, but part of the Monterey Bay Area and the Central Coast (the SF Bay area is considered Northern California.)

Statistics for Bay Area Real Estate Market

Statistics for Bay Area Real Estate Market care of the California Association of Realtors

1 2 3 9

Mary Pope-Handy

Realtor,
CIPS, CRS, ABR, SRES
Sereno Group
214 Los Gatos-Saratoga Rd.
Los Gatos CA 95030
[Silicon Valley, California, USA]
1-408-204-7673
mary (at) popehandy.com
CA BRE # 01153805

CIPS - Certified International Property Specialist
CRS - Certified Residential Specialist
ABR - Accredited Buyer Representative
SRES - Seniors Real Estate Specialist

Helping nice folks to buy and sell homes in Silicon Valley since 1993. Mary Pope-Handy, Realtor, Silicon Valley

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Listings by Price Range

Below please find a list of SOME of the popular Silicon Valley areas with listings offered by price range. This is not a complete list! Please use the "search" app to find ALL properties on the MLS.

Trends & Statistics

Click the link below to get real estate data for Santa Clara County, San Mateo County, and Santa Cruz County (together making up about 98% of "Silicon Valley").

Real Estate Market Statistics and Trends for Santa Clara County


Comps near any address in Santa Clara County
Listings and Sales Near Any Address in Santa Clara County

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