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San Francisco and Silicon Valley unemployment rates

The San Francisco and Silicon Valley unemployment rates are a huge driver of the SF Bay Area’s housing market. Today I saw real estate market info from the California Association of Realtor’s chief economist, Leslie Appleton-Young. One of her slides makes plain why the Silicon Valley real estate market is so crazy: our unemployment rate is extremely low, behind only San Francisco (where trying to buy a home is even worse than on the Peninsula or South Bay). Have a look at the data by California metro area:

San Francisco and Silicon Valley unemployment rates

San Francisco & Silicon Valley unemployment rates plus all of California

San Francisco and Silicon Valley unemployment rates plus all of California by metro area

As you can see, San Francisco has a screaming hot jobs market with only 3.4% unemployment. The San Jose metro area is only slightly cooler at 4.1%. (Unfortunately there are no “Cliff Notes” to tell where the San Francisco Metro Area ends and where the San Jose Metro Area begins – so I cannot tell if San Mateo County is lumped in with Santa Clara County to the south or San Francisco County and City to the north.)

With all this hiring going on, it’s no wonder that a frequent topic of conversation is Silicon Valley traffic patterns and congestion.  A few years ago, the rush hour traffic in the morning went from about 6:30 or 7am to 9am, and the evening commute times were about 4 to 7pm.  Today both are extended.  I find that Highway 85 in the “west valley” areas along Los Gatos, Saratoga, and Cupertino tends to still be pretty thick with cars even at 10am.  The return trip from Palo Alto (where I have some doctors at Stanford Hospital) can be sluggish as early as 3pm.

Worsening traffic from low Silicon Valley unemployment rates means that Silicon Valley real estate is even more expensive than usual for close-in locations.   Many San Jose area commuters spend an hour driving into work in the morning and 75 or 90 minutes driving home in the evening (for reasons I don’t understand, the evening commute is quite a bit worse than the morning one).   That translates to home prices being much, much more expensive than you’d expect in places like Mountain View, Sunnyvale and Santa Clara.   For a better quality of life, Silicon Valley employees will often pay dearly to get that shorter commute. If they can get the smaller commute and great public schools, the communities are the most expensive places to live, as is the case in Palo Alto, Los Altos and Los Altos Hills in particular.

Find Silicon Valley real estate and homes for sale in “close in” locations below

A sampling of the newest properties on the market – all price ranges – in the following areas:

Los Altos homes for sale

  1. 7 beds, 8 baths
    Home size: 6,329 sq ft
    Lot size: 18,935 sqft
    Year built: 2017
  2. 4 beds, 6 baths
    Home size: 7,683 sq ft
    Lot size: 1.27 ac
    Year built: 1926
  3. 5 beds, 6 baths
    Home size: 5,300 sq ft
    Lot size: 25,961 sqft
    Year built: 2008
  4. 6 beds, 7 baths
    Home size: 6,096 sq ft
    Lot size: 22,002 sqft
    Year built: 2017
  5. 4 beds, 6 baths
    Home size: 4,629 sq ft
    Lot size: 21,997 sqft
    Year built: 2008

See all Los Altos, California Real Estate.
(all data current as of 8/16/2017)

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

Palo Alto homes for sale

  1. 5 beds, 7 baths
    Home size: 7,145 sq ft
    Lot size: 23,522 sqft
    Year built: 1927
  2. 5 beds, 7 baths
    Home size: 7,326 sq ft
    Lot size: 26,697 sqft
    Year built: 1927
  3. 6 beds, 5 baths
    Home size: 7,044 sq ft
    Lot size: 19,079 sqft
    Year built: 1906
  4. 7 beds, 0 baths
    Home size: 9,478 sq ft
    Lot size: 27,874 sqft
    Year built: 2012
  5. 6 beds, 8 baths
    Home size: 6,413 sq ft
    Lot size: 9,757 sqft
    Year built: 2017

See all Palo Alto, California Real Estate.
(all data current as of 8/16/2017)

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

Sunnyvale homes for sale

  1. 5 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 3,157 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,699 sqft
    Year built: 2001
  2. 0 beds, 0 bath
    Home size: 2,509 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,699 sqft
    Year built: 1947
  3. 0 beds, 0 bath
    Home size: 3,827 sq ft
    Lot size: 7,479 sqft
    Year built: 1964
  4. 5 beds, 4 baths
    Home size: 1,964 sq ft
    Lot size: 15,407 sqft
    Year built: 1954
  5. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,386 sq ft
    Lot size: 8,241 sqft
    Year built: 1956

See all Sunnyvale, California Real Estate.
(all data current as of 8/16/2017)

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

Cupertino homes for sale

  1. 1 bed, 1 bath
    Home size: 624 sq ft
    Lot size: 13.69 ac
    Year built: 1953
  2. 6 beds, 0 baths
    Home size: 6,089 sq ft
    Lot size: 10.95 ac
    Year built: 2016
  3. 5 beds, 6 baths
    Home size: 6,017 sq ft
    Lot size: 4.65 ac
    Year built: 1992
  4. 7 beds, 6 baths
    Home size: 4,309 sq ft
    Lot size: 13,690 sqft
    Year built: 2017
  5. 5 beds, 4 baths
    Home size: 3,555 sq ft
    Lot size: 11,099 sqft
    Year built: 2017

See all Cupertino, California Real Estate.
(all data current as of 8/16/2017)

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

 

Learn about some of the local Silicon Valley real estate markets:

Cupertino real estate market trends and statistics

Los Gatos real estate market trends by price point and high school district

 

The biggest challenges in moving to Silicon Valley

Finding Affordable HousingMoving across the state, country, or globe always presents opportunities – but also challenges.  What are the biggest hurdles for people moving to Silicon Valley?

The cost of housing is the # 1 challenge for newcomers to Silicon Valley

For most people, the hardest issue is the cost of housing in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Whether buying or renting, it’s extremely costly here.  Depending on where you’re coming from, it could be man, many times more expensive. Finding affordable housing is the # 1 challenge for people relocating to Silicon Valley.

How does it compare to other places?  It is close to on par with New York  City, about 50% more expensive than Austin, TX, and about 1/3 more than Chicago, IL.  Check Sperling’s Cost of Living comparison to get a good sense of how it relates to your current home town.

Not only are the houses, condominiums, townhouses and apartments more expensive, but most of our homes are smaller too.   Continue reading

Traffic patterns in Silicon Valley

On another of my websites, I wrote about congestion and traffic patterns on Silicon Valley highways and roads.  For many transplants to the San Francisco Bay Area and especially the Peninsula and South Bay areas, traffic is an enormous consideration on where to live and how much to pay for real estate.

If this is a topic that interests you, please take a look:

http://popehandy.com/understanding-silicon-valley-traffic/

Rush Hour Traffic in Silicon Valley

Silicon Valley’s rush hour traffic can begin as early as 6:45 or 7 am and last until 9 or 9:30am most workdays.  The evening commute begins to get congested around 3 or 3:30pm with a knot of traffic in place by 5pm and lasting until around 6:30 or 7pm on some roads.

Looking for a reverse commute?  Many commuters do precisely that!

If you work in Scotts Valley (just “over the hill” in Santa Cruz County), living in Los Gatos, Campbell, Cambrian Park or West San Jose will be a reverse commute for you. You’ll be going against the flow of traffic and your commute will be immensely easier.

Ditto that if you work in the south San Jose or Edendale region and begin your commute in Almaden Valley.  Once you get to 85, it will be a breeze!

Work in Gilroy? Living in Blossom Valley or Almaden, you can engineer a reverse commute on the back roads or take Santa Teresa Blvd going south.

Most employees and workers try to carpool, take light rail, or otherwise beat the rush by using tricks of timing or alternate routes to avoid spending twice as much time on the road as necessary.  Many companies have flexible hours – it’s worth investigating to see if you can shorten the length of your time in the car!

Relocation to Silicon Valley can be a bit of a shock to people in terms of the traffic and commute times if they are not accostomed to suburban living (which is most of the valley). Typical commute times are about 30 minutes, though some people have longer or shorter commutes, of course.

Traffic moves toward downtown San Jose primarily along Highways 87, 680 and 280 and toward the Cupertino – Sunnyvale – Mountain View areas along Highway 85 (and 280). Bringing traffic in from the south county is 101.  Other roads getting a lot of use too are 17 and 880 (same road, different stretches), San Tomas Expressway, Montague Expressway, Lawrence Expressway, Santa Teresa Boulevard, Saratoga-Sunnyvale Road, Stevens Creek Blvd. and Almaden Expressway.

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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