Silicon Valley Pricing Snapshot

Today we’ll provide a few quick graphics to give you a Silicon Valley pricing snapshot on the counties where we sell homes. These will be ranked by the usual order of housing cost, from highest to lowest. (Sometimes they move “out of order”.)  After that, we’ll provide more resources from our other sites and blogs with a deeper dive on our main Silicon Valley real estate markets. We don’t cover all 9 of the San Francisco Bay Area counties, but here you’ll find 3 of them covered, and it’s a pretty good primer on the Bay Area housing market analysis.

Silicon Valley Pricing Snapshots

San Mateo County

San Mateo County is “The Peninsula”, the county just south of San Francisco and north of Santa Clara County and Santa Cruz County. About a quarter of Silicon Valley is in this area, generally. It’s normally more expensive than Santa Clara County, but once in awhile those two areas flip for pricing order. It’s a hot market in San Mateo County!

 

San Mateo County stats

 

For three of these counties, we have a newsletter with info by city. The data from Sereno (above) is a little different from the RE Report data for the median sale price. Here’s the San Mateo County real estate newsletter in PDF format (or go to popehandy.rereport.com to see all 3).

 

San Mateo County market stats by city or town - SFH

 

Santa Clara County

Santa Clara County, our home base, is the second priciest area in this region and is the heart of Silicon Valley:

 

Santa Clara County_MAY2024

 

Read the PDF for the Santa Clara County newsletter here. And the city by city market stats (much closer aligned for this county between the two data sets):

 

Santa Clara County market stats by city or town - SFH

 

 

We also do monthly market updates on communities within the Santa Clara County and more on our other blogs. Check out some of those market reports through the link.

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Overbids in homes that sell fast

House at twilight with the words Overbids in homes that sell fastWe are in the middle of the spring market, and overbids in homes that sell fast are often sky high.  Today I just want to mention it since it’s worse than usual, even for Spring. That said, it’s not as bad as in the first half of 2022.

We periodically publish a pricing snapshot, but keep in mind that those are by calendar month, and often the best info is whatever went into escrow yesterday (recently pending sales). That data isn’t published, so it’s a case of learning what can be learned the old fashioned way: networking.

What is going on with overbids in homes that sell fast?

What’s causing these extreme market conditions?

  • Inventory is extremely low.
  • Most of what is for sale is from “have to sell” situations. Many of those properties are not super updated.
  • The recently remodeled, nicely updated segment of the market is probably 20% of what’s available. Buyers are mostly fighting for them.
  • It’s like there are two different markets: the white hot market for recently remodeled homes (that are usually listed low) and the market for homes that are not as updated and not priced too aggressively.

The overbids in homes that sell fast in Silicon Valley have to do with both the home’s condition and the home’s pricing position – think low. The lower the listing price, often the larger the number of competing home buyers and the larger the number of eventual bids. In some cases the offered list price is so low as to be a price mirage. If it looks too good to be true, well, you know.

How bad is it? For single family homes in Santa Clara County that sold / closed in the last week, the average sale to list price ratio was 111%, and the median was 109%.  That figure ranged from a low of 83% to a high of 151%. Often the properties with a very large number of bidders will get the super high offers.

It is deepening. I ran the same data for closed sales 8 – 18 days back and the average sale to list price ratio was 108% and the median was 106%. Month over month it’s been rising.
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Market Reports for Three Silicon Valley Counties

Today we’ll share the market reports for three Silicon Valley Counties. These are from December 2022.

Santa Clara County, San Mateo County, and Santa Cruz County are the areas covered below. Generally, “Silicon Valley” is 95% within Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties, plus a little of Santa Cruz County and a small part of Alameda County. Alameda County uses a different MLS system, and we don’t usually sell there, so we are not covering it in this post.

Each section below includes first the data for single family homes and then condos and townhomes for each region.

If you’re ready to dive a little deeper, we also provide regular monthly market updates on some of the popular communities within Santa Clara County over at my Valley of Heart’s Delight blog. Scroll the most recent ones here.
December 2022: Three Silicon Valley Counties

Santa Clara County Real Estate Market Report for Dec 2022

The first of the three Silicon Valley counties is Santa Clara County – home to San Jose, Cupertino, Sunnyvale, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Los Altos, Santa Clara, Campbell, Los Gatos, Saratoga, Monte Sereno, Milpitas, Morgan Hill, and a number of other cities and towns. This county is the heart of Silicon Valley.

If you’re having trouble reading any of the charts on this page, click to open the full size image.

 

Santa Clara County real estate market trends for December 2022

The market is clearly cooling with longer days on market, fewer sales, and a falling median sales price.

The condominium and townhouse report for Santa Clara County

While it had fewer than half the sales of the single family home market, the condo and townhouse market is also experiencing similar trends.

 

Santa Clara County condominium and townhouse real estate market stats for Dec 2022

Keep reading for updates on the San Mateo and Santa Cruz county markets.

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What does it cost to buy a 4 bedroom, 2 bath home in the West Valley areas of Silicon Valley?

It can be challenging for people moving to Silicon Valley to get a sense of pricing for home buying. So to compare “apples to apples,” let’s take a hypothetical case of a 4 bedroom, 2 bath home of approximately 2,000 SF house (appx 185 square meters) and see how the cost looks in one area versus another.

Last week I compared several areas using the formula: single family homes of 1,800 – 2,200 SF, 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, on lot sizes of 6,000 SF – 10,000 SF that have sold within the last 120 days. I sometimes will adjust this criteria slightly, usually the days, depending on the market activity. The prices listed are the average from sales in this criteria, so areas with a higher volume of sales will have more stable averages than those with less sales to analyze. DOM means “Days on Market”, the number of days a home was listed as available before pending.

Please note that this is a rough sketch of home prices based on averages taken across large, diverse residential communities. There are many factors that will affect market value beyond these boundaries.

Now, on to the charts.

The Cost To Buy A 4 Bedroom 2 Bath Home In…

I have arranged this chart in descending order by Price per Square Foot. Most of my charts are organized either by Price per Square Foot or by Sales Price, and you can see certain markets shift positions compared to past charts, moving up or down the order depending on what’s hot.

Occasionally one of these markets will have few to no sales within the timeframe, so those will be left in place from where they were when we last checked, but will show “n/a” in place of any pricing or statistics – usually I try to avoid this and will increase the timeframe of my search! Once you’ve reviewed the most recent data, scroll down farther to compare today’s market against past years.

Please use the list below as a way to get your bearings on nearby areas in the South Bay (southern part of the San Francisco Bay Area). This is not an exhaustive list – it’s just most of the areas closest to Highway 85 or the West Valley Freeway. You can study various cities, downs, and districts within the region at my stats site, popehandy.rereport.com. (Free and you do not have to register unless you want email updates.)

Want to do a deep dive on any of these areas? Please visit my Valley of Heart’s Delight Blog to learn about them.

 

2022-11-3 Homes 120D 4 bed 2 bath West Valley

 

There have been a number of changes to the order since the last time we checked in December 2020 – that time I did arrange it by sales price, however, so some of these changes are due to the sorting system difference. Saratoga jumped to the top of the list with it’s sole sale. Sunnyvale and Cambrian also climbed the ladder, even taking into account the sorting difference.

Most, but not all, areas averaged higher prices compared to last year. The West Valley “typical” home is selling approximately 7% above where they were last June. In areas like Saratoga with few sales it’s normal to see broad fluctuations in the charts for this community, so these may move around without suggesting any major changes in the market.

What we see across the entire chart is sky high spring pricing and extremely low days on market – about 2-3 weeks in most areas. While there are the occasional slow sales the majority are selling quickly, although not at the breakneck speeds of last year.

Cost to Buy in West Valley Varies Widely: What’s the Difference?

This chart shows average sales in West Valley communities above $3M and under $1.5M. Why such a big difference? In most cases, the most expensive and desirable places have either the best schools or shortest commute location or both. Communities like Palo Alto and Los Altos, which are consistently high, tend to have both. Had I ranked these for school scores, you’d find that Cambrian would be fairly high up as it is a good “bang for the buck” location – though not a super short commute for folks who work in Mountain View (though not so bad for people working in Cupertino). None of these is especially close to North San Jose (Cisco).

Also, it should be noted that one of the main drivers of home values is school districts. In the San Jose / Silicon Valley area, the school district boundaries do NOT follow the city or town boundaries. Los Gatos, for example, has 3 different elementary school districts, with varying scores which impact home values. So too with Saratoga, Campbell, Sunnyvale, and many other areas – San Jose especially!

All this to say that the figures above are only ROUGH GUIDES. When you break it down to micro-markets, the picture changes more. But as a starter guide, I think you’ll find the above info helpful to give you a general idea of how far your money can go in home buying for areas in Santa Clara County from Palo Alto to Blossom Valley.

Palo Alto is a gorgeous, exciting area with all kinds of wonderful features – beautiful neighborhoods, lower crime, great schools, short commute. It is usually the most expensive area on this list. But unless you found a successful startup company or inherit a couple of million bucks, it can be hard to buy a single family home there. Many people would like to live in the shadow of Stanford University, but the budget just won’t allow it!

Now let’s have a look at that June 2021 chart I’ve been referencing. Although overall it was an extremely active market in the West Valley, low inventory meant few sales in most areas!

 

Comparing West Valley House Prices 2021-06-28

 

Now let’s have a look at that some older charts.

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What can you buy for $1 million in Silicon Valley?

With soaring housing prices in Silicon Valley, newcomers and folks potentially relocating here may wonder what can you buy for $1 million or less in Silicon Valley? This article will provide a snapshot in time and provide a sense of whether your million dollar budget can get you into a house, a townhouse, or a condo – or perhaps “none of the above” – on the valley floor.

(Homes in the Los Gatos or Santa Cruz Mountains are generally more affordable, but will of course be farther out and are generally considered a specialty market. Not included will be mobile homes, as the space rents are often close to or more than $1,000 per month. Also not included are duplexes, which you’d be hard pressed to find many of under that $1 million mark.)

If you absolutely must buy a house, and the budget must be under $1 million…

If you absolutely must have a house or single family home, as opposed to a condominium or townhouse, there are a number of areas for you to consider in Santa Clara County, including

  • Gilroy
  • Morgan Hill
  • Milpitas
  • Certain districts in San Jose
    • Alum Rock
    • South San Jose
    • Evergreen
    • Berryessa
    • Downtown and Central San Jose
    • Santa Teresa
    • and Alviso (including County pockets)
  • the Los Gatos 95033 (mountains) area – which is vast and contains many small communities

The Los Gatos mountains area varies in price from one community to the next and right now that is a hopping market, I’m told. You can find information, including a list of mountain neighborhoods, on the page linked as well as the occasional market update. If you’re interested in buying or selling a mountain home here in the Bay Area, please reach out! I do some work in the mountains, and if it’s not a match I am happy to connect nice folks with trusted Realtors that are mountain market specialists.

To determine where someone could get into a house for under $1,000,000, I pulled the sales from the last 90 days (as of August 31, 2021) and looked at how many of the sales of houses for any given area were under that budget amount.  In many places, there were zero – even if I looked back a full year!  The areas below are listed in order of the average sale price for these “in budget” properties, though you might prefer to rank them by the average square footage or some other criteria.

Silicon Valley homes for under $1 million: houses

(Trouble reading the image above? Click to view the full-sized photo.)

This doesn’t mean you can’t find something under $1mil elsewhere. San Jose’s Almaden Valley, Willow Glen, and Cambrian areas each had one sale under the million-dollar mark during the same time period, but these sales are significantly less common. When you see ratios of something like 3% or less of the houses sold are under that price point, it’s important to understand that those homes may be major fixer uppers, tear downs, or have a location issue or some other big challenge. But – perhaps you are handy, do not mind the property condition, location, extremely small size, or whatever the presenting issue may be.

Areas in Santa Clara County where a house is possible but unlikely, but a townhouse or condominium may work:

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Comparing 4 west valley real estate markets

Market comparison_ Los Gatos, Saratoga, Cupertino, and Los AltosToday on the Valley of Heart’s Delight Blog,  I looked at the real estate markets for Los Gatos, Saratoga, Cupertino, and Los Altos.

All four of these areas are known for good public schools, proximity to the coastal range, and a nice way of life. All but Cupertino have a quaint downtown area, and those three communities each have about 31,000 residents, while Cupertino is more than double that. For folks relocating to the San Jose area for work, most likely, all four will be considered if schools are a priority.

To see how these 4 highly regarded communities compare in terms of market conditions and what you can buy for your money, please visit:
Market comparison: Los Gatos, Saratoga, Cupertino and Los Altos on the Valley of Heart’s Delight Blog.

 

 

Related Reading:

Silicon Valley neighborhoods

Los Gatos neighborhood videos

How to find the median rental price by zip code