Waterfront homes in Silicon Valley: are there any concerns?

Beach view from Sunny Cove in Santa Cruz, CASometimes people relocating to Silicon Valley tell me that they’d like to move to a waterfront home with a view of the Pacific Ocean. Most of Silicon Valley is inland, though, separated from the ocean by the coastal mountains.

For those truly set on having a view of the Pacific, home can be found in the Santa Cruz area with lovely ocean and Monterey Bay views.  The compromise will likely be a long, winding commute over Highway 17’s mountain pass. Or similarly, ocean lovers may settle close to Half Moon Bay or Pescadero, but will have to slog over the coastal hills on Hwy 35 each day to get to the Peninsula. (Some lucky souls may find employment in Scotts Valley or along the coast, but most of the jobs are not in these places.) If a faraway ocean view will work, making the Santa Cruz Mountains home may be the ideal fit.

If you want to live along the waterfront within Silicon Valley, there really are not a lot of neighborhoods from which to choose.  Most of the water views involve the San Francisco Bay.  There are a few rivers, creeks, ponds and lakes to be found as well, but enjoying lovely water views up close is not the easiest criteria to fill. Along the bay, though, it often comes down to Foster City and Redwood Shores, which we’ll discuss next. (more…)

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

Where Are the Good Public Schools in Silicon Valley?

Finding Good Public Schools in Silicon ValleyMany relocating families search specifically for neighborhoods with the very best, or at least very good public schools.  There are many sites which will give you this information in immense detail, but if you want a “quick answer” on excellent schools in Silicon Valley and San Jose, I can give that to you quickly here.

The finest public schools and districts (with excellent scores at all levels of schooling) tend to be found in the most expensive parts of Santa Clara County, and most of them are along the “west valley” areas, including Almaden Valley (an area of San Jose), Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, Saratoga, Cupertino, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, and Palo Alto.  Most of these communities are found along the base of the coastal foothills, aka the Santa Cruz Mountains, are are located not too far from Highway 85.  The Silver Creek area (of the Evergreen District of San Jose) on the east side also has some fine schools.  There are pockets with great elementary schools scattered throughout the valley too.

What do these homes cost? In the best areas, it is not uncommon to spend a million dollars or more for a “turnkey” home of 1800 square feet with no issues (no high voltage lines, no busy road, etc.).  In some areas, like Saratoga, that might be closer to $2 million.

In many parts of Santa Clara County the elementary schools are excellent, middle schools are “very good” and the high schools are good.  This is true for parts of west San Jose (bordering Cupertino and Saratoga) and Cambrian Park.  These areas tend to be much more affordable than those with excellent schools in all levels. For home buyers not so worried about high schools as cost, these can be a great option for getting more home (and school) for your money.

While many home buyers are reluctant to consider private schools, sometimes it is much less expensive in the long run to purchase a comfortable home in an area you like but which doesn’t have fantastic schools and then send your kids to private or parochial schools.  In Los Gatos, where the schools run from very good to exceptional, about one-third of students are not in public schools.

If you are planning a relocation to Silicon Valley and want to know more about local schools (public or private) please email me and I’ll be happy to chat with you about them more in person. I can also help you to find areas which are more affordable and offer strong schools.

 

 

How’s the Silicon Valley real estate market?

Aerial vew over San Jose looking east - photo by Mary Pope-Handy

Aerial vew over San Jose looking east – photo by Mary Pope-Handy

What’s going on with the Silicon Valley real estate market? Is it as crazy as ever with multiple offers, overbids, and few or no contingencies?  Today we’ll consider the regional view, aka The Big Picture, to provide a sense of what is going on. For info on smaller areas or districts, please head over to my main blog, the Valley Of Heart’s Delight Blog – SanJoseRealEstateLosGatosHomes.com. There cities, towns, and districts are looked at in depth.

Seasonal Patterns in Silicon Valley

The quietest time (number of sales, traffic, etc.) and lowest prices in the real estate market tend to fall in January, or sometimes in December.  As with most years, this time around January had the lowest prices.

Most years, we see strong buyer activity with multiple offers early in the year – often emerging as a pattern by the middle of February.

Right now, some home sellers have not accepted that home prices have dropped 20% or so since the peak last spring (more or less depending on location, pricing tier, school districts, property condition, and so on). Those properties are not moving quickly.

For sellers who understand the current market conditions and have priced appropriately, home buyers are flocking and multiple offers are back – in force.

In short, there’s a kind of duality right now, so it’s a weird time. Homes that were sitting on the market but get a price reduction may linger awhile, and then sell with multiple offers. This catches buyers and their Realtors off guard.

To provide regional Silicon Valley market conditions, today I’ll post info on  the three counties (San Mateo, Santa Clara, and Santa Cruz).

In terms of expense, San Mateo is the most costly of these 3, and overall it becomes less expensive in Santa Clara County, then less expensive still in Santa Cruz County.  Alameda County has a little of Silicon Valley, but that area is in a  different MLS system so is not part of this analysis.

Next, a look at sale prices an market conditions for single family homes and condominiums / townhomes by county.

What does it cost to buy a house or condo in Silicon Valley?

In Santa Clara County (home to Palo Alto, Cupertino, Sunnyvale, Mountain View, San Jose, and my own Los Gatos), the average sale price is $1,413,000 and the median sale price $1,185,000 – quite a bit lower than last spring.

Santa Clara County
http://rereport.com/scc/print/Mary.PopeHandySCC.pdf

Please click to enlarge:

Santa Clara County trends at a glance

 

For condominiums and townhouses, of course, it is a more affordable.

Santa Clara County condo trends at a glance

 

In San Mateo County (home to Redwood Shores, Foster City, Menlo Park, San Mateo), the average sale price is about $1.78 million for houses recently sold.  The median is a little lower at $1.425 million. (more…)

Los Gatos neighborhood videos

As you may know, I have a number of blogs relating to Silicon Valley real estate (I will list them below). My family and I live in Los Gatos, and my office is in Los Gatos too, so my focus is that town and the nearby areas, such as Saratoga, Cupertino, Campbell, Monte Sereno, and parts of San Jose such as Cambrian and Almaden and Willow Glen. One area I’m working on for the blogs, as well as for my Facebook business page, Google + and Twitter are video “drive throughs” of neighborhoods. I’m starting in Los Gatos but eventually hope to get to all of the areas listed above.

Right now, I’ve got 5 Los Gatos neighborhood videos on my YouTube channel, plus slideshows of a few more areas and parks. Additionally there are some slideshows up of Saratoga and parts of San Jose. Interested in an up close view of these parts of Silicon Valley? Please visit my channel:  http://www.youtube.com/PopeHandy Or start with the Los Gatos playlist, below. The first one is a slideshow of Los Gatos as a general intro, and after that there is a mixture of slideshows and drive throughs. Enjoy!

 

Other blogs about Silicon Valley real estate, homes and neigbhorhoods:

 

Live in Los Gatos blog

Valley of Hearts Delight – aka San Jose Real Estate Los Gatos Homes

Belwood of Los Gatos blog

 

View available listed Los Gatos and Monte Sereno houses for sale.