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_MAR2024

 

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 - March 2024

 

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_MAR2024

 

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 and town 1 - single family homes

 

 

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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The shock of Silicon Valley housing costs: how little you can buy on a huge income

Relocation Housing Costs: how little you can buy on a huge income in Silicon ValleyIf you’re relocating because you’ve just been hired as a high level executive at Apple, Google, Microsoft or any other high tech or biotech firm in Silicon Valley, you may be coming to the San Francisco Bay Area and Silicon Valley from an enormous home (5,000+ square feet) on an enormous lot (1 acre +). You are a raging success. You are highly regarded. You are on the top of your game. Your house “back home” displays your accomplishments. What about your Silicon Valley Home?

Housing Costs & Relocation

Set Your Expectations

You’ve heard that prices are bad here, but how much worse could they really be? Surely you could downsize a bit to a 3,000 to 3,500 square foot house on a half acre with a 20 minute commute, right? And you’d still have great schools for “resale value,” right? You are prepared to give up the full basement, the pool and tennis court and the 4 car garage. That is enough of an adjustment, isn’t it?

No, I’m sorry to say, it isn’t.

That house you are leaving behind in the suburbs of New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Chicago, Denver, Miami, Seattle, San Diego, or wherever you’re coming from is a super high end luxury home. It’s probably worth $1,500,000 to $2,500,000. But guess what? Here, in a nice area, that’s a 2,000 SF house on a 10,000 lot in a good area that’s a tear down. And in traffic, it could be a +40 minute commute.

Want an acre in an area with really good public schools at all levels? Think $4 million plus. And that doesn’t mean that the house will be turn-key. You will very likely have to remodel or personalize so that you are happy with it, as most of our houses were built between the 1960s and 1980s. (Here a 25 year old home is considered relatively young.)

Setting expectations is a battle of it’s own. If you’re having trouble coming to terms with the price of homes here and seriously want to buy, or maybe you’re wondering why your offers aren’t working out, you may find this article helpful for introspection: Silicon Valley housing prices and the emotional stages they’ll put you through. And if you aren’t already working with an agent, getting good professional help is one of the #1 ways to succeed in this market, so make sure you know how to find and keep a quality agent! We love working with our blog readers, so always feel free to reach out if you’re in need!

Why make the sacrifice to live in Silicon Valley?

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Finding New Homes for Sale in Silicon Valley

New Homes in Silicon ValleyFrequently, people new to Silicon Valley and the San Jose area arrive expecting to find new homes like the ones they left behind. But in reality that’s just not the norm in this market!

Unless you are looking to purchase a condominium or a townhome, or are looking at areas with very long commutes, it can be challenging to find truly new homes for sale here.

Finding New Homes in Silicon Valley

For the most part, Silicon Valley had a post World War II housing boom that stretched primarily from the 50s into the 70s. By the 1980s, most open space in the Valley was gone.

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Relocating from San Francisco to Silicon Valley

Coit Tower in San Francisco

Coit Tower in San Francisco

How hard could relocating from San Francisco to Silicon Valley be? It’s the same time zone, the same “San Francisco Bay Area” region, and depending on which part of Silicon Valley you target, the drive time could be all of 20 minutes – or perhaps well over an hour.

Relocating from San Francisco to Silicon Valley can be a little bit of a culture shock, which is surprising given the close proximity of the two areas.  What’s so different? In short:

  • Scenery
  • Density / Sprawl
  • Weather / Climate
  • Parking / Transit / Traffic
  • Events & Dining
  • Housing Sticker Shock

We’ll go over each of these below.

Silicon Valley Scenery

Most noticeably, the scenery is different.

You won’t be seeing the Golden Gate Bridge,  facing frighteningly steep hills, or catching a view of the Pacific Ocean from the Cliff House when you’re in Silicon Valley. Nob Hill, the Wharf, Ghirardelli Square, Union Square, Market Street, Mission Dolores, the SOMA district and so many other colorful parts of the city will be places you visit on weekends rather than drop in on some evening for supper. The scenic beauty of San Francisco may be the thing you will miss the most if you move out of that fabled city.

Beauty isn’t absent from Silicon Valley, though!  There are views of the San Francisco Bay in many places (Foster City and Redwood Shores especially).  Scenic vistas of the beautiful Santa Cruz Mountains can be enjoyed from many locations in the South Bay, especially Los Altos, Cupertino, Saratoga, Los Gatos, and the Almaden Valley in San Jose. Part of Silicon Valley reaches into North San Jose, Milpitas, and Fremont, where views of the eastern foothills can be quite lovely, too.  Some of these communities have a high elevation and can see the bay as well as the valley.
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Relocating to San Jose

Relocating? Evergreen: The Ranch with view of Downtown San Jose.

A view of Downtown San Jose on the valley floor from The Ranch community in Evergreen district on the East Valley area of Santa Clara County.

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:

Relocating to San Jose – Here are Some Quick Facts.

  • San Jose (officially named City of San José) is located at the southern end of the San Francisco Bay, so is part of the SF Bay Metro Area and about 1 hour by car south of San Francisco (which locals call The City).
  • It is located within Santa Clara County, and geographically in the Santa Clara Valley and along the foothills of the Santa Cruz and Diablo ranges.
  • This sprawling city has a number of different districts or communities, some of which have their own thriving downtown strips.  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 is just shy of 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 reportedly on average the highest in the nation, and 5th highest in the world. 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 or more on housing.
  • Next to housing or real estate prices, traffic is the second biggest complaint.
  • Weather is often ideal – 300 sunny days per year, and there are many parks and open spaces to make use of it all. 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 one of the best places to raise a kid.

Looking for more info?  Here are some links:

Facts about San Jose, the Capital of Silicon Valley

From the City of San Jose: San José at-a-glance

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

Browse available listings of San Jose homes for sale