Wednesday, March 8, 2017

8 facts about Mountain View, Google's hometown

Mountain View is the hometown of Google.  Have you ever been curious about the town that hosts Google?

Here are 8 facts about Mountain View that you've always been curious about, but never asked - ok, may be you checked before... ;-)

 In 2016:

  • 573 homes sold - houses, townhouses and condominiums,
  • Mountain View’s average home sales price is:  $ 1.384 million, roughly 6% over the asking price, and 4.3% over the average sales price of 2015,
  • The average time for properties to sell was: 19 days
  • Out of those 573 homes, 42% were single family residences.  The others were condominiums or townhouses,
  • Overwhelmingly, properties sold in Mountain View were 3 bedroom homes (41%).  Then in order came the 2 bedrooms (29%) and the 4 bedrooms (18%).
  • Nearly half of the homes were between 40 and 70 years old (45%).   (13 were over 80 years old, 37 were new or 1 yr old),
  • The average size of all these sold Mountain View homes is 1493 sq.ft.
  • Half of all the households of Mountain View made over $103k/year and half made under that.

Curious about more info on Google's town?  Check out my full neighborhood report.
Curious about your town, in the Silicon Valley? curious about the value of your home?  Let me know, I'll do the study.

Thanks for reading!

Trends: Local prices and graphs.
A worthy local non-profit to remember: Community Services Agency in Mountain View
Card Drawing by Francis

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Silicon Valley market update - California/US Update

Here are some news from the trenches...  concrete information about what is happening in our local area of the Silicon Valley - Plus, for some perspective, some information about the hottest markets in the US. (which include San Francisco and San Jose in the first two...).

Silicon Valley – More listings are emerging in the region, but Santa Clara County is still facing a shortage of available homes and strong buyer demand, which in some cases is leading to bidding wars. Open houses drew “hundreds of visitors” in the last two weeks, reports the Cupertino office manager. All offers ratified over the past two weeks have been multiple offers and all deals have contingencies in place, according to the San Jose Almaden office manager. Prices were up in several communities in January compared to the same month in 2016, he noted. Almaden’s average sales price was $1,329,000 in January, which was up 12 percent from January 2016 and down 3 percent from December.  Blossom Valley’s average sales price followed a similar trend. The average sales price in that community was $708,000 in January, which is up 10.5 percent from January 2016 and down 9 percent from the prior month.  In contrast, Cambrian’s average sales price declined 10.5 percent from a year ago to $916,000 and was down 6 percent from December.  Santa Teresa’s average sales price rose 11 percent year-over-year to $759,000 in January and was also 2 percent higher than the average sales price recorded in December. Most homes are going into contract after just one weekend on the market and in some areas homes are selling well over 10 percent of asking list price, says the San Jose Willow Glen office manager. Despite the strong demand and brisk activity, “Sellers still need to be careful not to overprice as we see homes that are priced above market sit idle as more competitively priced homes are seeing all the action,” explained the San Jose Main office manager.

For the hottest real estate markets in the US (many of them in California), please follow this Coldwell Banker article.

Thank you for reading!

Silicon Valley real estate specialist
Detailed, local trends etc...
Current mortgage rates
A place worth noting: Our Brother's Home in MountainView

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Where can you find that home style?

Where can you find that style?

Great article I found recently about the various building styles in the US, and in which area/state you are more likely to find them. 
The following map speaks quite well about the locations and the styles, but I find the article itself most interesting to read as it goes into the reasons why a style is more prevalent in a given state, and the usual value of the houses.

It comes to no surprise that the Mediterranean style is the most expensive, - it is often the case here too in the Silicon Valley, although I would add to this article that the “contemporary” home and the “modern” home are likely to be the most expensive where we are, as they are often associated with “new”, "recently build" and “high tech” or “smart home”.  This includes energy efficient.  Only the Eichlers might fit in that category of “contemporary” while not being necessarily new.

From an article in author by YuqingPan.

Thank you, as always, for reading, and let me know if you are thinking of buying or selling in 2017! ;-)

Worthwhile non-profit Agency:  CSA in Mountain View

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Santa Clara County: Price evolution.

'tis the time of year: how did sales prices fare in the County of Santa Clara (Silicon Valley) for the past 2 years?  This blog looks at the price of houses only: Single Family Residences.

Looking at the graph below, one can see the curves of median prices and average prices, month by month.  They are similar, but not equal though:
- over the period of the last two years, the median price went up 18%, from a median of $813k in Jan. 2015 to a median of $963k in Dec. of 2016.
- this is a much higher appreciation than the average price, which went up only 6% from $1.13 million in Jan. 2015 to $1.2 million the month of Dec. 2016.

As a reminder, this median price means that half of all buyers bought a house over $963k, and half bought a house under that price.

Something apparent in this kind of graph (which I publish regularly over the years) is the evolution over the course of the year: prices go up as a whole in general during the first 6 months of the year, and have a tendency to go down from there until the end of the year - with the exception of Sept. and October, when there is a regain in activity.

This is difficult to interpret completely: it does not mean necessarily that the value of a specific house will go down at that time, nor that it is not a good time to sell in November or December.  What it does mean instead is that statistically, more houses of a lower value sell during those periods, and this could be because of many reasons.
One of them, for instance, could be that people in a higher price range can wait for a "better" time to sell: the traditionally "active" real estate season of January to June.  It could be that more people "have" to sell at the end of the year;  more pressure means less room for negotiation.
What is also true though is that a beautiful remodeled home in a desirable neighborhood will probably not loose any value even at the end of the year, at least in our area of the US.

Finally, as a reminder that we always have to take graphs and statistics with a grain of salt, the same figures translate into the following:

Average prices for 2015:  $1.246 million
                         for 2016:  $1.292 million.  This is an increase of 3.7%

Median price for 2015:  $950k
                      for 2016: $1.02 million.  This is an increase of 7.4%

This is a better representation of the market as we follow the market over the years:  from year to year, instead of from a given month to another given month.

To make sense of the evolution of prices in your own local area, or to price your home, do contact me.
Thank you for reading,

PS: Detailed info per County always available on my web site at: under the tab: "Local Info and Stats".

Santa Clara County 2016 yearly report.
San Mateo County 2016 yearly report.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Effect of current tax structure on local Bay Area real estate market.

' just read a really good article in the Chronicle about how the current tax structure is hindering home sales in the Bay Area (San Francisco), and bringing prices up.

When you sell a property that has been a principal residence for many years, you usually have a large capital gain, and the tax that comes with it. In a very common scenario, there is a capital gains tax exemption of $500k if you are a married couple, or $250k if you are single.  The problem arises when you have bought your home a very, very long time ago: the purchase price is so low that when compared to the sales price today, and after factoring in the costs and capital improvements ( - thanks to CPA's for helping with all these calculations 😊  ), the capital gain is so high that the tax due on it is a big deal.

Some would say that this is a good problem to have.  But in fact, many people do not want to have such a tax hit, or some people just cannot pay the tax (i.e. if you have borrowed a lot on your equity, you don't have much left when you sell).

This situation is so acute in the Bay Area (think: large appreciation) that it has contributed to the lack of inventory we've seen in the past few years, and this in turn is pushing prices up.

While there are several options to try to deal with the problem, none of them is so easy or straightforward - except for dying, which I will pass on - no pun intended...  So homeowners who find themselves in that situation often just delay the sale until later, and later... and there are fewer homes on the market.

The article was written by Kathleen Pender, Business Columnist at the SF Chronicle.
Check here to see the article and the interactive map showing where the capital gains are most prevalent, in the 9 Counties that make our "Bay Area".

Thank you for reading,

Silicon Valley Real Estate
Smart local Stats and Graphs 
non-profit organization worth noting: Partners for New Generations.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Bay Area rents are coming down a bit...

In the process of helping clients to rent their income property, I had noticed since last March/April that prices were not as strong a before, and recently had even been going down a bit.  But this is difficult to verify, since there are so few rentals locally in a given month.

I am glad to see some confirmation of that in this article from the Mercury News that I just read last Tuesday (10/25/16), in which Richard Scheinin pools several sources showing that rents have stopped going up in several cities around the Bay, and even come down a bit since last year.

It is interesting to note the Axiometrics study which found that rents in San Jose fell 3.4% since last year, San Francisco rents fell about 3.3% too, while nationwide rents overall continued a slight up curve.
Thank you for reading! - and if you like my blog, share it ;-)

Silicon Valley real estate specialist
Detailed, local trends etc...
Current mortgage rates
A worthy local non-profit to remember: Community Services Agency in Mountain View

Saturday, October 22, 2016

From the trenches: real estate in the Silicon Valley - 2nd week of October 2016

Market Watch - Coldwell Banker.

...Silicon Valley 
It has been a relatively quiet two weeks, according to our Cupertino manager. Open house traffic is steady.
Our Los Altos manager sees continued signs of seasonal adjustments although inventory is low as summer comes to a close and we move into fall.  New inventory has slowed of late.  This lack of inventory has had a direct impact on those homes which had been "lingering" on the market and agents have seen additional price reductions on homes with higher than average DOMs (days on market).  Sellers are still wishing to “test the market” by bringing their homes on at higher prices than previous sales and pendings.  However, this pricing strategy has proved to be risky, given that many buyers' expectations are that they will still need to offer over the asking.  As a result of this type of pricing strategy agents are seeing a “self-fulfilling prophecy” with these homes having little to no activity. These homes end up stagnant and linger on the market, eventually having to lower their price to generate activity. To the contrary, there has been strong activity with properties in move in condition and priced to sell.  These homes are still receiving multiple offers that typically achieve a sales price that is over asking.  This was the case with one of our recent listings, which had 24 offers.  In short, we have experienced a slowdown of homes coming on the market over the recent weeks.  And those that are coming on, when priced to induce offers, are being absorbed quickly.
The Los Gatos market under $2.5 million continues to be extremely competitive.  The market over $2.5 million is a tad slower but great properties over $2.5 continue to sell. 
The San Jose Almaden market had an average number of sales for the month with 40, which is down from 44 in August and flat with the 39 sold in 2015.  Prices were up with the median sales price at $1,320,000 for the month, up 7.8% from the previous month and 3.5% higher than the previous year.  Blossom Valley had a strong month in units sold with 94 closings, up from 88 last month and 86 last year.  The median home price of $751,250, up 4% from last month and last year at this time.  
Cambrian had a big jump from last month with 86 closings, 20 more than August and 4 more than 2015.  The median sales price was $937,500, up 3.9% from last month but down 1% from September of 2015.  
Santa Teresa had a lower number of units sold at 27, down 6 from last month and down 13 units from September of 2015.  The median sales price of $750,000, down 4.5% from last month but up a whopping 11% from September of last year. 
Willow Glen got a surge of new listing inventory this past week, going from the low 60’s count to 83 active listings. Agents are reporting slower traffic at open houses, particularly if the property has been on the market more than 2 weeks. However, some properties are still selling quickly with multiple offers, but typically the offers are at or just slightly above the list price.

Thanks for reading! 

Silicon Valley real estate specialist
Detailed, local trends etc...
Current mortgage rates

Coming soon: Shredding and E-waste day, organized by
Coldwell Banker in Los Altos Oct.29, 2016
Please contact me for more details.              

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Housing Differences and the Election - Red States vs Blue States.

Red States vs Blue States: Housing Differences and the Election.

It seems apropos in this pre-election period to look at some of the differences between blue and red states, with regards to housing.  Here we go:

The median household income in blue states is $62,564, about 23% higher than in red states, where it is $50,820.  In those blue states, 1.4% of households bring home $500k or more (think: tech
fortunes in California’s Silicon Valley, and seven-figure bonuses on New york’s Wall street).  These 1.4% seem small, but it is 133% more than the percentage of households that bring in $500k or more in right-leaning states.

The median price of homes is $301k in blue states, which is 91% more than in red states.
Ohio has the least expensive homes (although it is a swing state).

Homeownership is highest in red states, where it costs less to have a home.  However, (- exception), the city with the highest homeownership rate is San Jose (CA) even though the median list price of homes is $767k, according to  Washington DC has the lowest homeownership rate.  In red states, people spend 26% of their median household income to buy a place, while it takes 32% of a household’s income to buy a place in a blue state.

Renting takes an average of $1,381 a month in blue states.  This is  52% more than in red states where it costs an average of $904 per month.  “The cost of housing is directly tied to how much land is available”,’s Chief Economist Jonathan Smoke says.  “The parts of the country that have an abundance of land have the lowest housing costs”.

red vs blue states in the US
Click on Pix to see larger

The median size of houses in red states is about 2,000 sq.ft.  – about 210 square feet larger than in blue states. 

Oldest houses: in blue states. Many of the blue state cities are older than their red counterparts.

Mobile homes: the highest concentration of mobile and manufactured homes are based in the red state of Mississippi.  The city with the lowest percentage of these homes is San Francisco.

Solar panels:  liberal states tend to have more eco-friendly residents, who are 12% more likely to
have solar panels installed on the roof of their homes.  The most panels (in number) were installed in California, while Hawaii has the highest percentage of residences with the solar power source.  San Jose (CA) is the city with the highest percentage of homes with solar panels.  The fewest panels are in the (red) state of Wyoming. Memphis, Tennessee, was the city with the smallest percentage of residents invested in them.
Thank you for reading!


Originally posted on, by Clare Trapasso.

Silicon Valley real estate specialist
Detailed, local trends etc...
Current mortgage rates
Coming soon: Shredding and E-waste day, organized by
Coldwell Banker in Los Altos Oct.29, 2016  
Please contact me for more details.