January 23, 2009

Cheapest residence in Cupertino: 1/1 condo for $459,888

We haven’t looked at condos for a while. Let’s see what’s on the market:

20488 Stevens Creek BLVD #1810, Cupertino, CA 95014 Cupertino MLS# 80840461 – Property Details

$459,888

1708264741_20488

* Status: Active
* Bedroom: 1
* Bathroom: 1
* Year Built: 2003
* Lot Size: 435
* Square Footage: 850
* List Date: 10/17/2008
* Garage Spaces: 1
* MLS#: 80840461
OPEN HOUSE 11/15/08:1-3pm. 1 Bed/1 Bath Highly desirable condo penthouse with balcony and panaromic views of the Cali Mill Plaza/ 1st time on the market/Prime Cupertino location/luxurius living includes granite countertops & tiled flooring in both kitchen & bathroom. Big Storage in the basement. Located close to Hi-Tech Companies, Apple, HP, Symantec/ Walk to Shopping and Restaurants.Close 280/85.

Oh Cupertino condo. You were so close. At $541 per square foot, I thought you would be the winner – but alas the Palo Alto condo beat you at $572 per square foot. On the other hand, you have easy walking distance to Stevens Creek Blvd – Palo Alto did not.

That said, this is an amazing buy – after all, this is the first time this has been on the market. That’s right! Well… except for the first time when it was converted from a rental to a condo. But aside from that, this is the first (we start counting at 0 right?)

Just think of all the awesome parties you will have here in your awesome penthouse condo. Another nail in the coffin for SoMa if you ask me.

Comments (100) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:02 am

100 Responses to “Cheapest residence in Cupertino: 1/1 condo for $459,888”

  1. Lionel Says:

    More good news!

    San Francisco Area Home Prices Fall on Foreclosures (Update3)
    Email | Print | A A A

    By Daniel Taub

    Jan. 21 (Bloomberg) — San Francisco Bay Area home prices fell 44 percent last month from a year earlier as foreclosures accounted for a record half of all deals on existing properties, MDA DataQuick said.

    The median price declined to $330,000 from $587,500 in the nine-county region, the San Diego-based real estate research company said today in a statement. Sales jumped 36 percent from a year earlier.

    snip

    The number of sales gained in six counties and fell in Marin, San Francisco and San Mateo. San Mateo and Marin had the lowest sales count for a December in MDA DataQuick’s records, which go back two decades.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601103&sid=aWHDbpTQArBQ&refer=us

  2. nomadic Says:

    Useless aggregate data that includes the dreaded Contra Costa county. ;-)

  3. Look Behind You Says:

    I love how they advertise that this condo is “located close to Hi-tech companies”. This complex is, in fact, part of the city center where Symantec has it’s headquarters. And Trend Micro is right across the street, and Apple just a few blocks away. So hey, if you want to work where you live, then this is the place for you!

  4. nomadic Says:

    Isn’t this just being converted to condos now? The history shows some “subdivision” of the address in 2004 and 2005, but the tax assessment in 2006 was still for $38M. I’m not sure how condos work for taxes; is there just one assessment for the whole building? (Which doesn’t make sense to me.)

  5. nomadic Says:

    Interesting – this is one of SIX units for sale in that building and also one of two units being sold BELOW its purchase price in 2005. This is the cheapest one in the building too. Price has been cut to $435k.

  6. sv_newbie Says:

    I know it may sound strange, but the listing is not too expensive given current rental market.
    you will easily shell out $1400-1500 for rent in that area.
    if you are in higher tax bracket, your mortgage (and opportunity cost) on $459k will be around $1250 (assuming 5% interest rate). you still need to pay HOA and ~$450/month in taxes, but you get to own the property after 30 years.

    of course rental market is bound for tumble so the above calculation may take hit, but so will the listing price!

    so looks like low end of market in good area might be near to bottom??

  7. sonarrat Says:

    On what planet is a $459K mortgage $1250 a month?

  8. madhaus Says:

    In a time of falling rents, HOA fees will only go in the opposite direction.

    The much-vaunted Cupertino city center is not just at the intersection of 6-lane Stevens Creek and 6-lane DeAnza; it is the intersection. Cup City Center is a traffic sewer.

  9. MV_Bound Says:

    SV_Newbie, Try $2,500/month PITI with 20% down at 5% not including HOA.

  10. BuyersAreIdiots Says:

    you will easily shell out $1400-1500 for rent in that area.
    if you are in higher tax bracket, your mortgage (and opportunity cost) on $459k will be around $1250 (assuming 5% interest rate). you still need to pay HOA and ~$450/month in taxes, but you get to own the property after 30 years.

    Assuming a 20% downpayment and a 5% mortgage, your monthly mortgage payment will be around $2k a month. Add onto that your property taxes of around $380 a month PLUS HOA of likely around $400 a month and the grand total comes in at around $2800 a month to purchase this lovely condo. Some will be returned via the tax deferral on the interest payment so that will reduce your monthly amount to near 2300-2400 or so.

    Versus renting it for $2000 a month or less.

    Note that a 10% drop in prices will blow away $45k from the value of the property; or, a 50% drop in your initial investment of $90k on the downpayment.

    Clearly a winner here.

    Would the next contestant please step up for another round of “Who wants to be a Real Estate bagholder”.

  11. madhaus Says:

    BuyersAreIdiots, LOL at your game show idea. I think MV Bound ought to appear.

  12. anon Says:

    Mv bound would be pushed out of the way by RE.

    He deserves to be first in line.

  13. Hellboy Says:

    Seems like an awful lot of money for a 1/1 with little “curb appeal” and small resale value. Only time you can sell something like this is when you’re in full on bubble mode. So if it sells we are still in a bubble.

  14. sv_newbie Says:

    To simplify the comparison between renting and buying, lets assume you take interest-only loan with 0% down at 5%. I know such loans dont exist anymore, but this is just to compare what you pay to just rent the house when you buy vs when you actually rent.

    Whatever down & principal payment you make is to get the ownership of the house and so should be excluded from the calculation.

    5% of 459k = $22950 = $1912/mo = $1275/mo (after 33% tax rebate since I’m in that range).

    HOA = $310; tax = $460, so total = $2044.

    So, it still sucks :-) but that not much.

  15. MV_Bound Says:

    RE can have that title. Who says I’m buying? I’m waiting for the 20% correction that will happen in the next 2-3 years.

  16. anon Says:

    MV, that’s very nice of you to let RE have the title, but he doesn’t need your help.

    As you can see, he’s a self-proclaimed high scorer.

  17. Unreal_Alex Says:

    I always move zeros to arrive at monthly cost, in this case $4500 a month to buy this gem.

    Isn’t this the traditional way to do it, as in, in a normal market?

  18. tenspeedPDX Says:

    $460k! That’s what I paid for my 3 bed/2 bath updated Craftsman bungalow– in Portland.

    I miss the burritos in the RBA and my friends, too. But it’s SO wonderful to not be house poor. (Yep, I spend the money I’m saving on a mortgage to vacation in places where it’s not rainy.)

    -K.

  19. nomadic Says:

    Unreal_Alex, I don’t think so. It doesn’t even work with interest rates at 9.75% and 20% down (my first house). Moving zeroes is still too high.

  20. A. Lewis Says:

    thanks for doing the math sv_newbie, it’s an interesting way of comparing.

    With the IO loan, the idea is you’ve made it a rental, and an investment at the same time. Let’s just say the market rents were equal to your IO mortgage calculation.

    That might be a price point people should consider when buying real estate. (I’m more conservative, but hey…)

    What that means is this is a good investment if and only if the place appreciates faster than inflation on whatever timescale you’re planning to hold onto it.

    Otherwise, you should park your money somewhere else.

    And in this case, inflation has to include rising HOA costs. I think those are the real problem in condo investing right now. A scary future liability that gets worse with high vacancy in your building, etc.

    Now inflation has gone way down (even negative) lately, so all other things being equal this makes Real Estate (or any other investment, I guess) potentially more attractive.

    At the moment, I think Real Estate is still underperforming inflation, and will continue to do so for a while (to correct for bubble pricing).

    After this correction period, it will probably track pretty closely with inflation (in the aggregate).

    So don’t buy this condo until the price is much lower. Even then, I wouldn’t expect inflation-beating gains – b/c as other people said this isn’t a special enough property.

    The ideal investment property is either just really cheap compared to what you can rent it for, or it has some magical qualities about it’s location that make that location much more valuable in the future than it is right now.

    That’s the tough part for RE bulls, I think – in the past you could argue about up and coming areas, places with good schools drawing tons of families, etc., when there were much more modest price differentials between these ‘good’ neighborhoods and surrounding ‘mediocre’ areas.

    But that’s all been priced in for years now, with an increasing gap.

    So for RBA RE to be a good future investment, it has to outperform it’s surrounding areas MORE than it is today.

    It has to have BETTER city amenities, shopping, walkability, BETTER API scores than the other school districtis, BETTER job prospects, all in comparison to how much better it is today.

    Do you see the gap widening between, e.g., San Jose and Sunnyvale over the next 5, 10, 20 years? Or do you see the gap shrinking?

    I guess I haven’t got a firm prediction for that – except to say for housing prices I think the gap will return back to a reasonable premium. But I’m asking about the REST of what makes RBA better than BA, BESIDES housing prices (Schools, walkability, etc.)?

    Hmmm…good question…;-)

  21. BuyersAreIdiots Says:

    To simplify the comparison between renting and buying, lets assume you take interest-only loan with 0% down at 5%.

    Do you even watch the news my friend?

    Exactly which bank will be giving you an I/O loan with zero percent down? Did Real Excreter take over Lehman brothers and I didn’t hear about it?

  22. Unreal_Alex Says:

    nomadic – thanks. Maybe it’s the uber-pessimistic view or something.

    Although there ARE a LOT of people paying 10% and north of that, because of late payments, low credit, various types of chicanery by the banksters. In fact that would make a good discussion on here: Is everyone really paying 4 or 5% or are there people getting screwed on interest and being very quiet about it?

  23. madhaus Says:

    I’m paying 5.25% on a loan I got at the last low interest rate cycle, 3-4 years ago. Oh yeah. It’s a ten year flat fixed.

    My mortgage broker called to offer me the current low rates and when I reminded her what I had, she said she had nothing that could compare.

    Unreal Alex, I suspect most of the people on this site are informed enough to stay current on this info and refi when the going is good (if they can).

  24. nomadic Says:

    That 9.75% was a good rate back in 1989.

    I have 5.625% now; 5/1 Jumbo ARM. I have a year before it adjusts so I’m watching rates. If it adjusted today the rate would be 4.75%. If they raise conforming to $730k again, I could pay down to get a conforming loan, or what WG calls “confumbo.”

    Just for laughs, the rate on my early-2003 purchase (another 5/1 Jumbo ARM) was 4.75%.

  25. sv_newbie Says:

    A. Lewis, good post. Yeah, I agree that gap between RBA and BA needs to increase to justify the price differential.

    I think much depends on how economy does. If NASDAQ does well, people in RBA will get richer and so house prices will keep their premium over areas like San Jose, where “many support people live”.

    BuyersAreIdiots,
    Whatever down & principal payment you make is to get the ownership of the house and so should be excluded when you compare it with rent.

  26. unearthly Says:

    @ tenspeedPDX

    $460k! That’s what I paid for my 3 bed/2 bath updated Craftsman bungalow– in Portland.

    It’s not nice to brag that you overpaid. Portland will fare far worse than Seattle or SF/Bay Area when this downturn is done. How are all those empty condo’s in the Pearl doing?

  27. BuyersAreIdiots Says:

    Whatever down & principal payment you make is to get the ownership of the house and so should be excluded when you compare it with rent

    ???????????????????????

    *sigh*

    Is there any chance Obama could allocate some of the TARP money to our public school system? Statements like the above demonstrate we are mis-allocating our tax revenue.

    My friend, a house is an investment. Like any other. And it is subject to the same laws of economics that any other asset class, like stocks, bonds, etc. function under. This isn’t Bizarro Real Excreter math here.

    If I invest in a stock that yields a dividend and my initial investment drops by 50% in value, you are saying that is a moot point because the goal is to simply get into ‘owning’ the stock? (And to make the analogy even more accurate, I would have to buy that stock on margin)

    If that is your logic, I have some investments for you. Please send me a blank check care of:

    Doorknob Investing (Formerly Bear Stearns)
    P.O. Box 666 UrFooked Way
    New York, NY

  28. DreamT Says:

    6.125% on a 10/30 (7 more years to go). can’t beat the 4.5% I had back in 2003 though:)

  29. madhaus Says:

    BuyersAreIdiots, sv_newbie, you’re both right! It’s a floor wax and a dessert topping!

    Real Estate is an investment but it’s also somewhere to live. So it’s easy to argue it both ways. And this blog would not be this blog if the regulars weren’t at each others’ throats all the time.

    Down payments have opportunity cost. Monthly mortgages need to be compared with comparable rents. We are one with the universe. And as the Buddhist said to the hot-dog vendor, “Make me one with everything.”

    Carry on.

  30. DreamT Says:

    BofA offers 30y fixed 5.6% for up to 45% loan to income ratio, 10% down.

  31. zanon Says:

    sv_newbie:

    Why are you looking at IO, 0% down, 5%?

    Why not neg-am, -10% down, 2%?

    both are equally in existence.

    If you want a rental price, look at a comparable rental. it’s not hard on craigslist.

    -zanon

  32. A. Lewis Says:

    yeah, BuyersAreIdiots – don’t miss the parts where I’m agreeing with you :-). I know vitriol is fun, but you should direct it at someone who’s really not making sense. sv_newbie is trying to lay out a devil’s advocate position for “can I justify buying this condo?”. I think he showed the answer to this condo was: “No”, which I’m sure you agree with.

    I tried to emphasize it with the idea that EVEN IF the price were a bit lower (to meet his IO-loan payment standard), it still wouldn’t be a good idea unless you thought the property would be appreciating above inflation.

    I too think the investment will go DOWN in the near-term, so it’s a loss waiting to happen.

    But we’re way past that stage of argument around here – the bulls can make a case like “sure sure, something might happen in the short term, but I’m in it for the long haul” and “you can’t time the market”. The latter is an important point I don’t try to dispute, but at the same time my main argument is: you don’t need to time the bottom perfectly, but you sure as hell don’t need to overpay.

    Make a valuation calculation that makes sense, and don’t budge on it just because a whole bunch of people thought for a few years that $1,000/sqft for modestly nice SFHs is a fair price.

    Also don’t budge b/c the same folks are telling you you’re ‘throwing your rent money away’.

    That’s only true if you’re paying too much in rent (which I’m not).

    Lastly, folks with large amounts of capital have investment options open to them that others do not. That’s fine, but it’s not argument that folks should stretch to ‘just get in’ and start building equity with something overvalued they can’t afford.

    We don’t talk about it much, but some folks buy a small place they can afford and rent it to build equity, while living elsewhere (where they like).

    Again, it’s a tough road to start on in this climate, but if you find a place at really good value prices (like 2001 pricing), and it’s well within your means, I think Real Estate is a perfectly reasonable investment on long time scales.

    But my advice would be to assume the only appreciation you’ll get will be at the rate of inflation. If that will be enough to move you towards home ownership after 5-10 years, well, you’ve got a plan…

    Just don’t buy at too high a price, or you’ll be waiting a lot longer to catch up…

  33. BuyersAreIdiots Says:

    An alternative would be this condo:

    http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/1625-Kennedy-Ca-Unit-707A_North-Bay-Village_FL_33141_1084961245

    But hey; it’s only Miami Beach with a view of the Atlantic. How can that compare to glorious Cupertino with a prized view of the Stevens Creek & De Anza intersection?

    Besides. All those hot Latinos in bikinis and high heels would become tiresome after a while.

    Bet they don’t even have good dim sum in Miami.

  34. BuyersAreIdiots Says:

    I know vitriol is fun, but you should direct it at someone who’s really not making sense

    You’ll have to excuse me Alex. But after 8 years of President Shit For Brains and a constant deluge from the likes of Robert Kiyosaki and David Lereah (formerly from the NAR), my cynicism has grown to massive proportions. I neither desire nor seek out intelligent discourse on any real estate topic. My country is bankrupt and we are on a highway to hell of oblivion. Vitriol is all we have left.

  35. steve Says:

    the NYT rent v buy calculator

    put in your interest rate, pick an annual appreciation number, fiddle with the advanced options if you must. I’m sure it has been posted before, but some comments upthread suggest it is time for a reposting.

  36. Alex Says:

    LOL I hope your cynicism has room to grow. Fvcking Obama and the rest of our politicians are gonna drag what’s left of our precious country into hell. It won’t be long before the entire country is insolvent. Everyone wants the government to give them a hand out.

  37. Justin Sane Says:

    I don’t think the city center condos were ever apartments.
    They are new, i.e. built within the last decade.

  38. rick Says:

    WG,
    Is this not livable location again?

    http://www.redfin.com/CA/Cupertino/10163-JUDY-Ave-95014/home/794490

    This is the house very close to the $750k house I posted a couple of days ago, $1.9m in a not livable location eh?

    Tantau is not that bad. The further north of Stevens Creek the better.

  39. WillowGlenner Says:

    sorry rick. I used to work at a company with a Tantau address, thats what I was thinking of. You sure wouldn’t want to LIVE next to that company with a bunch of belching hard drinking hockey guys screaming in the parking lot playing. Maybe theres another section of Tantau though, I honestly don’t know. Where I was, was all commercial, not livable. But it IS cuperino.

  40. WillowGlenner Says:

    Alex, I have to admire your tenacity trying to defend Bush, the biggest loser ever in the history of US politics. Have you considered a career in professional sports, or my former discipline, high tech sales. Tenacity is where its at, man. Play with their mind, stick ‘em, f-em, Christ! pop ‘em! If thats your pov you are golden in high tech sales, 500K/year +.

  41. MV_Bound Says:

    My rate is 5.5% fixed jumbo for 10 years principal and interest payments for a purchase I made in June 2005. I feel pretty safe renting my place out here for about $3,500 and renting up there for up to $4,000. Then hope the market recovers here a little quicker since SD is further along in the cycle than than MB and the RBA.

    DreamT- Yes, my prior house I had 4% on a jumbo for 7 year ARM that I refinanced in June 2003, the lowest mortgage rates ever in the last 30+ years.

  42. DreamT Says:

    MV Bound – I’m so glad you acknowledged my existence that I’d go open a bottle of wine, if I had any bottles left.

  43. DreamT Says:

    “Tantau is not that bad. The further north of Stevens Creek the better.”
    North of Stevens Creek are only corporate buildings, and once you reach Pruneridge, I believe all that is north of that is Sunnyvale, not Cupertino.

  44. nomadic Says:

    rick – that house is in what we refer to as “Rancho Rinkydinky” – Cupertino, but the worst schools in town.

  45. Real Estater Says:

    Alex says,
    >>Fvcking Obama and the rest of our politicians are gonna drag what’s left of our precious country into hell. It won’t be long before the entire country is insolvent.

    I think Obama is advocating some programs that are the right programs at the wrong time. Let me give 2 examples:

    1) Electronic Medical Records
    2) Alternative Energy Development

    #1 will cost an enormous amount of money, which the nearly bankrupt healthcare system cannot afford. These are the mega project of mega projects, requiring not just IT system implementation, but an entire process transformation and re-org of hospitals.

    #2 also involve tremendous costs. Everyone knows trying to extract energy from solar and wind is economically unviable with the current level of technology. It would cost multiple times more money to develop and utilize such technology compared to traditional non-green sources. In the long term, I agree we need to do this for strategic reasons, but such initiatives would place an additonal burden to the current economic crisis.

  46. WillowGlenner Says:

    actually RE I am in favor of both of those Obama initiatives. What I am not in favor of is TARP or throwing money at municipalities in some sort of economic stimulus package. We already threw massive amts of money at municipalities in the hoardes of pork around homeland security all through the Bush regime and it was a total waste with nobody really knowing where all that money went or any sort of accountability. With electronic medical records we achieve cost savings and facilitate the universal healthcare problem which needs to be fixed in the next 5 years, and with energy, same deal. Not sure why you think greentech is not viable, Germany is practically energy independent and Japan is practically there too. You don’t see Germany falling apart every time Opec sneezes.

  47. Real Estater Says:

    WG says,
    >>What I am not in favor of is TARP or throwing money at municipalities in some sort of economic stimulus package.
    I agree there. I think people realize by now the first half of the TARP money was thrown away without accountability, and homeowners are not benefiting.

    >>With electronic medical records we achieve cost savings

    This is where I disagree. There is actually no strong business case for EMR from a financial perspective. There are certainly a lot of benefits to EMR, such as improving patient safety, privacy, etc., but the cost to benefit ratio is extremely high.

    >>Germany is practically energy independent

    Is that so? Why were they freezing their butt off when Russia turned off the gas line?

  48. Real Estater Says:

    Continuing with the “Pretender” theme, here’s the Pretender House of the day:

    http://www.movoto.com/real-estate/homes-for-sale/CA/San-Carlos/1969-Arroyo-Ave-100_80834060.htm

    An unimpressive looking 40′s house on only 5000 sq. ft. lot, with mediocre school API scores in the 800′s range.

    As I said before, San Carlos is over-valued. You can find tons of million dollar homes in this town that don’t belong in this league.

  49. Real Estater Says:

    Palo Alto mania continues:

    http://www.movoto.com/real-estate/homes-for-sale/CA/Palo-Alto/1519-Mariposa-Ave-100_80902217.htm

    Over $1000/sq. ft.. Great for kids with live Cal-Train running behind the house!

  50. Real Estater Says:

    Yet another home I recommended a few days ago has gone pending:

    http://www.redfin.com/CA/Sunnyvale/872-HANOVER-Ave-94087/home/1179770

    Madhaus, are you a believer now? Before you diss me next time, don’t forget – I know more about Sunnyvale than you do.

  51. sv_newbie Says:

    RealEstater, good call. if you were to spend $600-700k in Sunnyvale/Cupertino, where would you spend it? TH or SFH?
    thanks for ur insight!

  52. MV_Bound Says:

    RE- That Palo Alto house is in 94306. Why is the 94301 area code better? I would not want this house just because of CalTrain it looks like is in your backyard.

    Could you let us know what the Sunnvale house went pending for if you find out. I assume you are an agent? That house is nice and would be perfect in my opinion, at least without knowing the area.

    Like I said I doubt I will buy for another year or two just to get a sense of the area, but I would like to start tracking certain neighborhoods and houses, and I’m getting it limited down to about 5 areas right now (PA, 94087, Cupertino, Los Gatos, Saratoga, and maybe W. Menlo Park). Until I am up there and spend time, I have no idea how to limit it from these.

  53. Real Estater Says:

    sv_newbie,

    Always buy SFH. With TH you’ll get eaten alive by HOA fees.

  54. steve Says:

    I’m getting it limited down to about 5 areas right now (PA, 94087, Cupertino, Los Gatos, Saratoga, and maybe W. Menlo Park)

    MV_Bound, can you list what is impt to you beyong schools? I’d rank the cities you mention in this order: WMP, 94301, Saratoga, 94306, Cupertino, Sunnyvale and finally LG (with los gatos placing poorly primarily on distance). I’d add los altos and portola valley to your list and place them above saratoga.

    On 94301, it’s the oldest part of the city. there are 400 or so very nice homes, all well out of your rental budget. and, there are probably another 3000 or so average homes that clock in at or above the $1000/sq ft level despite having small lots. the primary reasons are: proximity to downtown and extremely good k-8. (paly is a wonderful high school but, to be fair, gunn is preferred and fed by 94306).

    In 94306, mid-town is OK. real south PA is spotty. If you are down with mid-century modern, Green Meadows is worth looking at. The best part of 94306 is west of El Camino — it just even sleepier.

    I did a quick google on demo data for 94301 and discovered some interesting stats:

    Median resident age: 41.3 years (so kids, people at the peak earning potential and old people)

    Houses and condos: 7,979
    Renter-occupied apartments: 3,746 (you don’t really notice these)

    Average Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) in 2004: $274,614
    Salary/wage: $175,055 (reported on 70.5% of returns)
    Taxable interest for individuals: $9,635 (reported on 72.8% of returns)
    Net capital gain/loss: +$146,208 (reported on 60.2% of returns)
    Total itemized deductions: $78,987 (0% of AGI, reported on 59.4% of returns)
    Charity contributions deductions: $23,995 (5.0% of AGI, reported on 52.1% of returns)

    The feel, especially in professorville, is family-focused, very professional and very friendly. neighbors actaully know each other. when ever I am walking in that area I run into friends — and strollers are everywhere. like all of the RBA, there are a surprising number of folks (courtesy of prop 13) who have lived in their homes for 40 years, so there is a mix.

  55. Real Estater Says:

    MV_Bound,

    >>RE- That Palo Alto house is in 94306. Why is the 94301 area code better? I would not want this house just because of CalTrain it looks like is in your backyard.

    There’s no bad zip in Palo Alto. However, the most exclusive neighborhoods are located in 94301 and parts of 94303. As Steve alluded to, it has to do with historic reasons. Location-wise, 94301 includes the trendy downtown, which is desirable to many people.

    The particular home I linked to is actually located in an excellent neighborhood across from Stanford University. However, obviously the specific street has the issue of being along the train tracks. Back in the old days when the house was built, being near transportation was probably a plus.

    >> I assume you are an agent?

    No, I’m just your average Silicon Valley tech guy. However, I probabaly know the local market better than any agent.

  56. Real Estater Says:

    Steve says,
    >>paly is a wonderful high school but, to be fair, gunn is preferred and fed by 94306

    There’s no such thing anymore. Both schools have equal API scores. In the past, Gunn had somewhat higher API scores, due to the higher Asian population in relatively cheaper South Palo Alto.

  57. Real Estater Says:

    Again, I must warn you about Menlo Park: No afterschool childcare. Classes have 2 shifts, one of which starts in the middle of the work day. Stay-at-home mom highly recommended.

  58. MV_Bound Says:

    Thanks Steve and RE- What’s important to me is a small downtown area that you can walk to. That’s ideal. Being 2 miles away is not bad. Shopping, great restaurants, both expensive and inexpensive, Trader Joe’s, Bristol Farms, Whole Foods, etc. If you’ve ever been to MB, Hermosa, Encinitas, Del Mar, those areas are ideal to me so anything close to resembling that is great.

    We have friends in Menlo Park, but I have never vistited any of these cities other than for business. I like the downtown area of Burlingame, at least when I was there in 1999. Walnut Creek is also very nice. So that gives an idea of what I would like to live close to.

    My kids are into every sport, so I would want them to be in a place where there is some emphasis on sports. MB is too competitive with the parents, but where we live now, it’s competitive yet laid back in a good way. We live in Encinitas currently and love everything about it except for the lack of a really good job market for my industry.

    I probably gave too much info, but it might help point me in the right direction of where I should live. I just love to gather all kinds of information. My wife laughs at me all the time.

  59. Real Estater Says:

    MV_bound says,
    >>What’s important to me is a small downtown area that you can walk to. That’s ideal. Being 2 miles away is not bad. Shopping, great restaurants, both expensive and inexpensive, Trader Joe’s, Bristol Farms, Whole Foods, etc.

    You get all of the above except Bristol Farms (which I’ve not seen in Northern Cal).

  60. Real Estater Says:

    The best guides to various peninsula neighborhoods can be found here:

    http://www.paloaltoonline.com/neighborhoods/index.php#pa

    If you click on the links to each of the individual neighborhoods, it’ll give up a good sense of what it’s like to live there. These information is updated annually, so everything I’ve seen is quite accurate.

  61. MV_Bound Says:

    RE- Is that just PA? Or all areas that I mentioned, in addition to Steve’s?

    Thanks again. Steve, wow, average AGI is $274k. I may dig into that a little further as the 2000 Census data has median income for 94301 for a married couple at $160k. Granted that is outdated information.

  62. Real Estater Says:

    >>RE- Is that just PA?

    That’s PA and parts of Menlo Park.

  63. steve Says:

    MV_Bound, the AGI numbers for 94301 are exceptional, but if you want to know where the really rich people live, it’s Atherton, Woodside, Hillsborough, Los Alto Hills, PV — and the 500 or so genuinely nice houses in PA.

    Atherton numbers (94027)

    Average Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) in 2004: $709,687 Salary/wage: $387,555 (reported on 59.2% of returns)
    Taxable interest for individuals: $42,281 (reported on 80.3% of returns)
    Taxable dividends: $52,276 (reported on 79.0% of returns)
    Net capital gain/loss: +$376,780 (reported on 74.2% of returns)

  64. Real Estater Says:

    Besides income, what is more telling is the percentage of the population with advanced degrees. This is why I said Palo Alto is not just another nice town.

  65. steve Says:

    btw, I just found the top 101 zips by AGI. Obviously, smaller, more homogeneous zips fair better that those that have to share with a neighboring community (Hillsborough and Woodside, for example). Noteable are:

    #2 Atherton
    #16 Portolca Valley
    #23 SF – FiDi and Coit tower
    #46 Los Altos (and LAH)
    #53 Palo Alto 94304 (Palo Alto Hills)
    #58 Belvedere
    #63 Palo Alto 94301
    #101 Redwood City (includes Woodside)

    hmm, makes my housing stock power rankings from a few days ago look all the more accurate and hints at a possible new definition for the RBA

  66. steve Says:

    OK, then, top cities (not zip) with the most people having Master’s or Doctorate degrees(population 5000+)

    1. Palo Alto, CA (housing, pop. 58,598): 26.3%
    4. Los Altos Hills, CA (housing, pop. 7,902): 24.7%
    11. Woodside, CA (housing, pop. 5,352): 21.7%
    14. Los Altos, CA (housing, pop. 27,693): 21.6%
    22. Cupertino, CA (housing, pop. 50,546): 20.8%
    28. Saratoga, CA (housing, pop. 29,843): 20.3%
    42. Stanford, CA (housing, pop. 13,315): 19.3%
    53. Menlo Park, CA (housing, pop. 30,785): 18.4%
    72. Piedmont, CA (housing, pop. 10,952): 17.6%
    86. Orinda, CA (housing, pop. 17,599): 17.0%
    92. Mountain View, CA (housing, pop. 70,708): 16.8%

    personally, I like my neighbors to be generous people, so here are the top 101 zip codes with the largest percentage of taxpayers using charity contributions deductions in 2004

    19. 94506 (Blackhawk-Camino Tassajara, CA), pop. 19,768: 65.8%
    48. 94028 (Portola Valley, CA), pop. 6,595: 63.3%

  67. steve Says:

    oops, missed a few in the top degree list. apologies to:

    7. West Santa Clara, CA (pop. 8,135): 23.7%
    12. Atherton, CA (pop. 7,194): 21.6%
    25. Albany, CA (pop. 16,444): 20.5%
    51. Sausalito, CA (pop. 7,330): 18.7%
    58. Berkeley, CA (pop. 102,743): 18.1%
    87. Tamalpais-Homestead Valley, CA (pop. 10,691): 17.0%
    89. Mill Valley, CA (housing, pop. 13,600): 16.9%96. El Cerrito, CA (housing, pop. 23,171): 16.8%

    but I don’t think I missed any in the charitable contributions list

  68. WillowGlenner Says:

    Piedmont? Isn’t that a blue collar town?

  69. WillowGlenner Says:

    I worry about all you guys who talk about API scores and “asian populations” in schools. Those are the people who wind up as engineers, not CEOs. CEOs are people who excel at sports, not academics. You are raising a bunch of nerds not managers. CEOs are salesmen and women.

  70. MV_Bound Says:

    WG- That’s funny, but probably somewhat true. That’s why I said I like a place where there is some emphasis on sports. Test scores matter to some degree, but really it depends on who lives there. We live in a place where the elementary school has the 2nd highest test scores. However, there is a school in our district that has lower test scores, but has a Spanish immersion program and a first grader can almost speak fluent spanish. The teachers are every bit as good, but because of certain demographics the test scores just aren’t there. Of course, there are plenty of smart kids.

    When we have moved, only once since our kids have been of school age, I looked at test scores, but also want a mix of sports and academics. I think as long as a kid has a good foundation and is rounded, then he will be fine in school no matter where he is. But just want to give him that extra advantage of being in a well-known school.

    Steve- Thanks for that website it is great and certainly helps.

  71. Alex Says:

    Actually, the only reason I’m defending Bush is because I think his critics have been unfair. I believe in analyzing things in a rational manner and not to follow people blindly.

    The overzealous Bush-haters are so blinded by their anger and hatred for Bush that they’re eager to pin anything on him, whether it’s deserved or not. It’s funny how Bush-haters pin everything on him when Congress had just as big a role. Congress, many of them big time Democrats, voted to go to war in Iraq. The credit bubble was the result of Greenspan’s loose monetary policy. The mortgage crisis had a lot to do with Barney Frank’s machination. Yet, you don’t hear the media or the sheeples blaming Congress, Greenspan or Frank.

    On the flip side, they’re worshipping Obama like he’s the next Messiah, elevating him beyond rock star status when Obama has not done anything critical as a president. So far, lots of big promises and offers of high hopes leading up to the election. Once he won, he started managing people’s expectations to bring their hopes back down to the stratosphere.

    If you want to criticize Bush, do it fairly and constructively and I’ll be glad to join in. In the meantime, our country is going to hell while the sheeps continue to look toward the Messiah with blinded infatuation.

    And no, I have no desire for corporate sales. I left the corporate world to become a physician because I wanted to do something more personally-rewarding.

    ==
    WillowGlenner said: Alex, I have to admire your tenacity trying to defend Bush, the biggest loser ever in the history of US politics. Have you considered a career in professional sports, or my former discipline, high tech sales.

  72. madhaus Says:

    Not everyone has what it takes to be a CEO. I would rather that my kids end up in careers where they are effective at what they do, make a contribution to society and they genuinely enjoy it. I’ve met far too many people who picked their career path to please their parents or because it was expected of them.

    Tantau — there isn’t any housing north of Stevens Creek on Tantau. DreamT is correct (see I am acknowledging you).

    rick, as to the Judy Ave house, the Tantau area has a number of homes that were scraped and rebuilt like that one. It’s still Sedgewick for your elementary school, and Hyde for middle, though. But compare with NW Cupertino, the area around Blackberry Farm. Lots of crappy homes on unimproved county lots got scraped and replaced with McMansions and selling for big numbers… because they get Lincoln, Kennedy Middle, and Monta Vista. I tell ya, it’s all about the bloody schools. So I think that house is overpriced by at least $200K.

    RealEstater, as to Hanover, we don’t know what the offer price was, only that it sold. Somebody listed a house. It sold. There are many other homes in 94087 that have not sold, so I really fail to see your point. MV Bound, you can listen to both RE and me on 94087, but I am the one who has lived here for more than 15 years. And I don’t give crap advice and then refuse to own up to it.

  73. Real Estater Says:

    madhaus says,
    >>There are many other homes in 94087 that have not sold, so I really fail to see your point. MV Bound, you can listen to both RE and me on 94087, but I am the one who has lived here for more than 15 years.

    The point is: you’ve lived there for 15+ years, yet you didn’t realize the entire downtown Sunnyvale was being revitalized. It goes without saying the two houses by the freeway that you suggested are still on the market.

  74. madhaus Says:

    Roger, I am going to say this one more time for people playing along at home: You don’t seem to understand that there are two different projects downtown, Sunnyvale Town Center and Sunnyvale Town & Country Village. One is being redone. One has been neglected. I have explained it to you, but I cannot understand it for you.

  75. DreamT Says:

    “7. West Santa Clara, CA (pop. 8,135): 23.7%”
    What’s that? Is this my zip 95051? I haven’t heard it named West Santa Clara before (with or without caps)
    Or is it a copycat city somewhere in SoCal?

  76. DreamT Says:

    WG is absolutely right that CEOs owe to their social smarts more than their intellect (which is typically still rather high). However I think this owes to personality and character rather than education. Attending a better school might help a bit, but probably not much. Attending a school with so-so sports program isn’t going to kill someone’s CEO destiny – let’s get real here.

  77. DreamT Says:

    madhaus -
    just acknowledging your acknowledgement

  78. steve Says:

    @DreamT, yep, not a copycat

  79. Alex Says:

    when did the dinky POS Santa Clara get divvied up into a West Santa Clara?

  80. DreamT Says:

    I see, it seems to be some tiny town in the hills west of Cupertino (in the quarry?!) or some unincorporated zone… never heard the name before and it’s not on wikipedia. Anybody knows more about this?

  81. DreamT Says:

    Alex – great contribution. Keep posting, love your insights!

  82. Alex Says:

    DreamT, ya i know. Even on my worst days, my insights are still definitely more useful or entertaining than yours. LOL

  83. DreamT Says:

    Hm, ok. Not sure what the baiting is about or why you’re targeting me. Maybe you need to get a life?

  84. Alex Says:

    Sorry, thought I detected sarcasm in your previous post and had to lob one back.

  85. DreamT Says:

    It helps to sprinkle subtleness in your sarcasm. “Dinky POS” doesn’t really cut it. Although my reaction was similar to yours – no way any SC zip belongs in that list.

  86. Real Estater Says:

    madhaus says,
    >>You don’t seem to understand that there are two different projects downtown, Sunnyvale Town Center and Sunnyvale Town & Country Village.

    Damn, is this some kind of trolling? Let’s replay what I said:

    yet you didn’t realize the entire downtown Sunnyvale was being revitalized.

    Of course there are multiple projects going on. That’s why the entire downtown Sunnyvale is being revitalized!

  87. MV_Bound Says:

    DreamT says- MV Bound – I’m so glad you acknowledged my existence that I’d go open a bottle of wine, if I had any bottles left.

    I apologize for not acknowledging your earlier advice. There were many comments that I obviously missed yours. If I only had a bottle of Screaming Eagle left I would share it with you. Guess, I can wait until I get there and we can share my pre-arrival of Lafite.

    Really thanks for the advice, I appreciate it.

    On another note, check this Pleasanton house that is now back to 2004 pricing and maybe lower.

    http://tinyurl.com/au8422

    I promise this will be the last link outside the RBA I will post, but it obviously could be a signal as what is to come in the RBA. Granted, the RBA may not get hit as hard as the outlying areas.

    Also, Nomadic, how about any of these locations in Los Gatos?

    http://tinyurl.com/d6ma8t
    http://tinyurl.com/cwo758

  88. nomadic Says:

    Hi MV Bound, I’d personally avoid any lots below 8,000sf in Los Gatos unless you are very close to downtown. The house on Las Miradas is in a neighborhood I don’t know a lot about but it’s kind of close to 85 and 17. The lot is too small (and far from town) to be a top tier choice for the area. Meaning if you want it for a long term home and for the schools, it’s good, however, it won’t appreciate as well as other areas. (I’m referring to schools in general because I don’t really track API scores.)

    The Old Adobe place has the size of lot you’d expect in LG. That’s a pretty neighborhood too. I think that’s in the Campbell Union schools though. For potentially the same schools, this neighborhood is nice too:
    http://www.redfin.com/CA/Los-Gatos/156-BELCREST-Dr-95032/home/804707

    The area west of La Rinconada golf course is a bit rolling, especially a bit further down Bicknell than Old Adobe.

    Here’s a place I personally like. It’s been on the market awhile (more than 6 mos). It has a Saratoga address, but it seems like it should be Monte Sereno. The zip code is actually Los Gatos. Anyway, it’s in the woods but very convenient to Hwy 9 to get into LG in about five minutes:
    http://www.redfin.com/CA/Saratoga/19233-MOUNTAIN-Way-95030/home/907996

  89. Real Estater Says:

    I’d personally avoid Los Gatos. Although it’s a nice town, it’s too distant from majority of the real Bay Area. A trip to SF will probably take 1.5 hours. That’s not acceptable for life in the Bay Area. The commute to most work locations would be bear. For these reasons, I think the upside for Los Gatos is limited, while the risks to the downside can’t be ignored in this recession. For the price tag of Los Gatos, look to buy the peninsula instead.

  90. DreamT Says:

    MV Bound – How sweet! :P
    I lived and owned in MV for three years til 05. We noticed the area was somewhat sketchy despite the beautiful tree-lined streets and Google’s radiance (wireless pun intended), so we started perusing the weekly police reports: http://www.mv-voice.com/story.php?story_id=4807
    This will guide you if you decide to live in MV after all. It’s not as fun as talking about what’s wrong or unmaintained in a house, but probably more important in how satisfied you’ll eventually be with your place (rented or not), and certainly less obvious when you’re making your decision. Car thefts and burglaries are common in certain areas, unheard of in others, and these aren’t always the areas you’d think.

  91. Herve Says:

    > That’s not acceptable for life in the Bay Area.

    MV Bound, keep in mind that Chuckie said that: what may appear like a non-sequitur to the mere mortal’s untrained eye is actually a tautology.

    Los Gatos is nice, but I would fear the traffic going North on the 85 in the morning.

  92. nomadic Says:

    haha, you said “the 85.” :-P

    (BTW, SF is about an hour up 280. SFO, 45 minutes. That said, I still agree with the renting idea.)

  93. Herve Says:

    > haha, you said “the 85.”

    I did not think someone would comment on it so fast: 5 minutes only! :-)

    And if Roger says it takes 90 minutes, it takes 90 minutes. Not 45, not 60. Ninety.

  94. MV_Bound Says:

    Steve,

    Ok, I’m leaning more toward WMP and Palo Alto just because I could be going into the city for work as well. What are the boundaries of WMP? Is it around Santa Cruz/Valparaiso/El Camino? It looks like it is in the Los Lomitas Elem Schools, but I am unsure of the HS. Would it be Menlo-Atherton? Not sure why the API (758) is so low, when the test scores are pretty high.

  95. Look Behind You Says:

    MV Bound, you’d be looking at Los Lomitas or Hillview (on Santa Cruz Ave. at Olive St.) for elementary schools and Menlo Atherton as your high school in West Menlo. Unless, of course, you opt for one of the many private schools located in MP. I give you props if you can afford the area, since I haven’t seen anything dip under 1M there in quite some time.

  96. Real Estater Says:

    >>Would it be Menlo-Atherton? Not sure why the API (758) is so low

    Because the high school is shared with the guetto areas of East Menlo Park and East Palo Alto. Therefore, many rich people in Atherton and Menlo Park send their kids to a private prep school.

    The only way to get first rate public schools from Kindergarden through high school is to be in Palo Alto.

  97. steve Says:

    >The only way to get first rate public schools from Kindergarden through high school is to be in Palo Alto.

    I think there are many folks in Cupertino would disagree. API score indicate otherwise as well, but we all know there are things more important than test scores.

    But, so my view on this is clear – great K-8 is widely available on the penisula, even in places like Foster City. 9-12 is the problem and the reason that objectively crappy houses in Palo Alto and Cupertino cost substantially more than objectively crappy houses in surrounding areas.

  98. Real Estater Says:

    Steve says,

    >>I think there are many folks in Cupertino would disagree. API score indicate otherwise as well, but we all know there are things more important than test scores.

    It depends on what you want. If you want an “all-American” type of experience with equal emphasis on academics, social activities and sports, then Palo Alto has the edge. If you desire a literally “all-Chinese” experience, then go for Cupertino.

  99. Look Behind You Says:

    >>It depends on what you want. If you want an “all-American” type of experience with equal emphasis on academics, social activities and sports, then Palo Alto has the edge. If you desire a literally “all-Chinese” experience, then go for Cupertino.

    Real Estater, I hate to agree with you, but you’re correct on this one. I think that’s why so many folks I know send their kids to public K-12 in MP (another great one to mention is Laurel Elementary) but then send their high-schoolers to private institutions.

  100. rick Says:

    I think only those without an advanced degree would care much about it, do you have ANY friends (as couples) who does not have an advanced degree? I can tell you that those ones that I know, without advanced degree actually living better than those do, simply because they bought their houses before 1999, while the others are working their ass off in Phd school.


Leave a Reply

Please be nice. No name calling, no personal attacks, no racist stuff, no baiting, etc. Let's be nice to each other in the true Bay Area spirit! (Comments may be edited/removed without notice.)