September 1, 2012

We’re Number One! We’re Number One!

Here’s a cheery news item, submitted by Burbed reader wahnny.

Silicon Valley’s Boom Creates Shortage of $1 Million Homes

120831-cnbc-losaltosPublished: Wednesday, 29 Aug 2012 | 10:22 AM ET
By: Robert Frank, CNBC Reporter & Editor

The home of venture capitalist Kelly Porter in Los Altos, photo, right.

The capital of high tech is now the capital of high-priced real estate.

Silicon Valley currently leads the nation in the number of homes sold for $1 million or more, according to Realtytrac. Sales of $1 million-plus have more than doubled in many communities in the Valley this year, toppling longtime luxury real-estate leaders like Beverly Hills or Miami.

Topping the list is Saratoga, Calif., in Santa Clara County, which had 225 homes sold for $1 million or more. That marked a 162 percent increase over last year.

Ranked second was Burlingame, Calif., which had 211 sales of at least $1 million, more than double last year’s rate. Cupertino and Los Altos ranked third and fourth in the nation, with 175 homes and 170 homes respectively.

Booyah!  We lead the nation in million dollar homes.  Sayonara, Scarsdale!  Meet you later, Miami gator!  Buh-bye, Beverly Hills!  Buh-… there’s just one problem with this article.

CNBC is comparing Silicon Valley to other “longtime luxury real-estate leaders.”  And up there on millionaire’s row is… Cupertino?  That’s not exactly the first town that comes to mind when we think “palatial estate.”

We don’t think this CNBC reporter understands the Real Bay Area.  Any region can feature a town full of luxury homes, towns like Atherton or Hillsborough, only somewhere that isn’t very Special.  You can find some real big, expensive estates in cities such as Bloomfield Hills, Michigan (boyhood home of Mitt Romney), or Winnetka, Illinois, or Greenwich, Connecticut.  Or Beverly Hills.

But only in the Real Bay Area can you find crappy houses for a million dollars.  Observe.

First, we look at Saratoga, since there were so many million dollar homes on the list they couldn’t find one to feature in the article (they just noted you could buy 1.2 acres with no house for more than a mill).  Find out what that same price gets you with a house… after the break.

120831-cnbc-saratoga18971 LYNBROOK Ct
Saratoga, CA 95070

4 Beds
2.5 Baths
1,793 Sq. Ft.
$647 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1956
Lot Size: 9,595 Sq. Ft.
On Redfin: 22 days
Property Type: Attached Single Family
Stories: 1
Community: Saratoga
MLS#: 81229853
Style: Ranch
View: Neighborhood
County: Santa Clara

Custom home w/ original charm located on a quiet court. First time on market! Updated kitchen, granite counter, pull out drawers. Dual paned windows, Hardwood floors in LR/DR & bedrooms. Separate family room. Inside laundry & breakfast nook. Sought after neighborhood near Brookside Swim & Racquet Club, private membership. Large lot with mini orchard, gazebo, greenhouse and garden view patio.

You know what original charm means?  It means nothing has been updated, ever.  Maybe nothing’s been repaired ever.

Now we head over to Burlingame, which probably had its numbers yanked up by sharing a zipcode with Hillsborough.  (Nothing like that local knowledge to laugh at a national story about our real estate.)

120831-cnbc-burlingame1652 CORONADO Way
Burlingame, CA 94010

3 Beds
2 Baths
1,780 Sq. Ft.
$595 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1950
Lot Size: 5,500 Sq. Ft.
On Redfin: 1 day
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Community: Ray Park
MLS#: 81232398
Stories: Bi/Split Level
County: San Mateo

Charming Burlingame home. 3beds/2baths. Hardwood floors. Fresh paint & new flooring in kitchen and baths. Lots of light. Great convenient location close to schools & shopping. Must See!

Check out the pictures, because if a house ever said “Meh,” this is the one.  As a “bunus” it’s also an REO.

Wonder what we’ll find in Cupertino, home of schools so famous that people on other continents buy houses here sight unseen.

120831-cnbc-cupertino884 FERNGROVE Dr
Cupertino, CA 95014

4 Beds
2 Baths
1,692 Sq. Ft.
$635 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1960
Lot Size: 6,136 Sq. Ft.
On Redfin: 55 days
Property Type: Detached Single Family
View: Neighborhood
County: Santa Clara
Stories: 1
Community: Cupertino
MLS#: 81225369

Gorgeous Eichler in sought after neighborhood! Tastefully renovated kitchen with Corian countertops and full back splash, stainless steel appliances. Dual paned windows, instant hot water, solid core doors, new plumbing in 2011. Open floor plan, lots of natural light with skylights throughout. Newly landscaped, perfect for indoor/outdoor entertainment. Walk to Cupertino Schools!

Alright!  Now this is a million dollar crapbox.  Oh sure, they dressed it up with trendy dining room chairs and new appliances and paint that was mixed with Grey Poupon, but that view of the front is all you need to look at.  And it’s only on a 6000 sf lot.  This is practically Palo Alto!

And speaking of same, let’s check out Los Altos, #4 on the list.

120831-cnbc-losaltos-4th27640 SHERLOCK Ct
Los Altos Hills, CA 94022

4 Beds
3 Baths  1,700 Sq. Ft.
$823 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1900
Lot Size: 2.11 Acres
On Redfin: 8 days
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Stories: 1
County: Santa Clara
Style: Contemporary
Community: Los Altos Hills
MLS#: 81231434

2.11 Acres, mountain serenity with spectacular views. Easy access to 280 via Page Mill or Moody. LA Schools, 4 bedroom 3 bath home with detached office/artist studio and a two car garage. Property includes a large master bedroom with Sunken tub and a newer roof. Needs TLC or build new. Being sold for land value in “As-Is” condition.

This is the cheapest house listed for over a million (or maybe cheapest period), and look at all you get!  A 112 year old house in various states of disrepair, and 100% your as-is problem if you buy this land.  Yes, two acres with a questionable house sitting on it so you can pay 20% down.  Then again, read the article and note the suitcases full of cash are back.

Can Bloomfield Hills compete with million dollar homes like these?  Can anywhere?

It’s a three day weekend!  Use this as your Open Thread as well.  We’ll see if our low-paid flunkies can be browbeaten into writing more columns that none of you will read until Tuesday.

Comments (38) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:12 am

38 Responses to “We’re Number One! We’re Number One!”

  1. SEA Says:

    Only in the RBA do you feel good about buying a million dollar POS, since that POS will be worth two million dollars soon enough to take care of everything. In the not REAL world, people actually expect more for their money.

    But isn’t this what makes the RBA so great? Sure you might think a million for a POS is more than “not a lot of money,” but everyone knows that someone else in the future will be willing to pay double. Just make sure you buy and sell in the RBA. Too many people found out that they were “close” but not “too close” to the RBA–oops.

  2. Real Estater Says:

    If you can buy 1.2 acres with no house for a million, you are almost certainly not getting a good location.

    Palo Alto can’t even make the list, because there isn’t enough inventory to generate the sales numbers.

  3. Real Estater Says:

    >>Another big force behind demand is China. Realtors say waves of wealthy Chinese buyers are pouring into the Valley and buying up multi-million-dollar properties.

    >>Almost all of the deals are cash, they say.

    Sound familiar? Anybody still in denial?

  4. Real Estater Says:


    I hear you are finally shopping for a home right now? Is this capitulation?

  5. very amused Says:

    Brokers say tech growth is the main driver of demand in Silicon Valley. But they say it’s not coming from the new crop of high-profile social-media tycoons. Instead, it’s coming from executives at Apple, Google and other more established companies.

    “Everyone was waiting for the big Facebook effect,” said Bill Lewis, a vice president in the Los Altos office of Alain Pinel, the Silicon Valley Realtor.

    Big Facebook effect? FB closed at 18.06 yesterday. FB for Facebook, not F—-ed Buyer.

  6. SEA Says:

    Chinese are very smart: They know to buy crappy property for million dollar make good deal.

  7. Real Estater Says:

    On going party in the Bay Area

  8. PK Says:

    $1 Million? That’s just two times half of not a lot of money.

    I think we already lead the nation in number of 1,200 square foot ranches sold for $1,000,000+. Nice to see us knock off the other styles as well.

  9. nomadic Says:

    Looking at RE’s link in #7, I have two questions regarding Airbnb.

    Investors valued it at $1 billion. Are they retarded?

    How did the founders know who MC Hammer was?

    The last slide summed it up well when a guest noted it felt like 1998.

  10. SEA Says:

    “Of course, Silicon Valley has felt this kind of giddiness before, and many people remember how it ended the last time. “It feels like 1998,” one guest at the Airbnb party said.”

  11. Real Estater Says:


    Which part of “never ending” don’t you understand?

  12. SEA Says:

    That’s directly from your recommended reading material.

  13. herpderp Says:

    Okay, RE, let’s say the Chinese are coming to buy RBA houses in cash for a million bucks. Why shouldn’t normal people take that as a clue to take their cash and go elsewhere? There are companies in the world other than Apple, Google, and facebook, in much more affordable places. There’s no reason to get on the RBA treadmill when the prize is a millstone of a mortgage around your neck for a crapbox with termites.

  14. Sunny(vale) Kim Says:

    Realtors say waves of wealthy Chinese buyers are pouring into the Valley and buying up multi-million-dollar properties.

    As the history suggests, the words of the Realtors are always reliable.

  15. Sunny(vale) Kim Says:

    Big Facebook effect? FB closed at 18.06 yesterday. FB for Facebook, not F—-ed Buyer.

    Buy FB on “weakness”. The loss of someone is your gain. Buy with confidence (until November).

  16. Real Estater Says:

    >>Buy FB on “weakness”. The loss of someone is your gain.

    Pralay, your Google skills obviously needs improvement.

  17. Real Estater Says:

    >>Why shouldn’t normal people take that as a clue to take their cash and go elsewhere?

    >>There’s no reason to get on the RBA treadmill when the prize is a millstone of a mortgage around your neck for a crapbox with termites.

    RBA termite is worth more than granite elsewhere. Just ask the Sunnyvale Kim guy. Why is he still here feeding the termite?

  18. madhaus Says:

    You guys have been yammering all day and not one of you noticed that the “Los Altos” house is actually in Los Altos Hills?

    What’s even funnier is the cheapest Los Altos house is in the exact same price range. It’s this one (4/2.5, 2200sf on a 10K lot for $1.325M) if you’d rather complain about the right city.

    Bunus: more HDR sky. Yay!

  19. Petsmart groomer Says:

    > Pralay, your Google skills obviously needs improvement.

  20. Real Estater Says:


    Don’t be slow man. I’m too lazy to show him the post where I sold FB. Selective Googling is just another one of his desperation moves. After all this time, there is no escaping that he has always been wrong.

  21. Sunny(vale) Kim Says:

    I’m too lazy to show him the post where I sold FB.

    Ha ha! So nice try. Anyway, preemption was already done. You are too cute and too simple, Mr RSA (Resident Stock Adviser).

  22. SEA Says:

    “I’m too lazy to show him the post where I sold FB.”

    I don’t recall such post, and in fact, I recall something about $38 target in a year.

    Why would anyone sell so short of their target?

  23. SEA Says:

    For those of you following this “close” but not “too close,” FB was at $31.91 when he recommended buying on “weakness.”

  24. Real Estater Says:


    Why are you still quarreling? Has RE ever made a wrong call?

    Stop trolling. I said to buy FB on weakness. If you thought weakness was $31.91, you are a dumb ass who deserves to lose money.

  25. Real Estater Says:


    The preemption you needed was to buy a house last year. Now is not the best time to look for a house.

  26. Sunny(vale) Kim Says:

    Has RE ever made a wrong call?

    🙂 Never. RE and wrong call do not go together. Our RSA (Resident Stock Adviser) is flawless. Probably you have seen this famous guy on TV.

  27. madhaus Says:

    If I weren’t so lazy there’s about 4-5 posts here I’d edit pretty severely. Instead, I’m going to ask everyone to please refrain from pointing out each other’s personal failings, because you’re all a bunch of doofus losers.

  28. Gail Says:

    I have reason to believe that the house we bought about 1.5 years ago in Palo Alto could be sold for 1 million more today. We spent under 2 million for it originally. Would you take the money and run if you were us? Where would you go within the bay area? We are not ready to leave the BA but cashing out on about 1M is really tempting.

    This went to the moderation queue. No idea why. Released at 9 pm. –ed

  29. Real Estater Says:

    It’s good that you didn’t edit, because the trail of posts above clearly show the provocation started at #15.

    Not sure what’s there to even debate about anymore. There has been two trains of thought in this forum for the past few years. It’s pretty clear by now which train has been derailed. The loser is now part of the overbidding.

  30. SEA Says:

    “Mommy he started it.”

  31. Real Estater Says:

    I think we need to start documenting the root cause. #29 is not helpful.

  32. SEA Says:

    Rather than “documenting the root cause,” let’s move forward.

  33. madhaus Says:

    I wold prefer to not edit people’s comments or put anyone in moderation time-out. Can we all just get along? Disagreement is fine, just disagree with the concept rather than smashing another commenter’s face in it.

    Thanks in advance.

  34. Real Estater Says:


    If you don’t rectify the root cause, how do you move forward?

  35. SEA Says:

    Just get along.

  36. madhaus Says:

    Post #28 added in, rescued from moderation queue. All post numbers #28 and above should be incremented. #31 and #34 is not actually complaining about his own comments. Or maybe he is and we should give him a chair.

  37. herpderp Says:

    “RBA termite is worth more than granite elsewhere. Just ask the Sunnyvale Kim guy. Why is he still here feeding the termite?”

    Hahaha, well, a BMW is worth more than my Subaru, but that doesn’t make it a good investment. Thank you for the reminder as to why I took my money and bought elsewhere.

  38. herpderp Says:

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