We’d like to introduce a new re-occuring feature: Market Snapshots from local agents. This week, we’ll take a peek at Palo Alto’s real estate market through the eyes of Kathleen Krize.
Kathleen Krize is a Realtor and Movoto Partner Agent servicing Mid-Peninsula cities, including Palo Alto. Her office is in Menlo Park.
As a realtor working the San Francisco Mid-Peninsula, I have benefited from what the rest of the country considers a prime real estate market. There is a wealth of wealth here! Even during the recession things never got as bad as other parts of the country. Atherton, Woodside, Portola Valley, Los Altos Hills, all high priced zip codes, and all exist within a short distance from each other. But one city seems to march to a different drummer, standing alone among the elite – Palo Alto! What is it about Palo Alto that makes buyers so willing to pay more and get less just so they can have a Palo Alto address?
There seems to be a different culture in Palo Alto. Home to Stanford University, Palo Alto is considered one of the most desirable addresses in the nation. Their excellent schools draw many buyers seeking the best public education for their children. As a college town, residents tend to be more cosmopolitan, highly educated folks who are addicted to their smart phones, obsessive about their schools, environmentally conscious and devoted to their town. Drive through the neighborhoods and you will see leafy tree-lined streets, beautiful gardens and lovely homes of distinction. The unemployment rate is 4.9% – considerably less than the national average. The median price for December, 2011 was $1,480,000 up from $1,395,000 the previous month. Average price was $1,936,250 up from $1,769,350. The sales price vs. list price is about 103% and multiple offers are the norm. The most desirable neighborhoods median and average prices are even higher.
As more local companies, such as Facebook and Zynga go public the demand for a Palo Alto home will only increase in the coming year as the newly rich hit the open houses seeking the American Dream of home ownership. (Yes, contrary to what the media says, I see, every day, evidence of the desire to own – not rent) Can buyers get a great house in a good school district outside of Palo Alto? Of course, and probably more square footage and less cost, but among some buyers Palo Alto is considered a “MUST HAVE” address and nothing less will do.
Not long ago, I had a client so enamored with Palo Alto and its prestigious school system that he was willing to accept a rundown property requiring repairs in order to get his “foot in the door”, even though I had tried to show him better options within his price range in nearby cities that offered quality school systems. It was a multiple offer situation. He did not prevail. We are still looking.