County Cost Comparison: Part I

house-made-of.jpgSweet Digs Bay Area is now covering six counties: Santa Clara, San Mateo, SF, Marin, Alameda and Contra Costa. There is a lot of diversity in population, climate, and housing prices in each of these areas. I got to wondering what the dollar could buy in each county, so starting today we have a 4-week series on county cost comparison. I have randomly chosen two cities in each county (except for SF), and each week I will explore different prices points ($500k, $750k, $1mil, $1.5 mil) to see what the dollar buys. I will use the same cities each week to be consistent and only single family homes will be analyzed (no condo, townhouse or TIC). Obviously each price point may have more than one property at or near that dollar amount, so I will be choosing one based on…what I myself would buy if I had to choose. This could be based on square footage, architectural style, location, or my favorite: a kick-ass kitchen. I realize this is a bit subjective (well, more than a bit), but there is no real objective way to do it that I could think of. However, should you think of one, let me know and I will reconsider my selfish ways.

Today, we start at $500,000. In researching, I found that Concord had, by far, the largest inventory of homes listed at $500k or under (238), while three cities did not even have one (Mountain View, Orinda and San Mateo).

Mountain View: There were no SFR at $500k or less
Santa Clara: 1645 Bellomy, 2/1, 864 sf, 3483 sf lot, $499,000: Near the University of Santa Clara, this is a cute updated Craftsman with a lot of charm.

Menlo Park: 1324 Sevier Avenue, 3/1, 1130 sf, 5750 sf lot, $485,000: This home is on the eastside of Highway 101 and needs a bit of sweat equity, but Zillow estimate is in the $700k range, so potential is there.
San Mateo: There were no SFR at $500k or less

San Francisco: 251 Montana, 2/1, 772 sf, 3750 sf lot, $500,000. In the Oceanview neighborhood and has a view. A short sale, the listing description shows it is being sold AS IS.

Novato: 1036 2nd Street, 2/2, 1120 sf, 7492 lot sf, $499,000: Located near the downtown, this is a good size 2 BR with upgrades on a larger lot with bonus attic room. Includes Jacuzzi.
San Rafael: 22 Bungalow, 2/1, 1300 sf, 4530 sf lot, $500,000: Also a good-sized 2 BR with Jacuzzi. This could possibly be the best candidate for staging that I have ever seen—you need to overlook the clutter to see the space.

Alameda: 1541 Paru Street, 1/1, 952 sf, 2508 sf lot, $485,000: Gotta say that the kitchen is a throwback with icebox latch cupboards (for pies? Produce?) and fold down ironing board closet. In good shape, with hardwood floors and interesting colors.
Pleasanton: 4070 Stanley Blvd, 2/1, 897 sf, 6250 sf lot, $499,500: 99-year-old charmer with potential. Cosmetic upgrades, maybe finish off the full basement. However it is close to downtown, sold AS IS, and seller does not guarantee that property meets city codes.

Concord: 5526 Sepulveda Court, 4/2.5, 2041 sf, 5600 sf lot, $499,000. The best bang for your buck, located near the Oakhurst Country Club. Thirty years old, remodeled kitchen, lots of upgrades.
Orinda: There were no SFR at $500k or less

Recent Sweet Digs Bay Area Posts:

This Crystal Ball Says…>25% Drop
SF: Backstage at the Sales Show
Penurious Prices in Pittsburgh
Drop in, Tune in, Buy in
Oakland Beats Berkeley For High-End Homes
Emerald Hills: Canyon Corridor

  • Paul W

    This is great data Tim. Do you think prices will soften a bit and give back some of the rapid recent increases? Or is there not a strong enough signal to read? Also curious if there was individual market variance or this was a fairly homogenous trend?

    • Tim_Ellis

      So far it looks like it’s a bit too early to read a significant trend. At this point I doubt prices will retreat, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see the increases quickly dissipate. There is always some variation market to market. Is there a particular market you’re interested in?

      • Paul W

        I was only curious about local because San Francisco still feels on fire. So if the average market is cooling a bit I thought there might be some that were really losing steam fast.