County Cost Comparison: Part II

house.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 last week I began a series on county cost comparison. We began with homes at or under $500,000, and this week we move up to the $750,000 price point. I randomly chose two cities in each county (except for SF), and I am using the same cities each week to be consistent, and only single family homes will be analyzed (no condo, townhouse or TIC). And to reiterate: each price point from now on will 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. Again, should you think of one, let me know in the Comment Section and I will reconsider my selfish ways.

In the under $750,000 category, there was actually one city which had no single family home listings at that price: Orinda. I find that amazing. I think that Pleasanton had the best matches and best bang for the buck today, with Concord coming in a close second.

Mountain View: 229 Palo Alto Avenue, 3/1, 1116 sf, 5662 sf lot, $749,000. This is a new listing and is described as a short sale. Homeowners seem to have made improvements or maintained home well since purchase. Near downtown, easy access to CalTrain, 101, 85, 280, Central Expressway and El Camino.
Santa Clara: 2101 El Capitan Avenue. 3/2, 1350 sf, 5663 sf lot, $749,999. Located off San Tomas Expressway, there is good access to 101, 280 and 880, as well as Central Expressway and El Camino. Home appears nicely cared for with good quality upgrades. Only possible downfall is that the home may be located in a landing pattern for San Jose Airport.

Menlo Park: 413 8th Avenue. 2/1, 1380 sf, 7420 sf lot. $738,000. I will admit that my emotions got the best of me on this one: My great-grandmother lived in the avenues in Menlo Park and had the same exact fence and archway gate as his home. But it is a charming cottage with an interior that is light and bright and happy. Downside here is the proximity to Middlefield Road.
San Mateo: 3615 Orinda Drive, 2/1, 1000 sf, 6400 sf lot, $749,500. My cousin bought her first home in this neighborhood off Hillsdale Blvd. This corner home is similar and in good condition with large expanse of lawn and mature landscaping. There is a remodeled kitchen and bath and dual-pane windows. Easy access to Highway 101 and Hillsdale CalTrain station.

San Francisco: 2536 Pacheco, 3/2, 1500 sf, $749,000. Another short sale, this home in the Parkside/Sunset area has nice parquet hardwood floors, remodeled kitchen, and a legal in-law unit downstairs. Sold in August of 2006 for $750,000 and then again 4 months later for $890,000.

Novato: 27 Sereno Way, 4/3, 1946 sf, .29 acres, $730,000. I cannot for the life of me figure out why this has at for 163 days. It is on a quarter-acre, backs up to open space, has curbside appeal, great backyard landscaping and solar-heated pool, and the house appears to be in good condition with updated kitchen and bath.
San Rafael: 34 Adrien Terrace, 3/3, 1812 sf, 3485 sf lot, $725,000. This is a newer home, one of the few in this price range not close to the freeway. Contemporary two-story in good condition. The only thing that concerned me about this home was that since it was built in 1995, there have been 8 owners, with no one owning the property more than 3 years. Some kind of omen?

Alameda: 1311 Pacific Ave., 3/2.5, 2454 sf, 4950 sf lot, $739,000. OK, I was initially charmed by the watercolor rendering of the front of the house, but the interior matches the Victorian exterior, with beautiful wood moldings, hard wood floors, adorable bathroom, and there is a lush back yard.
Pleasanton: 3516 Helen Drive, 3/2.5, 1550 sf, 5764 sf lot, $749,000. Have you noticed that no one names their children Helen anymore? No doubt this street has been around awhile, but this home was built in 1986 and has been updated with new bamboo floors downstairs and new carpet upstairs, 3 remodeled bathrooms, updated kitchen. Just move right in.

Concord: 722 Daffodil Way, 5/3, 2400 sf, .27 acres, $749,000. Custom home on quarter acre lot with a pool, spa, built-in BBQ, and deck. Backs up to open space.
Orinda: No homes listed under $750,000. Closest match is $769,000