Cashing in on Facebook's new millionaires

Silicon Valley real estate already feeling effects from last week's IPO

By Inman News Feed
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted May. 25, 2012

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As in 2004 with Google, it might be hard to see the IPO effect because the Silicon Valley market has already been improving since the dark days of the recession.

"Prices came down across the board during the recession, but in varying degrees," Isaacson said. "In the lower end of Menlo Park where there was a lot of speculative buying and rental housing, prices declined around 30 percent. Most Silicon Valley homeowners, however, experienced a decline of about 10 percent to 20 percent at the worst. Now, it feels like it is back to where it was at peak."

If anything, there is a problem with lack of inventory in Silicon Valley.

In February 2011, the total inventory for Silicon Valley was 980 single-family homes, with closed sales at 171, Yost said. "In February 2012, total inventory was 698 homes, with total closed sales at 204 homes. In February 2011, the average days on the market was 86; a year later it was 61."

Even those numbers are a bit misleading.

"The stats tell a story, but you have dig deeper," Yost said. "Houses that come on the market at fair market value are selling in the first 10 days and getting multiple offers. If you look at the median days on the market, that is driven higher by a group of homes that have been for sale a very long time because the sellers aren't realistic about the prices."

Indeed, selling price per square foot in February 2012 was $588, down 5.8 percent from February the year before.

Here's a couple of interesting data points for February: Palo Alto reported 24 closed sales with an average 39 days on the market and a median price of $1.95 million; Menlo Park also reported 24 closed sales with an average 39 days on the market and a median price of $765,000.

"The market here had troubles really only at the start of 2008, which was much later than everywhere else," Isaacson said. "Things were humming along quite nicely through the summer of 2008 until the Lehman Brothers collapse. 2009 was a year when a lot of people were trying to understand what happened. Last year was quite good, and this year is going to (be) better."

That's something you might want to read about on Facebook.

Steve Bergsman is a freelance writer in Arizona and author of several books. His latest book, "Growing Up Levittown: In a Time of Conformity, Controversy and Cultural Crisis," is now available for sale on Amazon.com.

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