Silicon Valley Home to Some of the Strongest Housing Markets in U.S.

By Gino Blefari
President & CEO
Intero Real Estate Services, Inc.

Silicon Valley corporate behemoths like Google, Salesforce and Oracle didn’t get that way by following the herd. Breakout tech success more often comes from a “go against the grain” mentality. Disrupt a market, gain huge market share and go down in history as one of the richest companies of your time.

This is why it’s no surprise that even our housing market is bucking trends and seeking a category all its own. While many markets across the country are just starting to pull up from market bottom, Silicon Valley is home to some of the strongest housing markets in the nation right now.

Los Altos, Palo Alto and Burlingame have shown the strongest comebacks, with home prices just several percentage points away from peak levels in 2008, according to data compiled by DataQuick.

In addition, median prices per square foot in Sunnyvale, Cupertino and Mountain View were within 10% of their highest levels in the third quarter.

Los Altos was highlighted as one of the strongest recoveries in Silicon Valley with a median price per square foot at $810, just 1.3% below the peak price in 2008, according to DataQuick. And the median price of homes in the third quarter was $1.97 million, up 1% from $1.95 million in 2008.

What’s behind this knockout success? Jobs, obviously. Silicon Valley is home to many of the top-performing companies in the nation – and world – and has also unleashed some major technology IPOs in the past year. There’s a lot of money floating around these parts.

But also, like many other markets, the inventory of homes for sale is low, with some owners refraining from selling while prices play out their recovery. That and you have increased demand from the influx of young workers.

I think it’s safe to say that fairly soon, we’ll start seeing more move-up buyers jumping in to sell as prices reach those highs and demand continues to build. That means exciting days are ahead for all of us in the real estate business.

Silicon Valley is such an interesting piece in the overall housing story. On the one hand, it shows us just how localized and unique one market can be from the next (even when in the same state). And it also shows us the inseparable relationship between local economies and housing. Strong economies equate to strong real estate markets.

Silicon Valley’s economy has pushed forward with great intensity even during the recession. That strength keeps demand strong and market fundamentals in place – even when it seems impossible compared to what other markets are experiencing.

It’s all in where you sit – and we are lucky enough to call this place home. Let’s hope more local economies pick up and help to strengthen local housing markets just as much.