Mountain View Housing Market Update - August 2007

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Higher interest rates for jumbo mortgages is a story for another day, but it does color how home owners should read what I'm about to write.  In July, Mountain View experienced a 14% jump in the median for single-family homes from 2006 to 2007.  There was also the fact that the percent of list received went from almost full value (99.28%) to 104.4%.

Like many other places in Silicon Valley, like Sunnyvale and Cupertino with their Eichlers and San Mateo with its older homes near downtown, among others, Mountain View has its share of older homes.  Many of these homes come on larger lots that give ambitious owners room for expansion.  One of this month's Median Homes illustrates that potential.

Mountain View is a unique environment because of the money from one local company in particular and it was a competitive summer season --- as you'll see, though, not every property experienced the same level of interest.

Median Home 2007 - $1,058,500

This July, the two Median Homes in Mountain View were 1700 Fordham Way and 1303 Cuernavaca Circulo.  Both were desirable homes: Fordham was gone in 6 days and Cuernavaca was gone in 8, each for 100% of asking.  And they went at about the same amount: $1,050,000 and $1,065,000, respectively. But they are very different properties and what's interesting about these two homes is the trade-off.

Fordham was the older veteran, a 53-year young ranch with a couple minor but unspectacular upgrades done over the past few decades.  At 1280 sqft with 3 bedrooms and 2 baths --- but a lot of 7405 sqft and just a mile from Downtown Mountain View (across El Camino) --- there was room to grow.

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Cuernavaca is 19 years old with its Northern California blend of Spanish and Mediterranean styling: 3 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, but with 2261 in square footage on a 4792 square sqft lot.  And it had a complex with amenities like a pool, spa, tennis courts, and clubhouse which is $190 per month HOA fee covered.  This home was ready for a family to upgrade into.

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The former was a project with strong upside potential and an elite school district.  According to the California Department of Education, every school in Los Altos Elementary has a 10 out of 10 statewide rating.  (Huff and Bubb at 10 and 9, respectively, are the strongest schools in Cuernavaca's Mountain View-Whisman School District.)  With remodeling and additions, Fordham will easily exceed its fellow Median Home in value.

Compared With Last Year - $928,000

Last July, the Median Home was 1953 Sorrento Court at $928,000, off in 13 days at 100% of asking.  This home is a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom, 1977 square foot, two-story building that was constructed in 1979 as part of a planned unit development.  It was rezoned into a single-family home in 2004 but still carries HOA dues (at the time $300 per month).  The lot size is unknown but less than 4,500 sqft.

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By car, this house is one mile southeast from Fordham (but far enough to be in the Mountain View-Whisman School District) and 2.8 miles from Cuernavaca.  Sorrento, in the Miramonte Area of Mountain View, is arguably in a more prestigious part of Mountain View than the latter, in Sylvan Dale.

Market Snapshot - August 29, 2007 

There are 91 active listings, 31 for single-family homes.  Of those, only 4 have had a published reduction.

(One is a bright yellow house whose reduction might have funded a new set of paint if it didn't sound so much like the owners needed to unload.  One was a flyer a real estate agent slash owner took on getting a high number: a $393,000 drop might generate some needed attention.)

The Active CDOM for homes in Mountain View right now is 51 but the CDOM for homes closed in July 2007 came in at only 26.  That means in this area, roughly, it takes half as long for desirable properties to sell than the "average" ones.

Sellers are confident because of this disparity, but we're moving into a slower part of the Silicon Valley market cycle in a period of uncertainty with mortgages.