Realtor Notes on Belmont Terrace

Belmont Terrace is a 158-unit townhome complex in Sunnyvale, which like its neighbor theExpressions of Sunnyvale, is located to the south of Central Expressway and west of Mathilda Ave., towards Mary Ave.  It's across the street from the Gardens of Sunnyvale townhomes.

Strengths

1)  Units in the Belmont Terrace complex cost less than the Gardens townhomes to the north and the Expressions townhomes to the south, while still being in the same neighborhood.

2)  A lot of attention goes into the lush greenery around the complex, which sets it apart from many other developments.

3)  Cannery Park, its open space, and small playground and picnic area are next door.  And high school students in this complex go to Homestead High School which was rated 10 out of 10 statewide by the California Department of Education in 2006.

4)  It's only a few minutes' drive from Belmont Terrace to Downtown Mountain View and Downtown Sunnyvale, in addition to 101, 85, 237, 280 and Central Expressway.  The Caltrain Station in Downtown Sunnyvale is about one mile away.

Weaknesses

1)  The Belmont Terrace HOA fees are slightly more expensive than those for the Gardens and Expressions complexes, even though the square footage per unit is generally smaller.

2)  Many units have a narrow feel to them on the inside, particularly where fireplaces and their flues protrude from the walls.

3)  Patios, typically located outside the front entrances, are more like throwbacks to old-style porches where people might gather and watch the neighbors.  The ones at Belmont Terrace don't offer any privacy.

Opportunities

1)  The cost of townhomes is in the lower mid-range of the homes in this area.  From a real estate standpoint, I generally prefer homes that aren't the most or least expensive in the area because they don't encounter as much resistance going up and don't face the same possibility of erosion at the low end.

2)  Successful redevelopment of Downtown Sunnyvale, only a mile away, will increase the demand for and number of local destinations from the Expressions of Sunnyvale complex.

3)  In 2007, Sunnyvale was rated the second safest city in California.  According to the private research firm Morgan Quinto, Sunnyvale ranked in the top 25 safest cities across the U.S. from 2000 to 2006.  315 cities were included in the report.

Threats

1)  If HOA costs increase, they'll be considered very expensive relative to neighboring complexes and the services provided.

2)  Several low-end condominiums in a complex one block down and one block over on California Ave. are still on market after several months.  Those one bathroom condos are the lowest cost homes in the area and don't directly compete with Belmont Terrace, but that complex is likely to see some erosion in pricing.

3)  Downtown Sunnyvale redevelopment hit a snag after discovery that some water cleanup will be needed.  Water issues and such aren't new to Silicon Valley, where they're actually pretty common.  But it's not news residents want to hear.

Schools and School District Information for Belmont Terrace

Since school boundaries and availability may change based on enrollment needs and population shifts, it is always a good idea to check with the local school district (Sunnyvale School District, Fremont Union High School District) for the latest information.

1)  Vargas Elementary School (see ratings and parent opinions).  California Distinguished School.

2)  Sunnyvale Middle School (see ratings and parent opinions).  National Blue Ribbon School.

3)  Homestead High School (see ratings and parent opinions).  Rated 10 out of 10 statewide by California Department of Education in 2006.

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