Realtor Notes on Imperial Avenue in Monta Vista, Cupertino

The Imperial Avenue townhome complex is a 56-unit development in the Monta Vista district of  Cupertino.  Originally built to be relatively inexpensive, with square footage to fit a growing family, these townhomes are still some of the least expensive homes in high-end Monta Vista.

Strengths

1)  The schools.  People will go to great lengths and expense to secure entry into Cupertino's education trifecta of Lincoln Elementary, Kennedy Middle and Monta Vista High.  With good reason given their international renown.  (As always, check school availability before making a purchasing decision.)

2)  The Imperial Ave. area is one of the least expensive neighborhoods in prestigious Monta Vista.  For families who want to move up into the Monta Vista area and gain access to its schools, this is one of the easiest entry points.

3)  The HOA has a low fee, particularly considering the value of these homes.  They do pay for the maintenance of the white picket fences that give this complex a middle-American theme.

4)  Access to 85 and 280 is trivially easy, with strong connecting access to 101.  Arguably walking distance to De Anza College.

Weaknesses

1)  The townhomes on Imperial Ave. on the same street as several auto body shops.

2)  Aside from a courtyard, there is very little green space within or around the complex.

3)  Many of the front-facing units overlook the nearby office complexes.  Inner townhomes might face the garages of others in the complex.  Many rear townhomes overlook a parking lot, which is separated from the complex by a wall.

4)  Train tracks run close by but ironically there isn't access to public transportation by train or light rail in Cupertino.

5)  Most townhomes here on Imperial are relatively thin, with 2.5 or 3 levels depending on how you look at it.  Some units have oddly positioned fireplaces whose flues (and the walls enclosing them) block what would have been open space between levels.

Opportunities

1)  Cupertino's reputation for schools builds demand for its homes.  10182 Imperial Ave. (1795 sqft.) went in 2004 for $790,000 and a unit with the same configuration, 10192 Imperial Ave. went in June 2007 for $990,000: a difference of $200,000 or 25.3%.  See threat #1 below.

2)  Being the lowest cost entry point into an internationally-desirable school district gives these homes instant and immediate marketability.

3)  It seems strange that some developer hasn't purchased the land occupied by the auto body shops, or several of the smaller homes in the neighborhood, for re-development.

4)  Nearby Blackberry Farm is planned to reopen in 2009.

Threats

1)  The reputation Cupertino has sometimes overshadows other opportunities.  For example, at the Expressions of Sunnyvale, 996 Alpine Terrace, Unit 5 (1895 sqft.) went in 2004 for $630,000 and in May 2007 for $802,000: a difference of $172,000 or 27.3%.

2)  People from out of town wouldn't think this street had a one million dollar home, much less fifty-something.

3)  If the trifecta of schools became less-desirable for some reason, this neighborhood's desirability also drop relative to others where there is less of a price premium.  However, Cupertino voters consistently choose policies that will protect their schools.  And if there were any erosion, it would take time.

Schools and School District Information for Montebello Cupertino

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 (Cupertino Union School District, Fremont Union High School District) for the latest information.

1)  Abraham Lincoln Elementary (see ratings and parent opinions).

2)  John F. Kennedy Middle (see ratings and parent opinions).

3)  Monta Vista High (see ratings and parent opinions).

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