When I referred to old money, this term does not refer to the age of the people but how long the people have come come upon money. New money as in recently acquired and the values that go along with it. I am attempting to be politically correct.
It is an area of supply and demand. Currently the supply is far greater that the demand for homes. It is my understanding there is some current litigation with the HOA there.
Blackhawk was built as an upscale gated community with many CC&R's, rules and regulations. It has had it's share of ups and downs. The people who flocked to this development were of "New Money" and Blackhawk catered to the nuevo riche! It is tucked away and near Mt. Diablo and close enough to conveniences. At one time it was called "Disneyland North" due to it's ambiance.
Many buyers like the feel of Danville, Alamo, Diablo and some prefer the westside of Danville. It all boils down to personal preferences. My guess is some of the "poo poo" comes from the attitude of the occupants.
The development is newer, provides an upscale area and it is pleasant to drive around. Lamorinda has older homes nestled in the hills and attracts many buyers due to their schools. It is very difficult to beat the schools in Lamorinda.
Hope this helps clarify and I would be glad to answer any further questions for you.
By the way there are 45 homes currently for sale in Blackhawk and some really great buys if this is the community you want to live in.
Are you talking about the home on 170 Cottonwood Lane in Blackhawk.
As for Blackhawk, I work in Blackhawk and have been a resident since 1997. I have found it to be a friendly, fun and beautiful place to live and work. As country club members, there are lots of activities to participate in, from golf, swimming, tennis to joining individual activity groups. You can join as social members only, or as tennis, swim or golf members. Blackhawk Women has culinary activities, a book club, games such as Bunco and Mah-Jong and bus trips to SF to enjoy plays or shopping, etc. Even if you don't join the country club, you will find that Blackhawk has a wonderful feeling of community. As a realtor, when I drive clients through the gates of Blackhawk for the first time, they are awestruck. They always comment on how absolutely beautiful and well-maintained it is.
The real estate market here is just like anywhere else in the east bay. If a home is well-priced it will sell. Prices here have come down substantially making Blackhawk more affordable for people who never thought they could afford to live in a lovely gated community. I think it is the east bay's best value!
Blackhawk has had its ups and downs. If you're a golfer, Blackhawk is a place you'd definitely want to consider with two nice courses. The older of the two underwent a major face lift in 2001.
The age of Blackhawk residents is a little bit older than Danville proper, but not much. Surprisingly, the % of houses with kids is just about the same as in Danville proper. Friends who live there, however, tell me that even with lots of families with kids, Blackhawk just isn't a family friendly community. You'll notice just about no sidewalks. Very few parks. Just not much in the way of kids activities.
There are no public schools in Blackhawk - all the kids go to the excellent SRV schools. There is one private school - Athenian for grades 6 to 12 - in Danville right on the edge of Blackhawk.
Some of the neighborhoods are getting pretty long in the tooth, dating back to the early 80's. You can start to see some places where the owners just haven't kept up with maintenance.
Overall, not as snooty as Diablo (a much older, smaller and more expensive community). If you want family friendly golf living, maybe look at Roundhill too? No question these types of communities command a premium, even as prices are falling, the premium will still be there. So if you're not interested in golf, you might want to look elsewhere.
I did hear about the litigation with the HOA's, but I am not sure how that would affect buying a home in Blackhawk.
I prefer an area with newer money because the people are younger and keep their properties updated and nice.
What ups and downs has blackhawk had?
Mortgage Rates Lowâ€”Credit Rules High
Mortgage levels are at the lowest since the 1940â€™s but credit scrutiny is stringent. Credit scores are of paramount importance and can and should be repaired if necessary. The low rates are due, in part, to the Federal Reserveâ€™s program of buying 1.25 trillion in mortgage-backed securities, which is scheduled to conclude in March, 2010, with little likelihood of renewal (according to Fed Leaders). If rates increase to near 6% in the Spring, a $300,000 mortgage would cost $225.00 more a month than current levels. This forecast along with tax credit considerations should motivate potential buyers to act sooner rather than later.
Prices have not been this low in Blackhawk in many years. Now is the right time to buy in this lovely gated community with two golf courses. With interest rates at historic lows, the combination of low prices and low interest rates can get you into a lovely gated tranquil community. If forclosures are what you are interested in, there are only a few. Contact me,
Jim Parlanti, J. Rockcliff Realtors, at 925.998.3138. We specialize in the Blackhawk area.
Your question, once again, is about Blackhawk. As a Realtor, I live there, work there and play there. The variation in HOA fees are specific to certain neighborhoods. The basic HOA fee is $170 per month which includes the guarded gates, security patrols,and the open spaces. The development is a country club community in a rural setting with shopping nearby. Schools are exceptional as are the many community programs for all age groups.
The upscale market in all areas has slowed and great prices are available. Blackhawk is no exception. Great neighbors are always welcomed.
We initially considered Orinda and Lafayette -- the former seems too hilly and latter did not have any unique character. Whereas the city of Danville itself prides itself on a small town feel, decent food options and a variety of retail. They also have a fabulous library. There is a emphasis on being nice and decent (something easily forgotten in these fast, changing times).
We love Blackhawk!!
I see you are still looking. Lafayette, Orinda and, to some extent, Moraga are all about proximity to San Francisco. The schools are great and the commute to SF is quicker than from Danville/Blackhawk/Alamo, especially during commute hours. My wife and I enjoy trips to SF also but we do not go every day. Unless you work in SF and will be commuting daily, I would put your lifestyle desires first.. Danville/Blackhawk/Alamo have excellent schools and ... perhaps .... the lifestyle you appear to be seeking. Trips to the city on a weekly/monthly basis are not lengthy, especially in non-commute hours. Hope this helps.
I just think Lafayette for the most part is ugly and run down. It simply is not maintained and their are no rules to force the people there to maintain their properties. I just dont get it when the average price of a home is 1.3MM there.
This reply may be too late for you to decide on a location to live but for many, it may be the perfect time. As a real estate broker, I've lived, worked and played in Blackhawk for the past 22 years. It's always a great pleasure to show prospective buyers this lifestyle community. If you have any questions about the community, the country club or home pricing, please e-mail me or give me a call. In addition, my website has a Visual Tour of Blackhawk for you to preview including brief descriptions of the two championship golf courses. You will find me a real advocate for this community and the Blackhawk lifestyle.
We have narrowed down our choices to Lafayette(which still looks like a junkyard to me) and Alamo. I would definitely pick Blackhawk over both places if it had more amenities and was closer to the city.
This RE blog focuses on Alamo, Danville, Blackhawk and close-by communities. Her opinion is similar to mine from several months ago...
"Blackhawk, which has suffered a more severe buyerâ€™s market than the rest of Danville (and the reason I look at it separately), had five homes sell last week, the number of homes pending grew, and the inventory dipped. Itâ€™s only a single week, hopefully the trend will continue and the Blackhawk market will improve. You may wonder why Blackhawk homes arenâ€™t selling as well as the rest of Danvilleâ€¦my opinion is that those homes have all reached a certain age and many of them donâ€™t have very large lots. Many do have wonderful large lots, but a great many of them are zero-lot lines or just smallish lots. Land, above all, holds value. As the homes become â€œdatedâ€ they become hard to sell without a large lot to give it value."
There is a house in Alamo asking 1.350MM that has dry rot, no garage and other problems. It has been for sale for months.
Families that want to buy in Alamo are often going to be buyers who don't mind the thought of a fixer-upper - they'll turn a eyesore into a gorgeous place in a year or two. They will like the rural feel, but also like being close to the freeway (though there are some newer Alamo neighborhoods east and far from the freeway too) and downtown Walnut Creek. And they want the larger lots.
Personally, yes, I do think prices will come down in these areas - but take it with a grain of salt when anyone who tells you prices will definitely go up or definitely come down.
I don't want to come off harsh vs. realtors - I've worked with quite a few excellent ones over the years - but just remember that they are salespeople and have a vested interest in convincing sellers and buyers that prices will go up, same with mortgage brokers. One only need to look at the last two years of history of statements from the NAR to see how well they do on economic forecasting for the housing market (summary: pretty badly).
My advice would be to stay on top of the local market conditions with the help of a realtor, but do research yourself as well on local, state and national trends. IMO, there are just too many trends that point to further downward adjustment needed - the number of foreclosures and bank-owned properties in these areas seems to be growing substantially, inventory is high, downward price adjustments on existing inventory is common, many places just never sold last season and are now rentals, and resale house prices are just too much of a premium (vs. historical trends) over rental costs.
IMO, in any of the communities along 680 and 24 you'll find your share of run down places - San Ramon, Danville, Alamo, Lafayette, etc. all have neighborhoods that are 30+ years old. I don't doubt that the lower end of Blackhawk neighborhoods will be just like Roundhill or Crow Canyon Country club in another 10 or so years - you know, long time owners who haven't updated. You can see it already in some of the older and less expensive Blackhawk neighborhoods. You might not see beater cars in the driveways because the CCRs keep some of that in check, but you can walk through and see the interior decorating styles of the 80s ;-) Not trying to dis Blackhawk at all, it's a great choice, but you want to make sure it fits you before you pay the premium. If I was advising a friend, I'd tell them that they should look elsewhere unless they were a golfer, or were able to buy in the top-end parts of Blackhawk.
You are so right, I laugh at some of the utter junk we've seen. $1M+ asking prices for places I'd be scared to spend a night in!
What I cannot figure out is why people dont have pride of ownership up here. It is so strange that wealthy people dont take care of their properties.
This is why I felt Blackhawk was a nicer community because Im sure the HOA's make people take better care of their properties.
How do you like living in Alamo? We looked near the roundhill country club and it was pretty nice, but again, many old, unkept houses needing a lot of work.
I really dont think kids play in the street anymore like when I was growing up so I am not sure how important it will be to have babies living next door or on the same street, but it would be nice. We are having our first baby.
FINALLY, it is quite a trek to the freeway. I used to live near Blackhawk. I'd have to guess that from Blackhawk it would take at least 15 and maybe up to 25 minutes to reach 680 at Crow Canyon Road. Maybe a little faster to Diablo Road and 680 depending on where you're talking about.
And for how it's referred... Blackhawk is technically not part of Danville, it is unincorporated Contra Costa county (which poses it's own unique issues), but it does share a ZIP code with Danville (94506), so people are lax about the distinction.
I think it looks so much nicer than the old houses in Lamorinda, Alamo and westside Danville. So many of the homes in those areas are dumps.
I just cant decide if i want to live that far from SF or keep renting and wait for prices to go down some more as everyone is predicting.
Maybe agents dont like it because it is a gated community or it is far from the freeway?
I think it is nicer than Alamo too, but my concern is the property holding its value.
We are also having a baby. Are there many young families in here?