General Area in Palo Alto>Question Details

Jason Meresm…, Both Buyer and Seller in San Francisco, CA

Are there any bargains left in Palo Alto (e.g. - under $1 mil)? If so, which particular streets?

Asked by Jason Meresman, San Francisco, CA Fri Oct 23, 2009

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Grace Morioka (408-426-1616)’s answer
Hello Marcy and thanks for you note.

I am speaking only from personal experience that my clients have all (for the past four years) found the best bargains in Palo Alto and surrounding areas in early January. Course, that's just my experience. However, Jason, I will say that all my buyers were still actively looking in December and put in their offers in January to close by the end of January or the first part of February. So, Marcy is correct that you should still be looking at the end of the year.

Grace Morioka, SRES, E-Pro
Area Pro Realty
Tel 408-426-1616
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Oct 25, 2009
While I often agree with Grace, this time I would have to say that as far as Palo Alto goes I do not agree that Jan is the time for bargins. that may be true in other markets, but not here. You will get your best prices at the end of theyear, Nov and Dec, or else in August. By Jan there are many more buyers on the market and for us it is the spring market as many families are trying to buy before the early Feb school registration.
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0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 23, 2009
Hello Jason and thanks for your question.

As the others have mentioned, there are 10 homes priced at under $1 million currently listed in Palo Alto; however, none of these appear to be improperly priced or priced as a bargain. In most cases, there are reasons why the homes were priced below $1 million.

If you are looking for a good home that is reasonably priced, then experience would dictate that this home may be best found in January. Typically--well, at least for me for the past four years--I've found home inventory picking up the first part of January and homeowners being a tad more receptive to price adjustments at that time. However, if you're looking for a real "bargain" where the price is outrageously low, I fear that even with the influx of foreclosure homes, you'll be unlikely to find such a home in areas that are still considered highly desirable by buyers, such as Palo Alto, Los Altos, Sunnyvale and Cupertino.

Good luck!! Give us a shout if you need any help!

Grace Morioka, SRES, e-Pro
Area Pro Realty
Tel (408) 426-1616
Specializing in Sunnyvale, Cupertino, Palo Alto, Los Altos
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 23, 2009
Hi Jason,
It's a little difficult to quantify a real estate purchase as a 'bargain', as most properties reflect the market and tend to be within a limited range when compared to similar properties in similar areas at a similar time.
If you're looking at a comparison between a property's price 18 months ago compared to it's price now, then it will probably look like a baragin. If you compare the property to others currently available it may not.
That is not to say that there isn't an opportunity to get a 'good deal' just now. Some sellers are highly motivated, and will negotiate more in the current market, so you may well do better than other times. Combine this with the seasonal effects of the holiday period and it may well work in your favor. Being in position to achieve this 'good deal' will largely depend upon having available to you a full working knowledge of the market combined with excellent negotiating and people management skills.
As far as where the best prices are just now, they're generally in the same regions which have been more economical in the past - Mid-Town or South Palo Alto are going to be slightly more afforable than Downtown etc.
I'm not sure that I could honestly say that the effects are able to be quantified by individual streets, but generally a busier road is going to be more affected in a downturn than a more desirable one.

There are currently 10 properties listed under a million which are in various conditions and locations. There are also a few that are just over the million mark where effective negotiation may get you a more promising home at a price that's more attractive to you.
Another thing to bear in mind is that the Fed is considering putting a stop to their purchase of mortgage-backed securities. While this won't have much effect immediately, it will mean that interest rates start to normalize a little more, so money will cost more by about the middle of Spring. Will this push prices down? That's a tough question to answer. The consensus is that normal seasonal influences will counteract the interest rate rise, but that's once again a determination that each individual should make for themselves.
Phew! I intended to write a few quick words for you, and now look what happened!
I'd be happy to discuss the market with you more, but I'd suggest we talk in person rather than my bending the ears (or eyes) of every participant in this forum.
(650) 917 4259, if you're interested.
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0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 23, 2009
Marcy is totally correct - waiting for foreclosures in Palo Alto will be a long wait. Most desirable Peninsula communities like Palo Alto Menlo Park San Carlos etc have very few foreclosures. You will find more foreclosures in lower cost and less desirable areas. If you want Palo Alto, find a local agent who knows the Palo Alto market, and work with that person.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 23, 2009
Allyson said wait till next year because banks are going to release more REO's then. This year there have been 4 foreclosed homes for sale in Palo Alto. None of them sold at true bargin prices for the location or condition. They were good deals, but not steals. Even if REOs doubled in Palo Alto that would mean 8 homes next year. Not enough to make a dent in the average price in Palo Alto. Also, there is now a push by banks to make deals on short sales. They are less expensive for the bank and the process is beginning to be streamlined. So, if anything I think you are more likely to see more short sales in PA next year than REOS.
All of that being said, the best deals are on busy streets or near the train. Also, probate and trust sales can sometimes be a good deal because in these instances the seller is going to sell to settle an estate. They will sell for what the market will bare, which is sometimes much less than what a live owner will accept.
As for less expensive neighborhoods, Ventura tends to be less expensive than other parts of PA with south Palo Alto in the flood zone coming in next as far as affordibility.
Hope that helps!
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0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 23, 2009
The best bargains are the ones no one else is looking at. One of the things I do for my clients is door knock the streets where potential homes for them might be. Look at the ones who have notice of default filed and such, takes time but produces some great results.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 23, 2009
Hi Jason,
Wait another year to buy, save another 20% on the price. Good Luck
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 23, 2009
Hi Jason
There are 10 single family homes priced under $1M in Palo Alto at the present time.
Some are on busy or noisy streets - Middlefield and Park Ave.
Two are in College Terrace - a great Palo Alto neighborhood and the balance are in south Palo Alto or Midtown.
My blog site has a super map-based mls search, check it out!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 23, 2009
Hi Jason,
I checked there are about 10 properties on the MLS listed for under a million, nothing really stands out as a " bargain". If I were you I would wait until after the first of the year. I'm changing my tune from earlier posts based on the fact that I spoke with a bank manager friend of mine at B of A yesterday, ( I believe that B of A which bought out Countrywide has the most reo's in the pipe line ) and he told me there will be a marked increase in REO'S next year, they have not been releasing many reo's recently, but next year they will. This will have the effect of depressing prices further so I believe if you wait you will be able to pick up the bargain you are looking for. Keep tracking the market until then. I see that you are a seller also? If so sell now and rent until the market again stablizes.
As always if you need help with a search or have any questions feel free to contact me.
DRE# 01397256
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 23, 2009
I'm a realtor in Bend, Oregon, but my sister in-law is a realtor on the Peninsula and I'm sure she'd be happy to help you look for a bargain in Palo Alto. Her name is Celeste Pagan with Carlmont Associates. Her number is 650-759-2097. I hope this helps!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 23, 2009
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