The others are correct. Empty land is scarce here, so new communities will almost certainly be densely packed. Even if they did build single-family, most likely they will be very close to each other and still have a monthly HOA fee.
Right now, none of these areas are slated for single family homes or residences, and there is unlikely to be any new single family homes built within Sunnyvale for a long time.
Land acquisition costs within Sunnyvale (as well as Mountain View and other parts of the Peninsula) are so incredibly high, and the need for housing units so great, that developers are almost "forced" (often by City zoning and planning departments) into making dense housing versus making single family homes.
Keep in mind the following:
1. Developers make more money per square foot of land by making dense housing. In an acre of land, for example, you can build 7 homes with lots of about 6000 square feet each (I am, of course, assuming a non-zero lot community). After building costs, land acquisition, planning, permits and expert fees, you'd need to sell a new home here for about $2,000,000 each in order for the developer to make enough money to build here and that would only gross about $14 million when its done--not much incentive for a builder given all the attendant costs and risks. Thus, its not economically feasible to build homes at this cost in Sunnyvale.
2. On the other hand, in the same 1 acre property, a developer can build 26 townhome units with a foot print of 1200 sq ft. These same 26 units would cost, say $650,000 each. Not only is the entry price for each home lower and more affordable for buyers, the gross value of the project for the developer is $16.9 million.
3. Every city wants a larger "resident" base, because more residents means more taxes, more income, more spending, more votes. As a City, would you prefer 7 new homes or 26 new homes? Politically and economically, a city will opt for the 26 homes and the larger number of available taxpayers each time a decision of this type comes up.
While I know it's everyone's dream to purchase a single family, stand alone, no walls attached NEW home in Northern California, the lack of available building land, and the costs to build such a property simply make this type of construction not feasible for most developers or buyers. This is the reason why--if you want to live in Sunnyvale--buyers are willing to pay $1.3 million (plus) for a larger lot, an older home and a desirable school district.
The best thing to remember is that, whether buying a single family home or the condo/townhome, buying the best home you can afford in a desirable area will help you build equity necessary to eventually purchase a single family home later on.
Allison James Estates & Homes
Born, raised, live and work right here in Sunnyvale.