But it's not only jobs,- the city itself has transformed. The downtown is now extremely popular and is a hot destination on Friday and Saturday nights. Younger people want to live near it or within walking distance. (Decades ago the downtown was really a dead spot). The homes around downtown were typically built in the 40's and early 50's and today are very much sought after due to proximity to employers like Google as well as their "cool" location, leading to the prices you are seeing.
Good luck with your search. I know it must be frustrating to see today's prices vs what they were when you left. If I can help you in any way feel free to give me a call.
The average price for a Mountain View home is about $1.4M
The average price for a Palo Alto or Los Altos home is roughly $2.3M
Top 2 agent nationwide at Keller Williams Realty, the nations largest
Over 20 years experience
Over 1,000 homes sold in Santa Clara County and San Mateo County