There is a very simple reason for the difference in prices, and here it is...the schools.
A portion of West San Jose located near Stevens Creek and portions of Santa Clara in the 95051 area along Stevens Creek or bordering Stevens Creek and Lawrence Expressway are priced a little less than surrounding Cupertino Union School District (CUSD) homes because of the elementary school and middle schools--Eisenhower and Hyde. Although Eisenhower is a good school and I have first hand knowledge of the dedication of their teachers, its Star scores and API have it placed at second to the bottom in terms of school scores in the CUSD district. Similarly, Hyde suffers from lower scores too. As a result, the homes in the areas feeding into these two schools suffer slightly.
By comparison, the sections of West San Jose near 85 and by Saratoga Sunnyvale/De Anza Boulevard have Lawson Elementary and Lynbrook High School--both excellent schools with good APIs. The CUSD section of Sunnyvale in 94087 has West Valley Elementary and Cupertino Middle School, both excellent schools. And the area within Cupertino that qualifies for the Mandarin Language Immersion School can garner even higher prices than surrounding, equally attractive, Cupertino homes.
One of the primary reasons for moving to Cupertino or sections of San Jose and Sunnyvale and Santa Clara is to ensure that your children can attend Cupertino Schools. Because some schools are slightly better than others in terms of API scores, those sections with a higher scored school benefit while the other sections suffer slightly.
I hope this answers your question. For more information regarding CUSD school scores, check out their website at http://www.cupertino.k12.ca.us
Grace Morioka, SRES, e-Pro
Area Pro Realty
Schools are a major factor in home prices. Cupertino school district and fremont high school district have multiple schools and some are more attractive (have highr API scores) than others. You need to know exactly what school is for the home you're interested in. The other point you need to be aware of is price per sf. If two homes, say in cupertino and santa clara have the same exact schools, they most likely will have the same or similar price per sf.
Hope this helps.
There could be a couple of reasons. Have you driven through the neighborhood where the houses 200-300K less are? Every area has pockets where homes do not have the pride of ownership, even though they lie within an area with good schools. Because some schools have experienced over crowding, having the address does not necessarily mean your child will be attending a Cupertino school. Check with the school district about exact assignments.
We are seeing banks drop prices low on foreclosed properties. Sometimes 5-10% under market. This attracts multiple offers and when it is all said and done, the house many times is within 3% of market. So if these homes are short sales or bank owned properties you may see the difference in price. Without knowing the addresses you are comparing it is hard to give you more specific reasons.
Many of the flat tops off Woodhams area are Mackays rather than Eichlers. A notable distinction for those in the know.
The price differential also takes in to account the average household income in the various communities you mentioned and 95051 tends to be on the lower end of the spectrum. It is a wonderful area with great schools.
In a similar fashion, X the street from this neighborhood, there are 3BR2BA townhouses in 95129 that feed to the same good schools and run under $700K (they also have two car garages and very low HOAs that only pay for the guard).
So these are two ways you can get into top Cupertino schools without paying the $900K normal pricing for a basic home. Very bright of you to find it! I have sold maybe 4-5 homes in this area and all of my clients are very happy with the schools and where they live.
I don't see a downside as long as you like the house and the neighborhood. I can see an upside potential since the CUSD attendance zones in Santa Clara that fall outside of the prime Cupertino and Sunnyvale areas have seen a bit more softening, and should pick up again when the market rebounds. In the meantime you will enjoy lower ownership and tax costs. A nice dividend!
If you are looking for Eichler-style, I believe I am familiar with the area you are seeking. Are you looking off Woodhams?
Good luck in your search!