A quick look at Fremont provides an interesting comparison to Newark. Those areas in Fremont with high school scores have maintained decent property values in spite of the recent market declines. Mission San Jose is a great example. Newark simply does not school scores on par with those in Fremont. Why is this an issue? Due to the fact that those looking to locate their children in good school districts will simply not look in Newark. This accounts for up to 50% of the current buying population. When up to half of homebuyers will not buy in a specific geographical area, it becomes a matter of supply and demand economics: prices go down.
Although Newark is a wonderful place to live, all of the elementary schools empty into one junior high and one senior high school. Even though we have a couple of elementary schools with API scores over 800 (the magic number), the Jr. and Sr. high API numbers are driven down by merging all the schools. The Newark City Council is very aware of this issue and how it is affecting home values in the city. Iâ€™ve personally discussed the issue with Mayor Dave Smith and submitted documentation to the city council. The NUSD school board is also working very hard to rectify the situation. Unfortunately, it is not a problem with a quick fix.
A quick study of home prices at The Lake will bear this out. The Lake is an awesome community with upscale homes and wonderful amenities. However, while comparable neighborhoods in Fremont have held their own, Lake prices in Newark have plummeted and homes are typically on the market much longer than in comparable Fremont neighborhoods.
Does this make Newark a depressed area? You be the judge. What is true, however, is that Newark has been hit harder by the market fluctuations than surrounding cities. This is not only true now; it was also true when the market was increasing. While Fremont homes were increasing in value by double digits just a few short years ago, Newarkâ€™s numbers lagged far Fremont, Union City and Milpitas. It was this exponential difference in appreciation that first alerted us to how Newark school scores were affecting property values.
School scores not an issue for you? If not, Newark is a wonderful community with some very attractive home prices in comparison to surrounding cities. Might be a great time for you to check it out!
So, to answer the question, NO Newark is not a depressed area.
I own property in Newark, CA and have seen a decline in market value of about $20,000 where I have the property. Other areas have been affected the same way, but that is not to say that buyers will offer $20,000 less than the asking price. They will probably go for blood and offer way below asking price, but that is not to say the sellers will accept.
Anyway, Newark, by all standards is not depressed. I've seen depressed areas in San Jose. Certain parts of Oakland have always been down and steady, but values continue to remain steady or enjoy slow increases, but I would not classify Oakland as "depressed". Newark is far from "depressed".
When an area is depressed, I'll know.
If you've been in your home (if in Newark) for awhile to accumulate some equity and you want or need to sell, you should consider selling at the next earliest opportunity because the values in Newark are slowly sliding, not rapidly falling like certain areas where the decrease has been dramatic. Such areas are Fremont, Antioch and Discovery Bay.
Newark is quite small and there have not been many short sales, foreclosures or bank-owned taking place, but they are out there. If you are buying, as you've indicated you are a buyer, Newark, is no more than 5 miles from Fremont (a very popular location) and extremely convenient to Menlo Park and Palo Alto. It is about half an hour from San Jose (quite close to the Great Mall and Great America). I would recommend Newark as a place to buy because it's city living but feels like the country.
Feel free to write a follow-up question.