Hello Sri and thanks for your question.
You are very wise to recognize that school districts have a significant impact on housing prices and buyer desirability in the market. If the townhome in which you are interested in purchasing is located in portions of the Santa Clara School District, Cupertino School District or Cherry Chase/Cumberland School Districts, then the schools are very good and the resale value of the homes--whether townhome or single family detached home--are excellent. On the other hand, the areas of Sunnyvale where land is available and many new homes are being built (near 101) do not necessarily boast school districts with high API scores, and so home buyers here are often more attracted to buy based on a good commute and on the desirability of new housing with updated interiors and housing layout.
As to your question about resale, if the school district in some of the outlying sections of Sunnyvale does not significantly improve, it can have a negative effect on both the ROI of the home as well as the length of time to sell the property in the short term (5 year window). In the longer term, however, it's likely that even a poorer school district will afford the home seller profit if the home is purchased now while prices are at some of their lowest levels in years.
As for condos or attached homes in planned developments, I cannot completely agree that condos and planned developments are the first types of homes to lose value. In general, condos and attached product in planned developments--due to their lower price point--tend not to lose as much money in the beginning as do their more expensive single family detached counterparts at the start of a downturn in the economy. However, should the economic downturn deepen, as we've seen in the past few years, the cost of single family homes drops so low that many "would-be" condo buyers will switch over to purchasing single family homes and THIS causes condos to plummet in value. However, during economic recovery or times when the economy is booming, condos and attached planned developments are often the homes that see the MOST gain in value from a percentage basis, because the entry level home buyer can no longer afford the single family detached home.
I hope this helps. If you need any assistance in buying a new home, feel free to contact me. Remember, you will need to bring an agent with you to REGISTER at any new townhome comiplex prior to viewing the home in order for the developer to allow you to use an agent in your home purchase!
And, just a reminder, I'm as concerned about schools and school performance as you are, which is why I'm pledging to donate up to $100,000 to public schools from my commissions this year. If you'd like to help make a difference for schools in your area, call me!
Grace Morioka, SRES
Area Pro Realty