Menlo Park Real Estate Prices Jump

Menlo Park Real Estate Prices Jump

Menlo Park

As reported in Bloomberg Businessweek, prices in Menlo Park are rising as inventory remains small.  The rest of the nation is tuning in on what is happening in our bubble of the world.

Here is an excerpt from the article which as published today.  Facebook Inc. (FB) (FB)’s Silicon Valley (MXWO0IT) hometown has a limited supply of real estate available for its newly minted millionaires as sellers await further price gains in a market buoyed by growing wealth from technology businesses.

Home listings in Menlo Park, California, a leafy town about 30 miles (48 kilometers) south of San Francisco, fell 9 percent in the year through April compared with the same time in 2011, data from MLS Listings Inc. show. The number of new properties coming to the market decreased for the eighth time in 12 months.

The initial public offering of the world’s biggest social network, which raised $16 billion on May 17, is contributing to surging real estate demand in Silicon Valley’s tech enclaves and bolstering values amid scarce inventory. The median price of a home sold in Menlo Park jumped 8.5 percent to $1.19 million in the first quarter, according to research firm DataQuick.

“The market was already hot, and now there’s more pent-up demand,” said Jim Harrison, chief executive officer of MLS Listings, a Sunnyvale, California-based publisher of home listings for San Mateo and Santa Clara counties in the heart of the Valley. “Buyers are going nuts, but sellers are holding back.”

Facebook, which has fallen (FB) 22 percent since its IPO, is only one factor fueling wealth creation, said Michael Dreyfus, founder of Dreyfus Properties, a brokerage with offices in Menlo Park and the neighboring city of Palo Alto. Hiring at Apple Inc. and Google Inc., as well as law and finance firms, has yielded a “very broad-based and healthy” surge in real estate, he said on Bloomberg Television’s ’’Bottom Line’’ on May 23.

‘Savvy’ Sellers
A “savvy bunch of sellers” has purposely kept their homes off the market in desirable areas in anticipation of the IPO, Dreyfus said. Listings haven’t been this scarce at this time of year since 2005, when house prices neared peak values, said Theresa Dreike, an MLS Listings spokeswoman.

“With so many people looking and so few homes available, the market is squeezed and sellers can get whatever they want,” said Stephanie Seeger, 39. She and her husband bid $86,000 over the asking price to win a four-bedroom home with about 2,300 square feet (214 square meters) in Menlo Park’s Willows neighborhood. The $1.88 million purchase is scheduled to close today, she said.

Across the U.S., a scarcity of homes for sale is boosting property values, from foreclosure-stricken Florida and Arizona to more robust markets in Texas and coastal California. Home listings totaled 2.54 million in April, the lowest for the month since 2005, according to National Association of Realtors.

Waiting It Out
In hard-hit areas, people who owe more than their homes are worth, known as negative equity, are crimping supply by refusing to unload their property at a loss, said Stan Humphries, chief economist of Seattle-based real estate service Zillow Inc. Sellers in Silicon Valley, on the other hand, are motivated by maximizing price and can afford to wait as job growth and the economy improve, he said.

Home values in the U.S. should be “modestly stronger” by the end of the year, rising about 3 percent, Barclays Plc analysts in New York said in a May 23 note. All nine regions in a Federal Housing Finance Agency housing index showed price gains in March. The gauge climbed 2.7 percent from a year earlier, the biggest increase since November 2006.

“You’ve got a lot of people with negative equity who want to sell but can’t, and people in affluent areas choosing not to sell,” Humphries said in an interview. “A pattern of materially stronger demand is emerging, but there’s a big constraint on supply.”

Cupertino, Palo Alto
In Cupertino, home to Apple (AAPL) (AAPL), inventory this year through April fell 15 percent, and new listings dropped for the 10th time in 12 months, MLS Listings said. Prices climbed 2 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier to $1.1 million, according to San Diego-based DataQuick. In Facebook’s former home of Palo Alto, adjacent to Stanford University, new listings declined for the 11th month, and prices jumped 22 percent to $1.6 million.

Facebook announced in February 2011 that it would move to an empty Menlo Park office campus in a lease deal that was the area’s largest in 20 years. The 1 million-square-foot complex, dubbed 10 Hacker Way, was followed by a $250 million renovation that’s still under way. About 2,400 employees work there.

This article shows that luxury real estate is alive and well in the area.  Even thought the Facebook IPO has not gone as expected, many Facebookers cashed out some of their shares before the IPO and still made their money, while another group has to wait 6 months to sell, and hopefully the price will have rebounded by then.


Woodside Luxury Estate Auction: Was $21 Million Dollar Property

Woodside Luxury Estate Auction: Was $21 Million Dollar Property

Something kind of exciting will be happening in Mid June – the auction of a luxury home in Woodside.  The home was originally priced at $21 million dollars, but the auction will have a starting bid of $7.9 million or you can do a “buy it now” before the auction starts for $12.95 million.

The home is named “Le Soleil” and is a spectacular estate on five acres that has almost 13,000 square feet with 7 bedrooms, beautiful pool, gardens, terraces etc.  Basically, everything you would expect for a 21 million dollar home. This is luxury real estate at its finest.

The cool thing is that the auction will take place entirely on line with potential bidders from around the world.  The entire bidding process will take less than two hours to complete and somebody will then have a luxury home worth millions of dollars more than they paid for it.  Not quite like a Facebook IPO, but still a potential to make millions.

If you are interested to sign up as a bidder or get more information, shoot me an email or phone call and I can connect you with the auction company.  It should be interesting to watch as I have never seen an on line auction of a home at such a high price.

Facebook IPO Update

Facebook IPO Update

Shelley Palmer gives a nice overview of the Facebook IPO and what is happening.

Friday saw the long awaited IPO of Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) and it failed to live up to the hype they got over the past year.  Shares of Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) closed up only 23 cents after hitting $40+ mid-day.  Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) did set a record for trading volume but the huge share float combined with huge retail investor presence, made institutional investors pass on the stock.

During this IPO, there were certainly winners and losers.  The winners were Mark Zuckerberg, Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (NYSE:GS) and the brokerage firms.  The losers were NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:NDAQ) and Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS), and retail investors.

Lets start with Mark  Zuckerberg first.  This past week has been huge for the Facebook founder.  First, he celebrated his birthday, Facebook’s IPO and his marriage to long time girlfriend, Priscilla Chan.  Zuckerberg has received some criticism over his wedding, which was the day after the IPO, because of the “lack of sensitivity” for shareholders.  The bottom line here is that the Facebook CEO is not only a lot more rich but he is married now also. We hope he signed a pre-nup agreement.

The brokers made a lot of money on the trading. According to TD Ameritrade Holding Corp. (AMTD), Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) made up 22% of all the brokerage’s trading volume on Friday. This means a lot of money for the firms from traders buying and selling of the stock.

Goldman Sachs is rarely a loser, it seems, when it comes to IPOs and other funding ventures.  According to the SF Gate, Goldman made $1.09 billion from selling its stake on the IPO date.  Goldman was an underwriter for the deal which made them stand to make a lot of money.  If the investment bank sells its remaining 4.3 million shares, they could be looking at an additional $1 billion in profits.

Moving on to the “loser” side of the spectrum, the Nasdaq embarrassed itself on Friday, after the IPO was delayed due to mechanical failure.  Unfortunately, the system was overloaded with orders of Facebook and it simply just stopped confirming orders.  This certainly played a role in the IPO’s failure as a number of high-priced orders never went through by the time the closing bell sounded.  The SEC has said they will be looking into more details of the software failure that occurred last Friday.

Retail investors were also losers. Even though the IPO price was $38 the stock opened at approximately (different numbers) $43 a share. Any retail investor who bought Facebook shares on the open at the time of this writing have a 23% loss in less than a full day of trading, not a great annualized return.

Last but not least, Morgan Stanley.  The main underwriter of the deal certainly got the worst of the deal as the investment bank bought sizeable amounts of Facebook towards the end of the day to keep the price from falling through the IPO price of $38.  Luckily, the $38 level held and Morgan Stanley successfully completed its job.  Unfortunately, Facebook is down 11% today which gives Morgan Stanley a hefty loss on the trades.

The bottom line, Facebook’s IPO was a failure and continues to get worse today as the price was in full free fall.  Zuckerberg and Goldman made it out on top but Nasdaq and Morgan Stanley especially have some new problems that need to be dealt with fast.

My Contact Information

Gary Kurtz
BRE# 01710776

Kathy Kurtz
BRE# 01876966

HOM Sotheby's International Realty
1200 Newport Center Drive, # 100
Newport Beach, CA 92660

949.565.5201 (cell)
949.478.7769 (office)
650.796.5507 (Silicon Valley #)

Contact me now with any questions:

Kurtz Real Estate Group

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