Home » Menlo Park » Recent Articles:

Menlo Park Real Estate Market Update

March 21, 2011 Real Estate News No Comments
Menlo Park Real Estate Market Update

The median list price home in Menlo Park this week is $1,098,500.

Inventory has been lightening lately and the Market Action Index
has been trending up. Though days-on-market is increasing, these
are mildly positive indications for the market.

Supply and Demand

Home sales have been exceeding new inventory for several weeks.
While still a Buyer’s market, prices seem to have responded by
moving upward. If the demand trends continue, expect prices to
keep marching upward, especially once we see a Seller’s Market.

Market Action Index: 19 (strong buyer)
Index above 30 implies Seller’s Market conditions. Below 30, conditions favor the buyer.

Real-Time Market Profile Trend
Median List Price $ 1,098,500
Median Lot Size  6500 SF
Average Days on Market (DOM) 97
4,501Median House Size (sq ft) 1690
Median Number of Bedrooms: 3
Asking Price Per Square Foot $636

Despite this week’s down tic, price trends have generally been
moving up lately. Prices are below the market’s high point, and
so watch the Market Action Index as an indicator of how long this
trend will last.

Real Estate Statistics for Peninsula Looking Up!

Real Estate Statistics for Peninsula Looking Up!

The new second quarter statistics are in and looking pretty good.  Below are some numbers for some communities in San Mateo County. I’ll continue to make other posts for other cities in San Mateo County as well as Santa Clara County over the coming days.

Atherton real estate showed a number of sales increase by 25%, while prices on these primarily luxury homes were down only 3%. The average days on market took a big dip (which is good for sellers) as it was down 44%, which means that buyers were out in force and looking to purchase a home instead of sitting on the fence.

Menlo Park real estate also showed some gains as sales were up and prices were up.  The gains were small, but it shows that Menlo Park luxury real estate is still a viable option for buyers.  I say luxury real estate as prices are over a million dollars, even though they are quite significantly lower than the luxury homes of Atherton, which average out at almost $3.7 million dollars per home.

More statistics to come, but here is a start

Community                           Q2 2009           Q2 2010           % Change

San Mateo County
# of Sales                                 1,017                    1,178                   16%
Average Price ($000)              $897                     $964                      7%
Avg Days on Market                69                           55                  -20%
Months of Inventory                    3.1                          3.6                    16%

# of Sales                                     16                            20                    25%
Average Price ($000)         $3,788                $3,672                     -3%
Average DOM                           116                         65                    -44%
Months of Inventory                    8.0                       5.6                     -30%

Menlo Park
# of Sales                                     95                        101                        6%
Average Price ($000)         $1,324                 $1,343                        1%
Average DOM                            55                          44                    -20%
Months of Inventory                   2.2                         2.3                        5%

Redwood City
# of Sales                                     109                        151                      39%
Average Price ($000)             $744                    $804                        8%
Average DOM                               52                         49                       -6%
Months of Inventory                   3.4                         3.0                     -12%

The Rich Are Defaulting On Mortgages At Alarming Rate

The Rich Are Defaulting On Mortgages At Alarming Rate

Don’t look around at your neighbors too closely, but the well-off are losing their master suites and saying goodbye to their wine cellars.

The housing bust that began among the working class in remote subdivisions and quickly progressed to the suburban middle class is striking the upper class in privileged enclaves like the many luxury real estate towns we service along the Peninsula. Menlo Park luxury real estate, Atherton luxury real estate, it’s all in the same boat.

Whether it is their residence, a second home or a house bought as an investment, the rich have stopped paying the mortgage at a rate that greatly exceeds the rest of the population according to David Streitfeld.

More than one in seven homeowners with loans in excess of a million dollars are seriously delinquent, according to the real estate analytics firm CoreLogic. Homes priced over a million dollars are considered luxury real estate in many areas.

By contrast, homeowners with less lavish housing are much more likely to keep writing checks to their lender. About one in 12 mortgages below the million-dollar mark is delinquent.

Though it is hard to prove, the CoreLogic data suggest that many of the well-to-do are purposely dumping their financially draining properties, just as they would any sour investment.

“The rich are different: they are more ruthless,” said Sam Khater, CoreLogic’s senior economist.

As a recent example, five luxury properties in Los Altos were scheduled for foreclosure auctions in a recent issue of The Los Altos Town Crier, the weekly newspaper where local legal notices are posted. Four have unpaid mortgage debt of more than $1 million, with the highest amount $2.8 million.

Not so long ago, said Chris Redden, the paper’s advertising services director, “it was a surprise if we had one foreclosure a month.”

In Las Vegas, Ken Lowman, a longtime agent for luxury properties, said four of the 11 sales he brokered in June were distressed properties.

“I’ve never seen the wealthy hit like this before,” Mr. Lowman said. “They made their plans based on the best of all possible scenarios — that their incomes would continue to grow, that real estate would never drop. Not many had a plan B.”

The defaulting owners, he said, often remain as long as they can. “They’re in denial,” he said.

Here in Los Altos, where the median home price of $1.5 million makes it one of the most exclusive towns in the country, several houses scheduled for auction were still occupied this week. The people who answered the door were reluctant to explain their circumstances in any detail.

At one house, where the lender was owed $1.3 million, there was a couch out front wrapped in plastic. A woman said she and her husband had lost their jobs and were moving in with relatives. At another house, the family said they were renters. A third family, whose mortgage is $1.6 million, said they would be moving this weekend.

At a vacant house with a pool, where the lender was seeking $1.27 million, a raft and a water gun lay abandoned on the entryway floor.

Lenders are fearful that many of the 11 million or so homeowners who owe more than their house is worth will walk away from them, especially if the real estate market begins to weaken again. The so-called strategic defaults have become a matter of intense debate in recent months.

The delinquency rate on investment homes where the original mortgage was more than $1 million is now 23 percent. For cheaper investment homes, it is about 10 percent.

With second homes, the delinquency rate for both types of owners was rising in concert until the stock market crashed in September 2008. That sent the percentage of troubled million-dollar loans spiraling up much faster than the smaller loans.

“Those with high net worth have other resources to lean on if they get in trouble,” said Mr. Khater, the analyst. “If they’re going delinquent faster than anyone else, that tells me they are doing so willingly.”

Willingly, but not necessarily publicly. The rapper Chamillionaire is a plain-talking exception. He recently walked away from a $2 million house he bought in Houston in 2006.

“I just decided to let it go, give it back to the bank,” he told the celebrity gossip TV show “TMZ.” “I just didn’t feel like it was a good investment.”

The rich and successful often treat their homes as business investments and make decisions on their personal items in a similar way that they would for their businesses.  Bottom line decisions without the emotion that other homeowners may have towards their residences.  A default is a strategic default, not a failure.

“They may be less susceptible to the shame and fear-mongering used by the government and the mortgage banking industry to keep underwater homeowners from acting in their financial best interest,” Mr. White said.

The CoreLogic data measures serious delinquencies, which means the borrower has missed at least three payments in a row. At that point, lenders traditionally file a notice of default and the house enters the official foreclosure process.

In the current environment, however, notices of default are down for all types of loans as lenders work with owners in various modification programs. Even so, owners in some of the more expensive neighborhoods in and around San Francisco are beginning to head for the exit, according to data compiled by MDA DataQuick.

In Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and the most expensive neighborhood in adjoining Mountain View, defaults in the first five months of this year edged up approximately 10% over 2009 and over 400% from 2008.

The East Bay suburb of Orinda had eight notices of default for million-dollar properties, up from five in the same period last year. On Nob Hill in San Francisco, there were four, up from one. The Marina neighborhood had four, up from two.

The vast majority of owners in these upscale communities are still paying the mortgage, of course. But they appear to be cutting back in other ways. Many of the luxury real estate areas have downtown areas that are filled with empty storefronts, typically unusual in well to do areas.  Discretionary spending of the rich is affecting the little guys, who of course have mortgages to pay, thus the vicious circle.

But this is still Silicon Valley, where failure can always be considered a prelude to success.

In the middle of a workday, one troubled homeowner here leaned over his laptop at the kitchen table, trying to maneuver his way out from under his debt and figure out the next big thing.

His five-bedroom house, drained of hundreds of thousands of dollars of equity over the last 13 years, is scheduled for auction July 20. Nine months ago, after his latest business (he has had several) failed in what he called “the global meltdown,” the man, a technology entrepreneur, said he quit making his $9,000 monthly payments.

“I’m going to be downsizing,” he said.

The man spoke on the condition of anonymity because, he said, he did not want his current problems to interfere with his coming reinvention. “I’m a businessman,” he explained. “I have to be upbeat.”

Things seem to be turning a bit as some areas are showing nice price increases and we all have to stay upbeat and fight to keep on top, irregardless of whether you are looking to buy or sell off your luxury real estate.  If things don’t look great, just look around at your neighborhood, you’re not alone.

What Were the Final Closing Prices of Specific Homes in the Area?

What Were the Final Closing Prices of Specific Homes in the Area?

Everybody see’s listing prices of homes, but everybody usually wants to know what the house ended up selling for.  Many people out there see a house and make their own decisions whether a house is priced too high or too low and how long it will take to sell.  This section of my blog will show some of the final selling prices of homes that are interesting to track. Menlo Park, Atherton, Palo Alto, Los Altos Hills, Los Altos, Saratoga, Los Gatos and other areas in between are all on my list to publish.

If you are interested in the final selling price of a home not listed here on my blog, send me an email and I’ll do my best to post the price of the home you are following.

Just click on the category of sold prices at the top of the blog or here at home selling prices.

Menlo Park Real Estate: Recent Sale

1046 SONOMA Avenue, Menlo Park 94025

Days on Market: 7  

Property Info Detached Single Family

3 Beds, 2 Baths:   SqFt: 1,650 Yr Built / Age: 1946 / 64 years : Lot: 6,000 sq ft

List Price: $1,089,000

Sale Price: $1,140,000

Sale Date: 04/30/2010

COE Date: 06/14/2010

Comments on Home: One of a kind home. Fabulous single-level. Open floor plan. A rare sleek contemporary with warmth. Stunning for entertaining + just right for flawless living. Quality built w/extra ordinary materials+choice components such as organic finishes, stainless steel, extensive custom built cabinetry and smooth Eco friendly woods!  Menlo Park luxury real estate.

Menlo Park Home Prices Spike in February

March 20, 2010 Real Estate News No Comments
Menlo Park Home Prices Spike in February

It looks like sales are starting to jump in Menlo Park.  In what is typically a slow start to the new year, the average price for a home sold in Menlo Park in January 2010 averaged only $630,000, but jumped to an average sale price of $1,438,000 in February. This much anticipated jump in average price is a good sign that people are still looking for and buying real estate in the SF Peninsula. Menlo Park real estate is getting ready for a busy spring season.

Menlo Park Bans Smoking In Some Public Places

Menlo Park Bans Smoking In Some Public Places

Menlo Park’s City Council at its March 2 meeting passed an ordinance banning smoking in public places, including ATM lines and parking lots.

In addition to banning smoking in enclosed spaces such as restaurants and places of employment, the revised ordinance will also prohibit smoking in public parks, parking lots open to the public, places of congregation such as ATM machines and bus stops, and in common areas within multi-unit residences.

Perhaps most significantly, the ordinance declares second-hand smoke a nuisance — enabling people to take legal action against others who smoke in their vicinity, in an adjoining apartment unit, for instance.

The council approved the wording of the ordinance by a 4-1 vote, with Councilman John Boyle dissenting. The ordinance will come before the council at a later date, and will go into effect 30 days after it’s enacted.

In dissenting, Boyle said he thought the ordinance was too restrictive, and would have unintended consequences. As examples, he cited a ban on smoking in parking lots open to the public, such as the lot in front of Safeway, and a prohibition on ash trays in non-smoking areas.

“I think we shouldn’t enact legislation unless we’ve thought through it,” he said.

Bill Davis, the owner of Knickerbockers Cigars, pointed out that under the new ordinance, people would not be allowed to smoke in a patio outside his shop. Council members expressed sympathy, but decided against “grandfathering in” his shop.

The city drafted the ordinance in response to an extraordinary lobbying effort by Barbara Franklin, who decided to take up the issue after she was bothered by smoke wafting into her condominium unit from an apartment below hers. She began making presentations to the council about the dangers of secondhand smoke in late 2008, and has attended most council meetings since then, often sitting through the several hours of the meeting.

The council has received a trickle of correspondence about the issue from residents since then, with several people making nuanced arguments about how far the ordinance should go. At the meeting, the council incorporated into the ordinance several changes suggested by the California Apartment Association.

The revised ordinance will also enable the city to enforce a San Mateo County law, requiring tobacco vendors to obtain permits from the county. Some believe that requirement would decrease the incidence of vendors selling cigarettes to minors.

Million Dollar Homes Sales Drop in California

February 16, 2010 Real Estate News No Comments
Million Dollar Homes Sales Drop in California

The number of California homes that sold for $1 million-plus declined for the fourth consecutive year in 2009, the result of buyer reticence, a difficult mortgage market and several years of price drops that tugged the value of many homes below the million-dollar threshold, a real estate information service reported.

A total of 18,621 Golden State homes sold for a million dollars or more last year. That was down 23.8 percent from 24,436 in 2008. In 2007 it was 42,506; in 2006 it was 50,010; and in 2005 it peaked at 54,773. Last year was the lowest sales count since 2002, when 15,703 were sold, according to San Diego-based MDA DataQuick.

Total California home sales – including all price levels -increased 16.9 percent last year, to 460,166 from 393,703 in 2008. One in 25 homes sold for a million dollars or more last year, while the year before it was one in 16, and in 2006 it was one in nine.

“Prestige home sales are a unique sub-category of the real estate market. The buyers and sellers respond to a different set of motivations. In the multi-million-dollar price ranges, decisions are largely discretionary and aren’t as dependent upon jobs, prices and interest rates the way they are for most buyers and sellers,” said John Walsh, DataQuick president.

“Traditional million-dollar markets are holding up relatively well, while expensive markets that emerged four or five years ago are not,” he said. That puts Menlo Park real estate, Atherton luxury homes, Palo Alto mansions, Los Altos Hills real estate and other SF Peninsula real estate in a decent position.

Million-dollar home sales in Riverside County dropped 48.6 percent last year, while they dropped 13.3 percent in Los Angeles County.

Statewide, there were 332 sales for more than $5 million last year, 228 sales were in the $4-$5 million range, 590 in the $3 million range, 1,902 sales in the $2 million range, and the rest – 83 percent – between $1 million and $2 million.

About 1,900 of the homes that sold statewide last year for less than $1 million had previously sold for $1 million or more. The median date of the prior sale was April 2006; the median price decline between the 2009 sale and the previously $1 million-plus sale was about $420,000. The median percentage decline was about 35 percent.

Menlo Park Turnover Higher Than Atherton

Menlo Park Turnover Higher Than Atherton

When looking at the statistics for which cities have the highest percentage of turnover in the Bay Area, Menlo Park outpaced Atherton and many other communities for home and condo turnover for the year 2009.  The numbers are still lower than you might expect, but interesting to look at for determining which communities have the highest percentage of moving trucks throughout the year.

A couple of key cities and their turnover rates are:

Community     # of homes     Sales in 2009     Turnover %

Atherton                2,504                71                          2.84

Burlingame          7,318              195                         2.48

Hillsborough       2,872               106                         2.74

Menlo Park          8,915                323                        3.62

All numbers are down from 2008, but I guess this shows that, at most, about one out of every 30 of your neighbors will be moving this year or lising their house for sale.  I’m sure there are times when we wish that number was higher (loud parties, barking dogs, deferred maintenance) but at least now you know what to expect. So, even though luxury real estate in Menlo Park is highly sought after, the turnover is a bit higher than other areas.

Menlo Park Inventories Down, Sales Up

January 28, 2010 Real Estate News No Comments
Menlo Park Inventories Down, Sales Up

Prices Are Down, But More Are Selling
Statistics for the month of December show that Menlo Park residents aren’t putting as many homes on the market, but the overall volume of sales and pending sales is up.   With a 25% increase in number of homes sold and a whopping 300% increase of pending sales, more people are definitely getting their homes sold according to Dataquick.

The average sales price for a home in Menlo Park in December was $1,020,00 (down 4.1% compared to last December).  I believe this low average sales price and higher volume has a lot to do with the first time home buyer tax credit that was being pushed so heavily towards the end of the year (which has been extended to April 30, 2010 for first time and now includes move up home buyers).  The average listing price in Menlo Park for December was just over $1.7 million dollars, but it’s the homes closer to the million dollar mark that have been selling.

1 month 1 year 15 months
Nov 09 Dec 09 % Change Dec 08 Dec 09 % Change Oct 08 Dec 09 % Change
Avg. Active Price 1775 1745 -1.7% 1464 1745 19.2% 1702 1745 2.5%
Avg. Sold Price 1325 1020 -23% 1064 1020 -4.1% 1308 1020 -22%

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

Follow Me On Twitter

Live, up to the minute tweets during broker tour and other live real estate events, plus news and information.

Searching For A Home?

Search All Listings Here

If you are in the market for a home anywhere in Southern or Northern California? Search our MLS Listings to find your dream home.

Then when you are ready to get more information or schedule a tour of your favorite homes, call me and I'll take care of the rest.

Real Estate Insider Video Show

Alain Pinel Realtors Silicon Valley

April 3, 2013

Alain Pinel Realtors Silicon Valley

We at Alain Pinel Realtors have been releasing high quality videos that give buyers a feel for different areas. Today, we released the Silicon Valley video. Take a look. If you are looking for luxury real estate all along the Peninsula and Silicon Valley in areas such as Los Altos, Saratoga, Monte Sereno, Palo Alto, […]

Palo Alto Real Estate Update

February 3, 2012

Palo Alto Real Estate Update

The numbers are strong for real estate in Palo Alto with this month’s sales figures.  Watch the video to see all key sales numbers for the month of January 2012 compared to January 2011.

Menlo Park Monthly Real Estate Sales Figures for October 2011

November 5, 2011

Menlo Park Monthly Real Estate Sales Figures for October 2011

The average sales price of a home in Menlo Park fell 7.8% for the month of October 2011 compared to October 2010.  The total number of sales for both periods were similar, which is good news, but the home prices were a little lower than expected.  The surprise number is that the average price per […]

Timely News

Pools and Waterfalls of the Wealthy

August 6, 2015

Pools and Waterfalls of the Wealthy

We all love to see how the wealthy spend their money.  Jets, fast cars, homes….but how about their pools and waterfalls?  This is even more fun to see as there is a big water shortage here in California, so it’s an even bigger status symbol than before as only the very wealthy can afford the […]

Off Market Listing in Pelican Hill – $12,500, 000

August 1, 2015

Off Market Listing in Pelican Hill – $12,500, 000

There is a new off market listing in Pelican Hill area of Newport Beach that is sure to get your mouth watering.  The home is 9200 square feet on a 22k sf lot with incredible views.  We have more photos and information, but the asking price is $12,500,000.  If you are a buyer and interested […]

Southern California vs Silicon Valley in battle for tech supremacy

July 27, 2015

Southern California vs Silicon Valley in battle for tech supremacy

Having worked in Silcon Valley for years and also being a native Southern Californian has me with my heart in two places.  So, when I see comparisons of SoCal vs Norcal and especially in the tech world, I get excited to see more movement down to Southern California as tech/startup world is very exciting. This […]

Prices Still Rising In Orange County

June 30, 2015

Prices Still Rising In Orange County

Prices continue to show gains for the areas of Newport Beach, Corona Del Mar, Newport Coast and Laguna Beach.  Most areas have surpassed their peak prices that occurred in around 2007.  Will prices continue to rise?  It seems the high end luxury homes have slowed a bit but the inventory still is at low levels. […]

Why So Many Chinese Buyers in Palo Alto and Along the Peninsula?

May 22, 2014

Why So Many Chinese Buyers in Palo Alto and Along the Peninsula?

Everybody reads about the large supply of Chinese buyers who are buying homes here along the Peninsula.  There are many agents, one prominent one who we all know and now has a plane to fly his Chinese buyers around, who target the Chinese buyers very heavily.  Buy, why are there so many Chinese buyers and […]