The San Marino Real Estate Report, as seen weekly in the San Marino Tribune
Last week, I participated in the time-honored tradition called “family vacation.” Whether it is an action-packed getaway or a sleep-until-noon retreat, vacation is a time when cell phone should be turned off, the computer left at home, and work concerns filed away for a later date. Unfortunately, the life of a Realtor rarely provides the freedom to completely “check-out” during a summer trip. I find that even when fate provides a vacation free of priority work issues, my mind is still filled with everything real estate. Not only do I research the local market in my destination city, but I also regularly strike up conversations with fellow travelers in order to further my understanding of real estate markets across the country.
The best real estate interaction of my vacation came while waiting in an endless line for breakfast at a San Francisco hot spot. In order to distract ourselves from our tired legs and growling stomachs, my husband and I struck up a conversation with an interior designer from Palo Alto, California. With our similar interests exposed, the conversation quickly turned to the real estate market in her home town. Because Palo Alto and San Marino have many similarities, including a good school system and gorgeous architectural homes, I was highly interested in her reflections. Her synopsis of the Palo Alto real estate market – hot, hot, hot!
Set in the midst of the Silicon Valley and the home of Stanford University, Palo Alto has always been a desirable place to live. According to Wikipedia, “Palo Alto is one of the most expensive cities in the United States, and its residents are among the most educated in the country.” Much larger than San Marino, with over 64,000 residents, the city has a vibrant downtown area and is also home to the high-end Stanford Shopping Center.
A quick perusal of the current listings in Palo Alto shows a high percentage of multi-million dollar properties. The most expensive home is currently listed for $19,880,000, and one of the least expensive single family residences is priced at $775,000 (this one only has 707 square feet!)
The website, Movoto, publishes an online report showing an assortment of trends in real estate for cities throughout the country. After studying the charts and graphs for both Palo Alto and San Marino, posted as of 7/1/12, a few things stood out to me.
Palo Alto and San Marino have quite a few real estate market similarities:
- Both cities have an extremely low percentage of distressed properties
- Both cities were minimally impacted by the national real estate crisis
- Both cities are stand-outs within their county and in comparison to other California cities
The Palo Alto real estate market trumps San Marino in a few ways:
- The average price per square foot in Palo Alto is substantially higher than San Marino (as high as $904 in the early parts of 2012). San Marino has hovered in the higher $500’s a square foot up to just over $600 per square foot. Part of this revolves around the fact that the median square footage of homes in Palo Alto is significantly lower than San Marino.
- The median home price in Palo Alto has been steadily increasing over the past two years. San Marino experienced a dip during 2010 and 2011.
Not all of my vacation real estate conversations were as bright and cheery as the one with the Palo Alto interior designer. Many parts of the country are still struggling to pull out of the real estate slump. On the front end of the recovery trend, San Marino and Palo Alto are shining stars in the real estate world.