In The News

This Bungalow Sums Up Silicon Valley’s Housing Shortage

The 102-year-old four-room house in California sold for $100,000 in 2003, and just closed for $1.78 million

BY BECKIE STRUM  |  

 

A 100-year-old bungalow so small it could fit inside a regulation basketball court five times has sold in Palo Alto, California, for $1.78 million.

It’s a sign of just how inflated the Silicon Valley property market has become over the past several years due to the thriving tech industry fueling the local economy and driving house prices skyward. In the last year alone, prices in Santa Clara County—which encompasses Palo Alto—jumped 21%, according to the latest Bay Area market report from Pacific Union International.

To capture the extreme price inflation in Palo Alto, this small house last sold in 2003 for $100,000, property records show.

The Palo Alto bungalow spans only 804 square feet. That’s about the same size as five parking spaces, a reporter from the local Palo Alto Daily Post noted on Twitter.

It might be slightly too large to qualify as a “tiny house,” but the four-room home also hasn’t been significantly updated since 1916 and was recently subject to foreclosure, according to county property records.

The buyer, a software engineer at Google, closed on the home at the end of August, property records show. He did not immediately offer comment on the purchase.

He bought the property straight from the lender, who repossessed the property through foreclosure auction in May, a legal representative involved in the foreclosure confirmed.

As recently as 2016, images of the home show a front yard littered with furniture and overgrown plants. All said, the beige shingle house consists of a small entry porch, two bedrooms, a bathroom, a living room and kitchen.

In July, a slightly larger two-bedroom bungalow with a modern update a few blocks away sold for $2.6 million, according to property records.

Santa Clara has seen prices grow faster than anywhere else in the Bay Area’s heated real estate landscape.

“Santa Clara County’s median price continued to grow at almost twice the rate of any other region,” wrote Selma Hepp, chief economist of Pacific Union, in the report cited above, adding that the median house will now set a buyer back roughly $1.2 million.

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