Home & Leisure

Bay Area home prices continue double-digit gains on historic streak

Louis Hansen, The Mercury News on

Published in Home and Consumer News

"We have no inventory and lots of demand. It's simple economics," said Gustavo Gonzalez, broker with Valley View Properties in San Jose. "This isn't going to go away unless we build substantially more housing."

Gonzalez is a veteran broker from the dot-com years, when valley real estate prices ran up with inflated company values that ended in a bust. He thinks it's different this time around.

"These are real companies, with real numbers behind them," he said. "Google isn't going anywhere."

The report also found absentee buyers more interested in the valley -- roughly 18 percent of purchases went to investors and second-home buyers, above the historic rate of 15 percent.

William Doerlich of Realty One Group in San Ramon said he's been receiving more interest from individual investors looking to get into the market. Despite high prices and fierce competition, he said, his clients see value in single family homes, small apartment buildings and condos.

Bay Area properties can yield both strong cash flows and appreciation, he said. "The market is still looking at real estate as a good investment," he said.

The booming Bay Area economy created about 367,000 jobs while building just 57,000 new homes between 2010 and 2015, according to the Silicon Valley Leadership Group. The impact is clear -- the new Apple spaceship headquarters helped drive home prices up double digits in nearby Cupertino and Sunnyvale.

Major tech companies continue to expand, bringing well-paid engineers and professionals to the region.

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That formula has kept agents busy and buyers anxious. All-cash deals and offers without contingencies are not uncommon, agents say.

Gonzalez tells first-time buyers to be patient. One couple he's working with is hoping to close on Friday -- after five months of searching and making a bid $100,000 over the asking price for a two-bedroom, one bathroom home in San Jose.

He offered them one more piece of advice: "Pray to God that we get selected."

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