Sat10252014

Business & Real Estate

Positive trends cited in Silicon Valley

Town Crier Report Silicon Valley continues to buck the national trend in housing, showing its resilience even as markets across the country stagger to reach stability. The recent Santa Clara County assessor’s report indicates that the worst could be over for the region. The assessor’s 2011-2012 annual report shows that Santa Clara County’s assessment roll improved slightly from $296 billion to $299 billion, a 0.88 percent increase. Although it’s a small increase, it still provides encouraging news and signifies a positive trend, county assessor Larry Stone stated in the report. The cities of Los Altos and Los Altos Hills experienced solid growth at 3.81 percent and 3.59 percent, respectively. In the county’s 13 high school and unified school districts, the Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District posted a strong roll growth at 3.29 percent. Data from MLSListings Inc., the Multiple Listing Service for the Silicon Valley Association of Realtors, confirmed the positive trend. Closed sales of single-family homes in Los Altos in the second quarter of this year picked up in comparison to the first three months of 2011, and the median price of a single-family home rose to $1.66 million, up from $1.5 million in the second quarter of 2010. The July median of $1.62 million also showed a month-over-month and year-over-year increase. The assessor’s report attributed growth to a small uptick in new construction and in the assessed value of business personal property. While the number of newly constructed properties declined 14 percent, the assessed value per building permit soared 50 percent. The assessed value of business personal property, including machinery, equipment, computers and fixtures owned by county businesses, increased by 2.54 percent – it had experienced an 8 percent decline last year. “Both of these factors confirm that local companies are investing and expanding, indicating increased confidence in Silicon Valley’s future,” Stone said. Gene Lentz, president of the Silicon Valley Association of Realtors, attributed the strength of the Valley’s housing market to a boom in the tech industry and the region’s assets. “Many companies have recently expanded or set up shop in Palo Alto, like Google, Dell, VMware, Facebook, Box.net and Groupon Inc. Then there’s Apple’s expansion plan in Cupertino,” he said. “These cities and neighboring communities like Los Altos, Mountain View and Sunnyvale stand to benefit, and it bodes well for housing in the region, since newly hired employees need to find a place to live.” Lentz said Silicon Valley has always been unique in that way. “In addition to its being a tech-focused region, there’s accessibility to schools, superb commute location and a reasonable mix of shopping and services within a few blocks in every direction,” he added. “These fundamentals – location, employment and schools – never go out of style and will always be important to buyers.”

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