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Crazy Silicon Valley real estate: homes routinely selling for $200,000 or more over asking


What’s the deal, Silicon Valley? Six months ago, there was widespread talk about the flattening of the housing market. That conversation is ancient history.

As an example, Alain Pinel agent Mark Wong sent out an email blast this morning with this news: Almost 60 homes, mostly in Sunnyvale and Cupertino, sold for $200,000 or more over asking in the last 30 days. And we’re not necessarily talking about fancy schmancy places; the modest Cupertino home in the photo above sold for $660,000 over asking.

It’s a snapshot of just how nuts the market has become as motivated buyers fight over a limited number of homes. The competition is especially fierce in Sunnyvale, because of its proximity to the new Apple spaceship campus, and Cupertino, which is perennially hot because of the excellence of the schools.

Randomly, here are a few of the numbers in Wong’s email:

A home at 1051 Heatherstone Ave. in Sunnyvale listed at $1,888,000 and sold for $2,370,000 — $482,000 over asking. A house at 553 Croyden Court in Sunnyvale listed at $1,998,000 and went for $2,450,000 — $462,000 over asking. A townhouse at 982 La Mesa Terrace in Sunnyvale listed at $1,099,000 and sold for $1,400,000 — $301,000 over asking.

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For a townhouse.

“The listing price doesn’t mean anything anymore,” Wong commented. “It’s just a number.”

He went on: “Most of the agents, they love to list under the fair market value, so that’s why it creates an auction-style sale. The buyers are smart people. They look around. And when they see a property below the fair market value, they think they’ve found a good deal and they’ll jump on it. Then everybody jumps and it bids up the price.”

He says the strategy can get tricky: “If you price it a lot below the market value — too far below — then sometimes it backfires and you can’t get it back up to the right value.”

The strategy seems to have worked perfectly well — at least for sellers and their agents — at the homes on his list.

Picking randomly from Cupertino addresses, here are more examples of “way over asking” sales: A house at 18625 Ralya Court listed at $1,299,999 and sold for $1,622,500 — $322,501 over asking. A house at 10384 N. Portal Ave. listed for $1,788,000, then sold for $2,160,000 with 11 offers — $371,200 over asking.

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Moving over to West San Jose, Wong mentioned a house at 5244 Shady Ave. that listed for $1,298,000 and sold for $1,716,000 with 18 offers — a cool $418,000 over asking.

Photo: A home in Cupertino that listed for $1,600,000 and sold for $2,260,000 — $660,000 over asking. (Courtesy Mark Wong/Alain Pinel)

Tags: affordable housing, Bay Area housing, Bay Area real estate, cupertino, luxury housing, median prices, Silicon Valley, Sunnyvale