Every month, Alain Pinel agent Mark Wong rustles up a list of South Bay homes that recently have sold for outlandish prices. In order to make the list — which he sends out in an email blast — a house must sell for at least $200,000 over its asking price.
As usual, Wong found more than 50 homes that fit the bill over the last month, mostly in Sunnyvale, but also in Cupertino, West San Jose and Saratoga.
One stands out: a house in Sunnyvale that sold for $782,000 over its original listing price.
Your eyes do not deceive you: The four-bed, two-bath house– less than 2,000 square feet — listed for $1,688,000 and sold for $2,470,000.
Over-asking sales are partly the result of sleight-of-hand on the part of the agent. It’s become common strategy to list homes under their market value in order to entice Silicon Valley buyers; they are all too willing to fight over the few houses available in this chronically tight market.
Still, even Keller Williams agent Dave Clark, who represented the seller in the Sunnyvale deal, seemed stunned by the price: “I think it’s the most anything has ever gone for over asking in Sunnyvale — a record for Sunnyvale,” he said. “We anticipated it would go for $2 million, or over $2 million. But we had no idea it would ever go for what it went for.”
The property attracted more than 20 bids, and the winning bid “wasn’t an outlier,” Clark said. “There were lots of people who gave very good, high prices” for the property, which he described as “nothing special, just a typical Sunnyvale house in a nice Sunnyvale neighborhood.”
The backyard and front yard are small. The side yard is “unusually large,” he said, “which I think was enticing to a lot of people” along with the home’s move-in condition, he said. The sellers updated the kitchen and landscaped the property before putting it on the market.
What accounts for this modest property’s stratospheric selling price?
This kind of over-bidding is known to happen further north in Palo Alto, say, or Los Altos. But as those towns have grown unaffordable, buyers have flocked south to Sunnyvale, which is still close to tech employment centers and makes for a convenient commute. The house that sold for $782,000 over asking — it’s on Prunelle Court — is only about a mile from Apple’s new spaceship campus.
“Now Sunnyvale’s so expensive, it’s starting to be unaffordable,” Clark said, “and we’re starting to see Santa Clara prices pop up.”
So who bought the house in Sunnyvale?
We asked Clark if the buyers work in tech.
“Oh, yeah,” he said. “I sell lots of houses in Sunnyvale and every time we have a buyer, they work at one of the tech companies, usually one of the big ones, and they generally use their stock options to make the purchase.” Typically, buyers want a short commute and good schools. “And it’s usually a family with one or two young kids,” moving to the new home “well ahead of the time their kids will be entering kindergarten.
“They work ahead.”
Photo: The house on Prunelle Court in Sunnyvale recently sold for $2,470,000 — $782,000 above the listing price. (Courtesy/Dave Clark and Keller-Williams)
Tags: affordable housing, Apple, Bay Area home sales, median prices, Real Estate, real estate transactions, Silicon Valley