Silicon Valley Housing Market Continues Recovery, Trickles Into East Bay

Housing in the Bay Area is slowly but surely reaching its pre-cash peak values from Silicon Valley all the way over to the Easy Bay. Silicon Valley continues to be the housing heavy weight when it comes to overall home gains that have reached or surpassed their pre bubble-era peak. Alameda and Contra Costa Counties are still far below their pre bubble highs, but recovery is visible.

Forty-nine Bay Area zip codes are within 15% of their previous highs and 18 of those are in the Easy Bay. This time last year, Palo Alto had only reached half the value lost in 2006-2007. The recovery has pulled many homeowners out from underwater and convinced others to sell and opt for bigger homes. Houses are selling in a day for far more than they are worth and sellers are taking note.

Mike and Lois Lee of Danville recently sold their home for $780,000 in just 2 days after their realtor noted their house was again worth more than they paid for it. The result? The Lees made $10,000 on the sale as a result of this year’s jump in home values.

Richard Green, director of the Lusk Center for Real Estate at the University of Southern California says of the recent rise in home values, “Seven or eight years ago, there was really a bubble, now, it’s just good real estate where values are returning to near past peaks.”

Some of the upscale parts of Berkeley, Pleasanton, Oakland and Orinda are 10% or less below their earlier peaks. San Ramon, Moraga, Alameda, Danville and Fremont trail behind by a small margin.

The Bay Area has seen an enormous surge in demand for homes from Silicon Valley to the East Bay. According to Redfin, 24% of Alameda County March listings were pending in one week. In Contra Costa County, the number was 32%, 19% in San Mateo County and 26% in Santa Clara County.

Across the bay in the tech capital of Silicon Valley, San Francisco has seen recovery unlike the rest of the Bay Area. Leslie Bauer says, “San Francisco has recovered incredibly. I would say we’re recovered beyond when the market fell.” Despite the recovery across the Bay Area, the East Bay still has a huge margin to close where some areas are 50% or more from their peak. Recovery is slow, but headed in the right direction.

What do you think will be the key to the East Bay’s recovery in 2013?