If a rising tide lifts all boats, then Google rising up as corporate landowner of Santa Clara County has lifted all housing prices. A tipster directed us to this cracked-on-the-outside, hoarder-on-the-inside home in Palo Alto going for $1.8 million.
The listing on Trulia hasn't even bothered to conceal the home's decrepit state. Instead, it just notes: "Property is not habitable. Property is located in a flood zone. Prospective buyers to drive or walk around property only."
How might this impact future home values? It has to be positive. Very positive. Google is bringing 24,000 prospective home buyers into the area. There were a total of 638 homes and condos sold in Mountain View last year. This is an overwhelming tide of demand for housing in the area over the next 5-10 years. Add on top of this the other Mountain View companies (LinkedIN, Microsoft, Symantec, Intuit and others) plus its neighbors in Palo Alto and Sunnyvale and North San Jose.
Google does have a reputation for hiring the very smartest people from top-tier universities. That suggests their employees will have a preference to find homes with top-tier schools for their kids. That should generate higher-demand for areas such as Palo Alto, Los Altos/Los Altos Hills, Cupertino, parts of Mountain View-Sunnyvale, Saratoga and to a lesser extent as far as Los Gatos to the south and Belmont to the north. It is hard to imagine that the Palo Alto-Los Alto-Mountain View-Sunnyvale-Cupertino real estate market will not see rising prices over the next 5+ years. There is just too big of an influx of highly educated and highly paid employees based in Mountain View.
Moffett Field begins to make more sense, though, when you consider that it could be part of Google's master plan. In 2008 Google leased 42 acres from NASA at the northwestern corner of Moffett Field as well as nine acres at the east end of Charleston Road, and it soon proposed building futuristic new campuses to rival the Googleplex at both locations. Then it proposed a bridge over the creek separating its huge North Bayshore holdings from the Moffett Field area. If you add the Palo Alto tract that Google bought this year and another proposed bridge between that Palo Alto property and Mountain View, Google could soon have a practically unbroken line of property bridging Palo Alto, Mountain View, and Sunnyvale. With a clear corridor connecting those three areas like one that Google has proposed, the company could reduce its dependence on Highway 101. And if it could house employees on federal property, those people could work, eat at Google cafes, and go home again without ever leaving Google's island.
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