Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Valley is BACK!

Source: Excerpted from, Dean Takahashi

March 26, 2011

Dean Takahashi comments, "The bulls are back in Silicon Valley in a variety of ways. Let’s hope reports of the recovery are true and that the optimism doesn’t get overheated too fast and turn into a bubble of the dot-com era’s scale".
The front pages of the San Jose Mercury News and the New York Times both have stories today about the return of good times in Silicon Valley (and let’s not forget the Los Angeles Times). They point to both hard figures in unemployment data and anecdotal evidence of a recovery, rather than a bubble.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Key to Happiness?

"Joining a group that meets just once a month produces the same increase in happiness as doubling your income."

Read this marvelous and thought-provoking article in the New Yorker by David Brooks.

Annals of Psychology
Social Animal
How the new sciences of human nature can help make sense of a life.
by David Brooks

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Forbes Midas 100

Check out the Midas 100
2011's Top Tech Investors
Source: Forbes Magazine, Editor Nicole Perlroth

Fascinating local angle on this story --

30 of the top 100 live in Menlo Park, California

23 of the top 100 live in Palo Alto, California

2 of the top 100 live in Woodside, California

1 of the top 100 live in Atherton, California

Monday, April 4, 2011

High-end Housing Sales in Silicon Valley are Booming...

The Menlo Park Office of Alain Pinel Realtors
just had their


The following article appeared in the Sunday
edition of the San Jose Mercury News --

Sales of houses in that price range were up 9 percent in January and February from the same period last year, according to DataQuick Information Systems.

The same trend isn't showing up yet in San Mateo County, where DataQuick shows sales in that range are down from a year ago. But DataQuick hasn't captured complete March figures yet, and agents are reporting a surge of activity in the past three weeks.

Beyond that, not every high-end sale gets into public records or the listings service that real estate agents use. The $100 million paid by Russian investor Yuri Milner for a home in Los Altos Hills on Feb. 3 wasn't known until Wednesday, when Santa Clara County Assessor Larry Stone released official records that had been confidential until then.

"The high end of the market is doing better than it has for the last several years," said Richard Calhoun of Creekside Realty in San Jose.

Twice as many sales

The highest end seems especially hot. Calhoun found that in the first three months of this year, twice as many homes were sold for $5 million or more in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties as there were during the same period of 2010.

Most of those sales for both counties took place in February and March,

Calhoun said. The number of sales in that price range is more than for any similar period since 2000, he said.

And most are taking place in the cities you'd expect: Los Altos Hills, Palo Alto, Atherton, Portola Valley and Woodside.

"People feel like they have money in their pockets," said Wendy McPherson, manager of Coldwell Banker's Menlo Park, Woodside and Portola Valley offices.

Wait-and-see stance
The trend is being repeated around the state. In January, DataQuick reported that the number of California homes sold for $1 million or more in 2010 rose for the first time in five years while overall sales dropped by 9 percent.

Catherine Marcus, who specializes in high-end valley properties for Sotheby's, said "the market right now on the high end is probably stronger than we've seen since 2007."

"Things that are coming on the market are selling," she said. "We're seeing a lot of foreign buyers, a lot of money from China. There are properties we've had where nothing had happened for six months, and all of sudden there are multiple offers."

The high end is "definitely picking up," said Diane Kneis, a Coldwell Banker agent who is listing the Atherton home of 49er football legend Jerry Rice -- 16,000 square feet, not counting a seven-car garage -- for $13.9 million. "There's a lot of interest from agents with qualified buyers who are looking for large homes that are well-built and can accommodate large families," she said.

McPherson of Coldwell Banker said that "all of a sudden in Menlo Park in the last three weeks, we had six sales over $3.5 million. In Atherton, we just had a $17.5 million listing and an $11.5 million listing sell," she said.

She said recent sales in Palo Alto include one for $9 million, two for more than $6 million and "lots and lots of sales" between $2 million and $3 million.

"There's been quite a few recent sales," said Gary Campi of Campi Properties in Los Altos. "It's been pretty promising." Campi is listing an equestrian facility on 11 acres in Los Altos Hills, with plans for a 15,000-square-foot home and eight-car garage, for $26.8 million.

At this point, DataQuick is taking a wait-and-see stance. "It's really early to know how this is going to shape up for the year," said Andrew LePage, an analyst for DataQuick. "In the next two or three months, we'll get a better idea."
Source: By Pete Carey,