Thursday, May 24, 2012

President Obama Dines with Supporters in Atherton

Air Force One landed at Moffett Field in Mountain View at 6:18 p.m. Wednesday night. Among those greeting the president was Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Menlo Park.

The motorcade went south on U.S. 101 then back up I-280 to Woodside Road exit into Atherton, arrived about 7:10 p.m. at the Atherton home of Doug Goldman, software company founder, retired emergency physician, philanthropist and heir to the Levi Strauss fortune, and his wife Lisa, who hosted a $35,800-a-head dinner.

Among the guests at the Atherton fundraiser: Jan Brandt, vice chair emeritus of AOL; Dennis Troper, Google product management director; Tim Westergren, Pandora Media founder; and Susan Wojcicki, Google senior vice president.
President Obama and Doug Goldman made remarks in a large outdoor tent at around 8 p.m.

Goldman, who said the property has been in his family since 1906, said he and his wife decided to welcome the president with an Hawaiian decoration theme: floral arrangements, tablecloths, potted palms, hurricane lanterns, leis.

Goldman said the Recovery Act was a "brilliant" move, "saving more than one million jobs."

"It worked so well," he told the president, "some of your opponents are trying to take credit for it."

Goldman also credited President Obama for ending the Iraq war, killing Osama bin Laden, and voicing support for same-sex marriage. The last point drew the loudest cheers and applause from the audience.

President Obama said of the Goldmans: "They have had my back from the get-go, and at a time when not many people knew who I was."

He thanked David Crosby and Graham Nash, who performed at the event. "It's not every day you get Rock and Roll Hall of Famers strumming the guitar for you," he said.

And he thanked actor Don Cheadle for his presence and support, but promised not to talk about their recent basketball game. Cheadle responded: "Thank you."

"We've gone through three and a half of the toughest years in our lifetime," the president said, with so many millions of jobs lost. "And we've still got a long way to go. In California and across the country there are still a lot of people who are hurting" from joblessness, risk of losing their homes, unaffordable education.

"Our work is not done. The good news is, we're beginning to steer that ship in the right direction."

President Obama said he's proud of his administration's educational reforms, and said the nation must continue to make scientific advancements in order to remain globally competitive. "America continues to have the best workers and the best businesses in the world -- we just have to get organized, and we're starting to do that."

The Affordable Care act has begun making health care more affordable and accessible; fuel economy standards for cars have been doubled; clean energy production has been doubled; and foreign oil imports are at a 15-year low, he said. The Iraq war is over and Afghanistan is ending, while the U.S. is regaining international respect.

"We continue to be the agenda setters," he said, shaping international rules and norms on issues from terrorism to climate change to poverty. "People are paying attention, people are listening, and people are hungry for our leadership."

But he needs another term to seal the deal, he said.

"This is a country full of decent people who believe in America and are generous and kind and tolerant," the president said.

He talked about being at a high school graduation earlier this week in Joplin, Missouri, which was ravaged by a tornado last year, and meeting a senior who lost both his parents, spent five weeks in physical rehab, and had to care for his sister yet still is graduating and going on to college.

"That captures who we are and what we're about" as a nation, he said, leaving him "more determined than I was in 2008" to carry on.

The motorcade left the Goldman residence in Atherton at 8:58 p.m. and rolled up El Camino Real to Redwood City, where the president arrived around 9:08 p.m. Tickets for this event cost $250 for general admission; $1,000 for premium seating; or $7,500 for a seat plus a photo reception, with up to two additional guests in the photo at $2,500 each.

A campaign official said those in attendance at the Fox Theatre included theater owners Eric Lochtefeld and Lori Lochtefeld, and Redwood City Mayor Alicia Aguirre.

After his talk there, the president headed to San Jose's Fairmont Hotel, where he'll spend the night and hold a campaign fundraiser with Asian American/Pacific Islander contributors Thursday morning before leaving from Moffett Field around 10 a.m.

Republican House Speaker John Boehner was also scheduled to be in the Bay Area on Wednesday to attend a fundraiser in Woodside for the Republican Party.

Republican House Budget Chair Paul Ryan is scheduled to make a fundraising visit to San Francisco on Thursday.

Source: Palo Alto Online News
Pool reporting by Josh Richman — Bay City News Service

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Facebook IPO is Juicing Silicon Valley Real Estate Prices to Crazy Levels

The impending Facebook initial public offering is pushing already-expensive Silicon Valley real estate to frenetic new highs.

The two months prior to the IPO announcement saw only 840 sales in the region. In dramatic contrast, sales in the last two months have almost doubled to 1,531, according to Guy Wolcott, the co-founder and chief executive of the company behind real estate app HomeSnap.

It’s not just sales. The median sales price is up 15 percent in the same time period, and the number of million-dollar-plus prices is up a staggering 159 percent since the Facebook IPO announcement.

These bargains won’t last

While that’s not a conclusive cause-and-effect connection (there’s a lot more wealth in Silicon Valley besides Facebook stock), the rising real estate prices do indicate that something big is happening. Once the IPO happens and employees’ lock-up periods expire, prices will go even higher.

Housing prices in desirable areas of California’s tech hotbeds have always been high, especially in San Francisco, Palo Alto, Santa Clara, and Facebook’s hometown, Menlo Park.

But in the last two months Silly Valley is just getting plain ridiculous. Think $5.5 million for this fairly large but hardly palatial family home. Or $4 million for a six year old home in central Menlo Park. The built-in wine cellar will help you recover from the inevitable sticker shock.

Fortunately, Facebook employees have a lot of cash coming. As of last year, Facebook employees owned around 30 percent of the company, worth perhaps $25-$30 billion when the company goes public.

Until the company does go public, selling those shares is difficult, but not impossible, and many have been selling privately on secondary markets like Sharespost for years.

Once the IPO happens, the biggest winners will be the earliest employees, investors, and top executives. According to Who Owns Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg will cash in to the tune of $1.8 billion, former employees Chris Hughes and Matt Cohler will take home $850 and $680 million, respectively, and current employee Jeff Rothschild will also pocket $680 million.

But even employees who joined later should do fine: According to this Quora thread, the average Facebook employee will realize about $2 million in the IPO.

“Staggering” market conditions

According to Wolcott, the current doubling of home sales is “staggering,” and the prices are continuing to rise rapidly. “All indicators are saying this is a hot market,” Wolcott said today, “and it’s hotter the higher you go up the price scale.”

Wolcott knows these numbers because he’s the cofounder of Sawbuck, an online real estate service that competes with the likes of Trulia, Zillow, and Redfin. Eight weeks ago Sawbuck released HomeSnap: a mobile real estate app that Wolcott calls “Shazam for homes,” referencing the popular music identification service. With HomeSnap, you take a picture of a home, and get huge amounts of data: if it’s for sale, price, lot boundaries, school district, tax information.

In eight weeks, HomeSnap has been installed 115,000 times and been used to snap 175,000 homes. And Silicon Valley is one of the hottest locations. Tony Palo Alto is number one. Nearby Redwood City is number two, and Facebook hometown Menlo Park is not far behind at number 4. Could all those Facebook millionaires-in-waiting be scoping the goodies?

Source: Venture Beat, John Koetsier

If you would like to see these, or any other homes in Menlo Park, Atherton or Palo Alto, please give me a call at (650) 888-6628 or visit my website at .

I specialize in Buying and Selling fine properties here in the heart of the Mid-Peninsula.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

FINALLY. We Have New Listings!

GREAT TOUR today --
Wonderful Homes Across all Price Points!

1145 Hillview Drive, Menlo Park

Thoughtfully redone single story home in West Menlo Park. Priced at $2,295,000.

60 Amherst Avenue, Menlo Park

Charming and tidy bungalow on a huge lot. Priced at $699,000.

1001 University Drive, Menlo Park

Delightful cottage in the heart of downtown Menlo Park. Priced at $1,595,000.

95 Mercedes Lane, Atherton

This is vintage California contemporary! Hopefully someone will bring some Mad Men style to this lovely home. Priced at $5,100,000.

If you would like to see these, or any other homes in Menlo Park, Atherton or Palo Alto, please give me a call at
(650) 888-6628

I specialize in Buying and Selling fine properties here in the heart of the Mid-Peninsula.