Housing prices in the San Francisco Bay area are once again soaring, thanks to an infusion of cash from the rising shares of Apple and Google and the initial public offerings by Zynga, LinkedIn, Yelp and soon Facebook, expected to be the largest in Internet history. But while a previous generation of dot-com executives opted for mansions in wealthy San Francisco neighborhoods like Pacific Heights and tony Silicon Valley suburbs like Atherton, this generation is gravitating to modest homes and condos in grittier parts of the city.
San Francisco – A bidding war broke out in November when a small house in San Francisco’s tightly packed Noe Valley came on the market. Twenty-two people, including employees of Facebook, Zynga, Google and Pixar, battled for the home. The winning offer was $1.5 million—40% higher than the asking price. The house had a great view, but it was only 1,800 square feet and came with an old kitchen which, like most of the interior, was covered in 1970s plywood paneling. Seen from the curb, there’s hardly any house at all—just a one-car garage and gate leading to small front courtyard. The inconspicuousness was part of the attraction, said Jasmin Arneja, 42, who bought the two-bedroom house with her husband Gagan, 40, a software engineer at a networking start-up. “It’s the antithesis to these outrageous bizarre Gordon Gekko-esque houses. It just incorporates so much of our values,” said Ms. Arneja, who runs a philanthropic advisory firm.
By Nancy Keates and Geofrey A. Fowler, Mar. 16, 2012 WSJ
Photo: WSJ – Ground zero of the current tech-fueled real-estate boom is the Mission, formerly a majority Hispanic neighborhood on the southern edge of San Francisco that’s close to the main arteries that link San Francisco to Silicon Valley. Median home prices in the Mission grew 44% in December compared with a year earlier. Adjacent Noe Valley had a rise of 31% over that same period, according to the San Francisco Association of Realtors. The average number of days homes sat on the market in both neighborhoods has almost halved over the past year.