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At what $/ft2 is PA forever changed?

Original post made by OutwardBound, El Carmelo School, on Feb 20, 2013

I'm watching the CRAZY home price escalation in Palo Alto and wondering to myself the following:

a) what price per square foot does PA housing have to reach for Palo Alto become a fundamentally different place?

b) who are these people that are paying $4M, $6M, $8M for entirely normal homes in Palo Alto, and why are they paying so much?

c) do the long-time residents who are selling - or the real estate agents representing sellers - feel any moral responsibility in terms of *who* they sell to? I imagine the answer is a resounding 'no', but what about those of us that are still here?

d) WHY is there no market-based mechanism allowed to operate that would moderate housing prices in PA by forcing expansion into nearby PA-owned areas so that middle/upper class can continue to be the majority in PA and not the uber-wealthy?

e) am I the only long-time PA resident that feels great angst as PA housing goes through the roof? Does no one else feel that this housing escalation is literally *destroying* our city?

Comments (6)

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Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 20, 2013 at 12:04 pm

Well, Palo Alto, and everything else nice is mostly already lost in this country, there is zero effort to preserve a good lifestyle for people, as if that can even be done. There's too many people, and too much money in an increasingly transparent market for global locations, and Palo Alto is a desirable investment for some because of schools and facilities.

What happens is that a place is nice, people move in, more people move in, prices go up, the way of life changes, those who cannot live with that sell and move out.

Did you think that the Palo Alto that we knew as kids was going to be here forever? They say the body regenerates completely new cells every 7 years, well pretty much the same with Palo Alto. There is not much that is old that is left and that which is still left is not the same nor are the people and the community the same. I remember seeing horses poking their heads over fences on El Camino around Page Mill, or the Palo Alto yacht harbor and the Baylands relative peace and quiet before the Palo Alto airport became an intercontinental terminal for the jet set. Things change.

So you are saying that you think it would be a good idea to create laws that would allow middle income people to live in Palo Alto ... as if you think middle income people, or more specifically the kind of middle income people that would like to move to Palo Alto are "good people" or better people than those moving here now. I don't know how you get to that assumption?

If you want to move and live here and you don't, I sympathize. Personally I'd like to live right off Central Park in New York or off Golden Gate park in the city but it's not in the cards. Palo Alto is getting worse in many ways, it's a crapshoot ... stay while the prices are rising if you own property, and then dump it on the greater fools who want to buy in here at any price when things have already declined - the American way. Then at some future point they do the same thing. ;-)




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Posted by Sad truth
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 20, 2013 at 2:33 pm

The fact is that American nationals are being priced out of the Bay Area and the good life. Chinese nationals with huge amounts of cash are given first choice in real estate, even tho they pay less, the seller gets the $ faster. Americans cannot afford to buy a larger home as their family size increases, wages are getting lower, many people have gone years without a raise.
[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by Sad truth
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 20, 2013 at 2:52 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by palo alto mom
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Feb 20, 2013 at 3:33 pm

To OutwardBound

a) what price per square foot does PA housing have to reach for Palo Alto become a fundamentally different place? Good question

b) who are these people that are paying $4M, $6M, $8M for entirely normal homes in Palo Alto -
A variety of people, including families moving from other parts of the country, venture capitalists, Facebook employees and people from other countries

and why are they paying so much? 'cause that what house costs here. And they can.

c) do the long-time residents who are selling - or the real estate agents representing sellers - feel any moral responsibility in terms of *who* they sell to? I imagine the answer is a resounding 'no', but what about those of us that are still here?
What kind of "moral responsibility" should sellers and agents have - aside from maybe making sure you are not selling a house to a drug dealer? Selling houses is a business, sellers deserve to be able to sell their house to the highest bidder.

d) WHY is there no market-based mechanism allowed to operate that would moderate housing prices in PA by forcing expansion into nearby PA-owned areas so that middle/upper class can continue to be the majority in PA and not the uber-wealthy?
By definition, market-based is controlled by the laws of supply (low in the case of housing here) and demand (high in Palo Alto). Moderating housing costs is done thru government, not market control (rent control, BMR Housing, Section 8).
Where are these Palo Alto owned areas that we can force expansion into?

e) am I the only long-time PA resident that feels great angst as PA housing goes through the roof? Does no one else feel that this housing escalation is literally *destroying* our city?
I don't think housing costs are "destroying" our City. I do feel badly for people such as teachers, business owners and safety workers who can't afford to live here.


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Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 20, 2013 at 3:33 pm

I don't know how long you have lived here (me = 50+ years), but the truth is that PA has always been a more expensive city (especially Old PA, Crescent Park, Professorville) than the neighboring communities (Menlo Park, Los Altos, Mountain View).

Frankly the cost of a PA home in one of the upscale neighborhoods is still relatively (ratio-wise) x-times more expensive than a "nice" home in west Menlo or north Los Altos.

Prices in MP, LA, LAH, Portola Valley, etc. have all been going up just as fast. In fact, PV is going up at a higher rate these days.

To suggest implementing some sort of government controlled buffer on home pricing hints of socialism - not going to happen.


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Posted by Paly Alum
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 20, 2013 at 6:12 pm

Paly Alum is a registered user.

Translation to transparent original posting: "How can we stop these Chinese from taking over our city?!"

The owners always have the right to sell to whoever they want to. I have Asian immigrant friends who chose to move here because they wanted diversity and not a Fremont or Cupertino. They aren't happy about the influx either, as hypocritical as it is.


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