The local paper wrote a nice article recently about the sharp rise of Silicon Valley property prices. Among the cited towns were Atherton (94027) and Palo Alto (9430x). There was some mention of Los Altos and a few other markets. Their analysis was broken down by ZIP codes and several of their figures were just plain wrong. When you're writing about real estate markets, SKIP THE ZIP.
A ZIP code often contains a combination of geographic areas including multiple towns, a mix of neighborhoods in a single town, a whole town (rare), or a mix of areas. ZIP codes seldom reflect accurate neighborhoods and hyperlocal markets. Often ZIP code reports will mix strong markets with weak ones, giving a false impression of how strong or weak a market is. Here are a few tips:
Agents - Report on towns and/or neighborhoods. SKIP THE ZIP because using ZIP codes in market reports can be misleading. This will vary from market to market but generally in Silicon Valley it's better to report on neighborhoods or specific towns.
Consumers - Market reports that focus on specific towns or neighborhoods will give a more accurate portrayal of local real estate. When reading market reports, be aware that a ZIP code may include more than one neighborhood which could skew results.
Examples of the flaws you'll find in ZIP code based market reports and statistics for Silicon Valley:
- ZIP code 94022 includes both Los Altos and Los Altos Hills. Los Altos, with an average price of abotu $2 million, isn't as pricey as Los Altos Hills and does more volume. Lumping the two areas together makes Los Altos Hills look weaker than it is.
- ZIP code 94040 in Mountain View includes neighborhoods such as Waverly Park, Cuesta Park, and Varsity Park each with substantially different price points. Even the schools are different and schools drive pricing!
My market reports always focus on a town in general or a neighborhood. My blog contains town-based market reports. My clients get neighborhood reports. If you want to know how well a market is doing, you, as the consumer, are better off getting a report about the neighborhood you want to buy in. Call me, become my client, and that's what you get as part of my services.
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Bryan Robertson, CEO | T: 650.799.9951 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Website: http://www.BryanRobertsonHomes.com |CA BRE# 01191946 | Catarra Real Estate, Inc | 171 Main St #220 | Los Altos, CA 94022