I recently visited friends for lunch at their new home in the suburbs south of San Francisco. It’s only thirty five miles from the city, but it feels oddly like another world. It’s as if a little piece of Los Angeles or San Diego had calved off and drifted up the California coast and beached itself like a disoriented whale. It’s warmer and sunnier than the city and there’s no hint of the hustle of urban streets. Are those apartment buildings? No. Those are single family homes that dot the hillsides. This is Silicon Valley.
They had just moved in and hadn’t yet fully unpacked or furnished the place. At 4,200 square feet it wasn’t nearly as extravagant as many of the neighboring houses. Three bedrooms. Four baths. The architecture was plain vanilla Mediterranean modernism. Tastefully beige and well appointed with all the things you would expect in such a residence. You could land a helicopter in the kitchen. Homes like this exist in lesser locations all across the continent and they often sell for half a million dollars. Nice, but within the realm of the comfortably middle class.
Here such homes sell for $4M and the buyers pay cash. This particular home has turned over three times since it was built in 2005. It’s a starter home in this context. Or for my friends it’s a step up from a $1M duplex down in the flats. It’s fair-to-middling relative to what’s on offer at the next level up. Perhaps a vineyard or ranch in Napa. Maybe a similarly sized apartment in a new glassy downtown tower. These people are young. Not quite forty yet. They have time.