Housing Prices in the Wild, Wild West

Housing prices out west continue to raise eyebrows. On March 2, 2018, The Mercury News reported that a home in Sunnyvale, CA, sold for $2 million. That kind of price is not unique, but in this case, the two-bedroom, two-bath home was just 848 square feet. The modest rancher was originally listed for $1.45 million and sold in two days at $550,000 over the asking price.

The beige stucco home is on a 6,000-square-foot lot, which is large by California standards. There is a roomy back yard with a small patio plus a one-car garage, a short concrete driveway and wooden fencing around the perimeter of the property.

Sunnyvale has become the hot new market for homebuyers because it is accessible to Silicon Valley, yet not as pricey as areas a bit closer in—yet. The unobtrusive rancher sold at a price of $2,358/SF, the highest the Multiple Listing Service has recorded for similar properties in this area since 2000.

By contrast, the median list price of a home in Newport News, VA, is $170,700, which works out to $115 per square foot. A home comparable to the Sunnyvale rancher would sell for about $175,000. Of newer construction than the California property, it would have about 1,580 square feet, be situated on more acreage and present a more attractive appearance overall.