Woodside again made headlines this spring with The Fiscal Times ranking it as the Hottest Luxury Market in America. The ranking was driven primarily by 24 of Forbes richest people having homes in Woodside and the $117M purchase of a home on Mountain Wood Lane in 2012 by the founder of Japanese Telecom firm Softbank, Masayoshi Son. At the time, it was the most expensive home sale in the United States, but time marches on and records are made to be broken. Now the most expensive home sale is the Copper Beech estate in Connecticut.
Headlines are all well and good, but what about the rest of us the 1%, or the 5% instead of the .001%? If you don’t have horses, or a jet or a jet for your horses, Woodside is still a great place to live, and we are seeing an increasing number of buyers opt for more rural environs like Woodside and Portola Valley over Palo Alto, Menlo Park, etc.
The median selling price of a home in Woodside is up 10.4% over last year at $2,517,000. That includes all of Woodside, including the lower priced areas along Skyline. Central Woodside clocked in at $5,204,333 for homes listed on the MLS. Add in $15M and $7.25M sales that weren’t listed and you can see prices are really heating up close to town.
Days on Market:
The second question I am consistently asked, after ‘What will my house sell for?’, is ‘How long will it take?’. For both, the answer is; It depends. This spring the Woodside market has moved pretty quickly with homes only on the market an average of 45 days, about the same as last year’s 41 days. The range around that average runs from homes selling with multiple offers in a week, to others that are on the market for over a year.
Many homes in Woodside have special challenges due to the varying terrain and many area being negatively affected by traffic and road noise, like along Woodside Road and 280. Because of this, homes on Moore Road, Lindenbrook, Quail Hollow, Woodside Road, Bridle Lane, and other streets take longer to sell and sell at a discount. Conversely, homes on Albion, Olive Hill, Mountain Home Road and Manzanita are prized for having large, relatively flat lots in quieter areas close to town, and sell for premium prices and quickly.
There are currently 100 homes for sale on the MLS in Woodside, 11 more than at this time last year. Of these, only 17 are in Central Woodside, ranging from 330 Greer for $69,000,000 to 25 Martin Lane at $1,895,000 (offers tomorrow!). If we include Woodside Hills and Woodside Heights on the east side of 280, the options increase to a whopping 24. As one of my neighbors noted ‘They aren’t making any more dirt!”, so a home in Woodside continues to be a rare, and increasingly valuable asset.
We are seeing more and more people looking in Woodside as prices are still relatively low on a $/sf basis relative to Palo Alto and Menlo Park. It is a bit apples and oranges, but you tend to get more land and a larger house for a given price in Woodside compared to Palo Alto and Menlo Park.
For example, 330 Hillside Drive just sold for $2.6M. This is 2800 sf on a 16,000 sf lot, was built in 1999 and remodeled in 2013. By contrast, 1805 White Oak in Menlo Park is about the same size and lot, but was built in 1949, added on to a couple of times and needs updating. It sold “well over $3.5M”, after being listed at $2,999,950 and receiving multiple offers.
The relative quiet and slower pace of Woodside the more rural environment is also a great appeal for buyers. I have many clients who tell me as their jobs get more connected and intense, and they work in increasingly close quarters, that having some space and privacy is increasingly important. Additionally, it’s great to be able to walk to an open space or see deer or other wildlife. I spotted a coyote on a run the other evening, and last night on a walk in our neighborhood, we picked wild blackberries. You can’t do that in Palo Alto.
Woodside real estate is an increasingly valuable asset, especially for homes under $5M, which are at the bottom of the local market. A number of the great estates of the 20th Century on the SF Peninsula are located in Woodside (Ellison estate, Siebel estate, 1900’s Flood Estate), and the recent wealth creation in Silicon Valley means the great estates of the 21st Century are starting to be built. You can’t build a great estate on a 6000sf lot, so larger plots of land are becoming increasingly valuable. The majority of the lots in Central Woodside are 3 acres and up, and we are seeing many properties being purchased for the land with major remodels or new construction soon after.
At the lower end, in downturns the market in Woodside Glens generally goes up. The Glens is the entry neighborhood for Woodside while still offering a central location, and access to award winning Woodside Elementary School. It is a closely knit neighborhood.
Look deeper when comparing statistics. Woodside is comprised of six different micro markets (The Glens, Woodside Hills, Woodside Heights, Central Woodside, Emerald Hills and the Skyline Area), each with their own dynamics. Statistics looking at Woodside overall will be distorted by the movements of these micromarkets and may over or under value what is actually occurring. If you are considering buying or selling in Woodside, consult with someone local.
Thanks for reading.