Real Estate

Home front: Mountain View, 94043; save the date


A roundup of local home and garden news and events, including Midpeninsula zip codes ranking in the top 10 toughest places to build, luxury homes sales rising in Silicon Valley and Gamble Garden's upcoming Community Day.

MOUNTAIN VIEW, 94043 ... According to, a website that connects customers with contractors, Mountain View's 94043 zip code is the third "toughest" place to build in the San Francisco Bay Area, and Menlo Park, at 94025, ranks 10th. According to BuildZoom's Issi Romem, these cities are not necessarily tough because it's difficult to get permits. "The toughest places to build tend to see few, if any, proposals for new construction" because developers tend to look for places that are less built out. Romem said that "if expensive Silicon Valley suburbs like Palo Alto were to sprout glass condo towers in the midst of single-family homes, they would sell out in no time. However, the fact that no developer wastes (his/her) time proposing such a project doesn't mean it would be easy for a developer to swoop in to build it." A better way to gauge the toughest places to build, Romem said, is to ask, "Where does an increasing willingness to pay for housing fail to result in more housing being built?" If people are willing to pay increasing amounts of money for housing, then a shortage of new homes indicates that construction is obstructed somehow, making it a "tough-to-build" area.

GAIN IN LUXE HOME SALES ... Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage reports that the Silicon Valley luxury home market saw a gain in total sales in June year-over-year. A total of 870 residential properties priced $1 million and higher were sold last month in Santa Clara County, a 29 percent increase from 673 sales in June 2016 and up from 785 sales in May. The median price for luxury properties sold in June dipped to $1,438,844 from $1,455,000 in June 2016, a 1 percent slip. The data is based on sales transactions recorded in Santa Clara County by the Multiple Listing Service. "While the number of home sales increased dramatically in June, home prices stayed level, which encouraged buyers," said Mike James, president of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage San Francisco Bay Area. Sales in the upper end of the market also experienced gains. Of the luxury home sales in June, 78 were priced $3 million and higher, compared to 51 sales in the prior year and 67 properties in May. The most expensive home sale in Silicon Valley in June was a 5,330-square-foot home in Palo Alto with five bedrooms and five baths that sold for $15,100,000. Sellers received an average of 107 percent of their asking price in June. Of the total luxury sales in June, 690 sold at or above asking price. Luxury homes sold in an average of 17 days on the market in June, compared to 20 days in June 2016. Los Altos had 6 of the top 10 most expensive sales.

SAVE THE DATE ... Gamble Garden will host a free Community Day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 1. The day will be filled with fun children's activities, a plant sale, horticultural resources, displays, garden demonstrations, food and entertainment. For more information, go to


11 people like this
Posted by Scott
a resident of Monta Loma
on Aug 14, 2017 at 10:38 pm

Yeah, it's absurdly difficult to build in 94043 and city council members don't care. I'm looking at you, Lisa Matichak.

FAR ratios are absurdly low (2300 sqft, including garage on a 5400sqft lot). You can only build into 12.5% of your required rear yard. So if you want to add square footage in Monta Loma and actually raise a family here... You have to tear down your Eichler from scratch.

Sunnyvale lets you build into 25% of the rear area. Other cities let you trade rear yard area with open spaces elsewhere in the backyard.

But city council members like Lisa Matichak don't care about making life easier. She even acted insulted that I'd reach out to her about this issue.

And also consider Los Angeles, the original pioneers of the suburbs. You can have a 5000 sqft house on a 5000sqft lot.

But here? If you want a decent house with your family, too bad. 94043 is a prison.

16 people like this
Posted by Dear Scott
a resident of Monta Loma
on Aug 16, 2017 at 9:26 am

Why don't you sell your prison cell in Monta Loma and move to one of these wonderful cities where you can fill up every inch of green space with your McMansion? I think you'll be much happier there.

I for one am glad that council members are defending the historic nature of our homes and green spaces. I don't need a ton of space to raise my kids and neither do you, and I definitely don't want a giant home looming over my lovely little Eichler.

16 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 16, 2017 at 10:42 am

"consider Los Angeles, the original pioneers of the suburbs. You can have a 5000 sqft house on a 5000sqft lot."

Yes, those infamous Los-Angeles-area building options allowing absentee owners, or buyers newly arrived from distant places (I've been to) where concepts like greenery and privacy were almost unheard-of, and who lacked any concern for the history or sensibilities of the community they were joining, to replace little cottages in quiet beach towns with cubes built to the edge of the property. Eyesores of their neighborhood; extreme square footage; maximal rental return from future tenants who didn't mind living in a blockhouse on a spot that once had front and back yards. I saw it happen many years ago; existing residents there were very reasonably outraged to see the longtime character of their towns savaged for someone's crude crass opportunism.

No one (or almost no one) proposes doing that in Mountain View, but the point is, some restraint is necessary, experience having proven the very real hazards of relying just on decency and taste.

9 people like this
Posted by Grow
a resident of Monta Loma
on Aug 16, 2017 at 11:28 am

You Love your little Eichler, but you also know there is a nick name for that called Honey Mooner. When the Honey moon is over, families had to move away.

Is forcing families away really the solution, it is close to jobs, the area has lots of potential. Be able to grow it benefit everybody in the community. You have the option to keep your little Eichler if you want but for others should be able to transform the land they own here. This area is not what it use to be in the 50's, simply want to keep it that way is selfish, not considering the dynamic of the economy, and leaving families behind. We don't want monta loma to be a dying community, we want to welcome young and new blood to the area.

I agree some regulation is necessary, but here we are ranked top 3rd toughest place to build. It is more than just some regulations. I urge the city council go with the bigger trends, loosen the regulation, make it simple for people to live and grow in the city.

9 people like this
Posted by Don't need a big house to raise a family
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Aug 16, 2017 at 2:10 pm

I'm from a large, dense urban area and the attitude here that you "need" a couple thousand square feet to have a family seems so entitled and dumb.

There are lots and lots of happy families, with 2 or more kids, living in Monta Loma, Rex Manor, etc. in their 1200 square foot houses. No one is being "left behind." Kids share a room, play in the parks, and everyone buys less stuff. The houses use less natural resources, there's more vegetation to absorb the heat, the community has a friendly and uniform look and feel, and nobody has an outsize McMansion blocking out the sun next door.

To me, it's the McMansion proponents who are selfish.

13 people like this
Posted by Glad they reigned Scott in
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Aug 16, 2017 at 4:49 pm

Sounds like he was doing his small part to try and turn MV into Cupertino. I'm VERY glad for MV's building regulations. I'll vote for tighter ones given any chance at all!

11 people like this
Posted by lol old people
a resident of Rex Manor
on Aug 16, 2017 at 8:50 pm

The old people seems to have nothing better to do other than troll people on the internet. You've made this place unlivable and forced your kids, and all their childhood friends, to move to Portland.

Fact is, lots of the neighbors in Monta Loma and Rex Manor are noticing that there's a drastic decline in the number of kids. It doesn't matter if you think 1200 sqft is enough, or whatever nonsense. Apparently families have decided that these small homes aren't sufficient. People can decide for themselves what sort of home to build. There's an architectural review committee that can prevent McMansions just fine.

8 people like this
Posted by Bill
a resident of Rex Manor
on Aug 20, 2017 at 7:32 am

There is a 1.2 million total tear down for sale on Farley. Add a decent house for another million! Yikes! While I am glad I own my house at 94043 I also think it is sad that with 9 dollar toll bridges, more gas taxes, and state that never saw another tax they did not like that I will be forced to retire far away. The traffic is terrible and Mountain View city council keeps building micro apartments. So, let people build what they want to build and need to build for their families... hey if they have the money!

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Facing economic pressures, Ada's Cafe makes plea for donations
By Elena Kadvany | 9 comments | 3,513 views

Couples: "The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work" by John Gottman
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,043 views

Grant Money for Small Farmers
By Laura Stec | 3 comments | 1,019 views

Thought and Matter: A Young Man's Search for Interest and Meaning
By Aldis Petriceks | 0 comments | 623 views