The DeLeon Insight – March 2016
North Whisman, Rex Manor, and Stierlin Estates are Mountain View neighborhoods that might not be familiar names to many, but that is about to change. These neighborhoods, originally made up primarily of small 1950s and 1960s homes, condos, and tilt-up office buildings, are seeing an increase in sales, prices, desirability, and general revitalization.
North Whisman, bounded by Highway 85, U.S. 101, Middlefield Road, and North Whisman Road, is slated for great change and will look and feel very different over the next few years. Formerly home to Fairchild Semiconductors and other original tech companies in Silicon Valley, the neighborhood and the housing market within it languished somewhat once these companies relocated or folded. The trend has now reversed with owners gradually improving and expanding their homes, some of which sold for over $2 million in 2015. Most importantly, developers have decided to invest in North Whisman. There are presently five large-scale residential developments with over 160 row homes planned to come to market over the next several years if all are approved by the city. It is easy to see why developers are grabbing as much land as possible in the neighborhood as the Google Quad is just across North Whisman Road and Symantec’s campus is just one block down Middlefield Road. Proximity to work is one of the main criteria for entry-level homebuyers, and buying in North Whisman will afford walkability to two of the largest employers in the area. When developers build new homes in an area, this often starts a trend of rising property values and, with this number of projects planned or under construction, it is nearly inevitable that the desirability of North Whisman will continue to grow.
Rex Manor is another neighborhood projected to see much positive change in the coming years. Bordered by Shoreline Boulevard, Middlefield Road, Farley Street, and Central Expressway, Rex Manor was historically and is still one of the most reasonably priced neighborhoods in Mountain View. However, in 2015, prices in Rex Manor proved that “reasonably priced” is a relative phrase. The cheapest homes are the original bungalows of 800 to 1,000 square feet that are now selling for over $1 million. Builders are snapping up these lots and there is a steady stream of new construction. In the last half of 2015, two new homes sold, one for $2.1 million—a number shocking even to those most bullish on this market. Besides general housing trends, Rex Manor specifically is benefiting from the number of young Googlers with just enough funds to buy in Mountain View. In fact, Google has just leased an impressive, 111,443-square-foot, four-story building to be built just north of the neighborhood, which will only increase the desirability of Rex Manor.
Stierlin Estates also had a notable 2015, bucking the general market trend of fewer transactions with eight sales closed last year as compared to two in 2014. Being an older neighborhood typically with few sales, this is indicative that the original owners are selling and the next generation is moving in. It is highly likely that younger owners will want to remodel and expand the homes to fit the modern family lifestyle. These modifications often have a domino effect; once a few owners have remodeled, more feel comfortable investing in their homes. With more modern homes in the neighborhood, prices typically rise.
There are strong signs that North Whisman, Rex Manor, and Stierlin Estates are on the rise. Further investment in these neighborhoods in the form of new construction, either by developers or owners, is coming. Young Mountain View residents looking for a first home as well as investors would do well to consider purchasing in these neighborhoods poised for strong appreciation.