Lakewood Village may be the next Birdland


It was an exciting day in April 2017 when Apple employees began moving into Apple Park, commonly known as the “Spaceship”. But it had already been an exciting past five years for homeowners in the Birdland neighborhood of Sunnyvale, just across Homestead Road. From 2013, the year that Apple Park was approved by the city of Cupertino, to 2017, the average home price in Birdland shot up from just over $1.1 million to nearly $1.9 million. This is a near meteoric 70 percent increase in just five years. While the desirability of Sunnyvale real estate has increased as a whole over that time period, Birdland has become a hotbed of intense bidding wars, news-making sales price amounts jumping over list prices, and continual rapid appreciation as a result of the Spaceship “landing” across the street.

An analogous scenario has begun to unfold in Downtown San Jose when Google announced it was purchasing properties near Downtown San Jose for a campus to accommodate 15,000 to 20,000 new employees. Demand for the surrounding real estate has heightened due to speculation that once it is built the housing nearby will be a hot commodity. While construction has yet to begin and is not anticipated to be completed until the early part of the next decade, real estate listings are already starting to mention that they are close to the new Google campus.

Will the Google and Apple effect strike again? That is the question on the top of many minds once Google announced it had acquired over $1 billion in real estate in Moffett Park, the office park located north of US 101 bordered by Mathilda Avenue and Caribbean Drive. Google has proposed a campus called “Caribbean” which will total over one million square feet and potentially hold up to 4,500 employees.

The closest residential neighborhood to Moffett Park is Lakewood Village, which is located on either side of Lawrence Expressway between US 101 and Tasman Drive. Historically and presently one of the most affordable neighborhoods in Sunnyvale, it contains hundreds of modest three bedroom, one-story homes originally of about 1,000 to 1,100 square feet on lots of approximately 5,500 square feet. While some have undergone significant additions, most remain of similar size and character. Prices of these homes rarely top $1.3 million.

With thousands of young Google employees likely working in the nearby Caribbean campus by the anticipated completion date of 2021, this will likely be changing. Young high-tech employees have increasingly put a premium on being close to home to avoid the grueling commute and enjoy more time at home. With traffic becoming worse by the day and the fact that young tech-workers often must work long hours, that premium on location makes sense.

If history repeats itself and we see a 70 percent increase in prices over the next five years, homes in Lakewood Village could be regularly selling for approximately $2 million by 2023, two years after the scheduled completion of the Caribbean campus, making the current prices seem like an extreme bargain right now.