Real estate in Menlo Park is thriving

July 25, 2008 7:15:04 PM PDT
There are places in the Bay Area where real estate remains strong, and Menlo Park is one of them.

A house in Menlo Park was just on the market for $1.9 million. It actually closed escrow on Friday for $2.2 million, $300,000 more than the actual price. This is actually just one example of what's in this protected real-estate market.

In many parts of the Bay Area and the country, 'foreclosure signs' are more common than 'sold' signs.

That is except in a few Peninsula towns like Menlo Park and Palo Alto.

"We continue to have more demand for homes than there are homes available for sale," said realtor Carol Carnevale.

That means many listings are still getting multiple offers and selling for more than the asking price.

A home in Menlo Park was recently listed for $1,249,000. It sold in a week for $1,405,000 with six offers.

While Menlo Park may be insulated from the foreclosure crisis, just across the freeway in East Menlo Park it's a totally different picture.

According to the Multiple Listing Service, the average sales price in east Menlo Park has dropped 34 percent since the first half of last year until now.

The average sales price is now just $414,000. Last year it was $629,000 and overall sales there are down 72 percent.

But in Menlo Park the average sales price has increased from $1.6 million to $1.8 million. That's the 15 percent jump although the number of foreclosed sales has decreased 28 percent.

"Real estate is still a very local market, a very local business. If you have a stable economy in an area where you have people that didn't get into homes that were over-priced by using high risk loans, there is lower foreclosure activity," said RealtyTrac Senior Vice President Rick Sharga.

Carnevale says the biggest difficulty some buyers are facing is the rigorous process to get pre-approved for a loan. But even that in her area is sometimes not an issue.

"Many of the buyers today do present all cash offers and actually close the escrow," said Carnevale.

RealtyTrac says most of the homes that are in foreclosure now, were built and bought since 2004. That's why Menlo Park and some of these older neighborhoods seem to be well protected.


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