Empty lot listed for nearly $5.4 million in Palo Alto

PALO ALTO, Calif. (KGO) -- A property in Palo Alto was just listed for nearly $5.4 million. It's on a quiet, tree-lined, residential street near a park. But there's a catch.

It's on a quiet, tree-lined residential street near a park. But there's no house here at all. It's just an empty quarter-acre lot.

The property sold in May of 2016 for $3.1 million. Then in September of that same year for $3.9 million. Now, the listing has skyrocketed more than $2 million in less than two years.

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"This is just a crazy residential real estate market," said Santa Clara County Assessor Larry Stone. He says the lot was actually appraised for more than $5 million back in 2016 but those sales were made off the market. He defends the $5.39 million price tag. There's low inventory, high demand, and an empty lot like this is desirable for buyers who want to build.

"A lot of properties with homes on it, houses that are old are purchased. Then they scrape the house off," he said. "So they'll overpay because the land is worth so much."

The resident isn't too surprised by the price of the empty lot.

Ann Buchin has been a real estate agent since the 1970s. "Nothing surprises us here," she said. "Things that would not sell a long long time ago do. Everything sells now."

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Sarah Chaffin is an advocate for affordable teacher housing. She explains an empty lot that expensive only adds insult to injury.

"If a small vacant lot is going for $5.3 million how could a teacher ever afford to live where they work," she asked.

Stone says a buyer can always appeal an assessment.

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