I Can’t Afford to Live Here

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The last time I remember the real estate market in my area being so frenetic wasn’t in 2007, at the peak of the housing bubble, but more like 1999, as the Internet bubble was still swelling. There was a lack of housing supply, and realtors would be pestering homeowners constantly about whether or not they wanted to sell their house. Some shrewd ones took the offer and got out (one friend of mine accepted the obscene amount paid for his house and went to Southern California to start a winery).

Palo Alto is a nice town (and a good-looking house is pretty much $4 million at this point), but the really high-end communities are a few miles away, such as Atherton. I bought my house in 1991, and thank God, because even though it seemed expensive then, with the passing of time, I now live in a house I could never afford in the current market.

For those dying to get in at the top, here’s a sampling of some of the properties you might want to consider. Be warned that these tend to be accompanied by cheesy music, which the selling agent seems to think will seduce the buyer into wanting the place.

5 Betty Lane – $22.8 million

435 Coleridge – $17.25 million (this one’s actually in Palo Alto on a – hold on to your hats! – 0.45 acre lot)

495 Old Spanish Trail – $18.8 million

Of course, these might be out of rich, so if you want something more modest – – this one sporting a park-like 1/6th of an acre…….

1854 Bryant Street


All I can say is:

  1. I’m glad I bought 22 years ago;
  2. I’m glad property taxes are tied to the original purchase price instead of the actual market price;
  3. I sure wish there were puts I could buy on my property.