Wednesday, April 8, 2009

An Outside In Look

I have lived in Alameda for over 30-year. Wow, that is the first time I wrote that and I flashed to all of those long-time Alamedans that have had snarky comments about outsiders, but the only reason I preface the next paragraph with the term I lived here is sometimes here on the Island we get a little insulated.

In today’s post I wanted to compare our tiny real estate market with other markets in the County. I excluded Contra Costa because the city populations are much smaller.

So I took a look at five cities in the county Alameda, Livermore, Pleasanton, San Leandro and Union City. I looked at population, listing, single family homes priced between $300,000 and $400,000 and high school scores. Here is the raw data:


Alameda: 74,581

Livermore: 80,723

Pleasanton: 67,650

San Leandro: 81,422

Union City: 70,685

Listings (as of 4/8/09)

Alameda: 167

Livermore: 333

Pleasanton: 374

San Leandro: 255

Union City: 258

Single Family Residence “For Sale”

List Price between $300,000 and $400,000

Alameda: 2

Livermore: 32

Pleasanton: 1

San Leandro: 36

Union City: 31

High School Test Scores (2007 Base API Data)

Alameda: Alameda High School – 798; Encinal High School -- 701

Livermore: Livermore High School – 763; Granada High School -- 796

Pleasanton: Amador High School – 870; Foothill High School -- 888

San Leandro: San Leandro High School -- 685

Union City: Logan High School -- 726

So what does all this mean for real estate? Well from a pure economic perspective it means that Alameda is either overpriced or extremely desirable. Since most of you that read this blog live on Island, like myself, we would say desirable. But based on affordability Alameda does not even come close.

Alameda has two single family homes listed for under $400,000 compared to San Leandro (36) Livermore (32) and Union City (31) with homes listed at a moderate price point.

The most interesting statistics to me was the high school API scores. I hear people say our home prices are higher because of the schools. That is a tough argument since Alameda’s secondary schools placed third out of five cities in a straight comparison and only excelled well beyond San Leandro High School.

Union City’s Logan High School score is an impressive score because it has 2,740 students (one very big campus) at the one high school were used in calculating their API. Between Alameda and Encinal the district had 2,132 students as part of the 2008 base score and Logan scored 25 points higher than Encinal. As a former Jet that was disappointing.

The biggest reason that I see is why Alameda’s prices are holding, besides location, location, location, is we have very limited inventory. Both Livermore and Pleasanton have twice as many properties for sale.

I only did this exercise as a little perspective as we look at improving our community.

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