Neighboring Cities


The Peninsula has three rules of thumb. First, the closer you get to Stanford, the more expensive the homes become. Stanford’s considerable presence has created a zone of gracious living that many people find highly desirable.

So from this it follows that not everyone can afford Palo Alto or Menlo Park. In fact, few people can.

And not everyone likes what they can afford in Palo Alto or Menlo Park.

If you’re in either of these categories, you need to know your options. That’s why I’ve put together summaries of nearby cities. They may open doors you didn’t know existed.

This brings us to the Peninsula’s second rule of thumb: real estate gets cheaper the further it is from San Francisco, this area’s cultural and entertainment magnet. By itself, rule of thumb #2 contradicts rule of thumb #1, to wit: even though the Peninsula cities north of Menlo Park are closer to San Francisco than Menlo Park, Menlo Park sells for more than all but one of them. But rule of thumb #3 explains everything: rule #2 is always true, except when rule #1 applies.

Got it? What all these rules mean in plain English is that, if you can’t afford what you want in Redwood City or in East Palo Alto, the mid-Peninsula’s most affordable cities, then you can’t afford any of the cities to the north, no matter how windy and foggy they are. But you might like what you can afford in a number of neighborhoods to the south, in and around San Jose.

There’s no free lunch in real estate. Other cities sell at a discount for at least one good reason and usually several.

But if you’re willing to compromise, these neighboring cities have much to offer.


Redwood City—relatively affordable housing, from old-fashioned bungalows to tract homes to new construction

San Carlos—consistently appealing neighborhoods with highly-regarded schools

Belmont—a little different from the usual bedroom community

San Mateo—a little of everything in a variety of established neighborhoods


Mountain View—old-fashioned to modern housing, with an outstanding downtown and some sought-after schools

Sunnyvale—affordable post-war tract housing, often quite pleasant and with well-regarded schools

Santa Clara—very affordable and consistent tract neighborhoods

Cupertino—like South Palo Alto, a “brand name” for the relatively affordable good life

Campbell—part housing tracts, part old-fashioned small town

West San Jose—outstanding pre-war neighborhoods at a discount, plus a number of pleasant tracts with sought-after schools

Central San Jose—a great downtown surrounded by affordable old neighborhoods

Interested in buying a home in one of these areas? Please contact me at

copyright © John Fyten 2004-2014

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