East Palo Alto
An affordable small town, only recently incorporated, that's just starting to come into its own. East Palo Alto is based on an old district called Ravenswood, with its own interesting, unique and little-known history. Even the climate and the quality of the sunlight is different here, something I've long suspected and the Sunset Western Garden Book confirms. Long on the fringe of the mid-Peninsula, East Palo Alto has started to get its share of attention from the developers. See also Menlo Park's similar Belle Haven neighborhood.
pros and cons
· Hard to find “dirt” this cheap anywhere else on the Peninsula, let alone next to two of its most expensive cities.
· Location may give it good upside potential if infrastructure problems are worked out. Price appreciation has been very strong and consistent.
· Redevelopment plans look promising. The proposed downtown would give EPA a focal point and much-needed shopping.
· New housing development near 101.
· Although the local elementary school district, Ravenswood, has generally low test scores, the 1979 Tinsley court decision allows a quota of children to attend neighboring highly-regarded school districts under certain circumstances (verify with local districts).
· I've been hearing "you won't recognize East Palo Alto in five years" for at least ten years, and I still recognize it. Some locals would say that that's not a bad thing, and that EPA needs a better infrastructure more than it needs a cosmetic make-over.
· City is only recently incorporated and is still working hard to acquire the kind of tax base that other cities have had for years.
· Elementary school district is currently in crisis.
· Homes and lots are usually small.
· There's a small condo market west of 101, but nothing east of 101.
· Although East Palo Alto is a bayside community, this isn’t Redwood Shores or Foster City—there’s no waterfront living.
· Shopping within the city is poor, even for the basics, although it’s improving.
Interested in buying a home in East Palo Alto? Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Weeks: Until recently a center for commercial flower growing, you can still spot a few reminders of the past. The neighborhood retains much of its semi-rural appearance, although the few remaining large lots are rapidly being sub-divided.
Palo Alto Gardens (The Gardens): Generally considered the nicest East Palo Alto tract. A large development of small, conventional ranchers built in the early ‘50s, and convenient to the new University 101 shopping center. Modest but pleasant ranchers on small lots are enhanced by a uniform look and winding streets.
University Village: Another large tract, this one of small, early contemporaries. The same age as the Gardens but seems to have more deferred maintenance.
Palo Alto Park: The oldest tract in East Palo Alto, built from the ‘20s. Pre-war architecture and a semi-rural atmosphere give this area the potential to be EPA’s Barron Park but right now there's plenty of baggage. Streets have virtually disappeared due to lack of maintenance. Seems to have more wear-and-tear and a bleaker look than any other East Palo Alto neighborhood (one client said “it looks like a third-world country”) perhaps because the houses have an extra twenty years on them.
Menalto Park: Small tract at the corner of Willow Road and 101, modest ranchers in a generally well-maintained neighborhood.
Bayshore Park: One of the older tracts, built just before and during World War II. Adjacent to Menalto Park but not as well-maintained.
Kavanaugh area (Flood Estates): The last tract built in East Palo Alto and the only one in which every house has a second bath. They’re small contemporaries in a well-maintained neighborhood. The old house next door on Bay Road once belonged to the Kavanaughs, one of the first families to settle Ravenswood.
Woodland Place: Small and attractive area just north of University, dating from the very early 1900s.
West of 101: An area that alternates between multi-family (apartment and condo buildings) and charming pre-war homes. The pre-war neighborhoods might remind you of old Palo Alto, except for the lack of sidewalks. Significantly more expensive than east of 101.
price performance (including Belle Haven)
Here’s how East Palo Alto east of 101 and the neighboring Belle Haven area of Menlo Park have performed over the past two years. I’ve included Belle Haven with East Palo Alto because they're similar real estate markets. This chart is based on data from the Multiple Listing Service, corrected to eliminate the extremes at both ends of the price range that skew average price.
TOP copyright © John Fyten 2004.