Long known as one of Palo Alto’s most esteemed enclaves, the leafy, walkable Old Palo Alto neighborhood is currently one of the most desirable areas in Silicon Valley – so sought after, in fact, that homes commanded some of the city’s highest prices last year.
“Old Palo Alto is now the new spot for newly minted billionaires and has always been the most prestigious part of town,” one of Pacific Union’s top real estate professionals in Silicon Valley says, noting that the neighborhood is also known for its large lots.
Several of Silicon Valley’s best-known innovators – including late Apple CEO Steve Jobs and Google co-founder Larry Page – have called the neighborhood home. Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Steve Young also reportedly owns a house in Old Palo Alto.
Situated not far from Stanford University, Old Palo Alto lies between Embarcadero Road to the north, the Oregon Expressway to the south, Middlefield Road to the east, and Alma Street to the west. Embarcadero offers car commuters a straight shot to Highway 101, though both the Palo Alto and California Avenue Caltrain stations are a short stroll away.
Located near the neighborhood’s northern boundary, the Elizabeth F. Gamble Garden features 2.5 acres of plants and trees and is open free to the public seven days a week. Adjacent to Gamble Garden is the Palo Alto Lawn Bowls Club, which offers free Sunday classes and holds tournaments throughout the year.
Neighborhood children attend Walter Hays or Addison elementary schools, both operated by the highly ranked Palo Alto Unified School District. In 2013, Walter Hays scored a 934 of a possible 1,000 on the California Academic Performance Index, while Addison received a 948.
As is true of much of Palo Alto, homes come in a mishmash of architectural styles. Jobs lived in a Tudor residence, though a walk through the neighborhood turns up homes of the Eichler, Craftsman, and Mediterranean varieties.
From December 2012 to December 2013, Old Palo Alto was the third most expensive neighborhood in the city, with an average median sales price of exactly $3 million, according to MLS data. Homes in the neighborhood sold for 43 percent more than in Palo Alto overall during that time frame.
Due to a recent lack of inventory, motivated buyers seeking to land a home in this coveted neighborhood must prepare to act quickly. In November the months’ supply of inventory in Old Palo Alto was just 0.1, strongly skewed in favor of sellers. And the following month, there was just one neighborhood home for sale, the fewest at any point during the past two years.