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Vacant Palo Alto lot’s price rose $2.3M in 21 months

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Once assessed at $78,000, value has risen nearly 7,000 percent

Photos courtesy of Alain Pinel Realtors

Vacant land in Palo Alto will only get more expensive as prices in surrounding neighborhoods continue to soar. Take, for example, 660 Coleridge—a 0.28 acre property roughly 12,200 square feet, located across the street from Rinconada Park, that listed this week for $5,398,000.

“Beautiful flat land value in Old Palo Alto, prime location on a cul-de-sac” reads the ad by realtor Christina Li, who also notes that the seller “designed their own custom home” for the site, currently under consideration by the city.

The lever of appreciation for the grassy lot is shocking even by Silicon Valley’s bewildering standards. According to Redfin, the property sold for $3.1 million in May 2016, then sold again for more than $3.9 million in September 2016. Talk about a speedy flip.

If 660 Coleridge nets a buyer at its present asking of $5.3 million, it will mean that the price rose nearly $2.3 million in 21 months—a rate of nearly $27,400/week or roughly $3,911/day.

If that kind of money seems unreasonable, Santa Clara County disagrees. In 2016 the county assessor valued this lot at a mere $78,600. After its most recent assessment in 2017, it seems that this pretty little patch has really moved up in the world; it’s now pegged at $5.52 million, an increase of 6,992 percent.

Which puts a rather different spin on the old phrase “a whole lot of nothing” indeed.

Palo Alto has been the poster child for the crippling housing crisis in Silicon Valley. In 2016, former Palo Alto planning commissioner Kate Vershov Downing made headlines after resigning and penning a scathing letter condemning Palo Alto’s housing policy. In response, mayor Patrick Bruk told Curbed SF that his city’s greatest problem was the Bay Area’s massive job growth, saying, “We don’t want to turn into Manhattan.”