Santa Cruz real estate and it's ongoing relationship with Silicon Valley

Tom Brezsny
- Tom Brezsny

Santa Cruz real estate and it's ongoing relationship with Silicon Valley

Continuing the conversation…strolling down memory lane, looking at Santa Cruz real estate and how its ongoing relationship with Silicon Valley has changed over the last 30 years.

We left off as the market was careening intothe late 1990s in the crazy run-up that accompanied the even more crazy bubble.Things were exploding outward from SiliconValley to the rest of the planet through a rashof start-ups and IPOs.

For a while, It seemed like a steady streamof thirty-something techies were wanderingaround Santa Cruz neighborhoods franticallysearching for opportunities to convert someof their new-found manna from heaven (stockoptions) into chunks of more traditionalbeach-going brick and mortar.

If there was any doubt whether Santa Cruz wasbecoming a bedroom community for SiliconValley, it vanished right around then. Themedian price in Santa Cruz jumped 15% between 1998-1999. Then it jumped another 30%between 1999-2000. Multiple offers becamecommonplace. And it wasn’t unusual to see occasional offers coming in at $10,000 (modest!)above list price. Santa Cruz’s newly-mintedmillion dollar price range was here to stay.

Just like the late ‘80s, people started sayingwe’d never see another real estate market like itin our lifetimes. I had my first five-offer situation in 1998. Then my first ten-offer situationin 1999. Then my first (and only) 37-offersituation in 2000. I also had a different listingthat generated a full price offer just two hoursafter it went on the market!

Those things were unprecedented before therapidly expanding tide of tech millionairesbegan washing up on our shores. Stunning,given that at the time there weren’t any onlinelistings, or real estate search engines or eventhe ability to email a pdf version of a real estatecontract for electronic signatures. We were stillwriting and delivering offers by hand!

As real estate continued partying like it was1999, the huge shadow lurking beneath mania began to loom larger in the guiseof a growing concern about Y2K – a masscomputer bug that might unleash widespreadchaos around the planet. But New Year’sEve came and went without a hitch and allremained right with the Santa Cruz real estatemarket.

The reckoning came some months later…NASDAQ peaked over 5,000 in March of 2000and suddenly people really started questioningwhether there was ever going to be a “there,there” with dot.coms. By late 2000, investorjitters were in full swing. And as NASDAQcompanies lost a cool $5 trillion, hiring andstock options went South as the Santa Cruzreal estate market underwent a noticeablechill. Next Week’s double-whammy: NASDAQ’s crash and 9-11!

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