Thursday, August 27, 2009

How Much is the Piedmont Location Worth?

Buyers love Piedmont for a variety of reasons: its great schools (#68 in the nation according to US News and World Report!), close-knit and diverse community, easy commutes, proximity to all the City and East Bay have to offer, our locally controlled and delivered city services.

In fact, for an average 3-bedroom/2-bath home, buyers were willing to pay $324K more to live in Piedmont in 2008 than just over the border in Oakland 94610,11, and 18. This figure has varied between $350K and $320K over the last several years, even as home prices rocketed up. Lots of clients ask me how they should think about the extra price, relative to Piedmont's great schools.

Buying a Piedmont house involves an investment; buying private school in Oakland is an expenditure: You get the Piedmont investment back when you sell the house. Buyers pay $324K more, but in exchange, they break even on a nominal basis in the second year with one child in school (that is, added mortgage and taxes on an after-tax basis are less than the cost of typical tuition, with inflation, in year 2. And this excludes the fact that you'll eventually sell and get your investment back too).

Families gain $727,000 in net present value terms over a 12-year residency with three kids, including the eventual sale, compared to living in Oakland and paying for private schools (as I always note in discussions of this issue, thousands of families don’t have that choice. But for those for whom that is the choice, those are the numbers).

With drastic budget cuts facing neighboring school districts and the price of private school marching relentlessly upward even as Piedmont home prices drift down, now may be a great time for friends and family to consider a purchase here in Piedmont. Feel free to email me for a copy of the spreadsheet, and for access to my Piedmont Info website.

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