San Carlos has an outstanding reputation among potential buyers. Anchored by outstanding schools, a family friendly community and a revitalized downtown, San Carlos receives high marks from potential buyers. However, given the current market conditions we could do better. The following is a compilation of prospective buyer comments that may reflect some projected shortcomings:
(1) San Carlos does not have a high school. This is a valid concern. The thought of paying San Carlos prices and having to leave the city to go to high school is not the end of the world, but far from ideal. For as many strides as Sequoia has made, and as unfair as it may seem, it is a deal killer for some buyers. I would argue that there are many Sequoia parents and students who sing the praises of the school. However, as is the case with many real estate issues, perception is different than reality. In this case, the perception is winning.
(2) San Carlos is in serious financial trouble. Budget cuts, staff reductions, the closing of the Kiwanis Center and future cuts are concerning for everyone. That being said, I do have a lot of faith in our current city council. They understand the potential for revenue generation of east San Carlos and understand that making cuts now will put us back on the path to recovery more quickly.
(3) San Carlos is not diverse enough. Tough to argue this point. It’s a fair assessment. I think most San Carlans would support this statement as well. Encouraging diversity, multi-cultural events and education will improve this issue.
(4) San Carlos needs improvement in their Parks and Recreation. I was on the Parks and Recreation Commission for three years and I can tell you that it is not a matter of the Park and Rec Department not wanting to improve the city’s options for residents, it’s a money issue. A few years ago we had a list of around thirty items that we wanted to add to San Carlos, including a community swimming pool, skate park, additional walking trails, etc. We ended up ranking all of the items in terms of priority. At the end of the day, I believe the only item off the list that made it to construction was the water feature at Burton Park. With all of the current budget cuts I would not expect an improvement any time soon.
(5) The San Carlos Move-up Market is Almost Non-existent. There are many families in San Carlos who are sitting in a 3/1 or 3/2 who would gladly sell their home and move up to the next level (1.2M-1.7M), however, there is not a lot to choose from. Currently, there are 15 homes in San Carlos in this price range. Only 4 are in the coveted White Oaks/Howard Park areas. Additionally, the combined days on the market for these 15 homes is 89 days. The inventory is a bit stale and not falling in the two most desirable areas of San Carlos.
I know you love San Carlos as many of us do.
San Carlos is a great place to live. Yes there are things that could be better. But sometimes I think the focus is too much on what we do not have than what we do have. This focus on the negative permenates American life right now and I think it is easy to lose sight of all that is good with San Carlos and our nation.
Many of the comments you make apply to many cities on the Peninsula. The move-up market is most cities is slow to non-existent. Very wealthy areas like Portola Valley and Woodside see very few sales right now. Los Altos is very slow. Inventory is jumping up in Palo Alto. All of these cities have certain things that San Carlos does not – yet their real estate market is slow, too. San Carlos property values I believe are in line with what our city offers its residents.
All cities and school districts are facing financial issues at present time.
Many residents of these cities with perhaps the exception of Palo Alto send their kids to private high schools. I believe in Menlo Park about 40% of the kids that attend Hillview Middle go to private school as opposed to Menlo-Atherton. I would bet the same is true in Portola Valley, Woodside, and Los Altos.
Buyers can get into Palo Alto for say $300,000 to $400,000 more than the corresponding house in San Carlos.
Due to our current economic slow-down, things look bleak less promising. Once the economy turns some of these issues will take on less importance. Items 2, 4 and 5 in your post are all directly related to the economy. I have lived in San Carlos since 1986 and I would recommend this town to everyone. I bet a year from now things will look much brighter!
Keep doing a good job bringing useful info to the public!