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$500k in 2010, at the depths of the housing crisis, would have gotten me a little over 1000 sq ft near an oil refinery in the East Bay. It's academic though, since that means a $50-100k down payment, which I could not have saved. Everyone gets hung up on the real estate appreciation in the Bay Area, but forgets that down payments are very hard to save up.

Edit: I wasn't considering condos. Go fee simple or go home.

Uh, $470k got me 1100sqft right near Caltrain in Willow Glen, a desirable suburb of San Jose. Last year.

The situation is crazy, don't get me wrong, but I think you're a little overselling it.

And $1.35m got me 1800sqft in Willow Glen last month. Afaik, avg sales price in Willow Glen over the past year is just over $1m.

Condo vs single family home :) I'm over by Tamien station off Minnesota Ave if that provides some context. (I call it the ghetto side of Willow Glen, as if there were such a thing. It's still a lovely neighborhood.)

Good for you! Maybe we'll run into each other sometime. :)

Actually I know someone who bought a 3 bedroom place 2 miles from Apple's new HQ in 2010 for 650K. They took out an FHA loan for 3% down with a PMI. This was a really smart decision because in 3 years their house value increased to 850K, bringing their loan to value ratio within 0.8 thus allowing them to refinance and get rid of the PMI. They had a monthly PMI of 350 dollars. That amounts to $12,600 extra for 3 years. 17% savings in downpayment amounts to 110,500. So essentially they saved 98K.

I have a 1200 sqft house with a nice yard in a cool neighborhood midway betwen Berkeley and downtown Oakland that we got for under $350k (including some largish repairs & upgrades) around that time. Admittedly we timed it well and property values around here have practically doubled since we bought it, but I think that was partly due to a lack of investment in new construction for a few years following the recession.

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