Prices for Eichlers Hit New Heights

Highwood house
Eichlers have been selling for record prices in several locations around the Bay. In the East Bay, this home, on Highwood Road in Castro Valley, sold for $2,725,000, an East Bay record, according to realtor Thomas Westfall, who handled the sale. Open Homes Photography

Is it surprising that the highest price ever paid for an Eichler home was for a pad Joe Eichler himself called home? A pair of penthouse condos atop Eichler’s luxury San Francisco Summit, at 999 Green Street, recently sold for $29 million – and despite much hoopla in the press, no one that we know even reported that this property was an Eichler.

The sale broke city records, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. It also raised the question: what other Eichlers have recently sold for record prices?

But before going there, let’s recap this tale from atop Russian Hill, where Joe built the 32-story 999 Green Street highrise in the early 1960s, moving into one of two of the penthouses with his wife, Lillian.

The news sites and papers ran down the most recent owners, former secretary of state George Schultz and wife Charlotte Maillard Schultz, a philanthropist and the city’s former chief of protocol, both now deceased.

Reporters noticed the pair’s famed guests: prime ministers, senators, Henry Kissinger, Tony Bennett. And of course they described the paired, two-story condo’s marvelous staircases, wet bars, and views of Bay, bridges, Marin County, East Bay, and more from a wraparound terrace.

But let’s get back onto the ground.

  Summit
The Summit, Eichler’s luxury highrise atop Russian Hill, recently saw the sale of the priciest Eichler home ever, paired two-story penthouses that have been turned into a single unit. Photo by Dave Weinstein
 

Any Eichlers going for $29 million in that hottest of markets, Silicon Valley?

No, said Kevin Swartz, founder and Realtor at Atria Real Estate. Asked about the priciest Eichlers in the South Bay and Peninsula, he cited 479 Ferne Avenue in Palo Alto’s Greendell tract, which sold recently for $5 million. “The home was expanded and extensively remodeled,” Swartz said.

“It is fair to say the highest-priced Eichlers are always unique in some way compared to other Eichler homes in the neighborhood,” Swartz said.

“Single-family Eichlers on the biggest lots in a neighborhood typically set record prices.  Homes can always be renovated and expanded, but you cannot add space to the lot. 

“In neighborhoods where there are lots of Eichlers and on similar-sized lots, like in Sunnyvale,” he added, “the later-built Eichlers [1968-1974] tend to sell at higher prices. These homes are generally more spacious.”

In Sunnyvale, Swartz said, “There have been nine Eichlers sold over $3 million in 2021 and 2022. All were large for Sunnyvale and Eichler standards.”

He cited two examples: 814 Blanchard Way, in the Primewood tract, which sold in June for $3.8 million; and 948 Olympus Court, in Rancho Sans Souci, which sold in April for $3.75 million.

Mountain View
A home in Mountain View’s Grandmeadow tract that Eichler built for a friend, Tom Tripiano, whose firm plumbed Eichler homes, hit a record price this year for Eichlers in that city, $3.8 million. It sits on a particularly large and attractive lot. Photo by Dave Weinstein

In Mountain View, he cites a home built as a semi-custom design for one of Joe’s friends in Grandmeadow that sold recently for $3.8 million. “This is the biggest lot in the whole neighborhood and backs up to a creek, giving privacy,” Swartz said.

“There has only been one Eichler in Los Altos that sold over $4 million,” Swartz said. “It also happened to be the largest Eichler sold and a rare [original] two-story.”

The Eichler home at 1614 Clay Drive, in the Fallen Leaf Park tract, sold for $4 million in October 2021.

In Saratoga, Swartz cited 19224 De Havilland Drive as that town’s highest-priced Eichler. It features five bedrooms and three baths on “the biggest lot in the neighborhood,” with renovations by Klopf Architecture, and losed in February 2021 for $4.15 million.

Not every market is jumping. In Marin County, where Eichlers can be found in several communities, Renee Adelmann of Bay Area Modern said, “We don’t have prices that are jaw dropping like the $29 million condo you are mentioning, and our prices have been milder this year and have topped out at $2.615 million, which is lower than the highest sale last year.”

Good news for buyers in Marin!

Clay
This home on Clay Drive, in Los Altos' Fallen Leaf Park, sold for $4 million in late 2021. The second story was added soon after the home was built, designed by the home’s original architect, Claude Oakland. Photo by Dave Weinstein

But in the East Bay, where several Eichler communities were regarded as relatively “affordable” in recent years, realtor Thomas Westfall reports that prices are rising in several towns, including the Eichler tract where he lives, Greenridge, in the unincorporated town of Castro Valley.

There, Westfall recently achieved an East Bay record for an Eichler, he said, selling a “five bed, three bath double A” with an addition at 5894 Highwood Road for $2,725,000.

Westfall handled another high-priced Eichler in Greenridge – 5376 Greenridge Road, for $2,280,000.

“It has the honor of being the highest price per square foot of any Eichler in the East Bay,” Westfall said, citing $1,240 per square foot.

Surprisingly, perhaps, the East Bay record came in Castro Valley, which lacks some of the panache of Walnut Creek, a bustling city with several aggregations of Eichlers. Westfall mentioned two Eichlers that he sold in Castro Valley for more than $2.5 million.

Why the attention to Castro Valley?

“Castro Valley is much closer to Silicon Valley than Walnut Creek and Concord,” Westfall said. “The weather’s better. It’s cooler, not ridiculously hot like Walnut Creek and Concord. And the schools have gotten better. And there’s a BART station.”

“Plus it’s up in the hills, and there are large lots.”

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