The VICE Guide to Right Now

A 'Totally Unlivable' House Near Silicon Valley Just Sold for $1.2 Million

The condemned home in the San Jose area had buyers lining up, cash in hand.

by Harry Cheadle
Apr 17 2018, 4:38pm

Photo via Redfin.

The roof is full of holes, the ceilings are infested with mildew, and no one can live inside it. But buyers still lined up, cash in hand, for a condemned house in Fremont, California, the Bay Area News Group reports, because of its proximity to the tech industry.

The buyers, who dropped $1.23 million on the three-bedroom that the realtor himself called "totally unlivable," aren't buying the house in the usual sense, of course. The property comes with the 9,400-square-foot lot, and the owners will pay to have the house torn down to build a new one in its place. The sale just proves that any patch of dirt near Silicon Valley is worth an astronomical sum: Fremont is across the bay from Palo Alto, and this property, while a condemned, is in a favorable school district.

Still, the price—which was a quarter-million bucks over the asking price—shows how insane housing has gotten in the Bay Area. The real estate agent selling it, Larry Gallegos, said he got "nonstop" calls and emails about the uninhabitable listing, and at least three people offered to pay in cash. That makes a certain amount of sense, since Gallegos told SFGate that a newly built 2,000-square-foot property on the lot would be worth more than $2 million.

Home prices in the region have long been out of reach for middle-class residents, but lately it's gotten to the point where not even tech workers—the relatively wealthy caste that has attracted a lot of resentment—can afford to buy homes near their employers. The median home price in Fremont, according to Zillow, is just above $1 million, up 12 percent in the past year. Cross the bridge to Palo Alto and that number jumps to $3.2 million.

Follow Harry Cheadle on Twitter.