Young Couples Seek Townhouses and Condos with an Urban Feel

Bay Meadows makes headlines! San Jose Mercury News features Landsdowne homeowners Aparna and Vineet, sharing their story, and the story of so many other Bay Meadows homeowners who are attracted to “Life in Motion” – life with convenient access public transportation, shopping, and more. Read the full story here:

Young couples seek townhouses and condos with an urban feel

By Pete Carey

Vineet Kannan and Aparna Jain, two software engineers in their 20s, are making a move that is increasingly popular among the Bay Area’s young professionals: They’re abandoning their apartment in Mountain View and buying a townhouse in an urban infill development in San Mateo.

And what made their move even easier: soaring rents and low mortgage rates mean their monthly mortgage payment is less than they’d pay to rent an equivalent apartment.

So on one recent morning, they were making a final inspection tour of their new, three-bedroom townhouse in the Landsdowne development at San Mateo’s Bay Meadows, a few blocks from the Caltrain they use to commute to work — Kannan to a new job at Netflix in Los Gatos and Jain at Zynga in San Francisco.

Seeing a growing number of potential buyers like Kannan and Jain, Bay Area builders are scrambling to meet the demand.

New building permits for detached homes and townhomes are up 39 percent from last year in San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin counties, 35 percent in Santa Clara and San Benito counties, and almost 19 percent in the East Bay, according to the California Homebuilding Foundation.

Permits for multifamily housing, including condos — which are particularly attractive to young, first-time buyers — are up 38 percent across the Bay Area, with San Francisco-Marin-San Mateo leading the way with an 82 percent jump over the first 10 months of 2013. However, permits in Alameda and Contra Costa counties dropped by 4.5 percent.

“Everybody is at full velocity,” said Chris Foley of Polaris Pacific, a marketing and sales company for high-density urban condo developments. “The condo market is very strong. No new condos have been delivered for five years and people want to buy condos.”

Housing experts say younger buyers like Kannan and Jain are favoring urban infill projects like Bay Meadows that are close to shopping and where they can abandon their cars and use public transit.

“We’re getting a brand new house, Whole Foods is right next to us and there’s a community garden, which is exciting for me,” Jain said.