The Willows neighborhood in Menlo Park has always been one of my favorite first time home buyer neighborhoods. Prices are very expensive in Menlo Park and Palo Alto, mostly due to our "landlocked" geography on the San Francisco Bay Peninsula. Menlo Park is adjacent to Stanford University, but most neighborhoods are too expensive even for tech workers and professionals. The Willows neighborhood in Menlo Park is the exception.
The Willows neighborhood appeals to young professional families because it is affordable due to it's less than stellar location next to Hwy 101 and east Palo Alto. Recently, the German American School has opened in the Willows in Menlo Park, and several families have purchased homes in the East Palo Alto section of this neighborhood. Their home prices are far less expensive due to the poor schools in EPA, but they feel they have the best of both worlds in that they are adjacent to the Willows neighborhood in Menlo Park, but pay the much lower East Palo Alto prices.
What makes the Willows neighborhood in Menlo Park appealing after price is that it is in the excellent Menlo Park School district. The neighborhood is full of young professional families, and many stay even after they could afford to move up. A standard lot size is 5000 sq ft, but there are lots as large as 15,000 square feet, and homes as expensive as $2,500,000. are being built on the larger lots.
I see another trend of reitirees "downsizing" from their larger and more expensive homes in more desirable areas of Menlo Park and Palo Alto to the Willows neighborhood in Menlo Park.
Like most entry level single family homes in excellent school district neighborhoods near Palo Alto, this one hardly felt the sting of the mortage meltdown and recession, as the graph below shows. In Menlo Park and the entire Silicon Valley, there is always a need for entry level homes, and they decrease in price less in a recession and bounce back sooner than any other housing stock. An investment in a rental property or home in the Willows is generally a safe bet.....given time. If you are interested in reading more about Menlo Park homes for sale and all Menlo Park neighborhoods, visit my Menlo Park Neighborhoods page of my website, where you can click on any neighborhood on the map and search for current listings in that neighborhood. All pages have a neighborhood review at Arjanihomes.com