Burned-out house in Silicon Valley sells for a whopping $938,000

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It’s no secret that buying a home for under US$1 million in the San Francisco Bay Area is a nearly impossible task. Case in point: Somebody has paid over US$900,000 for a burned-out home.

The one-story, single-family house at 1375 Bird Avenue in San Jose, California, was ravaged by fire two years ago. In photos, the structure appears dilapidated and held together with plywood.

According to real-estate site Redfin and the Silicon Valley Business Journal, the home sold for US$938,000 in April — more than US$130,000 over the listing price of US$799,000.

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Listing agent Holly Barr of Sereno Group told the San Francisco Chronicle the price was fair based on the cost of local housing and the lot’s potential. The home sits on a 5,800-square-foot lot and is located less than a 10-minute drive from downtown San Jose, where Google plans to build a new campus.

According to Barr, the seller took the highest of six bids. The lucky buyer is paying all cash.

Prospective buyers needed to harness their imagination to see its potential. The home’s listing on Redfin stipulated: “The property was badly burned two years ago. You cannot see the inside.”

Built in 1976, 1375 Bird Avenue suffered heavy burns after a garage explosion in 2015. Flames engulfed the home, leaving three residents and a dog displaced. The cause of the fire was unknown.

A screenshot from Google Street View shows the quaint home in 2015.

In 2018, it doesn’t have quite the same curb appeal. (Here it is on Zillow.)

As the cost of living in San Francisco rises, people are migrating south in search of affordable housing. Nine of the 10 hottest neighbourhoods in the US are located in San Jose, according to Redfin. The site based the ranking on increases in internet traffic to listings in a neighbourhoods.

The median home sale price in San Jose reached US$1.1 million in December, up 32 per cent year over year. Homes typically sell for 113 per cent of the listing price and receive all-cash offers.

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