Where That Facebook Cash Is Going: Surprisingly Modest Million-Dollar Homes

San Francisco real estate prices, Q1 2012San Francisco real estate has been booming, but unevenly.

Photo: Paragon Real Estate Group

No need to wait for the IPO. Facebook has already had a massive effect on the San Francisco Bay Area real-estate market.That’s according to San Francisco mortgage banker Julian Hebron, who documented the real-estate boom happening here on his blog, The Basis Point.

But Facebook employees and insiders have been making splashy purchases in the expensive market for years.

A senior exec's Menlo Park home

Menlo Park 4BD/3BA, $2.895 million

This top-level executive used to live in Atherton, a leafy suburb favoured by venture capitalists and executives at Google, where she used to work. But more recently, she and her family moved to Menlo Park--even closer to Facebook's new headquarters.

Anecdotally, we hear from Facebookers that employees' house-hunting spree has as much to do with the company's relocation from a former HP campus near Stanford in Palo Alto to its new campus on the other side of Highway 101 as the long-awaited IPO.

(A note: We found many of these homes on Blockshopper, a site which lists recent sales, but we're not linking to them because the posts contain the owners' names and home addresses.)

Facebook engineer's Redwood City home

Redwood City 4BD/2.5BA, $1.86 million

Redwood City is a relatively more affordable alternative to Menlo Park. Plus this place has views of a lake.

Less sought-after neighborhoods in San Francisco and Peninsula and South Bay cities farther away from Facebook's campus aren't seeing the same kind of frenzied activity, but the action is still hot.

A condo in the St. Regis

San Francisco (SoMa) 2BD/2BA, $1.75 million

This former top Facebook executive a got a condo in the St. Regis tower in SoMa. Al Gore is a neighbour.

A Facebooker's Haight-Ashbury flat

San Francisco (Haight-Ashbury) Unknown BD/3BA, $1.333 million

Victorian and Edwardian flats are characteristic of San Francisco homes--and they're highly desirable. To keep the commute tolerable, young Facebook engineers seek out places close to stops on the company's private shuttle-bus routes.

Facebookers compete with employees of Twitter, Salesforce.com, Zynga, and other San Francisco-based companies for homes in the City. Efforts by San Francisco's government to keep local tech companies from moving out of town have worked--all too well for people trying to buy a place to live.

A Menlo Park manse

Menlo Park 6BD/5.5BA, $4 million

Even director-level employees in nontechnical fields who joined at the right time--like this lucky Menlo Park resident--can now afford big homes. She's a former Facebooker, so she doesn't need to shorten her commute, but the Facebook alumni network is strong.

Leafy retreat in Portola Valley

Portola Valley 3BD/3.5BA, $3.225 million

Sometimes you want to get away from it all. Portola Valley, perched in the hills above Stanford University, is a bucolic escape for this former business-side director-level executive at Facebook, who now works at a venture-capital firm.

An ex-Facebook couple's Noe Valley home

San Francisco (Noe Valley) 3BD/2BA, $1.625 million

The engineer couple who own this property joined Facebook in 2005. They now work at a San Francisco startup that some think might be the next big IPO. Will they upgrade?

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