The vast majority of Livermore’s housing is comprised of detached single-family homes of various sizes and styles.
But many would-be homeowners prefer the advantages of more communal living.
“You can get a nice condo for not a lot of money, plus you get the pool and community center,” one first-time homebuyer couple recently told their Realtor. “And we don’t have a lot of time to work on a big yard. A little patio where we can barbecue is all we need.”
Since the first of the year, 174 condominiums, townhouses and duets in Livermore have sold through the Multiple Listing Service. In addition, many others were purchased directly from the builder, either with or without assistance from a real estate agent.
Many buyers chose these options because they are more affordable. Of the 174 homes sold so far this year, the least expensive went for $295,000; the most expensive was $835,000; with an average price of $615,755.
Compare that to prices for detached homes sold during the same period, which ranged from $349,000 to $3.95 million, with an average sales price of $931,658.
Even with monthly dues to a homeowners association, or HOA, these units are generally more affordable.
Other buyers appreciate the reduced maintenance required, saving them both time and money, because HOAs often take care of building exteriors, roofs, front yards and common areas. In many cases, some utilities, such as garbage and water, as well as fire insurance are included in the HOA dues.
Plus many communities offer amenities, such as swimming pools, clubhouses and sports courts that individual homeowner might not be able to afford – or willing to maintain – on their own.
Of course, some single-family neighborhoods have similar amenities, often as part of HOAs, and not all duets are covered by homeowners associations.
When considering whether to purchase such a home to live in, think about your own lifestyle preferences. Also, consult with your loan officer to make sure you can afford the HOA fees in addition to mortgage, insurance and property taxes.
Also, some units may not qualify for certain types of financing. Your loan offer can help you with that.
And if you are thinking about purchasing the property as an investment, be aware that some communities limit the number or percentage of units that can be rented out. Your Realtor should be able to get this information for you.
As of early this week, there were 36 Livermore condos, townhomes and duets on the MLS, ranging in price from $289,900 to $845,000.
Not all are alike, of course. Some are brand new. Most are 15-30 years old, and a few were constructed in the 1970s.
The least expensive units are four 1-bedroom, 1-bath condos on Murrieta Boulevard, each with less than 800 sq.ft. of living space, built in 1972-74 and upgraded to varying degrees.
The largest home, at over 2,000 sq.ft., is a 3-bedroom, 3-bath three-story with a two-car garage in Montage. Built in 2013, it has been upgraded with granite countertops, glass-tile backsplash and hardwood floors, and even has a fireplace.
The most expensive home – although not quite the largest at 1,817 sq.ft. – is a three-bedroom, 2-bath two-story new home on Tranquility Circle in the Sage development off Portola Ave.
Built by Shea Homes and offered by the builder, this Harmony Plan 4 has beech cabinetry, stainless steel appliances and wood flooring in the kitchen. It’s priced at $845,000.
Four other homes in the same neighborhood are listed between $700,000 and $839,000.
Five homes are close to the average list price of $636,731: one duet, three condos and a townhouse.
The duet, located on De Vaca Way in Sunset East, is close to Downtown. It has three bedrooms and one and a half baths in 1192 sq.ft.
This two-story unit has a remodeled kitchen, newer furnace and air-conditioning, copper plumbing, dual-paned windows, a garage and a private backyard.
There is no HOA.
The three condos are all newer construction. Each has two bedrooms and is 2-story or 3-story in design. Sizes range from 1231-1420 sq.ft.
One is located in Meritage, one in Montage – both north of Interstate 580 near Las Positas College. The third is in PalaSage between 4th Street and 1st Street, near Downtown.
(Two 3-bedroom Meritage units are also on the MLS, priced in the high $600s, and four larger Montage units are listed between $664,000 and $719,000.)
The townhouse is a single-level 3-bedroom home on Inverness Common in Portola Glenn.
This end unit is freshly painted with new carpeting, new stainless steel appliances and new window coverings, with 1094 sq.ft. of living space. It has a fenced backyard and detached garage, and backs to open space.
A larger Portola Glenn townhouse on Kensington Common is priced at $749,000. This two-story, 1875-sq.ft. unit has three bedrooms and two full baths and one half bath, plus an attached 2-car garage.
This home boasts vaulted ceilings, an updated kitchen, a dual-sided fireplace with gas starter, and plantation shutters. It also has no rear neighbors.
A duet on Treeflower Drive priced at $719,000 is another example of a unit that is not in an HOA.
Located north of Interstate 580 off Wisteria, this home has a larger yard than most of the others, with a pergola, built-in barbecue and planter beds. Inside, the kitchen and bathrooms have been nicely updated.
The home has an indoor laundry and attached 2-car garage.
Other condos, townhouses and duets are located in Brookmeadow, Waverly Commons, Copper Hill, Spring Valley Common, Glenn Common and Vineyard Crossing.
If you are considering purchasing a condo, townhome or duet – or any real estate – contact your local Realtor today.
Cher Wollard is a Realtor with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Drysdale Properties in Livermore.