We are a big fan of Data Visualization – the science and art of portraying numbers visually but most importantly in a gorgeous, attractive and stunning way. With the rise of cheap storage options, fast data connectivity, data is starting to overwhelm us – data visualization helps human beings better understand and analyze data by revealing patterns and trends one cannot readily see nor capture in other formats.

I embarked on a collaboration with this awesome programmer who grokked design and real estate search, Alvin Jeng, to work on real estate websites – he helped us build our first incarnation of what I wanted to see in a real estate search website.

We experimented with plotting sold data since 1988 for Single Family Homes by individual parcel in the 4 county SF Bay Area – Santa Clara, Alameda, San Mateo and San Francisco counties.


san francisco bay area map visualization

At this 30,000 foot view, it is very clear where the highest price appreciation has happened in the SF Bay Area since 1988:

  • In Santa Clara it’s the Los Gatos / Saratoga area
  • In San Mateo country, it’s two distinct locations the Palo Alto / Menlo Park and Hillsborough / Burlingame corridors
  • In San Francisco, it’s primarily the North West corner closest to the Golden Gate Bridge so Seacliff, Presidio Heights, Pacific Heights, Marina, Richmond districts with pockets in Noe Valley area
  • In Alameda County, it’s Piedmont and the Berkeley Hills

Keep in mind this is absolute price increases so naturally, the most expensive houses will have the largest price increases. Who wants to see this plotted by % increase, by $/sf, by other property types?  How about an animation of price changes?  We want to see this too.

san francisco city map visualization

It would be nice to see how condo prices have appreciated – that’s next.  Stay tuned!


san francisco map visualization close up 2

san francisco map visualization close up

piedmont map visualization

The Piedmont area in the East Bay appreciated the most appreciation

hillsborough burlingame map visualization

The Hillsborough / Burlingame corridor is one of the highest and fastest appreciating markets the San Francisco Bay Area.

palo alto map visualization

It’s no surprise that Palo Alto / Menlo Park has experienced so much price appreciation since 1988.

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