San Carlos Neighborhood Update: Clearfield Park

September 2, 2008


First of all, I hate to refer to any portion of a city as the “East Side.”   For whatever reason, it seems like there's such a negative connotation when you put the word “East” in front of any city.   If that's indeed the case with San Carlos, then it's certainly not justified….so hopefully you won't catch me referring to Clearfield Park as “East San Carlos” 😉

Clearfield Park is the portion of San Carlos that is sandwiched between El Camino Real and Highway 101.   While I'm not naive enough to think that there are some characteristics of Clearfield Park that make it less desirable (train, traffic) to some folks, I think the area tends to get a bum rap.   Here's a map of the area:

View Larger Map

If you ask people why they're hesitant to buy in Clearfield Park, you'll likely hear one of these three reasons:

  1. Proximity to the CalTrain tracks.
  2. Mix of residential and commercial (industrial) zoning.
  3. Age and size of the homes (older and smaller.)

If you ask people how live in Clearfield Park why they love living there, you're likely to hear:

  1. Short walk to downtown San Carlos.
  2. Tight-knit neighborhoods.
  3. VALUE.  Homes are generally more affordable here.
  4. San Carlos School District.

Clearfield Park has an interesting mix of older versus new homes.   While there are some homes on Cherry and Northwood that register at 99 years old, the entire subdivision along Bayport Court is a “spring-like” 18-20 year range.   But most are in the 50-60 year old range.  Some of the older homes on the north side of Holly actually used cinder-block construction, something you don't see much of today.   But anywhere you go in this area, you're likely to find that the streets are scenic, and they enjoy that midwest feel with all of the shade trees lining the streets.
So how has real estate in Clearfield Park fared in the past few years?   Let's take a look at the following chart:


Clearfield Park closely mirrors the performance of other areas in San Carlos market over the past 4 years:

  • There was a big spike in unit volume in 2005, followed by sequential declining years.
  • Average and Median prices actually increased slightly despite the drop in volume.

So homes in Clearfield Park have held their value admirably during these tough years — this is great news for folks who live there, and probably a surprise to those who may not have considered living there.

The Future of Clearfield Park

The very thing that some people feel divides Clearfield Park from the rest of San Carlos may actually hold the key to its future.   The Caltrain tracks serve a subconscious “dividing line” for many communities down the Peninsula.  And it certainly didn't help when they elevated the entire section of track through San Carlos (it did help traffic immensely, though.)   The proposed San Carlos Transit Village may change everything, though.   If it's done properly, the Village will essentially bring a bit of downtown to both sides of the train tracks and help meld together the entire area.  The combined retail, residential and transportation hub will only benefit all of the regions that are in close proximity.

Better management of the traffic on Holly Street is something that needs to be addressed as well.   The daily gridlock between El Camino and 101 is tough on drivers, and probably intolerable for the residents of Holly Street.   The city needs a better solution to move traffic through the city's only connection to both northbound/southbound connection to 101.  Unfortunately, Brittan is only a southbound connector.

The third factor that will be key to the future Clearfield Park is remodeling.   With many of the homes nearing 50-60 years of age (and some much older,) look for this area to modernize itself over the next 10 years and shed its image as the industrial side of the town.

Special thanks to blog reader Nathalee for suggesting this topic!

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  1. 2008tellsadiffstory on September 5, 2008 at 4:43 am


    I think if you added YTD 2008 data, it would tell a different story about pricing in this area, although few houses have sold in that time.

    Here a example of one that lost 200K – borders the tracks, not attractive place

    This one is right nearby, down 100K

    Of course these are particularly poorly located houses, but someone was willing to pay a lot more for them 2 years ago.

  2. chuck on September 5, 2008 at 4:34 pm


    Thanks for checking in. You’re correct, there were a couple of homes on Old County Road that took a beating on sales price this year. Selling a home that directly faces CalTrain is indeed a tough job, and that stretch of road was what the statement “…that there are some characteristics of Clearfield Park that make it less desirable (train, traffic)” was referring to.

    If you look at the 2008 YTD numbers for Clearfield Park, it’s actually a mixed bag. Q1’s average sales price came in at approximately $695k, which is still respectable and definitely in the range of previous quarters. Q2’s numbers dropped significantly, though, when they came in at around $617k.

    As you mentioned, the statistical trends have to be taken in the appropriate context since the sample sizes are so small. Since 2006, the largest number of homes to sell in a given quarter is 8. Most of the quarters since then were half this number. This makes it very easy to skew the averages, and makes the trending a little tricky.

    Thanks again for your comment!


  3. Racquel on March 15, 2011 at 7:22 pm

    I know that this post is already a few years old, but is there any way you can say what the trend has been since then for Clearfield Park.? My husband and I bought a short sale in the area – at a price that was affordable for us – but are hoping to move in 5 years. Is there any evidence that this area might tick up in the next few years?
    The house was a mess when we bought as it had been neglected for a year. Since then, we’ve had to do all kinds of fixes to it.

    But we agree – love the close proximity to Laurel Street – we have great neighbors and the GESC is an active voice in the community. We noticed that a lot of the homeowners near us started to clean up their yards – paint – But I know what you mean about the “East” part. I kind of hate that term, too. We joke that we “live on the other side of the tracks”
    As parents of a young child – we also like that there are so many young children on our street. Laureola Park is nice and close – although the toddler play area could use more equipment.
    The cons – some of the business fronts – on Old County Road could use a beautification project, noise pollution from the freeway, and cars who drive way too fast down our street as a crossover from Old County to Industrial Road.

  4. Chuck Gillooley on March 16, 2011 at 1:15 pm


    Thanks for posting that excellent question. I will do a little digging and post an update later this week.

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