Attorney Ken Kumayama and his wife, Hiromi Kumayama, were on a mission to finally buy
a house in the San Francisco Bay Area. Serial renters in towns around San Francisco since
2010, they jumped into the market in earnest in 2022 but quickly got outbid on several
homes, including one in Atherton that was asking $5 million and ultimately sold for $6.5
million, said Mr. Kumayama, 44. Then over the summer, the market turned in their favor.
Mr. Kumayama said he and his wife, 46, a homemaker, homed in on a nearly $5 million
house in Los Altos, an affluent city between San Francisco and San Jose, that had been
sitting on the market for about a month. Knowing the sellers had already moved to Florida,
Mr. Kumayama said they offered $4.58 million with no contingencies and closed in
September 2022. “They accepted pretty much on the spot,” he said.
Like other luxury real-estate markets, the Bay Area experienced a pandemic housing boom
that came to an abrupt end in 2022 as buyers and sellers reacted to high interest rates and
recession fears. Slumping tech stocks, which depleted buyers’ net worth and purchasing
power, compounded the decline, along with layoffs at Silicon Valley tech giants such as
Salesforce Inc. and Meta Platforms Inc. But after a lull in sales, and despite persistent
unease in the tech sector, local real-estate agents said opportunistic buyers are re-entering
the market and seizing on prices that have been dragged back to prepandemic norms.