Sunday, March 29, 2015

Davis continues to lure families with school-age kids, despite cost differential

Laurie San Martin and her daughter, Annabel Nichols, 5, pack up their home in Woodland's Beamer Park. Said San Martin, "When the modest house across the street sold in January for about $100,000 more than we thought it would, we decided to see if we could get into the game." Fred Gladdis/Enterprise photo

From page A12 | May 19, 2013 |

Laurie San Martin and Sam Nichols both teach in the music department at UC Davis. They’re in the midst of selling their Woodland home and buying a home in Davis, for all of the usual reasons.

“Nine years ago, we wanted to buy in Davis, but were priced out,” Nichols said.”It was cheaper to buy in Woodland, and we were able to get a house that wasn’t too small.” They bought an attractive older home in Woodland’s Beamer Park neighborhood, and commuted to their jobs at UCD.

When their elder daughter reached kindergarten age several years ago, Nichols and San Martin asked for (and received) a transfer into the Davis school district, so the daughter could attend a Davis elementary school close to UCD. (The Davis school district has encouraged UCD faculty living out of town to consider applying for transfers for their children.) Their younger daughter attends a Davis preschool.

The couple have enjoyed their Beamer Park home, but driving back and forth was taking a toll.

“Getting four people, with four different but very busy schedules, out the door every morning — all of us weighed down with various backpacks, lunch bags, auxiliary backpacks for gymnastics/swim lessons/piano lessons, extra car seats for the baby-sitter, etc. etc. … We’ve gotten tired of dealing with all of the logistics involved,” Nichols said.

So the couple started thinking about buying a house closer to where they work and where their kids go to school.

“We recently had the opportunity to buy a similar-sized house in Davis, which is really where our life is,” Nichols said. “Our girls are already in school in Davis. And it will be a lot easier for them to see their friends after school and on the weekends if we are in Davis.”

It also will be easier for San Martin and Nichols to attend music department concerts and related functions.

San Martin said, “We got somewhat serious about trying to sell our Woodland house in 2011, but the market was too low. But when the modest house across the street sold in January for about $100,000 more than we thought it would, we decided to see if we could get into the game.”

The couple worked with real estate agent Claire Black Slotton of First Street Real Estate.

“She had shown us a dozen or so properties in 2011 and she had a pretty good sense of our taste,” San Martin said. “Claire knew some folks in Davis who had tried to sell their house last year, without any luck. She approached them and asked if they would sell to us (now). They said yes!”

The couple then put their Woodland house on the market. As it turned out, the Davis sellers attended the Beamer Park open house and decided they wanted to buy the home.

San Martin said that based on her perspective as a recent buyer, “It’s easy to buy a house. Well, saving the money is painful.”

And her perspective as a seller?

“Stressful. Heart-wrenching. All the things we’ve wanted to fix for all these years in our Woodland house are now fixed — so that we could sell it. There was also the problem of thinning out all the stuff we had accumulated over the past 10 years.”

San Martin and Nichols are by no means the only Davis-bound family who bought a house in Woodland because they were priced out of Davis near the market peak.

“I think it’s a trickle now, but I think it’s going to be a stream,” said Dave Taormino, chief executive officer of Coldwell Banker Doug Arnold Real Estate. He pointed out that a number of prospective Davis home buyers in the 1980s bought homes in Woodland, then moved to Davis years later as new houses were built here.

“When Northstar opened in Davis, we saw a trickle open into a modest creek, and when Mace Ranch opened up, we saw a flood,” he recalled. “So we have a (periodic) exodus from Davis to Woodland, and then an exodus from Woodland to Davis (a few years later). When the Cannery project in Davis gets going, prices in Woodland will have come up by then, and some of the people who bought in Woodland early on will have enough equity to allow them to buy back in Davis.”

Taormino added, “For young families, it is clearly a financial sacrifice to buy in Davis” — mostly because the average home price in Davis runs about $200,000 higher than in Woodland. “But people are willing to do that for their children,” because they want the parks and schools and proximity to university jobs.

— Reach Jeff Hudson at [email protected] or 530-747-8055.



  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .


    Motive for murder-suicide remains a mystery

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

    Davis sewage to get new digs

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1

    Where do Davis recyclables go?

    By Felicia Alvarez | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    UCD faculty receive lowest pay in the system

    By Tanya Perez | From Page: A1

    Human Relations Commission hosts Chávez celebration

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A2

    Friendship the topic on radio program

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

    Davis Flower Arrangers meet Wednesday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

    ‘Music as Medicine’ is radio show topic

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6



    A phone call could have fixed this

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4

    Milt Prigee cartoon

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4

    Some ‘survey’ …

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    These results were meaningless

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    Survey not representative

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    Answers on the green waste program

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4

    Mayor’s corner: Looking ahead to spring

    By Dan Wolk | From Page: B5 | Gallery

    A Little Respect for Dr. Foster

    By Nicholas Kristof | From Page: B5

    Universities need more funding

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B5

    After a month of no TV news, I’m feeling much better

    By Debra DeAngelo | From Page: A8

    Take a hike for your heart

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

    Father of the bride snubbed

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

    Which experiences count as ‘once in a lifetime’?

    By Marion Franck | From Page: A8



    Bad fourth quarter sinks boys lacrosse

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    Aggies’ walkoff win clinches series against Riverside

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Aggie softball splits doubleheader

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    Davis softballers suffer setback, remain optimistic

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    Republic stun Galaxy with repeated history

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    Burns scores shootout winner to lift Sharks

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

    UCD roundup: Aggie women’s tennis dominates at home

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B10 | Gallery







    Millennials are changing our community

    By Rob White | From Page: A9

    With new owner, DAC will Get Fit

    By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A9 | Gallery

    Grant writing for non-profits workshop set

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9





    Comics: Sunday, March 29, 2015

    By Creator | From Page: B8