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In San Francisco Bay Area, million-dollar homes are torn down to start fresh

Matthew Bergeron, 9, helps crews demolish his home in Menlo Park, Calif., by throwing a rock through a window, Feb. 27, 2014. The family found it more cost-effective to build a new house on that lot than to remodel the 67-year-old, slab foundation structure. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group/MCT)

Imagine paying $1 million or more for a home – and then destroying it.

That’s what’s happening in some upscale San Francisco Bay Area communities as homeowners and wealthy buyers have no interest in upgrading aging houses but instead want to start from scratch and build all-new custom homes stocked with the latest features.

While the demolition and rebuilding trend is heaviest on the Peninsula and the most affluent parts of Santa Clara County, it extends to East Bay communities as well – anywhere it makes more sense financially to tear down the existing structure and start fresh. That includes sought-after neighborhoods with no vacant lots, where prices of small, aging 1950s-era houses have soared.

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