Is the Silicon Valley market cooling?

Los Gatos - aerial viewEvery day, I seem to get an email or have a conversation on what “the market” is doing.  Trouble is, we like easy answers and that doesn’t work here.  We don’t have ONE Silicon Valley real estate market.  We have a whole bunch – or maybe myriad – of smaller markets.

The market for historic homes in Willow Glen is very different from the market for condos at Santana Row.  The market for luxury properties in Almaden is extremely different from that of starter houses in Cupertino or Palo Alto.  The condo market in Saratoga with Saratoga schools  is not the same as the townhouse market in Cambrian with Union Schools.

You get the idea.

And yet, there are anecdotal stories of things calming down.

Last week I closed a buyer sale in Evergreen where there were 14 offers.  That seems to be increasingly unusual.  Word among real estate agents seems to be that while traffic is decent at open houses, it’s not what it was in early spring. Hint: this may be seasonally normal!  June is almost always slower than the Feb – April window!

I’m hearing agents talk about great listings that get one or two offers rather than many multiples.

I’m hearing that in some segments of the market, one home in four now needs a price reduction.

All of that said, to know what’s happening, it is absolutely imperative to drill down to YOUR market, whatever it may be.  It could be Los Gatos betwen $1.5 and $2 million.  It could be entry level Saratoga with Saratoga schools.  It could be Almaden with whichever high school (Leland, Pioneer, Leigh, Los Gatos).  Or some other configuration.  What is certainly true is that the relevant market for you, whether buying or selling, is the hyper local market.

Hyper local is usually more than just a zip code, as within the zip code there are different pricing tiers and frequently different school districts or other highly important factors.  To drill down to the relevant comparables, please work with a local real estate professional who knows how to crunch the numbers.  “Easy answers” may make good sound bites, but they don’t make a good basis for an informed real estate perspective for buying or selling.  It’s way too important to get this wrong.

The Luxury Real Estate Market in Almaden, Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, and Saratoga

How's The Luxury Home Market?Luxury home sales are a little sluggish in the west valley areas of Santa Clara County. Right now in Almaden Valley, Los Gatos, Monte Sereno and Saratoga, there are 126 houses for sale listed at or more than two million dollars (just checked MLSListings.com), but in the last 30 days only 30 have sold and closed escrow in those same areas and price ranges. For the Almaden – Saratoga region generally, then, there are 4.2 months of inventory in the over two million dollar price range (126 / 30).  That makes it barely a seller’s market. (In the same region, there are 26 pending sales.)

Next we’ll look at these four Silicon Valley communities separately to see how the luxury market in each one is faring overall.

Almaden Valley (San Jose, 95120)

Currently in Almaden there are 14 houses for sale which are listed at or over $2,000,000.  In the last 30 days, just 1 sold (with 3 properties pending sale).  That makes for a whooping fourteen “months of inventory”. That would mean this luxury market is not in a seller’s market. It’s a very deep buyer’s market in Almaden Valley among the most expensive real estate offerings for sale. Five to six months is balanced and over six is a buyer’s market. Continue reading

The Monte Sereno Real Estate Market

Monte Sereno Stained GlassHow is the Monte Sereno real estate market? Because the city is small, with just about 4000 residents, there usually are few homes listed for sale or selling, and with small numbers we can get seeming volatility. Last month, for instance, there were only two homes sold and two pending.

There are no condominiums or townhomes in Monte Sereno at present.  One of the major challenges for this city is to ensure that at least some housing units are deemed “affordable.”  You can find the city’s housing plan here (a pdf online):
http://www.montesereno.org/DocumentCenter/Home/View/674

Recently closed home sales in Monte Sereno

Here are the quick statistics for the closed sales in the last complete month to give a sense of how things are going. Sales data comes from my Monte Sereno Real Estate Report. Given that the supply of homes to study is tiny, what can we tell from this data?

It’s true that an average Monte Sereno house is about $2.5 million, and often higher in the current market – a little steep for most folks! Prices appear to have dropped considerably compared to a year ago, but with a small inventory large fluctuations are common and not very revealing. Homes have been selling very close to list price for months, and this month at almost 95.9% of list – but again, the small inventory means the data may be less accurate. The Average Days on Market shows that inventory is slower than some but still quick at just over three weeks. This is still a hot market!

And a look at the data from last month:

Continue reading to view live Altos Research charts for Monte Sereno, including by pricing quartile. Continue reading

Sunnyvale real estate market trends & statistics

Sunnyvale has been an extremely hot seller’s market for many months.   In general, houses in Sunnyvale are selling for about a million four hundred thousand dollars – if they aren’t too small or in terrible shape (or conversely palatial or newly built or remodeled).  Let’s begin with single family homes. The median list price for homes in Sunnyvale CA – all zip codes combined – interestingly, the high end homes are doing the best! (Live charts from Altos Research, which uses LIST prices, not sale prices.)

Altos Research, median list prices by quartile

Real Estate Market Chart by Altos Research www.altosresearch.com

What about the numbers for the closed sales?  Now let’s have a look at the Sunnyvale CA RE Report for last month’s trends and statistics (click on link to get the full report):

What about the condo and townhome market?

Continue reading

The Evergreen area of San Jose

Evergreen area of San Jose (Silicon Valley)The Evergreen area is in the southeast foothills of San Jose and extends north toward Eastridge Mall. It includes a few zip codes – 95148, 95121, 95135, and a portion of 95138 (part is also “Santa Teresa” or “South San Jose”).  There’s a lot of diversity in this region – the areas in the flatlands near the Mall, Reid-Hillview Airport, and waterpark are more modest and affordable as compared to the areas further south where you’re more likely to see luxury properties (Hillstone, Bel-Aire Estates,  The Meadowlands, The Ranch on Silver Creek, Silver Creek Valley Country Club and nearby). Pricier areas feature larger lots and houses and valley or hillside views set near the golf courses (Silver Creek Valley Country Club, The Ranch Golf Club, and the Villages Golf & Country Club).

In general, Evergreen is scenic and includes many newer homes and communities.  Many people enjoy the relative newness of construction and whole neighborhoods which are young, compared to the rest of Santa Clara County and Silicon Valley as a whole.

Evergreen real estate market for single family homes or houses

Please find the full report on my Real Estate Report for the Evergreen area of San Jose.

Evergreen Stats At A Glance

Year-Over-Year

  • Median home prices increased by 30.0% year-over-year to $1,150,000 from $884,625.
  • The average home sales price rose by 13.6% year-over-year to $1,182,410 from $1,040,500.
  • Home sales rose by 28.6% year-over-year to 63 from 49.
  • Active listings fell 27.2% year-over-year to 123 from 169.
  • Sales price vs. list price ratio fell by 1.1% year-over-year to 102.4% from 103.6%.
  • The average days on market fell by 16.1% year-over-year to 25 from 29.

Compared To Last Month

  • Median home prices improved by 6.5% to $1,150,000 from $1,080,000.
  • The average home sales price rose by 1.8% to $1,182,410 from $1,161,830.
  • Home sales up by 70.3% to 63 from 37.
  • Active listings dropped 13.4% to 123 from 142.
  • Sales price vs. list price ratio increased by 0.7% to 102.4% from 101.6%.
  • The average days on market dropped by 13% to 25 from 28.

Real Estate Market Chart by Altos Research www.altosresearch.com

Continue reading

City of Santa Clara real estate market

The Santa Clara Women's Club http://www.santaclarawomansclub.org/

The Santa Clara Women’s Club (old adobe house)
http://www.santaclarawomansclub.org/

The real estate market in the city of Santa Clara, like the rest of Silicon Valley, is a strong sellers market still. Prices are up strongly from a year ago, and inventory can’t keep up with demand. Below there are charts for the activities in over the last few months – and while inventory is up year-over-year, low inventory from earlier in the year and continuous low inventory around the rest of the Valley means there is still a much greater demand to fill than is available. This is clear in the speed of market turnover – how long a house is on the market – which has remained low, usually under a month, as far back as we can see on these charts. Further in the article, we’ll check in on the condo market, too.

Here’s a glance at the single family home statistics and trends for closings and listings for last month – updated each month on about the 5th – 10th on my RE Report site for realty stats & trends in Santa Clara:

The real estate market in San Jose’s Santa Teresa area

Silver Leaf Park in the Santa Teresa area of San Jose

Silver Leaf Park in the Santa Teresa area of San Jose

How’s the market in the scenic Santa Teresa area of San Jose ?  The part of Silicon Valley is usually a bit “softer” as it’s farther from most work places and the school scores are generally not super strong, either. Right now it’s showing clear sellers market with the most recent numbers slightly higher both month over month and also year over year. The average Days on Market are a blazing 12 days total – under two weeks on average! The sales to list price ratio of about 105% shows that this seller’s market is holding strong.

Here’s quick view of the real estate statistic and trends for just the Santa Teresa area’s single family homes (houses / duet homes):

You can read the Santa Teresa area real estate market report at this link if you’d like more details and statistical analysis.  This particular page goes to the report for houses, but you can navigate home type to see condos/townhomes or any other area in San Jose, Santa Clara County, San Mateo County, or Santa Cruz County.

 Also, please note that zip codes don’t always relate to the districts. Zip code 95138 is a great example of that as part of it is in Santa Teresa and part in Evergreen (pricey and upscale Silver Creek). Pull up the averages for 95138 and you might think all the homes are selling for around $1.4 million. But if you look in the charming but more affordable Silver Leaf area of the same zip code, you’ll find the cost half as much – or less!  So too with 95123 (though less dramatic) as about half of that is in Blossom Valley and part in Santa Teresa.
It’s good to do a lot of research, but beware the “easy answers” of price per square foot or average sales price per zip code.  Often your best help will come from a highly experienced real estate professional who’s willing to help you to crunch the numbers (boring grunt work but not actually difficult).
And don’t forget the condo market! This can be even more difficult to pin down because of the small amount of data and the wide variety of values. Here’s a quick look at the current condo market from the RE Report data:

As you can see in the chart above, the condo market is also doing well, but it’s a cooler market than the housing market is, which is common. In today’s condo market, though, many areas are competing with the housing market and are much hotter sellers markets than usual, so Santa Teresa might be a good place to look for the stressed buyer.

Disclaimers made, here are some Altos Research numbers for the four Santa Teresa zip codes:

Real Estate Market Chart by Altos Research www.altosresearch.com

You’ll note that one of the four zips is super high – this is 95138, which has a number of homes in The Ranch, a subdivision in Evergreen near Silver Creek. The part of 95138 which is in Santa Teresa is considerably more affordable, well under $1 million in the vast majority of cases. So let’s take that one out so we can get a better feel for the true pricing of Santa Teresa homes.

Real Estate Market Chart by Altos Research www.altosresearch.com

Here two of the zip codes seem to be on track with each other, but 95123 is going at a different pace. Half of that area is Blossom Valley, which tends to be a stronger market. Regardless, it would seem that overall, the median list price of homes for sale in Santa Teresa has gone from the mid 600 thousands to the mid 700 thousands over the last year.  And that’s about what I have seen, anecdotally, too.

Santa Teresa homes for sale

Interested in buying a house, townhouse or condominium in the Santa Teresa area?  Below, please check out a list of available properties, listed in order of most recently added to the MLS first.

 

  1. 3 beds, 2 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 1,335 sq ft
    Lot size: 5,052 sqft
  2. 4 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 1,231 sq ft
    Lot size: 9,104 sqft
  3. 2 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 920 sq ft
    Lot size: 1,219 sqft
  4. 3 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 1,105 sq ft
    Lot size: 5,052 sqft
  5. 2 beds, 1 full bath
    Home size: 816 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,011 sqft

See all Real estate and homes in Santa Teresa community.
(all data current as of 6/28/2016)

Listing information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Read full disclaimer.

 

Neighborhoods and homes of Silicon Valley

  • Allmaden Valley view from Nightfall Court
    Allmaden Valley view from Nightfall Court

Whether you call it the San Jose area, Santa Clara County, Silicon Valley, The South Bay, or even the old moniker of “The Valley of Heart’s Delight”, there is a lot to love about living here. I’ve put together a slideshow with a taste of the residential communities in and near San Jose, including Almaden, Willow Glen, Cambrian, Evergreen, Los Gatos, Saratoga, Monte Sereno, Campbell, Cupertino, Santa Clara and more. Sit back and enjoy the photos!

The real estate market in San Jose’s Blossom Valley area

The Blossom Valley area of San Jose is on the south end of the city and covers the 95123 and 95136 zip codes.  For our MLS, it’s “area 12”.  A more affordable section of Silicon Valley, Blossom Valley has much to offer in addition to more reasonable housing prices.  Many areas enjoy views of the Santa Teresa Foothills or the Communications Hill knolls or even the coastal foothills in the distance, as with the photo below. One corner of it sits alongside beautiful Almaden Lake, too. One corner is located at the crossroads of Highways 85 and 87, making it an easy commute destination for those working in downtown San Jose. And there’s an abundance of shopping opportunities.

Blossom Valley from the Church on the Hill

Much more could be written, but let’s now instead turn to the real estate market there.

First, “live”, automatically updating Altos Charts for San Jose 95123 and 95136 and single family homes (houses and duet homes).  These use list prices, not sales prices.

The median list price of both 95123 and 95136, all prices, single family homes (houses and duet homes, if there are any).

Real Estate Market Chart by Altos Research www.altosresearch.com

Next, the median list price for just the San Jose 95123 area of Blossom Valley, and separated by price quartile:

Real Estate Market Chart by Altos Research www.altosresearch.com

And next, the median list price of just San Jose 95136 by price quartile:

Continue reading

Remodeling a kitchen? Adding pulls? Watch the clearance space!

If you want to update the look of a kitchen and add pulls, or replace your flat dishwasher with one featuring a protruding handle, check the clearance space before you buy. I have seen issues a few times, but recently toured a home where it was a textbook warning about cutting corners where planning is involved. Have a look.

Kitchen remodel with drawer pulls colliding

Kitchen remodel with drawer pulls colliding

Next – same kitchen, different but related issue – a dishwasher on a collision course with a drawer pull. Most likely, the home was built with a dishwasher that enjoyed a recessed handle and a flat front. The bowed handle is beautiful but cuts into the functionality of the drawer which is perpendicular to it. The drawer could go out no further than shown below without scratching the dishwasher handle.

 

Kitchen remodel and botched clearances

Kitchen remodel and botched clearances – the dishwasher here probably was a “flat” faced model originally

Next – same kitchen, different but related issue – a dishwasher on a collision course with a drawer pull. Most likely, the home was built with a dishwasher that enjoyed a recessed handle and a flat front. The bowed handle is beautiful but cuts into the functionality of the drawer which is perpendicular to it. The drawer could go out no further than shown below without scratching the dishwasher handle.

This demonstrates why it is a good idea to open and close drawers and cabinet doors in kitchens and bathrooms, and why agents and home sellers should do the same to make sure that everything works as intended. A couple of years back, I saw an oven with a door that wouldn’t open all the way because a large refrigerator was too close. Luckily, in that case, there was plenty of space to inch the fridge away a tad, restoring the necessary space for the oven door to open fully.

One more example to drive the point home involves refrigerators, tight fitting spaces, and new floor coverings. I have seen kitchen floors get a new layer of vinyl or tile on top of the original one (without tearing out the old floor). The amount of height added may be minimal, but it can make a formerly tight space impossible for the fridge which used to fit in that area.

The photos above show what can happen when someone alters the original design or layout without measuring, or when adding bulk where it didn’t used to be. Home buyers, don’t be afraid to make sure that the appliances, doors, and storage spaces in homes can open and close as they should – with full access available.

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Mary Pope-Handy

Realtor
ABR, CIPS, CRS, SRES
Sereno Group Real Estate
214 Los Gatos-Saratoga Rd
Los Gatos, CA 95030
408 204-7673
Mary (at) PopeHandy.com
License# 01153805


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