The Alta Vista neighborhood, which sits along the border of Los Gatos and the Cambrian Park district of San Jose, is very highly sought after and valued for many, many reasons. Real estate prices vary depending upon the precise location within the neighborhood as well as the size and condition of the home.
Why is this area so popular? Most of the streets close to Alta Vista School are beautifully tree-lined, and from virtually everywhere in the neighborhood, you are close to Blossom Hill (that’s the name of the hill, not just the name of the road!). Homes are well kept, streets are wide enough, and except when there’s a school function, there really aren’t too many cars on the street. It is very scenic, pleasant and uncrowded feeling. Although you’re in the city or town, you feel close to the country there.
Additionally, many homebuyers select this area because the school scores are high and because it’s easy to get to the elementary and middle schools without crossing any major streets: that is a big plus! It is also a quick drive to highway 85, just a couple of miles to the Los Gatos shopping areas (at Los Gatos Blvd and Blossom Hill Road) or to Vasona Lake County Park. For many, it’s a way to be close to Los Gatos while paying less expensive San Jose prices.
Prior to being developed for housing, this spot at the base of Blossom Hill was once blanketed in orchards and was scenic enough that it was part of the “blossom tours” that used to take place at the height of the flowering. Hence, one large section of this neighborhood has street names that begin with “blossom”.
Where is the Alta Vista neighborhood? What are the landmarks?
The neighborhood considered to be “Alta Vista” has three strong borders and one vague one. The three well defined edges are Blossom Hill Road, Union Avenue, and Los Gatos Almaden Road. The fourth boundary is approximately the edge of Ross Creek, which runs behind Westchester Drive, but perhaps some would argue that it goes a little further.
View Alta Vista Area of Cambrian & Los Gatos in a larger map
There are several landmarks in the neighborhood:
- Alta Vista School
- Union Middle School
- The Downing Shopping Center (at the corner of Union & LG ALmaden)
- Blossom Hill and the coastal foothills
- The high voltage power lines (runs behind Blossom Valley Drive)
- Ross Creek (behind Westchester)
- Three major roads: Blossom Hill Road, Union Avenue, and Los Gatos Almaden Road
The terrain of the neighborhood runs from hilly (only a few homes close to Blossom Hill Road have much of a slope or a view) to flat, with most of the properties being fairly or completely level.
San Jose and Los Gatos have a very strange boundary line in this area, and it is very confusing to folks who visit for the first time. If you were to drive along Blossom Valley Drive, for instance, at the intersection with Westchester you’d be in Los Gatos, then heading south east you’d be in San Jose, and by the time you get to Pinehurst you’re back in Los Gatos again. The house numbers jump and you move in and out of Cambrian Park: a home with 3 digits is in Los Gatos but one with a 4 digit address is San Jose. When it goes back and forth, it’s very confusing. The neighborhood has something like a peninsula of San Jose poking into a sea of Los Gatos – perhaps because the builder could put more homes on San Jose lots, which could be smaller? That would be my guess.
What kind of homes are found in the Alta Vista Neighborhood? What does it cost to live there?
There are a few larger homes on much bigger parcels along Nimrick Lane but most of the homes are ranch style, ranging from about 1100 square feet on the small side to perhaps 2500 on the large side, with most houses under 2000 SF. There are a few multi-family units along Pinehurst, but by and large the area has single family homes. Parcels run, generally, between 6000 SF and 8000 SF – with exceptions. There are a few larger lots closer to Blossom Hill Road and toward Los Gatos along and near Lu Ray Drive, Camino del Cerro etc.
The “blossom” streets (Blossom Dale, Blossom Tree, Blossom Vista, Blossom Crest etc.) were Garcia-built tract homes (Garcia homes are found in many parts of San Jose, including along the “King” streets near Good Samaritan Hospital). Most of those properties are in San Jose, 95124. Part of the same tract, though, is in Los Gatos 95032: homes along the southern part of Pinehurst, Danville, Blossom Villa and parts of Blossom Valley. They’re solidly built homes.
The other side of the power lines was built by a several builders. There are some tract homes with shared floorplans, but many of the homes there (Baron, Kunkel, Keene, etc.) are semi-custom homes.
Behind the school and closer to downtown Los Gatos, homes and lots are larger, the addresses are Los Gatos and there were a few builders involved. These are, of course, more expensive than much smaller homes on smaller lots with a San Jose address.
Home prices can range from the $900’s to well past $1.8 million, “depending.” Estimating what a home might be worth can be tricky because there are a number of variables, from which city the property is located in (can make a 3-5% difference, sometimes more or less), whether or not there’s a view, the home & lot size, the proximity of the power lines, whether or not the property is on the Shannon Fault, how close it is to the schools, and the improvements made or deferred.
Would you like to see Alta Vista homes for sale? Click on the link below for an interactive map of homes for sale in the Alta Vista neighborhood. Note, there aren’t many! This is a “low turnover” neighborhood!
What are the “issues,” if any, in the Alta Vista area?
There aren’t many, but here are the biggest areas of concern:
- The Shannon Earthquake Fault cuts through part of this area, so a few homes may be sitting directly on this fault (which I believe is considered “minor”, but check it out with a geologist)
- The high voltage power lines cut through the middle of the neighborhood. Homes that are immediately adjacent to them, especially to the power towers, will have a harder time selling and will sell for less than a similar home further away. Those who own the homes, though, are often happy at the extra open space. Many have had P, G & E test the area and found that the EMFs emitted are stronger in front of their microwave than in their front or back yards…but do check out this issue thoroughly yourself if you decide to buy in that location.
- The proximity of the beautiful hill means that water is going to be more of an issue with the clay soils that we have here. Too many homeowners, in this neighborhood and throughout Silicon Valley, do not divert water away from their homes (even neglecting downspout extenders, which are very cheap and extremely important). This translates into potential drainage and foundation issues, and the closer you are to the hill, the more crucial an issue this can become. Ignore the water and the foundation will probably crack, your home will get out of level to an unacceptable amount, and the repairs will be costly.
How is the Alta Vista real estate market? It is part Cambrian Park real estate market, part Los Gatos so it’s a good idea to keep an eye on both markets in the Union School District area.
I have had the pleasure of selling a number of homes in the Alta Vista area over the years (since 1993), both in this immediate area as well as on streets that “belong” to Alta Vista such as Heather Drive, Rosswood Drive, Bel Estos, Kensington, and many more. Whether you are buying or selling a home in or near Alta Vista, please give me a call. I would welcome the chance to talk with you about working together to meet your real estate goals in this beautiful neighborhood.
Please also check out posts on Cambrian Gardens neighborhood (half goes to Alta Vista, half to Carlton) and also post on my listing at 5114 Nerissa Way, San Jose (affordable home in Alta Vista’s attendance area)