Mary Pope-Handy

Silicon Valley Realtor, selling homes in Los Gatos, Saratoga, San Jose, and nearby since 1993. Prolific blogger with a network of site.

The Monte Sereno real estate market is similar to Los Gatos, but distinct - Monte Sereno shares many features with Los Gatos but is a distinct cityHow 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 January, for instance, there was only one home listed and none sold!

There are no condominiums or townhomes in Monte Sereno at present (we are watching closely the proposed development at La Rinconada, which is unincorporated as of this writing). 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 with the Monte Sereno real estate market. 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 $2.5-3.5 million, and often higher in the current market – a little steep for most folks! With 11 active, 6 pending, and 4 sales this past month, low data makes it hard to get the most accurate market information. During times like this, it’s more important to look at the trends over multiple months than to base your understanding of the market off a single month, and to compare with similar, nearby markets such as Los Gatos.

Below are the charts from the last two months. Overall, the market is this part of the valley is mostly flat month over month, but up double digits year over year.

Trends At a Glance May 2018 Previous Month Year-over-Year
Median Price $4,075,000 (+1.6%) $4,011,500 $2,663,000 (+53.0%)
Average Price $3,800,000 (-5.3%) $4,011,500 $2,663,000 (+42.7%)
No. of Sales (+100.0%) 2 (+100.0%)
Pending (+100.0%) 3 (+20.0%)
Active 11 (+10.0%) 10 17 (-35.3%)
Sale vs. List Price 99.1% (-9.0%) 108.8% 96.0% (+3.2%)
Days on Market 23 (+102.2%) 12 35 (-33.6%)
Days of Inventory 83 (-43.1%) 145 255 (-67.6%)

 

And a look at the data from the previous month for the Monte Sereno real estate market:

Trends At a Glance Apr 2018 Previous Month Year-over-Year
Median Price $4,011,500 (-30.8%) $5,800,000 $2,878,750 (+39.3%)
Average Price $4,011,500 (-30.8%) $5,800,000 $2,878,750 (+39.3%)
No. of Sales (+100.0%) 1 (0.0%)
Pending (+200.0%) 1 (+200.0%)
Active 10 (+42.9%) 7 (+25.0%)
Sale vs. List Price 108.8% (+12.6%) 96.7% 95.3% (+14.2%)
Days on Market 12 (-84.0%) 72 37 (-68.5%)
Days of Inventory 145 (-31.0%) 210 116 (+25.0%)

Continue reading to view live Altos Research charts for the real estate market in Monte Sereno, including by pricing quartile. Continue reading

money faucet graphicIf you are tired of paying $3,000 per month in rent for a 1 or 2 bedroom apartment and have decided that you want to buy a Silicon Valley home, you may find that it’s complicated and scary as the San Jose area is in a very deep seller’s market. Let’s take a quick look at the major challenges and decisions you’ll face as a potential Silicon Valley home buyer.

Silicon Valley home buyer challenges

Affordability – or the lack of it

The cash challenge - the Lincoln 5 dollar bill as a jigsaw puzzleChallenge # 1: the cost of housing is staggering, whether you are renting or buying, whether you are a first time home buyer or you’ve just relocated from somewhere else less expensive (meaning almost anywhere). Homes under a half million dollars are few and far between, as the newspapers and media have recently announced, and the median price of houses in Santa Clara County is about $1.1 million (and closer to $1.3 million in San Mateo County, less in Santa Cruz County), with the average price being higher still. Of course, condos and townhomes are less pricey, but they will have Home Owner Association or HOA dues to factor in. Same with mobile homes, which nearly always have space rents of $1,000 or more in Silicon Valley. If you want to buy a Silicon Valley home, figuring out “how much house” you can afford when purchasing can be a painful exercise. (Hint: your success in life is not reflected in the size or remodeling of your home here. The odds are good that you will be disappointed when you see how little you can buy.)

How much can you afford in this hyper expensive real estate market?

The old rule of thumb is that a consumer can qualify for a mortgage for 3-4 times his or her annual income. Translation: if you make $200,000 per year,  and don’t have other debt (student loans, car payment, etc.), you may get a mortgage of $600,000 to $800,000 (and then you need the down payment on top of that).  In most parts of Silicon Valley, that means buying a condo or a townhouse, not a single family home.  In addition to the down payment, there will be closing costs, and most likely repairs to the property since in the current market sellers usually aren’t providing section 1 pest clearances or doing other repairs. Cash is crucial.

Challenge #2 if you want to buy a Silicon Valley home: money for the down payment, closing costs, repairs, and reserves – it’s more than you might think.   Pulling together the hefty down payment and other needed money is always hard. In this crazy area, though, most people who want to buy a Silicon Valley home need not just 20% down, but additional funds in order to be competitive with multiple offers. So you may need to be able to throw $200,000 to $400,000 down on  that normal, non-luxury house or townhouse.  Saving that much money is a trick, and many first time home buyers either get help from parents or are cashing in on stock options to pull it off. Most of the time, home prices seem to appreciate faster than buyers can save, so having some sort of boost beyond your own saving power is critical for most.  This has been true for many decades here – both the relatively high cost of housing and the difficulty in pulling together 20% or more for the down payment. (It was true in the late 1980s when my husband and I were trying to buy our first home, too.)  It’s even harder now, though, as 25% is often the bottom amount that will get your offer seriously considered if there are multiple bidders on a home for sale. Continue reading

SALE PENDING – under contract with 3 offers – closing in early July.

4843 Englewood Dr, San Jose, CA 95129 is a spacious, sunny home for sale in the Happy Valley neighborhood! Big back yard! Near Country Lane School, Saratoga Creek Park, shops, dining, movies, and more! On the MLS by Tuesday morning, May  29, 2018.

Do you dream of living with a shorter commute, enjoying a spacious home & yard?  Perhaps you’d love a highly regarded neighborhood school just a few blocks away, and shops and dining nearby? These are things many home buyers want, but not everyone has two million dollars to throw at the dream! If this sounds like your wish list, keep reading and make plans to see this newly listed Happy Valley home for sale with your Realtor ASAP, or stop by any of our open houses at 4843 Englewood Dr, San Jose, CA 95129 in the lovely Happy Valley neighborhood (also known as the Country Lane neighborhood). Info on the open house dates is below. This home offers 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and 1585 square feet of living space on a big 8231 SF lot – and is offered at $1,500,000.

4843 Englewood Dr, San Jose, CA 95129 in the Happy Valley neighborhood

What makes 4843 Englewood Dr, San Jose, CA 95129  so special?

The house itself  has a great layout with good-sized rooms and hardwood floors in much of the house. The house is thoughtfully designed and there’s loads of natural light.  The size of the back yard is an especially rare find. The location within the Happy Valley neighborhood is ideal – not too close to busy roads, not too close to the school.

Quick Facts for 4843 Englewood Dr., San Jose

  • 4 bedrooms
  • 2 bathrooms
  • 1585 SF (appx)
  • 8231 SF Lot (appx)
  • Built in 1959
  • Offered at $1,500,000
  • Schools: Country Lane Elementary, Moreland Middle, Prospect High

OPEN HOUSE SCHEDULE 4843 Englewood Dr, San Jose, CA 95129

  • Thursday, May 31 9:30 am to 12:30 pm
  • Saturday, June 2 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm
  • Sunday, June 3 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm

Disclosures will be ready by Friday, June 1st.

Browse photos of this great Happy Valley home for sale!

The living room’s large picture window brings in oodles of light, making a wonderful first impression. Hardwood flooring is found in the living room, and all 4 bedrooms – and is under the hallway and dining room flooring, too.

Living Room at 4843 Englewood Dr., San Jose CA 95129

Below, see a view toward what is nearly a wall of glass with the over-sized picture windowand a window wrapping around the corner, too. The entire interior was just painted, making the whole house feel fresh and clean. Continue reading

How are the key housing indicators in the Almaden Valley area of San Jose? At the moment it’s said to be a hot “seller’s market” overall.  But look closer and you can see that in the Almaden Valley housing market there are clear market micro-climates.  Prices are better for sellers, while buyers struggle with higher prices and less homes to choose from.  Recently we have seen a slight cooling, too – very welcome for Almaden home buyers.

Almaden Valley Housing Market: Inventory of Houses for Sale

Right now I have a few Almaden Valley home buyers and they have all been disappointed at the lack of inventory. What’s happening?

First, let’s see what “usually” happens in the 95120 zip code in terms of the number of houses for sale. Here’s a look at the last 10 years (all available history), care of Altos Research – you can see that it’s been rising since January 1st, but it’s a proverbial drop in the bucket:

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

Here you can see that inventory has regular peaks and dips. Inventory tends to rise early each year and peak in mid to late summer. After the peak is a decline through autumn and winter with the lowest point in the coldest part of the year before turning around again before spring.

Now let’s look up close at just the last 3 years. Again, inventory IS rising, so it’s betting a little easier for buyers, but still difficult compared to the last 3 years.

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

As usual, our inventory bottoms out in winter and then rises beginning sometime after the Super Bowl or perhaps a little later. Right now we are still in “rising inventory” mode in Almaden, so the market should be softening a little. Also, we are hearing of “buyer fatigue”, so in many cases there may be fewer offers than earlier in the spring. Continue reading

California Ridge sits in the southern park of Almaden Valley within the city of San Jose CA 95120. This townome community is nestled into the foothills, within the highly prized Williams Elementary School area of attendance as well as the Bret Harte Middle, and Leland High attendance areas. Aside from nearby construction or home improvement projects, this is a quiet area of Silicon Valley, close to the scenic and enormous Almaden Quicksilver Park.

Many of these townhouse properties enjoy lovely views of Almaden Valley or open space. The streets are gently rolling and the homes younger and pleasant looking.  Nearby San Jose neighborhoods are Almaden Springs and Country View Estates.

California Ridge neighborhood view

Although sometimes mischaracterized as a condominium or condo complex on the MLS (likely because that is how CoreLogic has dubbed it), California Ridge is a Planned Development, not a condo. Owners own the lot and the home in which they live. That is not the case with condos.

The community actually consists of two distinct neighborhoods.  One is on or adjacent to Copper Peak (tract #7829), which is the street where these photos were taken. It’s got enough elevation to afford lovely valley views. The other area is on and adjacent to Shelby Creek (tract #7828), which has a pleasant setting also, but without the same valley views as it’s lower. This photo is from the Realist Report, which shows each property in a track with the red “tag”. While I don’t love the way it looks, it provides a good sense of where these 2 neighborhoods are in relationship to one another.

Map of the two California Ridge neighborhoods

What is interesting is that between these two California Ridge neighborhoods, there are a couple of streets with single family homes on large lots (tract #7986). This is unusual.

What are the townhomes at California Ridge like?

These townhomes can feel refreshingly “young” compared to many other homes in Silicon Valley, most of which were constructed decades earlier.

 

Built in 1987 and with wood siding, decks, and loads of windows, the homes are a great visual match for the setting and seem poised to take the most of the terrain. The interiors are a little more open than older homes, so that is an appealing element to many home buyers, also. Each townhouse includes a 2 car garage.  Continue reading

In west San Jose with the 95129 zip code, near the borders of Saratoga, Cupertino, and Campbell, you’ll find the much beloved Happy Valley neighborhood. The nearby school, which is highly regarded, is Country Lane Elementary, so the area is also known as the Country Lane neighborhood. This is a quiet pocket of understated but very comfortable ranch style homes on lovely tree lined streets.

I have a lovely listing in this neighborhood at 4843 Englewood Dr, San Jose, CA 95129 – please click on the link and check out all the details and photos!

Tree lined streets in the Happy Valley neighborhood

Where is the Country Lane or Happy Valley neighborhood?

The Country Lane or Happy Valley neighborhood is bordered by Doyle Road, Saratoga Avenue, Prospect Road, and Lawrence Expressway. It is almost shaped like a triangle – but not quite. At the southern tip of the area is a commercial complex with a number of shops, restaurants, a hardware store, and much more. Just across Saratoga Avenue from there is Westgate, and “kitty corner” is El Paseo de Saratoga (with movie theaters as well as stores and restaurants). Prospect has more shops, including a See’s Candies, a car wash, eateries, you name it.

Happy Valley neighborhood in West San Jose 95129

How is the commute from this part of West San Jose? What’s nearby?

Depending on where you live in the Country Lane or Happy Valley community, it is about 1.5 miles to either Highway 280 or Highway 85, but you may find that you can commute via Saratoga Avenue, Lawrence Expressway, or San Tomas Expressway. Look at the map, below, to notice how very convenient this location is!

From this area, it may be a comfortable stroll or bike ride to a number of shops and eateries. Continue reading

How’s the Saratoga California real estate market?

Orchard and Hills in Saratoga, California

Orchard and Hills in Saratoga, California

This is a fairly comprehensive article on the Saratoga real estate market that will include the live statistics from Altos Research for listed properties (not closed) in Saratoga CA 95070, the closed sale data from the RE Report for last month in Saratoga 95070, and the numbers I crunched for Saratoga – overall and by price point and high school district, since Saratoga has 3 different high school districts, each with an impact on home values.

First, let’s consider the months of inventory by price point and high school district that I crunched using MLSListings.com, our local multiple listing service provider.

The months of inventory is a reference to how fast homes would be absorbed into the market if sales continued at the same pace and no new inventory came onto the market. It’s often referred to as “the absorption rate” – and that can be months of inventory, weeks of inventory, or days of inventory. A “balanced” market is somewhere around 4-5 months for us, though the National Association of Realtors says that 6 months is balanced nationwide. Anything under 3 is a good seller’s market, and under 1 is like saying that homes are “flying off the market.”

(For comparison, please also see a similar article on the Live in Los Gatos blog for the town of Los Gatos – real estate market by price point and high school district.)

Here’s the chart for Saratoga – all price points, all school districts.

2a - Saratoga, CA, Real Estate Market Update

And for comparison, here’s the chart from last month:

2A - Saratoga, CA, Real Estate Market Update

This month the data is back to what’s been the norm as of late – a strong seller’s market with fairly low inventory. Just under 2 MOI is a hot market, but if you look at where the listings are and compare it to the sales you are able to see there is at least one big exception. We can tell that the highest price point, $5+ million, is a much slower buyer’s market, which is common, and the other price points are frequently even lower than the average. Because the inventory is so small, the data can be easily distorted, so it is helpful to look a little farther back for general trends and pricing. As always, each property is unique, so this chart is just a guide and finding the right price to list or offer requires closer inspection and is best done with the help of a qualified agent.

By comparing across school districts you can also see how different each area’s individual market can be. The overall MOI for different school districts this month ranges from 2.375 to 0.75. Small levels of inventory can create big data swings and make for less accurate charts, nevertheless, we can still spot trends if we know where to look.

 

Continue reading

How's The Luxury Home Market?Luxury home sales are going like crazy in the west valley areas of Santa Clara County. Right now in Almaden Valley, Los Gatos, Monte Sereno and Saratoga, there are 115 houses for sale listed at or more than two million dollars (just checked MLSListings.com), and in the last 30 days 52 have sold and closed escrow in those same areas and price ranges. For the Almaden – Saratoga region generally, then, there are 2.212 months of inventory in the over two million dollar price range (115/52). That makes it a strong seller’s market. Things have certainly stayed lively since last year. (In the same region, there are 39 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 12 houses for sale which are listed at or over $2,000,000.  In the last 30 days, 3 sold in that price range (with 2 sales pending). That makes for 4 “months of inventory,” which can be considered a balanced market in many areas though is leaning towards being a seller’s market. That would mean this luxury market has good turnover but is not as strong a market as elsewhere. It’s a close to balanced 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

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/

Update on the Santa Clara real estate market: The realty market in the city of Santa Clara, like the rest of Silicon Valley, is one in which the sellers have a strong upper hand.

Below there are charts for the activities over the last few months. Low inventory from the past year and continuous low inventory around the rest of the Valley means there is still a much greater demand to fill than properties available. This is clear in the sales price vs list price, which at it’s current high of 119.5%, and has been on the rise after staying near 110% for months. Also, the speed of market turnover (how long a house is on the market) has remained low as far back as we can see on these charts and in under a month. Further in the article, we’ll check in on the condo market, too.

Here’s a glance at the Santa Clara real estate market for single family homes. See the 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:

How’s the Mountain View real estate market? This is one of the very hottest areas within Silicon Valley and is home to a myriad of high tech companies and in a stone’s throw of others. With a charming and walkable downtown, easy access to CalTrain and a vibrant atmosphere conducive to both work and play, it is no wonder that people relocating to the San Francisco Bay Area or Silicon Valley place Mountain View squarely in their target.

All that popularity comes at a cost, though. Prices have been sky high here for years, both for rentals and for home purchasing. The good news, though, for those with property or those who take the plunge and buy: it doesn’t look like Mountain View is going to lose its appeal anytime soon.

In this article, which is updated periodically, we will include live Altos Charts which automatically update weekly (so bookmark this page!) as well as monthly insights from the Real Estate Report for Mountain View. And time to time it will be enhanced with “in the trenches” commentary, too.

Overview of the city of Mountain View’s residential real estate market for houses:

Here are the statistics for sales in the last few months. You can see that the average days on market are low at 9 days with homes on average selling well over list price at 114.5%. Overall, the Mountain View housing market is still a steady seller’s market. See the whole Mountain View Real Estate Report online here.

 

Mountain View real estate market trends and data by neighborhood

My Real Estate Report drills down the data by neighborhood in Mountain View (and also Palo Alto and San Jose – the latter being very understandable as it’s almost 1 million people, rather than Mountain View’s 75,000 people). Want to check out these areas? Then visit popehandy.rereport.com, select Santa Clara County, then under city choose Mountain View, and under ZIPS select the area you want. Here are your options there:

Please continue reading to see the data for condominiums and townhouses, plus also the live Altos Research charts for both single family homes and also condos and townhomes.

Continue reading

Translation

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


Selling homes in
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Mary’s other sites & blogs
Valley Of Hearts Delight
Santa Clara County Real Estate,
with an interest in history

Move2SiliconValley.com
Silicon Valley relocation info

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Mary’s Blog Awards
Top 25 real estate blogs of 2018 by RentPrep2018 RentPrep.com's list of top 25 real estate blogs to follow


Top 25 real estate blogs 2016
2016: Personal Income's list of top 25 real estate blogs.


Best Realtor blog award
2016: Coastal Group OC's list of best Realtor blogs


The 2009 Sellsius list of top 12 women real estate bloggers
2009: Sellsius list of top
12 women real estate bloggers


Mary Pope-Handy's Live in Los Gatos blog won the 2007 Project Blogger contest, sponsored by Inman News and Active Rain

2007: Mary Pope-Handy and Frances Flynn Thorsen win the Project Blogger Contest for Mary's Live in Los Gatos blog. The contest was sponsored by
Active Rain and Inman News.


Non blog award


Best real estate agent in Silicon Valley from the San Jose Mercury News poll of readers in 2011
"Best real estate agent
in Silicon Valley"

2011 readers' poll,
San Jose Mercury News

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