Almaden Valley (SJ)

Almaden Valley San Jose

The Almaden Winery neighborhood, just off Blossom Hill Road in San Jose, has a rich and interesting past, dating back to the mid 1850s when the site was first planted with grape vines.  It was the first winery in Almaden Valley and one of the oldest in the state of California.  (It survived the prohibition period by getting licensed to make sacramental wine and by bottling grape juice.)

In this post I’ll share some photos of the neighborhood with you, explain about the three different builders/developers and show you where to find each one.

With a bit more than 300 houses, the Almaden Winery area is quite popular, with its homes selling quickly.   The community centers around a lovely park, and additionally there’s a newer library adjacent to it – the Vineland Branch of the San Jose public library system.
Continue reading

wine-pouringA San Jose tradition for decades, the Almaden Valley Art & Wine Festival is a very enjoyable non-profit fundraiser that appeals to just about everyone in Silicon Valley! This year’s event runs Sept 11, 2016 from 10am – 6pm at Almaden Lake Park (located at Almaden Expressway and Coleman Road, near the base of Almaden Valley and nearly touching the Blossom Valley area of San Jose).

To get all the details, please visit the Almaden Valley Art & Wine Festival website. I hope to see you there!

  1. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,398 sq ft
    Lot size: 10,001 sqft
  2. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,740 sq ft
    Lot size: 9,112 sqft
  3. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,206 sq ft
    Lot size: 13,499 sqft
  4. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,033 sq ft
    Lot size: 8,237 sqft
  5. 3 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,780 sq ft
    Lot size: 7,840 sqft
  6. 4 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 2,791 sq ft
    Lot size: 15,999 sqft
  7. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 3,040 sq ft
    Lot size: 32,800 sqft
  8. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,202 sq ft
    Lot size: 8,006 sqft
  9. 4 beds, 5 baths
    Home size: 3,424 sq ft
    Lot size: 11,874 sqft
  10. 2 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,124 sq ft
    Lot size: 2,278 sqft

See all Real estate in the Almaden Valley community.
(all data current as of 8/21/2017)

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

Updates at bottom. For original article (May 21, 2010) begin to read below:

Mount Umunhum sits high on the Santa Cruz Mountain range, and from there enjoys spectacular views. Looking inland, you can see San Jose & most of Santa Clara County, on a clear day even as far north as San Francisco from Mt. Umunhum. Turning toward the Pacific Ocean, from Mt. Umunhum’s heights you can see Santa Cruz and Monterey on a fogless day.

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Cambrian, Almaden, and Los GatosIf a strong public high school is at the top of your priority list, you may find yourself looking at Los Gatos, Cambrian (area of San Jose), and Almaden (also in San Jose) – scenic areas along the southwest side of Silicon Valley, all of them featuring good to excellent high schools.   I would caution against only judging an area, or a school, by its scores, though – often the culture at the campus, the offerings, and many other things can vary from one school to the next.  Nothing beats visiting in person and talking with students, parents, faculty and staff.

2013 Growth API Scores

Disclaimers aside, scores do matter as an important part of the overall package.  How do the high schools in these areas stack up?  API scores are no longer used, so the numbers below are from the 2013 Growth API scores, the most current year available.

Ranked in order of API score:

Leland High – 889 (Almaden, southern area)

Los Gatos High – 883 (Los Gatos, central + small area in Almaden)

Leigh High – 833 (Los Gatos, east & Cambrian plus little of Almaden)

Pioneer High – 822 (Almaden, northern area & Cambrian)

Branham High – 810 (Cambrian & Blossom Valley)

Westmont High – 796 (Los Gatos, western area plus parts of Campbell and Saratoga)

What is the cost of homes in these areas?

To narrow it, let’s consider the same set of criteria: houses sold in the last 180 days within 1 mile of each high school named, with 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and 1500 – 2000 SF. (I’m leaving lot sizes out because it’s already a very small pool of homes.) To make it super simple, I’ll just include the price per SF and the average sale price of these houses.

Ranked in order of affordability – average sale price:

Pioneer High – 822 API – average price per sf  $549.17  average sale price  $919,057  (9 houses)

Branham High – 810 API – average price per sf   $588.92 average sale price $969,295   (17 houses)

Leland High – 889 API – average price per sf   $616.04  average sale price  $1,071,250  (4 houses)

Leigh High – 833 API – average price per sf     $686.00  average sale price $1,144,100  (20 houses)

Westmont High – 796 API – average price per sf   $844.00  average sale price  $1,329,500 (8 houses)

Los Gatos High – 883 API – average price per sf   $917.95  average sale price $1,593,556 (9 houses)

Clearly, the market dictates that there are more than high school scores impacting home values (but you already knew that!).

Homes in the Leland High School area are a very good value, if you can find one (there were only 4, so too easy to have an impossibly small pool of choices).

Market drivers – beyond school scores

San Benito Way home in Los GatosDowntown Los Gatos is charming and historic (with loads of beautiful older homes and buildings), it enjoys a vibrant night life and restaurant scene. It’s interesting! It’s “walkable”!  People want to live in a part of Silicon Valley that isn’t just suburban sprawl – hence downtown LG has the biggest draw of all these areas.  It’s not too far from Highway 85 (think Apple) but it’s not boring, like most of San Jose can be.   Many are willing to pay much more to be part of Los Gatos and Los Gatos High School.  A nice townhouse in LG, or a house in Cambrian?  That may be the choice.

Commute times to places like Apple matter a lot, so homes on the west end of Los Gatos, in Campbell and parts of Saratoga in the Westmont HS area see a very high average sale price, even though the API score was less than 800.  Schools matter but they aren’t the only thing that matter. Many home owners believe that the most important part of the education is the parents’ involvement (at home and at school).  Many also have their kids at a private high school. Continue reading

San Jose is the largest city in Santa Clara County (or Silicon Valley) with about one million residents. The districts or areas within San Jose vary tremendously in many ways, including their respective real estate markets.

Today we’ll have a comparative look at the median list prices in the housing market in three areas & zip codes of San Jose: Almaden Valley (95120), Cambrian Park (95124) and Willow Glen (95125).  First, how these three areas line up against each other and against San Jose as a whole in terms of the median list prices of homes for sale in the last year.

Please note: the charts below are “live” html and the commentary is appropriate as of today, Nov. 23, 2015  The charts will continue to change and be updated,though, so it’s possible that a year from now the commentary may seem disjointed.  Now you’ll know why!

First, a glance at Almaden, Willow Glen, Cambrian and San Jose genererally.

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

Almaden prces took a little dip in mid to late summer, and so did Willow Glen 95125.  Cambrian 95124, though, has been very strong (as I can attest from working with buyers and sellers there recently). San Jose as a whole is close to flat.

 

San Jose as a whole, by price quartile is next. It is pretty level generally at this time.

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

 

Next, let’s focus on the Almaden Valley area of town by price quartile also:

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

As we might expect, the least volatile pricing is in the most affordable homes.

Next, Cambrian Park…
Continue reading

Recently I’ve expanded my subscription to Altos Research – now you can sign up for my Altos newsletter and get information on any zip code in Santa Clara County (the San Jose area) sent to you each week. Altos uses list prices.

For sold info, please see my Silicon Valley Real Estate Report, which covers the cities and towns in Santa Clara County, San Mateo County, and Santa Cruz County (and is updated once a month) at popehandy.rereport.com The RE Report also has market data for areas within some cities such as San Jose (covering Almaden, Cambrian, Evergreen, Willow Glen, etc.), Mountain View, and Palo Alto. To view the RE Report for Almaden, please click here.

Below please find the Altos Research charts for the Almaden area of San Jose, which is zip code 95120. These charts will be automatically updated weekly. If you’d like to get this and more info by email each week, please sign up for the newsletter at the bottom.

Learn more about Almaden Valley here.

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SAN JOSE Real Estate Market (95120)



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Find market activity in the Almaden area of San Jose in the map below:

  1. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,398 sq ft
    Lot size: 10,001 sqft
  2. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,740 sq ft
    Lot size: 9,112 sqft
  3. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,206 sq ft
    Lot size: 13,499 sqft
  4. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,033 sq ft
    Lot size: 8,237 sqft
  5. 3 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,780 sq ft
    Lot size: 7,840 sqft
  6. 4 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 2,791 sq ft
    Lot size: 15,999 sqft
  7. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 3,040 sq ft
    Lot size: 32,800 sqft
  8. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,202 sq ft
    Lot size: 8,006 sqft
  9. 4 beds, 5 baths
    Home size: 3,424 sq ft
    Lot size: 11,874 sqft
  10. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 1,950 sq ft
    Lot size: 8,093 sqft

See all Real estate in the Almaden Valley community.
(all data current as of 8/21/2017)

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

First: Days on Market vs Days to Sell:    We should start by clarifying that the average “days on market” includes the properties which do go pending and sell (many of them quickly) as well as those which linger on the market a long time and eventually become cancelled, expired or withdrawn listings.  The average days on market is usually significantly shorter than the average days to sell for that reason.

San Jose Houses – Days to Sell from MLS Listings

Just now, I pulled the statistics from MLSListings for all of the city of San Jose (all price points, school districts etc.) for single family homes (mostly houses, a few duet homes). This is the Days to Sell info, which specifically views the days on market of homes that DID sell as opposed to all homes on the market. Here’s how the numbers shake out:

San Jose Days to sale & SP-LP ratio

As you can see, it’s a strong seller’s market in San Jose, with residential real estate selling above list price (though not nearly as much above as last April!) and homes that go pending doing so at an average of 24 days.  Please note that this data represents the properties that DO sell.  In every market, there are homes which do not sell.  (Usually they are overpriced, but other troubles can be the root of the market rejection.)

Some parts of San Jose are “hotter” than others.  Let’s have a look at the Cambrian area, where I tend to be especially active.

Cambrian days to sell and SP to LP ratio

If we were to look only at Cambrian houses listed under $1 million, we’d find that the market is hotter still:

Cambrian LP under 1 mil

San Jose has an average days to sell of 24.  In the Cambrian district of SJ, it’s a mere 16 but for homes under $1 million, it’s a rapid, ultra red hot 13!!

Other areas of San Jose are also fairly strong, but please remember that any number of variables (school district, pricing tier, exact location or condition) can make these general numbers not apply to a particular property.  Next up: let’s have a view of Evergreen, Blossom Valley, Almaden Valley, Willow Glen, and the Campbell border area of San Jose. Continue reading

San Jose’s New Almaden Quicksilver Mine is well known and needs no introduction.  But did you know that there are many other mercury or quicksilver mines in the area? Several are nearby, just south of the Guadalupe Creek, but others are surprisingly far flung, both in Santa Clara County and throughout California.  My home buyer clients are sometimes concerned about purchasing real estate close to a natural or environmental hazard, so a few times this issue has come up: where are the mercury mines?

Quicksilver Legend for Santa Clara CountyFirst, a disclaimer that there are oodles of unmapped mines of all kinds dotting the San Francisco Bay Area, the delta, and beyond.  Approximately 31% of all mines in California are on private land.  So it may not be possible to know where each and every mine is.  However, mercury mines were big business during the gold rush and the civil war, so they may not have been so secretly guarded as a gold mine.

Today I went hunting for information on the location of mercury mines and found an online map of Santa Clara County with incredible details on not only quicksilver, but many other fascinating things: types of rock, miderals (copper), soil types, earthquake faults and so on.  This map is not all that easy to read as it requires blowing it up to well past 100% to actually decipher the numbers and geographical markers, but for the patient, it’s a gold mine – so to speak!

To see the WHOLE MAP, please click on the following link, which is a bid pdf file:

Geologic Map of Santa Clara County, California, Showing Mines and Mineral Deposits

I blew up part of it, saved it, and annotated it with just the names of the mercury mines closest to Los Gatos and Cambrian.  This is not comprehensive, of course – but I often get the question of “how close are the mines” to either Los Gatos or Cambrian, hence this focus.

Mercury mines near Los Gatos and Cambrian

Related reading on mercury

Mercury Contamination from Historic Gold Mining in Califoria (pdf from USGS)

The Legacy of Mercury Pollution in California’s Bay Area

 

Related reading for real estate in Almaden, Cambrian, and Los Gatos:

Hacienda Cemetery and Memorial Park in New Almaden

Almaden Valley area of San Jose (on popehandy.com)

What Are the Advantages of Buying a Home in Almaden Valley?

Where are the high voltage power lines in Los Gatos? (Live in Los Gatos blog)

Selling a home in one of San Jose’s Almaden Valley neighborhoods? Understand home buyer concerns in 95120

List of Los Gatos neighborhoods (Live in Los Gatos blog)

San Jose – Cambrian Park (an introduction with market stats and homes for sale also, on popehandy.com)

  1. 3 beds, 4 baths
    Home size: 1,752 sq ft
    Lot size: 8,468 sqft
  2. 4 beds, 5 baths
    Home size: 3,664 sq ft
    Lot size: 1.65 ac
  3. 3 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 1,785 sq ft
    Lot size: 5,218 sqft
  4. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,316 sq ft
    Lot size: 9,557 sqft
  5. 3 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,936 sq ft
    Lot size: 1.38 ac
  6. 3 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,160 sq ft
    Lot size: 5,998 sqft
  7. 3 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,744 sq ft
    Lot size: 10,720 sqft
  8. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 3,000 sq ft
    Lot size: 11,791 sqft
  9. 3 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 1,581 sq ft
    Lot size: 40,859 sqft
  10. 5 beds, 4 baths
    Home size: 3,056 sq ft
    Lot size: 1.09 ac

See all Real estate in the city of Los Gatos.
(all data current as of 8/21/2017)

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

How close is too close?  For people house hunting in Silicon Valley, the quality of local public schools is often a huge priority – in fact, it’s something that most home buyers insist upon even if they intend to enroll their kids in a parochial or other private school.  Similarly, most home buyers do not want to purchase a house, townhome or condo that’s too close to high voltage power lines. Sometimes it’s just a “resale issue” to them, but other times they have health concerns and not just real estate home value concerns.

But what about the relationship between public schools and these high voltage power lines?  If your child will be at school 35 hours a week for 9 months of the year, should that be a concern, too?  So far, only two of my buyers have made that a criteria – and when they did, it became apparent that most of the schools in the border areas of Los Gatos, Cambrian and Almaden were going to be eliminated.

A couple of years back, I mapped out the high voltage power lines using Google Maps (click on link to view it).  This morning I added a few public schools to it in a “layer”.  This is not comprehensive, as I only mapped a few in these three areas mentioned already in this article.  For the named schools, many are directly adjacent to the lines (Alta Vista, Union, Leigh, Noddin) usually on the far side of the playing field) and the furthest is about 1/5 of a mile from them (Carlton).

High Voltage Power lines in LG Cambrian Almaden

  1. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,211 sq ft
    Lot size: 7,244 sqft
  2. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 1,486 sq ft
    Lot size: 5,985 sqft
  3. 3 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,176 sq ft
    Lot size: 5,898 sqft
  4. 3 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,243 sq ft
    Lot size: 5,998 sqft
  5. 4 beds, 4 baths
    Home size: 3,383 sq ft
    Lot size: 10,624 sqft
  6. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,863 sq ft
    Lot size: 5,161 sqft
  7. 4 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,435 sq ft
    Lot size: 5,100 sqft
  8. 3 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,476 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,298 sqft
  9. 3 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,400 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,599 sqft
  10. 3 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,035 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,791 sqft

See all Real estate in the Cambrian community.
(all data current as of 8/21/2017)

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

Glencrest Patios neighborhood in San Jose's Almaden Valley 95120The popular Glencrest neighborhood in Almaden is located at the end of Serenity Way near Glenview Park and Cathedral Park in the Williams area, and it is shaped like a pentagram (a five sided object) so is easy to spot on the map. There is a shared pool. The outside ring of homes are single family houses on large, normal lots of about 10,000 to 13,000 square feet (on Valley Quail Circle, Hollow Lake). The more modest patio or zero lot line properties are found on the inside streets and have about 6,000 SF lots – the streets are Quail Creek Circle, Mountain Quail Circle, and Quail Cove Way. These houses were built by Shapell, a company which is known for a very high quality. Most were built in 1987 or 1988.
The big draws for these homes are as follows:

  • The best Almaden schools are close by: Williams, Bret Harte and Leland
  • Shappell is a highly regarded builder, perhaps the most valued in Santa Clara County
  • The Glencrest area homes, whether regular houses or patio homes, are fairly young by local standards

Because the patio homes are smaller, they are more affordable. Many people consider them entry level houses for Williams Elementary School. For this reason, real estate sales in the Glencrest area often command surprisingly high prices given that structures are built on one of the property lines and that there are no windows on that side of the home.

Real estate listings and homes for sale in and near the Glencrest neighborhood of San Jose’s Almaden Valley

Glencrest Patio Homes for Sale

  1. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,398 sq ft
    Lot size: 10,001 sqft
  2. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,740 sq ft
    Lot size: 9,112 sqft
  3. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,206 sq ft
    Lot size: 13,499 sqft
  4. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,033 sq ft
    Lot size: 8,237 sqft
  5. 3 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,780 sq ft
    Lot size: 7,840 sqft
  6. 4 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 2,791 sq ft
    Lot size: 15,999 sqft
  7. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 3,040 sq ft
    Lot size: 32,800 sqft
  8. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,202 sq ft
    Lot size: 8,006 sqft
  9. 4 beds, 5 baths
    Home size: 3,424 sq ft
    Lot size: 11,874 sqft
  10. 2 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,124 sq ft
    Lot size: 2,278 sqft

See all Real estate in the Almaden Valley community.
(all data current as of 8/21/2017)

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

Translation

by Transposh - translation plugin for wordpress
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
Silicon Valley:
Santa Clara County,
San Mateo County, and
Santa Cruz County.
:
Special focus on:
San Jose, Los Gatos,
Saratoga, Campbell,
Almaden Valley,
Cambrian Park.
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