Berryessa and north San Jose
San Jose is the biggest city in Silicon Valley (and considers itself to be the Capital of Silicon Valley), is the tenth largest city in the United States of America with over 1 million in population, and it has a very large footprint – approximately 180 square miles. Because of the size, it isn’t surprising that many distinct neighborhoods exist within the city. In my blog you can find descriptions and outlines of these districts or neighborhoods. You can also find market analysis dedicated to different regions of San Jose. Because the areas are so different, the market in separate sectors of the city can change dramatically from one area to the next. If you are looking for a home in Silicon Valley, it is best to consider San Jose by its neighborhoods rather than as a whole to understand the market. Nonetheless, looking at the big picture can often give you a general taste for the market. Currently, it’s a steady sellers market.
Below you will find the Altos Research Charts, a live feed of data on the markets in San Jose. You will also find the RE Report, charts with statistics comparing sales in the last month and comparing them month-over-month and year-over-year. These are both the usual tools I use to gauge a market. Directly below are links to the market analysis of specific neighborhoods in San Jose. Some of these, where I work the most, are updated monthly, and others are updated every few months.
Altos Charts for San Jose as a Whole – automatically updated each week – single family homes
First, the basic charts for single family homes or houses. FYI, Altos uses LIST prices. The RE Report further down uses SOLD prices (which is part of the reason why I utilize both).
List prices of single family homes / houses by price quartile:
Average days on market of listed homes (houses) by pricing tier:
Inventory levels for the last 3 years for houses for sale in San Jose:
Altos Research charts for the condomium and townhouse market in San Jose – automatically updated each week
Condominium and townhouse LIST prices by quartile: Continue reading
It’s possible to live in Silicon Valley and have no idea that there are still some original adobe houses to be found right here in the San Jose area. Today, though, I hope to help some of our residents discover the past which is lurking right in front of us!
The historic Adobe Woman’s Club is just a block or two off the campus of Santa Clara University, tucked away on a side street now that The Alameda is re-routed as The El Camino. Address: 3260 The Alameda, Santa Clara. According to the state’s historical preservation site, this state landmark # 249 is one of the oldest in the Santa Clara Valley, was built between 1792 and 1800 and was one of many row houses built for the native Americans who worked at Mission Santa Clara. Please note that this is private property and you may not enter without permission, but the adobe abode is very visible from the sidewalk.
Today the beautifully preserved adobe house functions as a nonprofit group with these objectives: “to promote educational, moral, social welfare, cultural, civic and community service. Anyone who supports these objectives is welcome.” This scenic place can also be rented out for private events. The garden is quite lovely and the interior appears to be very modern. You can see photos of the inside of the house at the club’s website: The Santa Clara Woman’s Club.
If you arrived into Silicon Valley via Highway 101, driving south from San Francisco, you might believe that the Santa Clara Valley, the San Jose area and Silicon Valley as a whole has got to seem to be the ugliest place on earth. Although heavily traveled, that is not the “scenic route”.
So, too, if you are looking for a place to live and are groping to find a place that is reasonably priced, fairly safe and not a terrible commute distance. You might not even have “is nice looking” on your wish list. You might not think it’s possible if all you ever see are the ugly concrete tilt-up buildings in north San Jose, Santa Clara, Alviso, or anywhere along the 237 corridor. That area is an architectural wasteland.
Let me assure you: there are a lot of beautiful places in Silicon Valley where you can rent or buy a home. But how do you find them? It helps a lot to have a local give you a few pointers. I’ll give you some tips today on finding a scenic place to live.
Hills – An easy way to find a scenic location to make your home is to settle near the hills, especially those in the west valley (the Santa Cruz Mountains or the Coastal Range) as they are green year-round. Communities at the base of the west valley foothills include, in Santa Clara County, Palo Alto, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Cupertino, Saratoga, Monte Sereno, Los Gatos, and the Almaden Valley area of San Jose. All of these areas are adjacent to the hills or mountains and offer far better than average schools (many of them qualify as great – compare costs between these areas). Continue reading
The annual market report is out at popehandy.REReport.com and we can now learn how 2011 compared to 2010. The median sales price for houses in Santa Clara County was off 5.3% overall. But from one part of the valley to the next it varied wildly with 6 cities or areas finding themselves in positive territory while others were off by double digits.
What is it that makes Gilroy, Los Altos Hills, Los Gatos, Mountain View and Palo Alto “in the black”?
Most of these cities/towns are upscale, west valley communities. But so are Saratoga, Cupertino, and Monte Sereno.
Gilroy was especially hard-hit with the housing downturn so perhaps in that case, it’s just coming back into more of a balance. (Then again, so was Morgan Hill and it’s still off by 12%.)
The LinkedIn IPO and others in the Palo Alto area drove prices up for some parts of the housing market nearby and it’s likely that this explains the positive growth for Palo Alto, Mountain View, and Los Altos Hills. That said, it would seem that Los Altos, and perhaps even Sunnyvale would have seen stronger numbers on the same account. Perhaps school scores are the key driver here.
Los Gatos, Saratoga and Monte Sereno often behave somewhat similarly as they are adjacent to one another and often attract similar home buyers who want good schools, a nice downtown area nearby and scenic beauty with the hills. The annual numbers show Monte Sereno down 6.7%, Saratoga down 2% but Los Gatos up 6.4%. With Monte Sereno, there are very few sales each month and each year (only about 4,000 residents), so there can be a wider swing without it necessarily being accurate. Saratoga and Los Gatos each have about 30,000 people who call these areas home, though, so the data is much more helpful. Saratoga and Los Gatos both have multiple school districts, views, homes with better proximity to “downtown” and more variables – I think we’d have to dig a lot deeper to learn why these two neighboring markets are so diverse. We might also have to look at multiple years of data to see if Saratoga spiked while LG slumped to explain the difference. Continue reading
Santa Clara County Parks – Silicon Valley Area Parks
Here, please find links and a little info on the wonderful county parks in and near Silicon Valley.
Wildlife caution – A word to the wise: in the grassy, hilly areas especially, please hike or jog with friends and pay attention as you walk or run the trails. Rattlesnakes tend to sun themselves in the clearings – which means on the path! Mountain lions, also known as pumas, are not commonly seen but they are indigenous to the area, as are ferrel pigs, bobcats and coyotes. Any of these could ruin your day with a wrong encounter, so please go in groups and pay attention to your surroundings!
Almaden Quicksilver this was once the largest mercury mine in the world, named after a similar mine in Spain. The mine shafts extended all the way into what is now Los Gatos (off Hicks Road) This is a great spot for field trips. While in that area, don’t miss the split graveyard on Bertram Road- and look the grave for just Bert’s arm (nope, I’m not kidding).
Alviso Marina they stopped dredging this years ago but it is now a park. Eventually there will be a trail ringing the bay. Awesome place to bird watch and take photos.
Anderson Lake waterskiing destination in the east foothills over Morgan Hill
Calero south of Almaden toward Morgan Hill.
Chesbro Reservoir west of Morgan Hill – fishing & non-power-boating. No trails yet.
Chitactac Adams Heritage County Park now this is cool – it’s a 4 acre site just outside Gilroy and Morgan Hill which is all about the Ohlones who used to inhabit this beautiful valley of ours. Free park. Open from 8am til sunset. Self-guided tours available.
Today we’ll look at the ratio & relationship between real estate listings and sales of houses and duet homes in Silicon Valley over the last eighteen months. The goal is to get a sense of the market trends in terms of the overall absorption of homes for sale. (We’ll give a glance at condo and townhome sales but the focus is on single family homes.) How hard is it to sell a home? The answer has to do with supply and demand – the number of listings and the number of sales.
In the graphs below, the reddish brown line represents the number of pending sales. The blue line indicates the number of listings or homes for sale. Put simply, the closer these two lines are together, the hotter the market – that is, the more of a seller’s market it is. When they are far apart, it’s more cold, more of a buyer’s market. If the lines cross, it is a wild frenzy (that does happen in one case, as you will see). Below please find the graph for the homes in Santa Clara County overall (all areas).
You can see that these two lines pinch together in about December 2009 to January 2010. Prices had dropped and investors were swooping in! The market has cooled since then.
For condos and townhouses, all of Santa Clara County:Here the two lines – or the market – were close together for about 3-4 months. Buyers understood that condominiums in Silicon Valley were bargain priced, and they responded by buying.Now let’s look at various areas around the county. We’ll take these in Alphabetical order, beginning with Almaden Valley.
As you can see, the market improved but never got as “hot” as in the county generally. This is because it’s a more expensive area, and most of what was selling in winter consisted of entry level housing.
A year ago October, I attended the National Association of Realtors convention in San Francisco and met a highly successful, very experienced and decorated (awards, designations) agent from the east coast. When I asked her which part she was from and worked in, she rattled off about 4 large counties. (I’m familiar with the area, so wondered where she was within it.) She did not want to tell me where her office was because she sold in all four or so large areas. She had what I considered to be a huge turf! Her idea of “local” was over 50 miles in diameter – maybe 70 miles or more!
Some agents claim huge territories where they work!
And then a month or so ago, my husband, Jim Handy, and I attended a party at a lovely home in Santana Row and one of the guests asked me where I worked. I told her that I sell all over Silicon Valley, mostly in the “west valley communities” of Los Gatos, Saratoga, Campbell, Almaden Valley and Cambrian Park, but I have listed and sold all over. This gal wanted me to tell her that I worked only in Los Gatos, or only in Cambrian Park or Almaden Valley etc. and it was hard for her to imagine I would really work all of the San Jose area. Just last week I got a similar question from someone who lives and works in Los Gatos – she seemed to think that agents who work in one town only work in that town.
Some home owners have the same mis-perception that agents only work a very tiny region, such as just Los Gatos or just Saratoga.
Natural Hazard Reports are included in the disclosures when homes are bought and sold here in Silicon Valley. Those reports will indicate whether or not the property is located in areas with known natural hazards, including
- Flood Plains
- Liquifaction Zones
- Earthquake Fault Zones
- Unstable Soils Areas
But wouldn’t you like to know where those places are before ever writing an offer?
Many Silicon Valley Realtors utilize a tool that combines this natural hazard information with other boundaries that may be of interest to you, such as zip code lines, town boundaries, school district boundaries, district names within San Jose (like Berryessa, Cambrian Park, Evergreen, etc.) and so on. This is the Barclays Locaide and you can buy it online or in Realtor stores in the San Jose area. They arent cheap at just under $60, but they are extremely helpful and worthwhile for having a sense of where the issue areas are in Santa Clara County.