Cambrian Park (SJ)
The Oster neighborhood, centered around Oster Elementary School in San Jose’s Cambrian district, is situated on the north side of highway 85 and just west of Camden Avenue, part of the 95124 zip code. It’s one of the more affordable areas within the highly regarded Union School District, which is not to say that real estate prices are inexpensive there! They are just slightly softer than those around Carlton, Alta Vista, and Guadalupe, generally.
The Oster neighborhood is a nicely maintained pocket within Silicon Valley’s “west valley” (which follows Highway 85).
Most streets, and most properties, are well maintained in the Oster neighborhood. Some of this area used to be unincorporated (and you can tell that by the lack of sidewalks and curbs, and sometimes also gutters). Where houses have 4 digits (say 4921 xyz street), it’s usually incorporated into the City of San Jose. And where the street address has 5 numbers, such as 14534, it is or was originally unincorporated. The unincorporated area usually have larger lots, and some of them were originally on septic and may still have a septic tank buried in the back yard, even if now they are hooked up to the public sewer.
What are homes like in the Oster neighborhood?
Houses are, of course, many decades old. Some, in the older original Cambrian Park area on the west side of the school’s attendance area, may have been built as early as the 1940s, but most of the area was constructed in the 1950s and 1960s. Overall, the best land in Santa Clara County was built out years ago. It is therefore often true that the best land or location will come with an older structure.
Most houses are 1 or 2 stories, no basements, with attached 2 car garages. Most houses are the typical 3 – 4 bedroom, 2 – 3 bath ranch style tract home that is seen throughout most of Silicon Valley. Home size ordinarily runs between 1,000 SF and 2,000 SF, though they range from about 850 SF to well over 3,000 SF. Lot sizes are frequently between 6,000 SF and 8,000 SF, but the older section of Cambrian Park may boast 10,000 SF lots or greater.
How is the Oster part of Cambrian?
The months of inventory for any part of the real estate market can vary, depending on many factors, including age of home, house size, lot size, and school district, whether or not there’s a pool, and many other things. It can be very useful to understand this metric when selling a Silicon Valley home. I’ve done market numbers crunching tied to the specific characteristics of a property (say, small yard with pool or big yard with no pool) to find the impact of those characteristics on the probability that a home will sell – or how fast.
The Cambrian area of San Jose is a very “hot market” overall, but it can be confusing to know how hot it really is, just like the rest of Santa Clara County, because there are multiple school districts – and schools are probably the number one driver of home values in this highly educated valley.
An explanation of “months of inventory”
What does “months of inventory” mean? This figure references how long it would take to sell a property if homes continued to sell and close at the current pace with no new inventory coming on the market. A good analogy is to consider a bathtub which drains. If you add no new water to the tub, how long will it take to empty out?
The months of inventory is sometimes called the absorption rate. The question is simple: how long will it take for the current inventory of homes for sale to get absorbed by the home buyers purchasing them? It doesn’t have to be calculated by months. It could be in days, weeks, or years. But months is probably most common.
The Cambrian area of San Jose’s months of inventory as a whole, and in one price point
Cambrian was once an enormous zone of the Santa Clara Valley. Today we mostly think of it as within San Jose in the 95124 and 95118 zip codes. Some of it it adjacent to Campbell – a very tiny sliver is IN Campbell, and a tinier still area is in San Jose and is under the Campbell School Union District. Most of this area is in one of three elementary school districts: Cambrian, Union, or San Jose Unified.
Here’s the breakdown – first, for ALL of Cambrian (MLS area 14 for my Realtor readers) that’s within the City of San Jose and second, by elementary school district. The area for Campbell Elementary is so small that the numbers are not significant (no offense to the Campbell school residents). It can just jump around too much to be helpful, and often gives us no usable data. Please have a look:
I highlighted the San Jose Unified School District in both charts. Aside from Campbell, which has numbers too small to register a MOI, these are the hottest tickets in the district.
The message I’d like to convey is this: you can read about information for your part of Silicon Valley, or your city or zip code, but it’s not until you drill things down to an area that closely matches your own home will you have a better sense of your own home’s “real estate marker.” It’s never “how is the market?” so much as “how’s the market for YOUR home – or the one you want to buy?”
If you were only tracking Cambrian, you might see 0.85 months of inventory. That’s a lightning fast seller’s market. But it’s not nearly as good if you’re selling in the area with Cambrian Elementary Schools in the entry-level market. There, you’re looking at closer to 0.83 months of inventory for homes around $1 million, while the same price point with Union Schools is over 1 month.
Years ago, I had a Willow Glen listing where the whole back yard was the pool. I did a study on the months of inventory and learned that pools in properties with that lot size took substantially more time to be absorbed. Likewise, I had a Los Gatos estate property on an acre of land, and the reverse was also true: the months of inventory showed that large lots on $2 million and up homes for sale did not sell nearly as well without a pool.
The math is simple: using the same criteria, divide the number of active listings by those of homes sold in the last 30 days. The criteria can be anything you like – a property’s size, location, number of bathrooms, price, age, etc. Often I include approximately the same home and lot size together with the school district. That usually provides much more accurate info on “how’s the market” as compared to just getting it by zip code alone.
If you are looking to buy or sell a home in Cambrian, or anywhere in San Jose or Santa Clara County, this kind of information is really important. It is not hard to do, but very few real estate agents will provide this information before you list or before you make the final determination on the list price of your home.
Looking for a good Silicon Valley Realtor who will get you that extra data? Please call or email me. I would love to chat to see about possibly working together.
My Cambrian area of San Jose Real Estate Report was recently published with the updated numbers from the closed sales last month for this part of San Jose (95124 and 95118 with a little of 95008 too). Please click on the link above to see much more information there.
In this district of San Jose, we have been experiencing dreadfully low inventory of homes for sale, and buyers aren’t backing off as much as usual for this time of year – I believe because there is just a whole lot of pent up demand from nearly two years of a deep seller’s market. What does that mean? Sellers, if you have a problem home, or one not updated or well maintained, this is the time to sell it – buyers have little to choose from so are purchasing properties that need more work than they would bother with in a more balanced market.
Want to learn more about Cambrian Park real estate, the Cambrian district, Cambrian neighborhoods, school districts and zip codes? Please also see this article: Cambrian Park: Good Schools, Low Crime, Close to Los Gatos and Campbell
Be sure to read to the end to see the live Altos charts too – they are near the end of the article so please keep reading into the next page!
Cambrian area sales at a glance:
- Median home prices increased by 6.3% year-over-year to $1,100,000 from $1,035,000.
- The average home sales price rose by 5.4% year-over-year to $1,108,780 from $1,052,440.
- Home sales fell by 11.9% year-over-year to 52 from 59.
- Active listings fell 33.6% year-over-year to 81 from 122.
- Sales price vs. list price ratio fell by 0.6% year-over-year to 105.8% from 106.4%.
- The average days on market rose by 19.6% year-over-year to 13 from 11.
Compared To Last Month
- Median home prices improved by 8.4% to $1,100,000 from $1,015,000.
- The average home sales price rose by 2.4% to $1,108,780 from $1,083,150.
- Home sales down by 24.6% to 52 from 69.
- Active listings increased 12.5% to 81 from 72.
- Sales price vs. list price ratio dropped by 0.5% to 105.8% from 106.3%.
- The average days on market increased by 47.8% to 13 from 9.
Cambrian single family homes trends at a glance
The market has bounced back from any sign of cooling. Though sales and inventory have dropped, sales to list price has remained stable, and days on market are low. It is a strong sellers market.
|Trends at a Glance||MAY 2017||PREVIOUS MONTH||YEAR-OVER YEAR|
|Median Home Price||+8.4%||$1,100,000||$1,015,000||+6.3%||$1,035,000|
|Average Sales Price||+2.4%||$1,108,780||$1,083,150||+5.4%||$1,052,440|
|No. of Homes Sold||-24.6%||52||69||-11.9%||59|
|Short Sales Sold||N/A||0||0||N/A||0|
|Active Short Sales||N/A||0||0||N/A||0|
|Sales Price vs. List Price||-0.5%||105.8%||106.3%||-0.6%||106.4%|
|Average Days on Market||+47.8%||13||9||+19.6%||11|
And the chart from last month:
|Trends at a Glance||APR 2017||PREVIOUS MONTH||YEAR-OVER YEAR|
|Median Home Price||-11.7%||$1,015,000||$1,150,000||-5.6%||$1,075,000|
|Average Sales Price||-10.6%||$1,083,150||$1,211,180||-2.2%||$1,107,360|
|No. of Homes Sold||+23.2%||69||56||+16.9%||59|
|Short Sales Sold||N/A||0||0||N/A||0|
|Active Short Sales||N/A||0||0||N/A||0|
|Sales Price vs. List Price||+0.1%||106.3%||106.3%||+0.6%||105.7%|
|Average Days on Market||-16.2%||9||11||-43.1%||16|
Generally speaking it is still a hot seller’s market and great time to sell a Cambrian home.
The condo and townhouse real estate market for San Jose 95124 & 95118
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
Often I have clients who are interested in purchasing a 4 bedroom, 2 bath home in a good school district in Silicon Valley, particularly in the South Bay and West Valley areas. Tonight I did a study on the MLS of homes that have sold and closed escrow in the last 4 months with these characteristics:
- single family home (house)
- 4 bedrooms
- 2 bathrooms
- 1800 to 2200 square feet of living space
- 6000 to 10,000 sf lot
Disclaimers aside, here are the numbers for select West Valley Communities in the West/South Bay area with good schools. The first number is the average sales price per square foot, the second number is the average sales price:
And a look at the chart from all back in 2015…
And all the way back in 2011. What’s changed? A lot! The order has shifted some, showing where demand has increased or decreased. Most noticeably, the prices are significantly lower in 2011 than they are now. The 2015 chart shows prices somewhere in-between the 2011 and 2017 levels. Palo Alto and Los Altos remain consistently in the top two positions.
The home prices tend to run with the school district API scores. You can check the 2013, three year average, API scores in Santa Clara County for both the districts and the individual schools online here. Continue reading
One question I get a lot is this: what does it cost to buy a 4 bedroom, 2 bath house of about 2000 square feet?
So to answer this question, let’s see what houses like this are selling for (4 bed, 2 bath, appx 2000 SF or 185 square meters) and see how the cost looks in one Santa Clara Count y / Silicon Valley area versus another.
Today I compared several areas and cities using this criteria: single family homes of 1800 – 2200 SF, 3-5 bedrooms, 2-3 bathrooms, on lot sizes of 6000 SF to 10,000 SF. Normally I would chart this over the last 2 months, or 60 days, but because of the low inventory causing the sellers market I have expanded the search to the last 4 months, or 120 days, for a better range. As of this writing, Los Altos only had one sale over the last 120 days, so data for that segment spans from 0 to 180 days back, or 6 months, and in that half a year we have merely 3 sold.
Here’s how it shakes out in the “west valley areas” along the Highway 85 corridor, most of which are known to have good to great public schools. What areas are most affordable? One way of analyzing this is the “price per square foot” figure. Whenever I update the chart, I re-arrange the order of the cities from high to low based on the price per square foot, although there’s usually minimal movement.
Below are my results from the same search back in September 18, 2015. By comparisson, you can tell that Santa Clara’s average Price has increased, pushing it above Almaden and Campbell.
How competitive is the market? Have a look at the DOM or “Days on Market” figure. All of these days on market are short, but they range from low to heart-skippingly fast.
In most cases, the priciest and most desirable places have either the best schools or shortest commute location or both (Palo Alto and Cupertino have both). Had I ranked these for school scores, you’d find that Cambrian is fairly high up and a good “bang for the buck” location – though not a super short commute for folks who work in Mountain View (though not so bad for people working in Cupertino). Almaden, too, offers a good value for the quality of the schools, homes, and neighborhoods, though the commute is longer. None of these is especially close to North San Jose (where a major employer is Cisco).
It should also be noted that in some of the smaller communities with less on the market these numbers may not be as stable as others with more data – for instance, Saratoga only had four homes sold matching this criteria within the 120 days of collected data, and therefore may not be as accurate as others, such as the Blossom Valley area of San Jose with the most data at 35 homes sold. For these smaller communities with less data, it is beneficial to look at them more closely – Saratoga, for instance, has 3 different high school districts which have an impact the real estate prices. This chart is really just a snapshot to give a general sense of the relative affordability of these markets to one another. Continue reading
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.
Cambrian Park, or more broadly, Cambrian, is a west San Jose neighborhood or district and is one of the more affordable, high-value areas in Silicon Valley. The schools are good, the crime is low, and the commute is not too bad. For people relocating to Santa Clara County, this is a place to know about since quality education and affordability are often high priorities! Most Silicon Valley home buyers would say that Cambrian Park real estate offers a very good value.
What’s the compromise for the more reasonable prices of homes for sale? Well, Cambrian doesn’t have an interesting, upscale downtown area like Campbell, Los Gatos, Saratoga, or Willow Glen.
But it does have tons of shopping & restaurants and even a Farmer’s Market. It also enjoys a top notch hospital (Good Samaritan) and plenty of parks as well as a fantastic rec center with a large park adjacent to it, the Camden Community Center, which has tons of programs (including an after school program for youth), classes, and a fabulous pool. (My family and I lived in Cambrian in the “Cambrian Gardens” neighborhood for 10 years and loved it – our kids made great use of the community center too.)
Altogether, there are about 75,000 to 80,000 residents in Cambrian, spread throughout the three zip codes of 95124, 95118 and a little tiny bit of 95008.
If there is a “central Cambrian Park”, it would have to be near the original Cambrian Park Shopping Center, which was the first actual mall in San Jose! That area is sometimes known as Cambrian Village. People sometimes use the three names interchangeably: Cambrian, Cambrian Park, Cambrian Village.:
Where is Cambrian Park? Map of approximate Cambrian Boundaries:
View Cambrian Area of San Jose in a larger map
One of the prettiest townhome communities in Santa Clara County is Vizcaya, which features a Mediterranean style of architecture in a community that is extremely tidy and well maintained. Driving in, it feels like you’ve just arrived at a resort.
Where is Vizcaya?
The Vizacaya neighborhood is in San Jose just off S Bascom and Curtner Avenues, but is close to the Campbell border and confusingly, has a Campbell mailing address. The community’s streets are Vizcaya Circle, Vizcays Way, and Pescara Court. The location is very convenient, with easy access to shopping, bus lines, and major traffic routes.
What are the homes like at Vizcaya?
Built between 1990 and 1996, these 92 townhomes are younger feeling and tend to have fairly open floor plans and plenty of large windows. The home sizes range between 2396 SF and 2656 SF, but many are so nicely designed that they tend to feel like single family homes. Lot sizes average around 4,100 SF (pretty big for a townhouse). The parcels range in size from 2480 SF to over 10,000 SF but most are 3000 – 5000 SF.
The homes in the Vizcaya community are condominiums with a townhouse architectural style. (Some townhouses are held in PUD ownership. In some locations, such as Almaden and Los Gatos, there are houses which are condos – or held in condo ownership.) There’s a small pool and spa at the center of the complex for residents to enjoy. The day I took the photos shown in the slideshow, below, painting was ongoing next to the pool, so it isn’t shown.
What does it cost to buy a townhome in Vizcaya?
These upscale properties don’t come on the market too often, but if you are lucky enough to find one available to buy, chances are that it will cost a million dollars or a more (as of this writing in October 2016).
Like many Cambrian neighborhoods, the Westchester Manor subdivision in the Alta Vista area includes well kept homes and yards, tree lined streets, and wonderful public schools. This neighborhood, though, is unique in that residents can amble to the elementary or middle school without crossing major streets. And the same can be said of getting to the local grocery store, Safeway, coffee shop, and other stores. For home buyers seeking walkability or easy access, this is a place to check out! But it’s not just about that. From here it’s an easy jump to both Highway 85 off Union Avenue or a run to Vasona Lake County Park and downtown Los Gatos via Blossom Hill Road. On top of all that, add the very close proximity of the hills and you get the feeling that you’re not quite in the middle of a city at all.
Where is Westchester Manor?
The Alta Vista neighborhood is part San Jose / Cambrian, and part Los Gatos (see a map of the boundaries of the city / town at this newer article of mine: http://liveinlosgatosblog.com/alta-vista-neighborhood/). It’s bordered by Los Gatos-Almaden Road to the north, Union to the east, and Blossom Hill to the south. Within that area, Westchester Manor is entirely in San Jose and sits on the northest end of the neighborhood, next to Union Middle School.
This neighborhood has a very high owner occupancy rate – 88% from the numbers I pulled from Realist (a report available to members of the MLS) today. It’s a low-turnover, stable neighborhood. People move in, and they stay!
What are the homes like in Westchester Manor?
This is a predominantly “ranch style” neighborhood with mostly single story houses, but still quite a few two story ones, in an area with sidewalks, curbs, and gutters. Most houses have 3-4 bedrooms and at least 2 full bathrooms.
There are 3 tracts named within this subdivision. They don’t have exciting labels but instead are called tracts 1481, 1903, and 1997. There are 30-35 lots in each one and 106 in all.
There’s variation in age, but not much. Of the 106 homes which are identified as part of Westchester Manor – and there are a few on Coronet that aren’t – perhaps 75% were built between 1957 and 1959 and some in tract 1997 (including and near Grey Court) were built as late as 1965 (I found one house built in 1956 also). Most of them have been at least somewhat updated and others fully remodeled.
Home sizes range with the smallest homes at 1283SF, 1293 SF, 1308SF, and 1327 SF. The biggest houses are 3656SF, 3607Sf, 3171SF, and 3072SF. The median sized square footage (half are more, half less) is 1750 SF. Continue reading