Neighborhoods in Cambrian

View from a high rise in downtown San Jose, looking east - Autumn 2011San 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:

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

Average days on market of listed homes (houses) by pricing tier:

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

Inventory levels for the last 3 years for houses for sale in San Jose:

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

 

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

Close to the Los Gatos border but in San Jose with the 95124 zip code, the Lone Hill Highlands neighborhood enjoys a central neighborhood park, great access to major commute routes, the highly regarded Noddin Elementary School adjacent to one border, plus shopping and dining venues nearby.

Where is the Lone Hill Highlands neighborhood?

Map of the Lone Hill Highlands neighborhood in San Jose, CA (Cambrian Park district with zip code 95124)The Lone Hill Highlands neighborhood in Cambrian Park stretches from Blossom Hill Road to the West Valley Freeway, also known locally as Highway 85, with Camden Avenue to the east and Harwood Road to the west.

From this corner of Cambrian Park, it’s easy to access Highway 85 at Camden Avenue.  Camden becomes San Tomas Expressway at Highway 880, so many commuters may stay off of freeways entirely.  Blossom Hill Road is parallel to 85 and provides a good route to downtown Los Gatos to the west, or many shopping areas in Blossom Valley such as Oakridge Mall.

Just the other side of Harwood Road is the Glenpark subdivision and the Harwood Estates subdivision. These are still generally in the Lone Hill area, but not Lone Hill Highlands. Kitty corner across Blossom Hill and Harwood is the Walgreen’s Shopping Center with a nice new Starbucks, Los Gatos Pizza, and much more. Just behind that is the Belwood of Los Gatos neighborhood.

Public schools assigned are the very highly regarded Lone Hill Elementary, Union Middle, and Leigh High.

What are homes like in the Lone Hills area of San Jose?

Most of this Cambrian neighborhood consists of single family homes. There are 850 houses (single family homes, detached) and 108 attached single family homes in the Lone Hill Highlands HOA area (not detached houses, and actually held in condo ownership – see darker purple area in the map). Additionally, there are some multifamily homes and apartments.

Drysdale tract original criss cross windowsThe houses are mostly in either the Lone Hill Highlands subdivision (with 449 houses) or the Harwood Manor subdivision (401 houses). This area was initially all or at least primarily fillwed with single story, ranch style houses.

Local Realtors may think of much of this area by Camden, Blossom Hill and Harwood as the Drysdale tract with some whimsical features, such as telltale criss-cross windows, sometimes with shutters that seem to feature a telephone handset, and roofline and window frame ornamentation.  They also tend to have courtyard entries, often with half gates, making for more privacy at the front door.  Most of the houses have dual pane windows and have long since gotten rid of the criss-cross windows, but there are still a few to be found here and also in other parts of Cambrian.

The tract houses were built beginning in 1957, heavy construction in the area in the early 1960s and going to about 1973.  One older house is said to date to 1900 and a few properties were built later than 1980.  Most houses have been at least somewhat updated with newer roofs, windows, and interior remodeling. A few have been very extensively remodeled or rebuilt (and look amazing).

Lot sizes for these houses average 7200 to 7800 SF, but there’s a very wide range.  In much of San Jose, a suburban parcel might be just 6,000 SF, so this feels wonderfully uncrowded.  Some streets are tree lined, others have young trees.  A few roads have too many cars, but most do not.

Look at a sample of houses from this part of Cambrian:

Lone Hill Highlands neighborhood house

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The house below has newer windows, but notice the boards just below the roof and how they are scalloped. Charming!

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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”.


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Close to the Los Gatos border sits one of the more affordable Cambrian neighborhoods in San Jose and the west valley generally. It enjoys lovely views of the hills, great public schools with high API scores, a neighborhood private school to boot, and convenient access to freeways and stores. There’s no sign, marker or gateway to the area, so many of its residents are probably unaware that the official name to it is Cambrian Gardens.

This neighborhood provides an incredible “bang for the buck” for home buyers wanting excellent schools and not wanting to pay luxury home pricing. In many ways, it’s a “sleeper” – meaning that many people don’t know it’s there, but it’s a good deal!

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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.

Oster Elemenary in Cambrian attendance map

The Oster neighborhood is a nicely maintained pocket within Silicon Valley’s “west valley” (which follows Highway 85).

Oster Elementary School area street

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.

Oster Area Ranch Style Home

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.

Oster neighborhood house

How is the Oster part of Cambrian?

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Convenient to Good Samaritan Hospital, Carlton Elementary School and freeway access to highways 17 and 85, the beautiful “King Street” neighborhood in San Jose’s Cambrian Park district seems to be close to everything. But a drive through the tree-lined streets with tidy homes seems like a relaxing step into the welcoming neighborhoods of yesteryear rather than the hustle and bustle of today’s Silicon Valley.

Typical "King Street" House

As with the nearby Alta Vista neighborhood, homes here show a pride of ownership not found everywhere. Holidays include beautiful displays of lights that invite neighbors out to tour after dark. Many home owners wrap the trunk of the trees between the sidewalk and street with blankets of white lights, making for a stunning look down the road.

The “King Streets” enjoy an uncommon appeal that makes homes here perennially desirable to home buyers. The popularity of the area is due partly to the convenience factor (easy to get to a great elementary school with high API scores, easy to get to the freeways, Los Gatos and Good Sam) and the beauty or neighborhood charm factor. It is a winning combination for this west valley community! Many who wish to live in Los Gatos choose this part of San Jose because it’s on the border, so it is not uncommon for the King Streets to be a first home and the move up one is in Los Gatos.


View “The King Streets” in a larger map
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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.
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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.

Westchester Manor Street View Home in Westchester Manor subdivision in the Cambrian Park area of San Jose Westchester Manor corner house Westchester Manor 2 story homes The close proximity of the hills is an appreciated view One of the many single story houses in this Alta Vista neighborhood Most houses have mature trees in front An updated two story house The entire subdivision features inviting sidewalks

 

Where is Westchester Manor?

Westchester Manor subdivision in the Alta Vista neighborhood of CambrianThe 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

Villa Cambrian - Parker house In the Houge Park area of Cambrian, you’ll see an area identified as Parker on many online maps. The actual name of the subdivision there is Villa Cambrian, though – funny how disconnected they are from each other!

There are 153 houses in Villa Cambrian, which were built between 1960 and 1965. They range in size from 1222 SF to 2800 SF, and most homes  are around 1222 -1457 square feet. The lots or parcels run from the smallest size of 5509 SF to more than 10,000 SF; most are less than 7000 SF, though.

Something unique and much appreciated by privacy lovers: all but 1 are single story houses.

Cambrian home buyers are drawn to this Parker neighborhood for many reasons, among them these:

  • very tidy neighborhood, most homes are well-kept
  • fantastic Union schools (Carlton, Union, and Leigh)
  • the close proximity of Houge Park
  • the ease of getting onto either Highway 85 or Highway 17
  • the convenience of nearby shopping, too (at Camden and Union, especially)
  • especially accessible to Harker’s preschool and to Xilinx

Perhaps most of all, this little pocket seems to be more affordable than many areas with the same schools. It appears to be a good opportunity for the money.   Continue reading

Cambrian subdivisions Scottsdale 2 and Coronado

On the northeast side of the Cambrian district in San Jose, just west of the Robertville area, there’s a nice pocket which has the 95118 zip code but the Union School District (most of 95118 has San Jose Unified schools). In fact, it’s right next to the school district boundary, so homes just a little east of here will be in San Jose Unfied, with lower performing schools and lower prices. This is a very goodvalue area” for how much home you can buy with really nicely performing public schools!

Within this area there are a few really outstanding subdivisions.  Two of them are adjacent to each other and share many of the same amenities, such as walkability to the nearby Lunardi’s grocery store and other shops, so it’s helpful to view them together:  Scottsdale 2, which is in three sections on different sides of Meridian and Branham, and Coronado, which fits like a puzzle piece around one end of the Scottsdale 2 tract.

Scottsdale 2

Many, but not all, of the Scottsdale 2 houses have streets that begin with “Calle de”. With good sized rooms and comfortable floor plans, the Scottsdale 2 homes feel younger than they are. Built between 1973 and 1976, the 383 houses there average a comfortable 1807 square feet (range is 1426 to about 2500 with one other which is more than 3000 SF) with mixed single and double story floor plans.  The average lot size is around 6600 SF, but some are as small as 5500 SF and others larger than 10,000 SF.

Major plusses are the more open floorplans than are typically seen in Cambrian, good sized home and room, walkability, good public schools and something infrequently found in Cambrian: underground power lines.  It is so nice to not see wires everywhere!

Streets included:

Calle De Aida
Calle De Arroyo
Calle De Farrar
Calle De Gilda
Calle De Lucia
Calle De Stuarda
Calle De Tosca
Casa De Ponselle
Corte De Boleyn
Corte De Callas
Corte De Medea
Corte De Moffo
Corte De Pons
Corte De Tebaldi
Corte De Thais
Ilikai Ave
Tampico Way
Via De Caballe

What do homes cost in the Scottsdale 2 neighborhood?

Prices range tremendously, even for the same floorplan, based on exact location, lot size, remodeling, permits (or lack of them), and of course marketing. Photos are a home’s first “open house” and good photographs with good staging can make an enormous difference in the level of qualified buyer traffic and the ultimate sale price of the home. Smaller homes with small lots and needing remodeling will sell for less than a million dollars (often in the $800s and $900s), but those which are bigger, highly remodeled (with permits and finals) and professionally marketed with professional photography will command a premium and sell for over $1.2 million.

Scottsdale 2 subdivision

Here’s a closer view of one of the one story houses in Scottsdale 2.

Scottsdale 2 house

 

Coronado

The Coronado area is slightly smaller of a subdivision.   It consists of 238 houses which were built in 1967 and 1968. The houses and lots are just a little bigger than the larger Scottsdale 2 subdivision.

The home sizes in the Coronado tract range from 1579 square feet to 2500 SF in most cases (a small handful are bigger) to and the average home is 1981 square feet & average lot size 7021 SF.

 

Streets included:

Durango Court
El Roble Court
La Paz Court
Las Cruces Court
Luning Drive
Portobello Drive
Puebla Court
Rio Verde Drive
Sutcliff Avenue
Tampico Way
Yucatan Way

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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


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