Cambrian Park (SJ)

Cambrian Park

Right now we are in one of those periods of steep, rapid appreciation of real estate values in Silicon Valley.  It is nearly impossible for first time home buyers to save as fast as home prices rise, so what ends up happening is that affordability falls.  I have seen this throughout my career whenever we have a steep seller’s market, multiple offers and bidding wars.  In fact, Jim and I were in that same kind of market in the late 1980s when we were trying to purchase our first house.

Recently I heard about some nice folks who’ve been renting for 15 years while they saved their 20% down payment.  In 15 years, home values have about doubled throughout Los Gatos, San Jose, and Silicon Valley.

Although it would have been hard to buy a home here with a 5% down payment in 2000 (it was an ultra hot market then, like today), there were periods when it would have been possible.   We had a couple of corrections in the market when it shifted to a buyer’s market, and at those times, sellers were not so fussy about large downs.

How fast can you save?  How much does waiting to buy a home cost?

For most people, saving a few thousand a month is a great goal.  Unless you have stock options which will be available soon, though, most people cannot save fast enough to compensate for San Jose area home appreciation.

Today I logged on to MLS Listings and did some research.  For this study, I pulled sales of single family homes in Cambrian with 1300 – 1700 square feet on lots of 6000 – 7000 square feet (so pretty typical Cambrian area homes).  The time included is from Jan 1st to June 9th for 2015, 2014, and 2013.   Please see the data and what it cost someone to wait:

The Cost of Waiting to Buy

The average price shot up $129031 between the same period of 2013 to 2014.   It was a little better between 2014 and 2015, but was still $96,032 more than the same period a year earlier.  Combined it’s a staggering $225,063, or around 30%, which is more than a typical down payment.  In other words, waiting 2 years basically caused your down payment to evaporate!  Not only that, but property taxes and all the closing costs would have jumped 30% as well.

It comes back to how fast you can save and if it’s worth it.  To keep up with the pace of the last 2 years, you’d need to be socking away about $100,000 per year.  And that’s to get into a very decent home – but not a luxury property in an exclusive area. Continue reading

Hacienda Gardens smaller modelThe Hacienda Gardens subdivision in San Jose straddles the Willow Glen and Cambrian districts, and it enjoys the highly regarded Cambrian schools. Homes and lots tend to be a little on the small side, so prices are relatively affordable as Willow Glen or Cambrian neighborhoods go, especially for such a strong school district. As San Jose real estate goes, this is a good value area due to great schools, more modest prices and lots of great amenities in the immediate area.

What are homes like in the Hacienda Gardens neighborhood?

There are around 550 houses in this San Jose subdivision. They were built originally in 1953 and 1954, though some may be newer or rebuilt since then.  Ranch style homes, they were constructed with 3-4 bedrooms and 1 or 2 bathrooms and came with an attached one or two car garage.  The builder used slab foundations and wall heaters, but many home owners have since added forced air heat (and central air conditioning).

Square footage of these houses runs from 1060 SF to 1400 SF in 82% of the homes (I crunched the numbers using county real estate records via the Realist Report), but 78 are larger than this (18%) and one is a hair over 3,000 SF.

Most of the neighborhood has parcels of around 5500 square feet, as a ballpark. I ran the data on this too and found 486 of the 550 or so homes had lot sizes of 6000 SF or less (88% of the homes). But just like with the house sizes, there are a few that are bigger – 64 or 12% are larger than this, and the largest parcels are 1/4 acre or more.

There’s some new construction close to the shopping center too – it was built in very recent years. When I get more info on those homes, I will update this article.

Where is the Hacienda Gardens area?

Hacienda Gardens appx boundariesThis corner of San Jose is entirely in the 95124 zip code, but about one third is north of Foxworthy (and just south of beautiful Doerr Park), which our MLS refers to as the Willow Glen area, and the other two thirds is between Foxworthy and Hillsdale, just west of Meridian Avenue, in the Cambrian area.

Adjacent to this neighborhood is the Hacienda Gardens Shopping Center, which runs between Hillsdale, Meridian, and Foxworthy Avenues. In recent years that shopping center changed hands and has been given a gorgeous facelift, making it a place neighbors will appreciate having in close proximity. It is home to a good-sized Rite Aid store, the long-term tenant Hometown Buffett, and a number of other restaurants offering pizza, Chinese food, and BBQ as well as other shops, institutions, and stores, such as Wells Fargo. Continue reading

Plat map sampleA plat map comes with your preliminary title report (provided by your title company when you purchase or sell a home in California), tucked away at the back and somewhat mysterious with lots of numbers in small print. It holds quite a bit of helpful information if you know what it is you’re seeing. Today we’ll view a sample of one of these – breaking down the plat map shown as a small thumbnail image on the right to more readable parts so that you can learn how to “read” or understand a plat map. By the way, this example we’re using is for a lovely San Jose neighborhood in the Cambrian Park district which borders Los Gatos and is near Carlton Avenue, Los Gatos-Almaden Road and Union Avenue.

First have a quick look at the thumbnail image on the right.  You can tell it’s some sort of map with official looking writing in the lower corners.  Perhaps most salient even in the smallest image, one important feature of the plat map is that it provides the orientation of the properties (north/south/east/west).  That info is now readily findable online, but this used to be the easiest way (and most accurate) to answer the question “which way does the home face?” Look at the map, find the parcel and you’ll know its orientation.

Plat Map with part of Esther Drive in San Jose

The plat map also provides the Tract Number (and often the name given by the builder for the subdivision – in this case, Carlton Terrace). Along the right side, you can see the source of this information: the office of the county assessor for Santa Clara County.
Continue reading

Appreciation by west valley zip code for July median sale priceHome values in Silicon Valley have been rising over the last few years, and in some segments the appreciation has been incredibly steep.  This happens when a big influx of home buyers want to purchase but the supply of real estate inventory is too limited for the demand.  This is happening in the most popular areas especially: those with either short commutes, great schools, a vibrant downtown, or some combination of these three.

Today I wanted to look at the median sale price of houses which closed escrow in July 2014 and the preceding few years for the same month only in a handful of zip codes in San Jose and Los Gatos along the west valley areas.  Considered for this study are 95070 – Saratoga, 95030 7 95032 – Los Gatos & Monte Sereno, 95008 – Campbell, 95124 – Cambrian area of San Jose, and 95120 – Almaden Valley area of San Jose.  The only month plotted is July for each year.

When charted, it appears that most of these west valley areas are appreciating somewhat steadily, though 95032 came down in the month of July 2014 as opposed to 2013 (one month does not make a trend, and please remember that ONLY July for each year was considered here).  At the other end of the spectrum is Campbell, 95008, which has been immensely popular in recent years.

Next let’s take a look at the numbers themselves for July in the years 2010 – 2014.

Median sale price for west valley zip codes

Continue reading

Alta Vista and Carlton attendance areas for Los Gatos and Cambrian area of San JoseIf you’re interested in buying a home in the Union School District, which straddles the Los Gatos and Cambrian area of San Jose border, you may be wondering what the real estate price difference is between homes in San Jose 95124 vs properties in Los Gatos 95032…

 

Please read the rest of this article on the Live in Los Gatos blog:

http://liveinlosgatosblog.com/union-school-district-pricing-how-much-more-to-live-in-los-gatos-than-san-jose/

  1. 3 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 1,200 sq ft
    Lot size: 7,187 sqft
  2. 3 beds, 2 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 1,438 sq ft
    Lot size: 4,660 sqft
  3. 3 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 1,066 sq ft
    Lot size: 7,448 sqft
  4. 3 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 1,480 sq ft
    Lot size: 8,015 sqft
  5. 3 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 1,159 sq ft
    Lot size: 3,833 sqft
  6. 3 beds, 1 full bath
    Home size: 1,108 sq ft
    Lot size: 10,236 sqft
  7. 4 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 1,396 sq ft
    Lot size: 7,187 sqft
  8. 4 beds, 2 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 1,970 sq ft
    Lot size: 3,005 sqft
  9. 4 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 1,928 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,316 sqft
  10. 4 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 2,452 sq ft
    Lot size: 10,236 sqft

See all Real estate in the 95124 zip code.
(all data current as of 5/29/2017)

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

Near Leigh HighWhat does it cost to be within a mile of Leigh High School in San Jose’s Cambrian area?  Today I ran the numbers of sold houses over the last 60 days overall and also by price range of $200,000 increments.  Here’s how it looks – averages for regular sales (non distressed, no short sales or REOs) in San Jose 95124 within a 1 mile radius of Leigh HS.

For all Cambrian houses (prices ranged from $770,000 to $1,350,000):

  • The average sale price of the 26 regular sale houses sold in the last 60 days was $888,236; the average square footage was 1676, average lot size 7044 SF, average age 54 and average days on market 12.  If you are hoping to buy a Cambrian home close to Leigh High School, the odds are that it will cost you at least $800,000 and very likely much more.

If we pull it apart by price point, it’s a little surprising to find that the amount of house bought at the lowest prices was not that much different from those in the mid-range.  The difference is probably a combination of exact location (being next to Hwy 85, the high voltage lines or on a busier street will pull prices down while having a fully remodeled property will bring it up).  Here are the stats:

  • $799,999 and under: 4 sales, average SF 1423, average lot size 6304, average age 53 years, days on market 8
  • $800,000 to $999,999: 16 sales, average SF 1458, average lot size 6764, average age 52 years, days on market 13.    These are your most typical homes in the area in terms of pricing.
  • $1,000,000 to $1,199,999: 2 sales, average SF 2881, average lot size 8045, average age 59 years, days on market 8

What if we look at the same exact area, within one mile of Leigh High School, but at properties within the town of Los Gatos? Continue reading

Alta Vista School SignOne of my client families is coming up on their one year anniversary of home ownership locally, and I received this lovely note from them (unsolicited) a few days ago:

“About a year ago, we were in contract for our new home (in the Carlton – Alta Vista area of the Cambrian or San Jose & Los Gatos border). We love our new home and the neighborhood so much! There are lots of kids in the neighborhood, we love our walks to and from Alta Vista Elementary School, and love the community here. We often host spontaneous play dates at our house. There are kids of all ages who come and play with my kids and have them over to their houses. We and our next-door neighbors have already celebrated Christmas, Easter and birthdays together, and we have a little “walk-pool” to school each day. 

“If you ever have buyers with children looking in this neighborhood, please share with them what a wonderful, kid-friendly place it is! Thank you so much for your help in purchasing our home here. The home value has gone up since we bought, and we plan to stay here for a very long time!”

A lot of times, newcomers to the San Jose and Silicon Valley area ask where to live.  Nothing says it like an unsolicited testimonial, so I thought that my readers might enjoy this wonderful neighborhood endorsement.    I have sold many homes near Carlton and Alta Vista Elementary schools over the years, and they have been consistent “winners” since I got into the business in 1993.  Some things seem to never change, and that’s good!

  1. 3 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 1,510 sq ft
    Lot size: 8,363 sqft
  2. 3 beds, 2 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 2,357 sq ft
    Lot size: 4.99 ac
  3. 5 beds, 4 full baths
    Home size: 4,100 sq ft
    Lot size: 7,492 sqft
  4. 5 beds, 4 full baths
    Home size: 3,142 sq ft
    Lot size: 7,405 sqft
  5. 3 beds, 3 full baths
    Home size: 3,208 sq ft
    Lot size: 29,620 sqft
  6. 2 beds, 1 full bath
    Home size: 574 sq ft
    Lot size: 2.89 ac
  7. 4 beds, 3 full baths
    Home size: 3,270 sq ft
    Lot size: 6.13 ac
  8. 2 beds, 1 full bath
    Home size: 1,086 sq ft
    Lot size: 8,799 sqft
  9. 2 beds, 1 full bath
    Home size: 954 sq ft
    Lot size: 10,541 sqft
  10. 2 beds, 2 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 1,251 sq ft
    Lot size: 2,787 sqft

See all Real estate in the city of Los Gatos.
(all data current as of 5/29/2017)

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

Same House Different ValuationsOne big challenge we have in today’s Silicon Valley real estate market that we didn’t have 20 years ago is the proliferation of misinformation on real estate or home values due to the prevalence and popularity of online home valuation websites.  Everyone wants an easy answer, but often the easy answers aren’t all that accurate.

Sometimes my clients present me with “THE VALUE” of property per one of these online sites and in some cases, they challenge me to disprove it (Zillow says it, so it must be right, goes the thinking).  If they want to buy a house which is listed for more than the auto-comped value, it may cause some emotional anguish.  And if they want to buy one which is listed for less, they may feel a little giddy – unless multiple offers are looming.  Same with home sellers.  They agonize when Zillow, Trulia or some other big name site places a worth on their property which is less than what they feel it should be.  (It is not uncommon for most home owners – including real estate agents, by the way – to feel that their home is really going to sell for 5-10% more than is likely. But this is an additional problem.)

Over the last couple of days, I used various web sites (Eppraisal, Trulia, Zillow, Chase, FindTheBest, SmartZip, DataQuick, HomePriceReview), some of which you may have heard of and perhaps others you haven’t, to spot check the value of a particular house in San Jose’s Cambrian area (95124, Cambrian Gardens in the Little Branham area).  Most of these provide the number or range without an account or email address.  A couple of them came from other sources (SmartZip and Dataquick) listed, so is second hand info in those cases. Also, some of these which do require your contact info will provide what you give to a real estate agent who will then want to follow up with you (HomePriceReview, for one).

What might surprise a lot of people is the huge discrepancy in values given.

In our sample of the San Jose house above, the estimated value ranges from $624,239 all the way to $888,000.  That’s a whopping $263,761 difference, which is more than a typical down payment, well more than 30%!   Zillow’s stated goal is right in line with this spread, though.  Zillow says it targets being within 20% of the correct value 80% of the time.

How can they disagree so much?

Continue reading

What does it cost to buy a home with really good schools in Silicon Valley? Los Gatos, Saratoga, Cupertino and Palo Alto are all areas with highly regarding public schools.  These aren’t the only areas with good schools but they are popular “west valley” areas that people may consider if working for Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook or any number of high tech employers.

Los Gatos and Saratoga both have multiple school districts, running from good to very good or excellent.  The cost of housing tends to follow the popularity of the district, so for those areas I’m showing the breakdown not just for the whole town of Los Gatos but also by the high school district (Los Gatos-Saratoga or Campbell Union High School District).  Same with Saratoga.  (The Monte Sereno real estate market is very similar to Los Gatos, but slightly more expensive. Most of Monte Sereno has Los Gatos schools, but a small number of homes are in the Campbell area.)

Here are the average numbers for single family homes sold in the last 60 days ranging from 1500 – 2500 square feet, on a lot between 5000 and 10,000 SF, with 3-5 bedrooms and 2-3 bathrooms to give a sense of what it would cost to purchase a typical house in these areas.  Please note that right now it’s a strong seller’s market, so many (if not most or all) homes are selling for more than the list price.  DOM stands for days on the market.

Market info April 19 2014

If you are new to Santa Clara County, you may be wondering if this is correct.  The cost to buy a home in these areas is what?

  • Los Gatos: approximately $1,200,000 to $1,675,000 depending on the school district
  • Saratoga: approximately$1,500,000 to about $2,000,000 depending on the schools
  • Cupertino: approx $1,700,000 (some high schools will bring in higher prices and others lower)
  • Palo Alto: approx $2,700,000

Remember, these prices do not mean that the houses being sold are perfect.  Because it is a strong seller’s market, many properties are being sold which need new roofing, extensive pest work, remodeling, perhaps updating of electrical or plumbing systems or more.  Many home buyers will need to spend 1-2% on things like termite fumigation, dry rot or roof repairs, carpets, paint, windows and more, and usually this will be done before they move in.  So whatever the budget is, buffer it a little bit for both money and time to make it turnkey.

For people relocating to Silicon Valley from out of the San Jose or Peninsula area, this real estate market can be daunting.   There are other areas with good schools which are a bit further from most employment areas which can be an alternative, too.  They include the Cambrian 95124 and Almaden 95120 (especially the southern area with Bret Harte Middle School and Leland High School) areas within San Jose.

Finally, in some cases, it may be more affordable to make use of private schools, which are plentiful in the San Francisco Bay area.  In some situations it can be financially more affordable to buy outside of the highly competitive areas with the best schools and utilize the private school system.  Some of the private schools are religious, some secular, and some with a language focus (bilingual in French, German, Chinese, etc.).

Interested in purchasing a home in one of these fantastic communities?  Please call or email me!  408 204-7673  or mary (at) popehandy.com

  1. 2 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 2,119 sq ft
    Lot size: 3,659 sqft
  2. 4 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 1,753 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,708 sqft
  3. 2 beds, 2 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 1,216 sq ft
    Lot size: 1,611 sqft
  4. 3 beds, 1 full bath
    Home size: 1,048 sq ft
    Lot size: 5,700 sqft
  5. 3 beds, 1 full bath
    Home size: 1,046 sq ft
    Lot size: 14,636 sqft
  6. 4 beds, 3 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 3,553 sq ft
    Lot size: 38,419 sqft
  7. 0 beds, 0 baths
    Home size: 2,427 sq ft
    Lot size: 9,452 sqft
  8. 3 beds, 2 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 1,956 sq ft
    Lot size: 5,009 sqft
  9. 5 beds, 4 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 3,377 sq ft
    Lot size: 17,641 sqft
  10. 4 beds, 3 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 2,723 sq ft
    Lot size: 7,492 sqft

See all Real estate in the city of Cupertino.
(all data current as of 5/29/2017)

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

Yesterday on my way home from a final walk through on a property in Blossom Valley, I stopped by some open houses – following signs, just like a lot of consumers do.  At one of the homes I spoke with a Realtor who’s starting to see a slowing in the real estate market.  That hasn’t been my own experience, so I asked him about his take on things and he mentioned the rising inventory in areas where he’s active in Silicon Valley.

There are many ways to get a pulse on the market, but perhaps one of the easiest ways to check it is to see the sale price to list price ratio and the days on market.  MLSListings, my local multiple listing service (of which I am a member), does some wonderful things with interactive graphs and charts, so I made use of that tool to see how San Jose is faring as a whole and also in some of the zip codes where I sometimes sell homes.  The charts below are for single family homes (not condos, townhomes, duplexes, etc.) and are by zip code for all price ranges.  Remember, stats are easily skewed one way or the other, and we might have seen different results if we teased it out by home size, lot size, school district, price point, presence of an in-ground pool, or any other factors.  This is the “big picture”.  First, then, San Jose as a whole.

San Jose AV DOM and SP to LP ratio all prices

What we see here is that homes are selling faster (shorter and shorter DOM or Days on Market) and a rising sales price to list price ratio.  Both of these indicate a strong seller’s market for the city of San Jose as a whole. Next, we’ll list a sampling of zip codes in San Jose, primarily along the west side (where I tend to be more active in my sales) but not exclusively so.  I’m putting these in numerical order.

Real estate market trends in San Jose 95112 - Downtown San Jose

In San Jose’s 95112 zip code, which is Downtown San Jose, it’s a mixed bag.  The sale price to list price ratio is rising (seller’s market) but the days on market are also rising (softening market).  This area would require more information – it could be that a few homes have been on the market for a very long time and skewing the stats, or homes in certain price points are just not selling.  From this vantage, though, it looks like 95112 is mixed.

Next: 95117, 95118, 95120, 95123, 95125, 95126, 15129, 95136, 95148

Continue reading

Translation

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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


Selling homes in
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San Mateo County, and
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Saratoga, Campbell,
Almaden Valley,
Cambrian Park.
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