Cambrian Park (SJ)

Cambrian Park

The tide is turning for Silicon Valley real estate: fewer listings are coming onto the market and more homes are being purchased by homebuyers anxious to get into a house before interest rates rise and the $8000 first time homebuyer’s credit expires.

The shift is most visible in areas with the most affordability, but even is more upscale, higher priced areas, it’s still a noticeable change.

Today I’ll share with you a series of graphs, by area, of single family homes in terms of new listings, current inventory, and pending sales (sales under contract).  These were created using our mls system (information deemed reliable but not guaranteed).

Here’s the “key” (since if I put it alongside each image it would not fit without making all of it unreadable):

color key

Description of each graph is ABOVE the image.

Almaden Valley (95120 area of San Jose) this is a more expensive part of Santa Clara County, but the market improvement is very clear. Cool market.

Almaden Valley San Jose pending home sales trends

Blossom Valley (95123 and 95136 zip codes, an area of San Jose) – this is a very affordable part of Silicon Valley and has taken a huge hit on the “price rollback”.  But it’s getting better now – note the rise in sales, low number of new homes coming on the market and overall lessening of inventory. Number of pendings is almost the same as the total inventory. Hot market.

Blossom Valley area of San Jose real estate pending trends

Cambrian Park (95124 & 95118 area of San Jose) – trends among listings, inventory, and sales for single family homes. The trend of less inventory and more sales is quite evident. Warm market overall – very hot under $500,000, cool in higher price ranges. (But hot only if prices are deeply reduced.)

Cambrian Park pending sale and inventory trends

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If you are a first time homebuyer looking to purchase a house in the Cambrian Park area of San Jose, I encourage you to consider moving on this plan sooner rather than laterHome prices have stopped sinking and appear to be moving within a range of about 10%, which can easily be attributed to precise location, condition, or situation of the home sale. Meanwhile, interest rates are inching up, making homes less affordable than they were a few weeks ago.

Some of the bank owned homes in this part of San Jose are priced at fire sale prices.  Because of the affordability, they are getting a lot of attention from buyers, and I’m hearing more stories of multiple offers with the prices getting bid up from the list price.  This is not just happening in Cambrian, but all over San Jose where the prices are amazingly affordable for first-time homebuyers.  The availability of FHA backed financing and the $8,000 tax credit are incentivizing people to buy San Jose real estate priced at under $729,000. Investors are also getting in on the cleanup of low-priced homes and “all cash offers” are not unheard of.

Here are the basic real esate sales statistics (and trends) in Cambrian Park:

Trends At a Glance May-09 Apr-09 Mar-09 Feb-09
Median Price $548,750 $520,000 (+5.5%) $550,000 (-5.5%) $515,000 (+6.8%)
Average Price $576,935 $532,280 (+8.4%) $543,358 (-2.0%) $567,983 (-4.3%)
No. of Sales 54 41 (+31.7%) 33 (+24.2%) 30 (+10.0%)
Pending Properties 85 67 (+26.9%) 69 (-2.9%) 52 (+32.7%)
Active 98 125 (-21.6%) 141 (-11.3%) 168 (-16.1%)
Sale vs. List Price 98.40% 95.9% (+2.6%) 97.8% (-2.0%) 98.2% (-0.4%)
Days on Market 42 74 (-42.8%) 50 (+49.3%) 77 (-35.3%)

The lowest median price in recent months was in February, which of course reflects sales that happened in January.  This may well be a “seasonal fluctuation”. Homes are often cheapest in the dead of winter, and interest rates are often lowest then too, but selection is extremely limited.

For more information on Cambrian Park real estate sales and market trends, please see my online Real Estate Report for Cambrian.  You may view the last five years’ worth of closed data, or see it quarterly or annually. Or plug in your own address or that of a home that interests you in the “property analysis” tab and check out the recent listings, current homes for sale, pendings and solds in the immediate area.

If you are thinking of relocating to Silicon Valley, perhaps you are looking for a great part of Santa Clara County with exceptional schools, community involvement, a fabulous library, beautiful parks, unique shopping and dining.  Saratoga offers all of that and much more.  Today I took a few minutes to photograph the downtown area, which is known as “Saratoga Village” or just “the village” to locals.

This is just a small introduction to one part of town.  I hope you will enjoy it.

We may be in a recession with 11% local unemployment, but affordable homes are getting scooped up with multiple offers and in many areas, inventory is shrinking.

Today we’ll look at five areas of San Jose which offer at least some, if not mostly, entry level housing: Blossom Valley, Cambrian Park, Evergreen, Santa Teresa and South San Jose.

Evergreen does have some high-end housing in Silver Creek and elsewhere, but it also provides some very affordable homes for first time home buyers.  Cambrian Park is mostly middle class but it, too, has some McMansions (original Cambrian Park tract with large lots and very old homes that are not infrequently bulldozed) and some homes with views (Vista Loop area, bordering Los Gatos and Almaden Valley).  Blossom Valley has some beautiful properties and many close to thecenics Santa Teresa Foothills.  Overall, though, these homes represent affordable or mid-range houses for sale in Silicon Valley.  When we look at them as a group, it gives a strong sense of what the market is doing generally.

The months of inventory reflect how long it would take the current inventory to be absorbed (or sold off) if no new inventory came on the market and sales continued at the current pace.  Six months is a balanced market.  Fewer represents a seller’s market and more reflects a buyer’s market.  As you can see, April shows a push in all five districts of San Jose into seller’s territory:


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cambrian-park-plaza-signCambrian Park is a highly desirable district of San Jose. With close proximity to Los Gatos, Campbell, Willow Glen and Blossom Valley, there’s lots to do within Cambrian itself or very nearby.  Cambrian also enjoys good schools, low crime,  two new libraries, two Farmer’s Markets, and a fabulous rec center, the Camden Community Center.

Where is Cambrian Park and how big is it? The 2000 census reported Cambrian Park as having less than 4000 people.  In contemporary useage, though, Cambrian consists of much more than the area known as “Cambrian Village” (which has this small population), and now includes about 75,000 residents in all.  The area includes most of the 95124 zip code plus the 95118 zip code (and a little sliver of 95008).  (To see a very approximate map of Cambrian Park boundaries, click on this link.) The local Realtor association had something to do with this shift in perception as it mapped out boundaries for Cambrian Park, roughly known in the industry as “area 14” that expanded the original area. Historically, though, Cambrian was really a very vast area including much of Campbell and many areas now falling under different district names.  The area is alternately known as Cambrian, Cambrian Park, and Cambrian Village – the latter referring to the area near Union & Camden Avenues.
Related post on Cambrian’s history, areas and map: please also see
Cambrian Park: Good Schools, Low Crime, Close to Los Gatos and Campbell

How do you decide where in Cambrian to live?   Many aspects of home buying will likely come into play, from schools desired and budget available to the ambiance and practical things you desire such as RV parking, an extra large garage, family room, guest suite, ommute issues (proximity to freeways),  etc.

I. School Districts of Cambrian Park

Your decision might be influenced by the school district you want; Cambrian Park has three elementary school districts. All are good – Cambrian Park truly has no bad schools – but some are exceptionally high. Some districts may have more offerings for special needs kids or gifted kids – if you have children and are looking at placing them in the local public schools, do your research before you househunt!

  1. The north side of Cambrian Park (going into Campbell and Willow Glen) has schools belonging to the Cambrian School District (see map).
  2. The east side of Cambrian Park (going toward Blossom Valley) is part of the territory of the San Jose Unified School District.  Schools for all of San Jose are beautifully mapped out by the district – you have to zoom in to see the boundaries around Cambrian but it includes all three local districts so is worth the extra steps!
  3. The southwest side of Cambrian (and east Los Gatos) is within the boundaries of the Union School District, which also has a helpful map of the borders. The map is a pdf you’ll download and it is very detailed.
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How is the residential real estate market doing in the Cambrian Park area of San Jose, CA?  We’ll have a look at the 95124 zip code area and the 95118 zip code area of San Jose, which together comprise at least 95% of the Cambrian Park real estate area of Silicon Valley. (A small sliver belongs to the predominently Campbell area of 95008.) The following charts, from Altos Research, represent list prices (not sold prices).


Although the condos in 95124 (green line) have not fared too badly in the last year, the vast majority of Cambrian Park real estate seems to be hurting. The median list price on these homes has been slipping fairly steadily over the last year – often at least 10% of value. This is the broad overview. Next we will view things on more of a micro level.

Next, we’ll view Cambrian in smaller segments, broken down by both zip code and quartile. First, let’s take a look at the 95124 zip code, starting with the single family home real estate market:
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There’s a lot for those of us in Silicon Valley to be feeling stressed out about lately. Between the stock market’s wild ride and sinking home values in Santa Clara County (and around the country), it’s a little nerve-wracking. These times are especially upsetting if you’re a senior and plan to retire soon. For years, people looked at their homes with the fond sense of “this is my retirement fund” – or at least a good part of it. Some of that value is now gone.

It’s also stressful for those of us who’ve put money into retirement funds or college savings plans and need it soon. Here in California, the 529 College Savings Plan is an “index fund”. That means it’s a combination of stocks, mutual funds, and bonds. In my house, we have one kid who’s a freshman in college and one who’s a senior in high school, and we’re seeing the 529 Plan shrink right when we need it.

The stock market, the financial crisis and the housing market are bigger than all of us. We are on the verge of a recession, if not already in one now. There’s a lot that’s beyond our control. But what CAN we do to maximize the current situation?

I cannot say what to do about the stock market, though my hunch is that when people advise “buy low”, they are talking about today. I can say something about the housing market in the San Jose area, though, because I’ve got experience with it, both professionally and personally. There are opportunities in this market for those who are able to act on them.

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Ths San Jose real estate market conditions vary wildly from one part of this sprawling city to the next. The high-end neighborhoods of Silver Creek, Almaden Valley, as well as parts of the Rosegarden and some hilly locations with views are all very different real estate markets then downtown San Jose, the Santa Teresa area, Burbank, or east San Jose. Even within each district, there are many smaller markets. Today we’ll have a look at the Cambrian Park real estate market.

How’s the real estate market in Cambrian Park?

There are some plusses for Cambrian Park, being up against some well-to-do areas (Los Gatos and Almaden Valley). The area is a middle-class to upper-middle class area and homes are generally well kept and schools range from good to great. All of these help keep values fairly strong in Cambrian.

Even so, prices are down and sales are down, just like the rest of Silicon Valley. However, it’s not as bad here as in many parts of Santa Clara County.

Houses in Cambrian Park have mostly enjoyed a good absorption rate of under 6 months for most of this year. It’s been a little rougher on the Cambrian condo market though. As with the rest of Silicon Valley condos, they just are not selling as well as houses, most likely because single family homes have come down so much in price that they are more affordable.

Overall, it is currently very close to a “balanced market” in Cambrian Park. That means it’s a reasonable time for both buyers and sellers right now.

Next let’s have a look at the data, statistics and trends for the housing market in Cambrian Park. How are realty values holding up?
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Earlier today I updated my series on Silicon Valley short sales at my Live in Los Gatos blog, where I’ve been tracking the number of active listings in select parts of Santa Clara County which are offered for sale as short sales. Below please find the areas and dates I’ve charted:

3/26/2008 5/18/2008 7/19/2008 9/18/2008
Los Gatos 5 8 7 9
Monte Sereno 1 0 0 1
Saratoga 0 1 4 3
Los Gatos Mtns 3 2 3 0
Cambrian Park 59 63 68 49
Santa Clara 56 63 69 75
Campbell 13 19 23 20
Cupertino 1 1 0 1
Los Altos 0 2 1 0
Sunnyvale 50 58 51 48
Blossom Valley 196 217 190 177
San Jose (all) 1534 1777 1708 1578

To read the entire post, please continue on to Silicon Valley Short Sale Snapshot.

Do you want or need to sell your Silicon Valley home this year? If so, you ought to take the staging of your home very seriously. Often homeowners hire a Realtor (or other real estate licensee), ask for their advice on preparing the house and yard for sale, and then proceed to disregard all or most of the guidance given.

Why do would sellers hire an agent and then not take the professional advice offered? Especially in THIS market? The result is frustrating for both the homeowner (who will not realize the best possible price) and for the agent (who cannot control the condition, but who is hampered in selling the home because of it).

To be candid, the odds are that you will not be able to sell your home in San Jose, Los Gatos, or Saratoga this year. Countywide, most homes are NOT selling. Actually, let’s look at the numbers for just a moment – you will see that it’s fairly sobering.

In the Cambrian Park area of San Jose (zip codes 95124, 95118 and a little of 95008), there are 241 single family homes and condos or townhomes for sale (the “active listings”). In that same district, just 109 are pending sales. This refects about a 45% chance of selling.

In Almaden Valley, an upscale collection of neighborhoods comprising the 95120 zip code area of San Jose, it’s much worse. There are 121 houses and townhouses or condominiums for sale, and a mere 34 which are under contract to sell. The odds here are 28% that you’ll sell.

For Los Gatos (95032 and 95030), it’s 203 available vs 50 pending. Down to 24% opportunity to sell.

Saratoga (95070) has 152 active listings and just 33 pendings, or a 21.7% sales success.
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Mary Pope-Handy
Sereno Group Real Estate
214 Los Gatos-Saratoga Rd
Los Gatos, CA 95030
408 204-7673
Mary (at)
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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2009: Sellsius list of top
12 women real estate bloggers

Mary Pope-Handy's Live in Los Gatos blog won the 2007 Project Blogger contest, sponsored by Inman News and Active Rain

2007: Mary Pope-Handy and Frances Flynn Thorsen win the Project Blogger Contest for Mary's Live in Los Gatos blog. The contest was sponsored by
Active Rain and Inman News.

Non blog award

Best real estate agent in Silicon Valley from the San Jose Mercury News poll of readers in 2011
"Best real estate agent
in Silicon Valley"

2011 readers' poll,
San Jose Mercury News

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