Cupertino

Cupertino was incorporated as a city only in 1955, long, long after the community had sprung up and had its own, distinct identity within Santa Clara County.

As a small village, Cupertino began at the intersection of Stevens Creek Road and Saratoga-Sunnyvale Road (now DeAnza Blvd) and was originally known simply as “West Side”. Since that name was so generic and would be confused with other places bearing similar names, the post office opted to give it a more distinguishable name in 1898. Because there was a nearby Cupertino winery and Cupertino Creek that name was applied to the post office and nearby stores.

Historic note: the original full name of this waterway was Arroyo San Giuseppe da Cupertino – named after St. Joseph of Cupertino – by a Spanish padre by the name of Fr. Font who was the cartologist and diarist of De Anza, the explorer.  Cupertino Creek is now known as Stevens Creek, by the way.

Today, the city of Cupertino is very vibrant and offers fabulous restaurants and shops but is best known for high tech (Apple headquarters especially) and above all, its outstanding schools, which often rank at the top of the list. For this reason more than any other, Cupertino houses tend to “hold their value” better than most other areas.

How’s the Cupertino Real Estate Market?

I have written an article, Cupertino Real Estate Market Trends and Statistics, which has dynamic market statistics for Cupertino’s residential realty market (houses & duet homes.) Please have a read!

More links for buying, selling and living in Cupertino California:

Here are some links you might find especially helpful if you move to Cupertino. (Also please visit my relocation website, Move2SiliconValley.com if moving here from out of the area!).

Description of Cupertino, a city renowned for its schools, climate, and proximity to Silicon Valley employment.
Cupertino profile from Marys other site, www.PopeHandy.com
Cupertino City Government Info.
Cupertino New Resident Information

Houses & Homes for Sale in Cupertino

Below please find houses & duet homes listed on our local MLS for sale in Cupertino.
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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).

Santa Clara County listings to sales Jan 2009 to June 2010

 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.

Santa Clara County condo & townhome listings to pending sales March 2008 to June 2010

Santa Clara County condo & townhome listings to pending sales Jan 2009 to June 2010

 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.

Almaden Valley listings to pending sales March 2008 to June 2010

Almaden Valley listings to pending sales Jan 2009 to June 2010

 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.
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The condominium & townhouse market is improving dramatically now.  It is evident both in looking at the stats countywide and in my recent experiences holding open my townhouse listings in Saratoga and Sunnyvale as well as recently participating in the sale of a townhome in Almaden Valley (representing a buyer) – all different areas and price points but all very active.

Here are the numbers for May sales of condos and townhomes for all of Santa Clara  County:

Trends At a Glance May 2010 Previous Month Year-over Year
Median Price $383,500 $345,000 (+11.2%) $310,000 (+23.7%)
Average Price $402,766 $378,978 (+6.3%) $355,881 (+13.2%)
No. of Sales 434 297 (+46.1%) 314 (+38.2%)
Pending Properties 1,009 1,154 (-12.6%) 526 (+91.8%)
Active 927 873 (+6.2%) 1,037 (-10.6%)
Sale vs. List Price 99.9% 100.6% (-0.7%) 97.6% (+2.4%)
Days on Market 47 59 (-20.1%) 75 (-37.2%)

As you can see, the days on market are shrinking and prices (both median and average) are rising.  A few numbers cut back slightly in May: the sale to list price ratio retreated a little to 99.9% and the pending properties went down a little too.  But the number of sales were up.

The “months of inventory” or absorption rate is a great way to know how much of a buyer’s or seller’s market it is in any given place. Six months is considered balanced, less is a seller’s market and more is a buyer’s market.  Here are the months of inventory for selected communities in the “west valley” area of Silicon Valley – they are all “seller’s markets”, but some are strong and some are approaching balanced:

Campbell 1.69
Cupertino 1.86
Cambrian (SJ) 1.86
San Jose 1.93
Sunnyvale 2.05
Santa Clara 2.08
SC County (all) 2.14
Almaden (SJ) 3.00
Palo Alto 3.67
Los Altos 4.00
Los Gatos 5.13
Saratoga 5.25
Willow Glen (SJ) 5.71

Of course, this is still painting with a broad brush.  The absorption rate for any of these areas may not be accurate for the various price points or school districts that might be found there.  For instance, a large luxury townhouse in Los Gatos which is downtown might be a really different type of market than a small, entry level one bordering Campbell or Cambrian Park.

What everyone’s wondering is if this seller’s market for condominiums and townhouses will continue despite the end of the federal home buyer credit.  To utilize that credit, homes had to be in contract by April 30th.  Most of those should be closed now, or nearing that date at best.  So we’ll really know more as we move into summer. My sense, though, is that what’s driving this market is much more the affordable prices of homes and of loans. The credits are a bonus, but many in Silicon Valley make too much money to be able to use them.

For information on your particular part of the Silicon Valley condo or townhome market, please give me a call or email me!

How's The West Valley Real Estate Market?How’s the move-up real estate market in the west valley areas of Silicon Valley?  Today we’ll have a glance at the segment of the realty market (for houses for sale, not condos or townhomes) with list prices between $800,000 and $1,200,000 in Almaden, Cambrian, Los Gatos/Monte Sereno, Saratoga, the LG Mountains, Cupertino and Campbell.  (Monte Sereno has very few properties in this price range so it wasn’t helpful to break it out separately.)We will look at a few of the statistics for the area as a whole, but look at the absorption rate or months of inventory area by area.

Recent sales: In all of these areas combined, there were 146 houses or duet homes which have closed escrow (sold & closed) in the last 30 days.  Only 4% total were short sales (2%) or bank owned property sales (another 2%).  Bargain hunters trying to scoop up one of these be aware: it’s slim pickings!

Of the 146 houses sold, ten of them went “all cash”, all but one of the rest were “conventional” (could mean any range of downpayments but a regular loan) and one was listed as “other” so it could have been owner financing. None, of course, were FHA backed financing – the limits are too high for that.

For all areas combined, the average list price to sales price was 99.68%.   Lots of variation from one area to the next, though, just as with the absorption rate or MOI, which is covered below. Cupertino’s ratio was 102.34%, while  in Campbell it was 95%.

Absorption rate or months of inventory: It varies on the school district, price point, home type and home sale type (distressed vs regular sale).  For example, in Almaden Valley right now, overall it is a strong seller’s market – prices are rising, especially in the lower price points, and the months of inventory is a very brisk 1.8 (6 is said to be “balanced”, more than 6 is a buyer’s market and less than 6 is a seller’s market). Short sales are at 2.6 months of inventory overall.  But look at homes selling between 1.2 mil and 2 million and it’s a different story: in that part of the market it’s 5.8 months of inventory – almost “balanced”.

Here’s how they stack up for months of inventory:

Silicon Valley's "West Valley" Communities' MOI for Move-Up Homes

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How can you get the most “bang for your buck” with Silicon Valley homes when schools are your top priority?

Santa Clara County Realtors know that the performance of local schools is often the leading factor which drives housing values. Different families have different wants and needs, so sometimes it’s not all (or just) about the API scores. (On a related note, consumers please note that real estate agents aren’t API experts and we will not have the exact scores of all schools memoriezed, but we do know how to obtain that information online and elsewhere.)

Because school district boundaries are not identical to city boundary lines, often times there’s confusion about which neighborhoods belong to which school. By understanding this small quirk, you may be able to save many thousands of dollars.

For instance, Cupertino Schools are very highly regarded. But you may not have to be in Cupertino to enjoy the benefits of the district! Part of San Jose (in the 95129 zip code) is part of the Lynbrook High School area. Prices are noticeably lower with the San Jose address.

Likewise with the highly esteemed Los Gatos Schools, the boundaries of the district don’t line up with the town’s boundaries. Hard to imagine, but one little corner of San Jose (in Almaden Valley, off Guadalupe Mines Road) actually belongs to the Los Gatos School district. Homes are less costly in Almaden than in Los Gatos, so this is another great bargain if schools are the most important thing to you.

There are less dramatic examples too, such as homes with a Los Gatos mailing address belonging to Saratoga schools, or Los Altos homes being in the Cupertino school area.

Experienced agents, like those of us at Luxor Real Estate Group, know about some of these “fine points” in Silicon Valley real estate and our knowledge can provide you with a distinct advantage in home buying. Please call us today for help in getting started or continuing your homebuying.

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 thinking of buying a home in Silicon Valley, there are things you want to know upfront so that you make an informed decision. Because the most important factor is “location, location, location”, and because once you buy a home you can’t change it, you’ll need to know some location-specific things, including:

  • where are the earthquake fault lines?
  • where are the geologic hazard zones, such as liquifaction areas?
  • where are the flood plains?
  • where are man-made things that will negatively or positively impact a home’s value? Things such as
    • train lines
    • freeways
    • high voltage power lines
    • school district boundaries
    • zip code boundaries
    • proximity to entertainment venues

When looking at maps, sometimes these items show up and sometimes they don’t. Realtors and other real estate professionals in the San Jose area often use a Barclay’s Locaide to locate the natural hazard areas. Google maps can help uncover some other areas, but sometimes it raises more questions than it answers. (Last year a Realtor who doesn’t know the Belwood of Los Gatos area too well phoned me to ask what the object showing up in the hills of Belgatos Park was – it is just a covered resevoir, but it was not identified on the map and concerned some buyers. Local knowledge is still very helpful.)

Tonight I spent some time zooming in on Google Maps, using the satellite view, and idenified many of the paths of the high voltage power lines running through Los Gatos and nearby areas, such as Saratoga, Cupertino, Almaden Valley, Santa Teresa, and South San Jose.

Below, please find the fruit of that labor. I do not claim to have tracked all of the high voltage power lines in the west valley area of Santa Clara County, but I think I got many – maybe even most – of them. I hope you find the information helpful!


View Larger Map

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.

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
Silicon Valley:
Santa Clara County,
San Mateo County, and
Santa Cruz County.
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Special focus on:
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Saratoga, Campbell,
Almaden Valley,
Cambrian Park.
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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
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