Los Gatos Mountains

Updates at bottom. For original article (May 21, 2010) begin to read below:

Mount Umunhum sits high on the Santa Cruz Mountain range, and from there enjoys spectacular views. Looking inland, you can see San Jose & most of Santa Clara County, on a clear day even as far north as San Francisco from Mt. Umunhum. Turning toward the Pacific Ocean, from Mt. Umunhum’s heights you can see Santa Cruz and Monterey on a fogless day.

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The luxury homes market frequently behaves very differently than the rest of the real estate market as a whole.  If interest rates jump around, the impact is often far less since the home buyers of estate properties may not be nearly as dependent upon financing.  Many of these fine homes & estates are paid for “all cash”.  (In some cases they do this but later arrange financing, perhaps funding a “charitable remainder” trust rather than a more typical institutional loan.)

How’s the real estate market for high end homes in Los Gatos, Monte Sereno and the Los Gatos Mountain communities?  Defining “luxury homes” is a bit tricky because what constitutes luxury can vary from area to area (check out these estate homes for sale in the Buffalo NY area). For now let’s use prices of $2 million or greater as we first look at the Months of Inventory or Absorption Rate – though in fairness, the luxury price point is a little lower in the mountains.  (Six months is considered balanced by the National Association of Realtor, less is a sellers market and more is a buyers market.)  I first did this study in October of 2012 and will provide those numbers as a window back in time for comparison purposes.

Los Gatos area luxury market

Monte Sereno is having no trouble selling luxury homes compared to the rest of the Los Gatos area right now.  The Los Gatos Mountains (Chemeketa Park, Redwood Estates, Aldercroft Heights and other areas) struggles with the over $2 million market.

No matter how you look at it, overall it is a seller’s market in the luxury home strata in Monte Sereno and Los Gatos – but not the Los Gatos Mountains. It is not so crazy as the entry level homes, which have a much faster absorption rate, so buyers, take heart!  Three months of inventory is pretty doable and not so far from a “balanced” market here.

Altos charts on the LG area

Next we’ll change gears and use Altos Research and quartiles to evaluate the most expensive listings.  We will look at the top quartile of list prices, the high end listings in Los Gatos (zip codes 95030 and 95032 in town), in the Los Gatos Mountains (unincorporated, 95033) and Monte Sereno (99.9% of which is in 95030 but a tiny sliver has the 95032 zip code).   The charts I’m using are live and will be continuously updated by Altos Research, to which I have a subscription.

List prices of homes for sale in the topmost price quartile in Los Gatos, Monte Sereno and the Los Gatos Mountains

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

Today on my “Live in Los Gatos” blog, I included 5 images with graphs of the historical sales date for Los Gatos (zips 95030, 95032, and the mountains, zip 95033) and Saratoga 95070. Below is one of the five – to see all, please continue to this article:

Los Gatos & Saratoga real estate sales statistics 2005 – 2014

http://liveinlosgatosblog.com/los-gatos-saratoga-real-estate-sales-statistics-2005-2014/

Saratoga median price and average DOM

Los Gatos

  1. 3 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,344 sq ft
    Lot size: 5,218 sqft
  2. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,172 sq ft
    Lot size: 14,139 sqft
  3. 4 beds, 5 baths
    Home size: 4,227 sq ft
    Lot size: 9,901 sqft
  4. 3 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 1,650 sq ft
    Lot size: 1,306 sqft
  5. 0 beds, 0 bath
    Home size: 2,079 sq ft
    Lot size: 7,000 sqft

See all Real estate in the Los Gatos/Monte Sereno community.
(all data current as of 6/22/2017)

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

Saratoga

  1. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,414 sq ft
    Lot size: 10,598 sqft
  2. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 3,039 sq ft
    Lot size: 9,099 sqft
  3. 4 beds, 4 baths
    Home size: 2,442 sq ft
    Lot size: 8,398 sqft
  4. 3 beds, 4 baths
    Home size: 2,943 sq ft
    Lot size: 2,347 sqft
  5. 6 beds, 7 baths
    Home size: 6,427 sq ft
    Lot size: 43,560 sqft

See all Real estate in the city of Saratoga.
(all data current as of 6/22/2017)

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

Joe Sharino BandOn Saturday, July 26th, the immensely popular and award-winning Joe Sharino Band will be featured at the Rockin’ in the Mountains event at the Loma Prieta Community Center; proceeds will benefit the Loma Prieta Fire and Rescue.

For more details and to purchase your tickets, please visit:

 

http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/689417

 

To learn more about the Joe Sharino Band, go to

 

http://www.jsband.com/

  1. 6 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 3,092 sq ft
    Lot size: 25,561 sqft
  2. 3 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 2,000 sq ft
    Lot size: 13,285 sqft
  3. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 3,270 sq ft
    Lot size: 6.13 ac
  4. 3 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 954 sq ft
    Lot size: 10,541 sqft
  5. 3 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,357 sq ft
    Lot size: 4.99 ac
  6. 3 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,584 sq ft
    Lot size: 1.16 ac
  7. 3 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,200 sq ft
    Lot size: 14,374 sqft
  8. 5 beds, 5 baths
    Home size: 5,477 sq ft
    Lot size: 2.46 ac
  9. 4 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,680 sq ft
    Lot size: 7,187 sqft
  10. 3 beds, 4 baths
    Home size: 5,074 sq ft
    Lot size: 5.09 ac

See all Real estate in the Los Gatos Mountains community.
(all data current as of 6/22/2017)

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

Scenic Silicon ValleyIf you arrived into Silicon Valley via Highway 101, driving south from San Francisco, you might believe that the Santa Clara Valley, the San Jose area and Silicon Valley as a whole has got to seem to be the ugliest place on earth. Although heavily traveled, that is not the “scenic route”.

So, too, if you are looking for a place to live and are groping to find a place that is reasonably priced, fairly safe and not a terrible commute distance. You might not even have “is nice looking” on your wish list. You might not think it’s possible if all you ever see are the ugly concrete tilt-up buildings in north San Jose, Santa Clara, Alviso, or anywhere along the 237 corridor.  That area is an architectural wasteland.

Let me assure you: there are a lot of beautiful places in Silicon Valley where you can rent or buy a home. But how do you find them? It helps a lot to have a local give you a few pointers.  I’ll give you some tips today on finding a scenic place to live.

Hills – An easy way to find a scenic location to make your home is to settle near the hills, especially those in the west valley (the Santa Cruz Mountains or the Coastal Range) as they are green year-round. Communities at the base of the west valley foothills include, in Santa Clara County, Palo Alto, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Cupertino, Saratoga, Monte Sereno, Los Gatos, and the Almaden Valley area of San Jose. All of these areas are adjacent to the hills or mountains and offer far better than average schools (many of them qualify as great – compare costs between these areas). Continue reading

Today let’s look at the Santa Clara County real estate market, the days on market (DOM) and the sale price to list price ratio for houses and duet homes (single family homes). This will primarily be graphs that I created using MLSListings.com (our local MLS, to which I am a paying member).  We’ll consider the county as a whole and various cities or towns within it, plus areas of San Jose, as it has about a million residents.

First: Santa Clara County homes over the last year.  Please note the decreasing days on market, the increasing sale price to list price ratio in recent months.  This is exactly what an appreciating market looks like!

Santa Clara County average days on market and sale price to list price ratio

Santa Clara County average days on market and sale price to list price ratio

Next, let’s have a peek at how some of the hottest markets in Silicon Valley look, starting with Sunnyvale. It is odd to see any kind of a blip on the sale price to list price ratio.  Are buyers giving some push-back?  We keep hearing stories of homes selling 30% or more over list price with gobs of offers.  So the SP – LP ratio change is a surprise.

Sunnyvale average days on market and sale price to list price ratio Sunnyvale

Sunnyvale average days on market and sale price to list price ratio Sunnyvale

Palo Alto is always the hottest ticket in town. Continue reading

The annual market report is out at popehandy.REReport.com and we can now learn how 2011 compared to 2010.  The median sales price for houses in Santa Clara County was off 5.3% overall.  But from one part of the valley to the next it varied wildly with 6 cities or areas finding themselves in positive territory while others were off by double digits.

Santa Clara Coutny Cities median SP year over year 2011 to 2010In the image to the left, I’ve put into bold the cities where the median sales price of houses which sold and closed escrow in 2011 were ahead of 2010’s pricing.

What is it that makes Gilroy, Los Altos Hills, Los Gatos, Mountain View and Palo Alto “in the black”?

Most of these cities/towns are upscale, west valley communities.  But so are Saratoga, Cupertino, and Monte Sereno.

Gilroy was especially hard-hit with the housing downturn so perhaps in that case, it’s just coming back into more of a balance. (Then again, so was Morgan Hill and it’s still off by 12%.)

The LinkedIn IPO and others in the Palo Alto area drove prices up for some parts of the housing market nearby and it’s likely that this explains the positive growth for Palo Alto, Mountain View, and Los Altos Hills.  That said, it would seem that Los Altos, and perhaps even Sunnyvale would have seen stronger numbers on the same account.  Perhaps school scores are the key driver here.

Los Gatos, Saratoga and Monte Sereno often behave somewhat similarly as they are adjacent to one another and often attract similar home buyers who want good schools, a nice downtown area nearby and scenic beauty with the hills.  The annual numbers show Monte Sereno down 6.7%, Saratoga down 2% but Los Gatos up 6.4%.  With Monte Sereno, there are very few sales each month and each year (only about 4,000 residents), so there can be a wider swing without it necessarily being accurate. Saratoga and Los Gatos each have about 30,000 people who call these areas home, though, so the data is much more helpful.  Saratoga and Los Gatos both have multiple school districts, views, homes with better proximity to “downtown” and more variables – I think we’d have to dig a lot deeper to learn why these two neighboring markets are so diverse.  We might also have to look at multiple years of data to see if Saratoga spiked while LG slumped to explain the difference. Continue reading

On Sunday afternoon I found myself showing property just beyond the Santa Clara County border near Skyline Boulevard (Hwy 35) and Congress Springs Road (aka Big Basin Way or Hwy 9) in the hills over Saratoga.  The valley floor was fogged in and damp, but up at the crest of the Santa Cruz Mountains, the sun was warm and shining beautifully.

I waited for my clients at our meeting place, the large parking lot off Skyline.  They were running late so I meandered around, taking in the scenery, snapping some photos and enjoying the warmth of the sun.   One delay grew into another and with more time on my hands, I wandered over to the Mr. Mustard hot dog stand and bought myself some lunch: $2 for a hot dog, $1 for a can of Diet Coke. (Also offered were hot links.)  Good price, good food!

Continue reading

Today we’ll check in with the Los Gatos real estate market, the Monte Sereno real estate market and the Los Gatos Mountains real estate market using Altos Research graphs with a view to the Median List Price of houses for sale.

An overview of the Real Estate Market in the Los Gatos area by viewing the Median List Price of houses for sale

In the graph below, please find the median list price for four areas: Monte Sereno, Los Gatos 95033 (the mountains), Los Gatos 95032 and Los Gatos 95030 (“in town”).
Real Estate Market Chart by Altos Research www.altosresearch.com

Monte Sereno is the most expensive of these four areas and it’s having some trouble overall. How’s it faring by price quartile? Let’s view that next, then the mountains and “in town” areas of Los Gatos.
Continue reading

Since early July, fire danger signs have been out at Belgatos Park in Los Gatos (and I suspect at other parks throughout Santa Clara County too). To the right is the sign at the park’s main entrance.  It admonishes the visitors:

High Fire Danger  No Smoking No BBQs

To anyone who’s lived in Silicon Valley long, this is understood – the fire danger is quite high here in summer.  Unlike most of the east coast, it does not rain here in summer (at least not often and not much), and our green grasses and plants of spring turn to kindling very quickly.  One stray match, hot cigarette butt or one illegal firework can smolder into a flame which grows fast with the smallest amount of wind to destroy property, animal life and potentially human life, make breathing bad for days and leave a scar on the land.

This sign at the entrance may not feel very compelling to some as the lush green grass in the background would seem to contraindicate restraint.  But venture to the park’s side entrance on Bacigalupi Drive (or hike up the trails) and you’ll understand immediately why this is nothing to take lightly.

Except for one little tuft of partially green grass, “cardboard hill” is entirely dry. So is the rest of this beautiful open space.

If you live close to or have open space in San Jose’s Alum Rock, Almaden, or other east foothill areas or the west valley places like Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, Sartoga, Cupertino or anywhere the foothills, your property is likely considered to be in a high risk fire hazard zone. If so, each year you are mailed information from Cal Fire reminding you of your obligation to provide clearance around your home and to cut down the dead brush.

Just outside of the main entrance to the park there’s a large and open lot which has a few trees, some prickly pear, and a lot of grasses and weeds in winter and spring.  (It also had a rattlesnake it in by the prickly pear when my daughter walked past with our dog one day a month or two ago.) Below is a pan of two pics I took with my Blackberry and later stitched together – the park entrance is out of sight but is a little to the left of this photo.

These owners have done as needed and disked the field to help prevent fires or the spread of fires.

There are things you can do to “harden” your own home is you live near open space – that is, to make it more resistant to fire. Check out the whole list on the Cal Fire site, “Ready For Wildfire“.

Translation

by Transposh - translation plugin for wordpress
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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