Los Gatos

Los Gatos

Leo or Leona - the mascot of Los GatosThe Los Gatos real estate market is varied from one price point or school district to the next, but over all, this is a fairly stable period with some slight warming over the last couple of months. Here are the current numbers, per my Los Gatos real estate report (click on the link for full information). The Los Gatos Mountains are a distinctly different market and as such are covered in a separate market update, updated less frequently than here, which shows live Altos charts for that area.

Los Gatos / Monte Sereno housing values and pricing trends (aka “area 16” for our MLS, zip codes 95030 and 95032)

Los Gatos/Monte Sereno Real Estate Stats At A Glance

Year-Over-Year

  • Median home prices fell by 5.4% year-over-year to $2,224,000 from $2,350,000.
  • The average home sales price dropped by 8.9% year-over-year to $2,142,080 from $2,350,830.
  • Home sales fell by 13.3% year-over-year to 13 from 15.
  • Active listings rose 21.8% year-over-year to 67 from 55.
  • Sales price vs. list price ratio fell by 0.5% year-over-year to 99.1% from 99.5%.
  • The average days on market fell by 61.6% year-over-year to 21 from 54.

Compared To Last Month

  • Median home prices improved by 16.7% to $2,224,000 from $1,905,000.
  • The average home sales price fell by 2.1% to $2,142,080 from $2,187,250.
  • Home sales up by 8.3% to 13 from 12.
  • Active listings increased 36.7% to 67 from 49.
  • Sales price vs. list price ratio increased by 0.8% to 99.1% from 98.3%.
  • The average days on market dropped by 51% to 21 from 42.

Do you love Los Gatos, live there now or want to live there? Please also visit the Live in Los Gatos Blog!

Learn about Los Gatos neighborhoods, see photos, videos, pricing information, age of homes and much more! Get frequent Los Gatos real estate market updates, find out about local events, business, see images of the parks, historic buildings, and get to know Los Gatos even better. “Live in Los Gatos” is an award winning blog, also written by local Los Gatos Realtor and resident Mary Pope-Handy – check it out today!

Live in Los Gatos Blog

Please continue reading for info on the Los Gatos condo market, and for real estate market information on Monte Sereno. Continue reading

Sketch of houseIt can be really challenging for people moving to Silicon Valley to get a sense of real estate prices, and perhaps more, to compare housing costs from one town or district to another.

One question I get a lot is this: what does it cost to buy a 4 bedroom, 2 bath house of about 2000 square feet?

So to answer this question, let’s see what houses like this are selling for (4 bed, 2 bath, appx 2000 SF or 185 square meters) and see how the cost looks in one Santa Clara Count y / Silicon Valley area versus another.

Today I compared several areas and cities using this criteria: single family homes of 1800 – 2200 SF, 3-5 bedrooms, 2-3 bathrooms, on lot sizes of 6000 SF to 10,000 SF. Normally I would chart this over the last 2 months, or 60 days, but because of the low inventory causing the sellers market I have expanded the search to the last 4 months, or 120 days, for a better range. As of this writing, Los Altos only had one sale over the last 120 days, so data for that segment spans from 0 to 180 days back, or 6 months, and in that half a year we have merely 3 sold.

Here’s how it shakes out in the “west valley areas” along the Highway 85 corridor, most of which are known to have good to great public schools. What areas are most affordable? One way of analyzing this is the “price per square foot” figure. Whenever I update the chart, I re-arrange the order of the cities from high to low based on the price per square foot, although there’s usually minimal movement.

Below are my results from the same search back in September 18, 2015. By comparisson, you can tell that Santa Clara’s average Price has increased, pushing it above Almaden and Campbell.

How competitive is the market? Have a look at the DOM or “Days on Market” figure. All of these days on market are short, but they range from low to heart-skippingly fast.

In most cases, the priciest and most desirable places have either the best schools or shortest commute location or both (Palo Alto and Cupertino have both). Had I ranked these for school scores, you’d find that Cambrian is fairly high up and a good “bang for the buck” location – though not a super short commute for folks who work in Mountain View (though not so bad for people working in Cupertino).  Almaden, too, offers a good value for the quality of the schools, homes, and neighborhoods, though the commute is longer. None of these is especially close to North San Jose (where a major employer is Cisco).

It should also be noted that in some of the smaller communities with less on the market these numbers may not be as stable as others with more data – for instance, Saratoga only had four homes sold matching this criteria within the 120 days of collected data, and therefore may not be as accurate as others, such as the Blossom Valley area of San Jose with the most data at 35 homes sold. For these smaller communities with less data, it is beneficial to look at them more closely – Saratoga, for instance, has 3 different high school districts which have an impact the real estate prices.  This chart is really just a snapshot to give a general sense of the relative affordability of these markets to one another. Continue reading

Thanksgiving is just a few days away, and there are interfaith services going on next week which welcome all.

In Los Gatos, the ecumenical service is tonight at 7:30pm at Los Gatos United Methodist Church, located at 111 Church Street. For more information, please see a post on my Los Gatos blog, Live in Los Gatos:
http://liveinlosgatosblog.com/thanksgiving-interfaith-service-in-los-gatos-this-tuesday/

In Saratoga, the interfaith service is Thursday morning from 10-12 at Congregation Beth David.  Read all the details here:
http://www.sivicouncil.org/blog/event/51st-annual-saratoga-interfaith-thanksgiving-service/

Wishing everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving! Hope to see you at one of these events!

 

  1. 3 beds, 2 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 3,207 sq ft
    Lot size: 12,458 sqft
  2. 4 beds, 2 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 2,102 sq ft
    Lot size: 10,018 sqft
  3. 5 beds, 4 full baths
    Home size: 2,619 sq ft
    Lot size: 10,628 sqft
  4. 5 beds, 3 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 4,481 sq ft
    Lot size: 1.17 ac
  5. 5 beds, 3 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 3,147 sq ft
    Lot size: 12,501 sqft

See all Real estate in the city of Saratoga.
(all data current as of 3/26/2017)

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

How's The Luxury Home Market?Luxury home sales are a little sluggish in the west valley areas of Santa Clara County. Right now in Almaden Valley, Los Gatos, Monte Sereno and Saratoga, there are 97 houses for sale listed at or more than two million dollars (just checked MLSListings.com), but in the last 30 days only 27 have sold and closed escrow in those same areas and price ranges. For the Almaden – Saratoga region generally, then, there are 3.6 months of inventory in the over two million dollar price range (97 / 27).  That makes it barely a seller’s market, though things have livened up since June. (In the same region, there are 25 pending sales.)

Next we’ll look at these four Silicon Valley communities separately to see how the luxury market in each one is faring overall.

Almaden Valley (San Jose, 95120)

Currently in Almaden there are 8 houses for sale which are listed at or over $2,000,000.  In the last 30 days, just 1 sold (with 1 property pending sale).  That makes for a whooping eight “months of inventory.” That would mean this luxury market is not in a seller’s market. It’s a deep buyer’s market in Almaden Valley among the most expensive real estate offerings for sale. Five to six months is balanced and over six is a buyer’s market. Continue reading

St Mary's Country Fair, Los GatosThe St. Mary’s Country Fair is about to begin and will continue through Sunday afternoon – don’t miss it! There’s no admission charge and plenty to do, such as:

carnival rides
arts & crafts for kids to do
games
giant slide
talent shows
raffles
food of all kinds
beverages (including wine, beer & margaritas in the evenings)
live music & dancing Friday through Sunday (Friday is the Hella Good Party Band and Saturday it’s the Bobby Love and Sugar Sweet Band in the morning and Bentpeter in the evening, and Sunday noontime is the Ruth Gerson Band and Special Guest: Gerson Family Band)

Sundays usually feature a petting zoo and pony rides too!

This is the one big fundraiser put on by the school and church each year. All are welcome! The event is held on the campus of St. Mary’s parish church and school, located on Bean Avenue off N. Santa Cruz in downtown Los Gatos.

Need more information? Please see a post I did on it over at my Live in Los Gatos blog, Mark Your Calendar: St. Mary’s Country Fair Oct 7th – 9th, 2016, 5pm-10pm

If you happen to be at the fair tomorrow morning, stop by the burrito booth and say hello! I’ll be working there from 10am – 1pm.

  1. 1 bed, 1 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 864 sq ft
  2. 5 beds, 4 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 4,863 sq ft
    Lot size: 16,117 sqft
  3. 4 beds, 2 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 2,514 sq ft
    Lot size: 12,022 sqft
  4. 4 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 2,715 sq ft
    Lot size: 1.01 ac
  5. 6 beds, 5 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 5,871 sq ft
    Lot size: 1.16 ac
  6. 3 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 1,742 sq ft
    Lot size: 9,016 sqft
  7. 2 beds, 1 full bath
    Home size: 1,000 sq ft
    Lot size: 4.36 ac
  8. 4 beds, 3 full, 2 half baths
    Home size: 5,035 sq ft
    Lot size: 1.92 ac
  9. 5 beds, 3 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 3,009 sq ft
    Lot size: 22,912 sqft
  10. 4 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 2,408 sq ft
    Lot size: 2.23 ac

See all Real estate in the 95030 zip code.
(all data current as of 3/26/2017)

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

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.

Continue reading

Los Gatos Homes for sale - Charter Oaks townhome neighborhood offers a great valueLos Gatos is a very spread out town, covering about 10 square miles. If you are looking online for Los Gatos homes for sale, it can help to narrow the field by zip code, school district, or proximity to something important, such as commute routes or restaurants.  As a starting point, though, browsing the inventory of available properties on the market can help tremendously This can give you a feel for home prices in town and how much real estate your budget can buy. Please note that the Los Gatos real estate market varies by many things, including price point and high school district.

Where can you find Los Gatos homes for sale?

The vast majority of Los Gatos houses, townhomes and condos on the market will be found in the multiple listing service, or MLS, and nearly all (99%?) of those will be visible on the feeds below.  These are part of the internet data exchange, or IDX.  Some listing agents or brokers (or sellers) may “opt out”, but that reduces the visibility, so is uncommon. I work with my clients to scour 100% of the listings on the MLS as well as the privately shared “coming soon” opportunities (not for public view).  Often I will also reach out to my colleagues to see if any of them have pocket listings, which means not publicly advertised on the multiple listing. Networking is an old skill and yet another reason why home buyers do better if they have a buyer’s agent rather than try to go it alone.  Sometimes I end up needing to really beat the bushes for a particular kind of property, and in those cases I will research and move on expired, cancelled, or withdrawn listings, as well.

One more note: Los Gatos has two “in town” zip codes, 95030 and 95032.  The Los Gatos Mountains is the hilly, coastal range area between this town and Scotts Valley in Santa Cruz County and it’s generally an unincorporated region. If you do a web search for “homes for sale Los Gatos CA” you could be looking at listings in the remote nooks and crannies of the Santa Cruz Mountains, so please be aware of zip codes. (95031 is just post office boxes, by the way.) Continue reading

Heritage Grove in east Los Gatos blends historic and contemporary architecture and landscape together nicely

An old apricot orchard used to line Blossom Hill Road between Union and Leigh Avenues until the 1990s. The former owners, Ralph and Sophie Heintz, lived there in their farmhouse until their deaths, at which time the property was willed to the University of California at Berkeley for eye research.

Sophie and Ralph were interesting people. He ran a small train on their property and was an inventor. She was a ham radio operator.

In 1998, the Heintz land (and house etc.) was sold to Summerhill Homes and a portion developed as housing. That Los Gatos neighborhood is now called Heritage Grove A strip of trees was planted along Blossom Hill Road, reminiscent of the history of the area.  A large section of land was made a permanent open space, now known as the Heintz Open Space Preserve.  This open space connects directly with Belgatos Park, which also connects with the Santa Rosa Open Space Preserve. So the network of trails is quite extensive. (Link to Town of Los Gatos page with pdf files of these three trail maps. Link to Google Maps map of Blossom Hill Trails, drawn by Jim Handy.)

The Heintz’s big, old farmhouse has been renovated and is being lived in.  Ralph Heintz’s old workshop, the Ramohs Laboratory, is preserved with signs explaining the history of the place nearby. Continue reading

Often I have clients who are interested in purchasing a 4 bedroom, 2 bath home in a good school district in Silicon Valley, particularly in the South Bay and West Valley areas.    Tonight I did a study on the MLS of homes that have sold and closed escrow in the last 4 months with these characteristics:

  • single family home (house)
  • 4 bedrooms
  • 2 bathrooms
  • 1800 to 2200 square feet of living space
  • 6000 to 10,000 sf lot

Disclaimers aside, here are the numbers for select West Valley Communities in the West/South Bay area with good schools. The first number is the average sales price per square foot, the second number is the average sales price:

Capture

And a look at the chart from all the way back in 2011. What’s changed? A lot! The order has shifted some, showing where demand has increased or decreased. Most noticeably, the prices are significantly lower in 2011 than they are now.

The home prices tend to run with the school district API scores.  You can check the 2013, three year average, API scores in Santa Clara County for both the districts and the individual schools online here.         Continue reading

Cambrian, Almaden, and Los GatosIf a strong public high school is at the top of your priority list, you may find yourself looking at Los Gatos, Cambrian (area of San Jose), and Almaden (also in San Jose) – scenic areas along the southwest side of Silicon Valley, all of them featuring good to excellent high schools.   I would caution against only judging an area, or a school, by its scores, though – often the culture at the campus, the offerings, and many other things can vary from one school to the next.  Nothing beats visiting in person and talking with students, parents, faculty and staff.

2013 Growth API Scores

Disclaimers aside, scores do matter as an important part of the overall package.  How do the high schools in these areas stack up?  API scores are no longer used, so the numbers below are from the 2013 Growth API scores, the most current year available.

Ranked in order of API score:

Leland High – 889 (Almaden, southern area)

Los Gatos High – 883 (Los Gatos, central + small area in Almaden)

Leigh High – 833 (Los Gatos, east & Cambrian plus little of Almaden)

Pioneer High – 822 (Almaden, northern area & Cambrian)

Branham High – 810 (Cambrian & Blossom Valley)

Westmont High – 796 (Los Gatos, western area plus parts of Campbell and Saratoga)

What is the cost of homes in these areas?

To narrow it, let’s consider the same set of criteria: houses sold in the last 180 days within 1 mile of each high school named, with 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and 1500 – 2000 SF. (I’m leaving lot sizes out because it’s already a very small pool of homes.) To make it super simple, I’ll just include the price per SF and the average sale price of these houses.

Ranked in order of affordability – average sale price:

Pioneer High – 822 API – average price per sf  $549.17  average sale price  $919,057  (9 houses)

Branham High – 810 API – average price per sf   $588.92 average sale price $969,295   (17 houses)

Leland High – 889 API – average price per sf   $616.04  average sale price  $1,071,250  (4 houses)

Leigh High – 833 API – average price per sf     $686.00  average sale price $1,144,100  (20 houses)

Westmont High – 796 API – average price per sf   $844.00  average sale price  $1,329,500 (8 houses)

Los Gatos High – 883 API – average price per sf   $917.95  average sale price $1,593,556 (9 houses)

Clearly, the market dictates that there are more than high school scores impacting home values (but you already knew that!).

Homes in the Leland High School area are a very good value, if you can find one (there were only 4, so too easy to have an impossibly small pool of choices).

Market drivers – beyond school scores

San Benito Way home in Los GatosDowntown Los Gatos is charming and historic (with loads of beautiful older homes and buildings), it enjoys a vibrant night life and restaurant scene. It’s interesting! It’s “walkable”!  People want to live in a part of Silicon Valley that isn’t just suburban sprawl – hence downtown LG has the biggest draw of all these areas.  It’s not too far from Highway 85 (think Apple) but it’s not boring, like most of San Jose can be.   Many are willing to pay much more to be part of Los Gatos and Los Gatos High School.  A nice townhouse in LG, or a house in Cambrian?  That may be the choice.

Commute times to places like Apple matter a lot, so homes on the west end of Los Gatos, in Campbell and parts of Saratoga in the Westmont HS area see a very high average sale price, even though the API score was less than 800.  Schools matter but they aren’t the only thing that matter. Many home owners believe that the most important part of the education is the parents’ involvement (at home and at school).  Many also have their kids at a private high school. Continue reading

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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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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
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