Los Gatos

Los Gatos

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

Recently I’ve expanded my subscription to Altos Research – now you can sign up for my Altos newsletter and get information on any zip code in Santa Clara County (the San Jose area) sent to you each week. Altos uses list prices.

For sold info, please see my Silicon Valley Real Estate Report, which covers the cities and towns in Santa Clara County, San Mateo County, and Santa Cruz County (and is updated once a month) at popehandy.rereport.com The RE Report also has market data for areas within some cities such as San Jose (covering Almaden, Cambrian, Evergreen, Willow Glen, etc.), Mountain View, and Palo Alto.

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LOS GATOS Real Estate Market (95030)



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LOS GATOS Real Estate Market (95032)



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Subscribe to my LOS GATOS Market Intelligence report for weekly neighborhood trends.

Real-time market research for LOS GATOS

Average Days on Market
Subscribe now to learn dozens of LOS GATOS real estate trends and other important market measures!

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Total Inventory
Subscribe to my LOS GATOS Market Intelligence report for weekly neighborhood trends.

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  1. 4 beds, 3 full baths
    Home size: 3,270 sq ft
    Lot size: 6.13 ac
  2. 2 beds, 1 full bath
    Home size: 1,086 sq ft
    Lot size: 8,799 sqft
  3. 2 beds, 1 full bath
    Home size: 954 sq ft
    Lot size: 10,541 sqft
  4. 2 beds, 2 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 1,251 sq ft
    Lot size: 2,787 sqft
  5. 4 beds, 2 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 2,200 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,446 sqft
  6. 4 beds, 3 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 2,562 sq ft
    Lot size: 9,104 sqft
  7. 3 beds, 3 full baths
    Home size: 2,665 sq ft
    Lot size: 10,410 sqft
  8. 2 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 1,481 sq ft
    Lot size: 7,797 sqft
  9. 3 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 1,328 sq ft
    Lot size: 36,677 sqft
  10. 3 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 1,584 sq ft
    Lot size: 1.16 ac

See all Real estate in the city of Los Gatos.
(all data current as of 5/25/2017)

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

San Jose’s New Almaden Quicksilver Mine is well known and needs no introduction.  But did you know that there are many other mercury or quicksilver mines in the area? Several are nearby, just south of the Guadalupe Creek, but others are surprisingly far flung, both in Santa Clara County and throughout California.  My home buyer clients are sometimes concerned about purchasing real estate close to a natural or environmental hazard, so a few times this issue has come up: where are the mercury mines?

Quicksilver Legend for Santa Clara CountyFirst, a disclaimer that there are oodles of unmapped mines of all kinds dotting the San Francisco Bay Area, the delta, and beyond.  Approximately 31% of all mines in California are on private land.  So it may not be possible to know where each and every mine is.  However, mercury mines were big business during the gold rush and the civil war, so they may not have been so secretly guarded as a gold mine.

Today I went hunting for information on the location of mercury mines and found an online map of Santa Clara County with incredible details on not only quicksilver, but many other fascinating things: types of rock, miderals (copper), soil types, earthquake faults and so on.  This map is not all that easy to read as it requires blowing it up to well past 100% to actually decipher the numbers and geographical markers, but for the patient, it’s a gold mine – so to speak!

To see the WHOLE MAP, please click on the following link, which is a bid pdf file:

Geologic Map of Santa Clara County, California, Showing Mines and Mineral Deposits

I blew up part of it, saved it, and annotated it with just the names of the mercury mines closest to Los Gatos and Cambrian.  This is not comprehensive, of course – but I often get the question of “how close are the mines” to either Los Gatos or Cambrian, hence this focus.

Mercury mines near Los Gatos and Cambrian

Related reading on mercury

Mercury Contamination from Historic Gold Mining in Califoria (pdf from USGS)

The Legacy of Mercury Pollution in California’s Bay Area

 

Related reading for real estate in Almaden, Cambrian, and Los Gatos:

Hacienda Cemetery and Memorial Park in New Almaden

Almaden Valley area of San Jose (on popehandy.com)

What Are the Advantages of Buying a Home in Almaden Valley?

Where are the high voltage power lines in Los Gatos? (Live in Los Gatos blog)

Selling a home in one of San Jose’s Almaden Valley neighborhoods? Understand home buyer concerns in 95120

List of Los Gatos neighborhoods (Live in Los Gatos blog)

San Jose – Cambrian Park (an introduction with market stats and homes for sale also, on popehandy.com)

  1. 4 beds, 3 full baths
    Home size: 3,270 sq ft
    Lot size: 6.13 ac
  2. 2 beds, 1 full bath
    Home size: 1,086 sq ft
    Lot size: 8,799 sqft
  3. 2 beds, 1 full bath
    Home size: 954 sq ft
    Lot size: 10,541 sqft
  4. 2 beds, 2 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 1,251 sq ft
    Lot size: 2,787 sqft
  5. 4 beds, 2 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 2,200 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,446 sqft
  6. 4 beds, 3 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 2,562 sq ft
    Lot size: 9,104 sqft
  7. 3 beds, 3 full baths
    Home size: 2,665 sq ft
    Lot size: 10,410 sqft
  8. 2 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 1,481 sq ft
    Lot size: 7,797 sqft
  9. 3 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 1,328 sq ft
    Lot size: 36,677 sqft
  10. 3 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 1,584 sq ft
    Lot size: 1.16 ac

See all Real estate in the city of Los Gatos.
(all data current as of 5/25/2017)

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

How close is too close?  For people house hunting in Silicon Valley, the quality of local public schools is often a huge priority – in fact, it’s something that most home buyers insist upon even if they intend to enroll their kids in a parochial or other private school.  Similarly, most home buyers do not want to purchase a house, townhome or condo that’s too close to high voltage power lines. Sometimes it’s just a “resale issue” to them, but other times they have health concerns and not just real estate home value concerns.

But what about the relationship between public schools and these high voltage power lines?  If your child will be at school 35 hours a week for 9 months of the year, should that be a concern, too?  So far, only two of my buyers have made that a criteria – and when they did, it became apparent that most of the schools in the border areas of Los Gatos, Cambrian and Almaden were going to be eliminated.

A couple of years back, I mapped out the high voltage power lines using Google Maps (click on link to view it).  This morning I added a few public schools to it in a “layer”.  This is not comprehensive, as I only mapped a few in these three areas mentioned already in this article.  For the named schools, many are directly adjacent to the lines (Alta Vista, Union, Leigh, Noddin) usually on the far side of the playing field) and the furthest is about 1/5 of a mile from them (Carlton).

High Voltage Power lines in LG Cambrian Almaden

  1. 3 beds, 1 full bath
    Home size: 1,108 sq ft
    Lot size: 10,236 sqft
  2. 4 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 1,396 sq ft
    Lot size: 7,187 sqft
  3. 4 beds, 2 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 1,970 sq ft
    Lot size: 3,005 sqft
  4. 4 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 2,452 sq ft
    Lot size: 10,236 sqft
  5. 3 beds, 1 full bath
    Home size: 960 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,621 sqft
  6. 3 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 1,253 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,490 sqft
  7. 4 beds, 4 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 3,206 sq ft
    Lot size: 9,408 sqft
  8. 3 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 1,543 sq ft
    Lot size: 8,232 sqft
  9. 3 beds, 1 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 1,060 sq ft
    Lot size: 5,009 sqft
  10. 3 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 1,915 sq ft
    Lot size: 10,628 sqft

See all Real estate in the Cambrian community.
(all data current as of 5/25/2017)

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

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. 2 beds, 1 full bath
    Home size: 1,086 sq ft
    Lot size: 8,799 sqft
  2. 2 beds, 2 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 1,251 sq ft
    Lot size: 2,787 sqft
  3. 4 beds, 2 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 2,200 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,446 sqft
  4. 4 beds, 3 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 2,562 sq ft
    Lot size: 9,104 sqft
  5. 3 beds, 3 full baths
    Home size: 2,665 sq ft
    Lot size: 10,410 sqft

See all Real estate in the Los Gatos/Monte Sereno community.
(all data current as of 5/25/2017)

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

Saratoga

  1. 5 beds, 3 full baths
    Home size: 3,283 sq ft
    Lot size: 43,560 sqft
  2. 3 beds, 3 full baths
    Home size: 3,000 sq ft
    Lot size: 1.13 ac
  3. 3 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 1,400 sq ft
    Lot size: 42,775 sqft
  4. 4 beds, 2 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 2,686 sq ft
    Lot size: 14,549 sqft
  5. 6 beds, 5 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 5,161 sq ft
    Lot size: 29,403 sqft

See all Real estate in the city of Saratoga.
(all data current as of 5/25/2017)

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

Cupped Hardwood FloorsIn Almaden, Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, Saratoga and anywhere near hills in Silicon Valley, there are homes with cupped hardwood floors.  Cupping is when the sides of the plants curl upward a little.  If you view cupped floors in lighting at an angle, the “lines” between the pieces of wood are more prominent, as shown in the photo to the right. Should you walk across them barefoot, you will feel the elevated sides.  When it is severe, there are very distinct ridges.

What causes cupping?  It can be caused by installing hardwood that hasn’t cured or sat in the home for a few days first.  But often that’s not the issue.  Most of the time, it seems to result from water in the crawl space below. As the moisture evaporates, it moves up through the home and through the hardwood flooring.

This doesn’t happen everywhere, but is most common in hillside locations, places that are flat but have hills nearby (as water can travel underground and then pop up, potentially under your house), locations with high water tables (such as Willow Glen, many areas of Almaden such as Almaden Springs, or Los Gatos), or properties where the grading is wrong and water gets pulled toward the home instead of away from it. Although in many parts of the U.S. the soil is sandy and the water drains through, in most of Santa Clara County, we have expansive clay soils.  With clay it’s harder for the water to soak through, but also when the soil gets wet it, it expands and pushes on the foundation and anything else in its way.

Are your floors beginning to cup?  If so, it’s a red flag to pay attention and find the cause of the cupping before the damage is permanent, or much harder to fix.  Check your crawl space for dampness and efflorescence (this requires going all the way into the crawl space).  If you aren’t able or don’t want to go into the crawl, make sure to hire someone competant to evaluate the situation.  Having a damp crawl space is not good (and if you find it in summer after a 3 year drought you do have an issue!).  I would suggest getting an ASHI or CREIA certified home inspector to check it out and advise you on the cause of the cupping and what to do to remediate it.  It may be that a hardwood flooring professional would also address this very well – I cannot speak to that but it may also be worth considering.

  1. 4 beds, 2 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 2,354 sq ft
    Lot size: 8,015 sqft
  2. 3 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 1,125 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,141 sqft
  3. 4 beds, 3 full baths
    Home size: 2,626 sq ft
    Lot size: 9,670 sqft
  4. 2 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 1,124 sq ft
    Lot size: 2,265 sqft
  5. 5 beds, 4 full baths
    Home size: 3,753 sq ft
    Lot size: 29,228 sqft
  6. 4 beds, 3 full baths
    Home size: 2,601 sq ft
    Lot size: 12,327 sqft
  7. 4 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 2,038 sq ft
    Lot size: 8,102 sqft
  8. 4 beds, 3 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 3,238 sq ft
    Lot size: 10,802 sqft
  9. 5 beds, 3 full baths
    Home size: 2,719 sq ft
    Lot size: 8,015 sqft
  10. 4 beds, 2 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 1,602 sq ft
    Lot size: 1,742 sqft

See all Real estate in the Almaden Valley community.
(all data current as of 5/25/2017)

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

Vista del Monte MapAre you interested in Los Gatos real estate and Los Gatos neighboorhoods? Over on my Live in Los Gatos blog, I’ve been reworking articles about the various residential areas of town, digging into the county records for subdivision info, shooting video as I’m driven through various neighorooods and adding MLS information. Today I completed a whole new article with video on the Vista del Monte neighborhood in east Los Gatos.

Please have a look!

http://liveinlosgatosblog.com/the-vista-del-monte-neighborhood-in-los-gatos/

Or if you’d just like to see the video, here it is (bigger version on Live in Los Gatos):

As a Los Gatos Realtor and resident, I  hope to showcase more & more areas within the town, as well as in San Jose and the greater Silicon Valley area.  If you are interested in buying or selling a home here, please call or email me today!

  1. 2 beds, 1 full bath
    Home size: 1,086 sq ft
    Lot size: 8,799 sqft
  2. 4 beds, 2 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 2,200 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,446 sqft
  3. 3 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 2,038 sq ft
    Lot size: 9,888 sqft
  4. 5 beds, 3 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 3,138 sq ft
    Lot size: 9,496 sqft
  5. 5 beds, 4 full baths
    Home size: 4,014 sq ft
    Lot size: 41,251 sqft
  6. 3 beds, 3 full baths
    Home size: 1,720 sq ft
    Lot size: 13,721 sqft
  7. 3 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 3,000 sq ft
    Lot size: 43,560 sqft
  8. 3 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 2,208 sq ft
    Lot size: 15,115 sqft
  9. 4 beds, 4 full baths
    Home size: 1,582 sq ft
    Lot size: 28,531 sqft
  10. 3 beds, 1 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 1,235 sq ft
    Lot size: 13,939 sqft

See all Real estate in the 95030 zip code.
(all data current as of 5/25/2017)

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

Surrey Farm Neighborhood Los Gatos CA (Silicon Valley)A Los Gatos neighborhood which is “close to town” but feels further out is the highly sought after Surrey Farms area, located off Kennedy Road less than a mile from Los Gatos Boulevard, and less than 1.5 miles to all the local public schools:  Van Meter or Blossom Hill Elementary, Fisher Middle, Los Gatos High.

There are about 70 single family homes or houses in Surrey Farms, most of them on quarter acre or third of an acre lots, but a couple are much smaller and two are more than an acre.   The houses were first constructed there in the mid 1950s and completed in about 1960.  At that time, they were all “ranch style” and consisted of about 2000 to 3000 SF in most cases.  Today many have been remodeled, enlarged or even fully rebuilt, and the home sizes are bigger, with more than 10% of them over 4,000 SF today.

Regarding the name: folks in Los Gatos do call this subdivision “Surrey Farms”, but I did some research on the county records and it appears that the original name was “Surrey Farm” – singular!  My best guess is that it was a farm or horse ranch by that name prior to the housing being built…but that would take a bit more research that I haven’t yet done.

For now, enjoy the video and map, and if you’d like more information, I have a longer article that you can read on my new Live in Los Gatos blog.  Here’s the link:

http://liveinlosgatosblog.com/surrey-farm-neighborhood/

  1. 2 beds, 1 full bath
    Home size: 1,086 sq ft
    Lot size: 8,799 sqft
  2. 2 beds, 2 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 1,251 sq ft
    Lot size: 2,787 sqft
  3. 4 beds, 2 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 2,200 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,446 sqft
  4. 4 beds, 3 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 2,562 sq ft
    Lot size: 9,104 sqft
  5. 3 beds, 3 full baths
    Home size: 2,665 sq ft
    Lot size: 10,410 sqft
  6. 3 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 2,038 sq ft
    Lot size: 9,888 sqft
  7. 5 beds, 3 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 3,138 sq ft
    Lot size: 9,496 sqft
  8. 5 beds, 3 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 4,133 sq ft
    Lot size: 15,420 sqft
  9. 4 beds, 2 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 2,114 sq ft
    Lot size: 435 sqft
  10. 5 beds, 4 full baths
    Home size: 4,014 sq ft
    Lot size: 41,251 sqft

See all Real estate in the Los Gatos/Monte Sereno community.
(all data current as of 5/25/2017)

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

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


Selling homes in
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Saratoga, Campbell,
Almaden Valley,
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