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.
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
How is the Monte Sereno real estate market? Because the city is small, with just about 4000 residents, there usually are few homes listed for sale or selling, and with small numbers we can get seeming volatility. In April there were only 7 closed sales, and in May just 6.
There are no condominiums or townhomes in Monte Sereno at present. One of the major challenges for this city is to ensure that at least some housing units are deemed “affordable”. You can find the city’s housing plan here (a pdf online):
Closed sales in Monte Sereno in May
Here are the quick statistics for the closed sales in the last complete month to give a sense of how things are going. Sales data comes from my Monte Sereno Real Estate Report . Given that the supply of homes to study is tiny, what can we tell from this data?
It’s true that an average Monte Sereno house is about $2.5 million. A little steep for most folks!
|Trends at a Glance||MAY 2015||PREVIOUS MONTH||YEAR-OVER YEAR|
|Median Home Price||+18.0%||$2,572,500||$2,180,000||-9.7%||$2,850,000|
|Average Sales Price||+29.2%||$2,776,710||$2,149,710||-3.3%||$2,870,430|
|No. of Homes Sold||-14.3%||6||7||-14.3%||7|
|Short Sales Sold||N/A||0||0||N/A||0|
|Active Short Sales||N/A||0||0||N/A||0|
|Sales Price vs. List Price||-1.5%||98.4%||99.9%||-2.3%||100.8%|
|Average Days on Market||-70.8%||24||83||-51.1%||49|
Because so few houses sell per month, it’s volatile and pricing appears to jump around when that’s not actually the case. I suggest that readers also check the real estate market for Los Gatos to see a larger amount of data. The Monte Sereno home prices tend to be a little higher but generally follow the Los Gatos trends, so it’s worthwhile to view this info also to get a more balanced sense of how things are for real estate in MS. Also, for those considering buying or selling, it’s important to look at the actual listings for each and every sale with similar features, size, amenities to get a sense of your home’s particular subset of the market.
Continue reading to view live Altos Research charts for Monte Sereno, including by pricing quartile. Continue reading
Home values in Silicon Valley have been rising over the last few years, and in some segments the appreciation has been incredibly steep. This happens when a big influx of home buyers want to purchase but the supply of real estate inventory is too limited for the demand. This is happening in the most popular areas especially: those with either short commutes, great schools, a vibrant downtown, or some combination of these three.
Today I wanted to look at the median sale price of houses which closed escrow in July 2014 and the preceding few years for the same month only in a handful of zip codes in San Jose and Los Gatos along the west valley areas. Considered for this study are 95070 – Saratoga, 95030 7 95032 – Los Gatos & Monte Sereno, 95008 – Campbell, 95124 – Cambrian area of San Jose, and 95120 – Almaden Valley area of San Jose. The only month plotted is July for each year.
When charted, it appears that most of these west valley areas are appreciating somewhat steadily, though 95032 came down in the month of July 2014 as opposed to 2013 (one month does not make a trend, and please remember that ONLY July for each year was considered here). At the other end of the spectrum is Campbell, 95008, which has been immensely popular in recent years.
Next let’s take a look at the numbers themselves for July in the years 2010 – 2014.
Newcomers to the Los Gatos and Monte Sereno areas often have trouble sorting out the local school districts, and whether or not one area has better performing students than another. (In many areas, the school district is firmly tied to the city or zip code. Not here!) My advice is to visit the schools in person, talk with people there if possible, and do a lot of research since school scores do not tell the entire story. That said, they do tell part of it – and they are a simple way to compare side by side.
Today I took a few minutes to compile a list of the public schools which serve the residents of Monte Sereno and Los Gatos (town, not the county areas in the mountains – the Los Gatos Mountain schools score very very well overall) and to note their API Scores for 2013, the most recent year for which we have data. As you can see below, the scores for the elementary and middle schools are really excellent across the board and in all districts, and in many cases the elementary schools in the LG Union School District are not as high as those outside of it. The real difference shakes out at the high school level. (It should be noted, too, that Saratoga High has a score of 938 and residents within the Los Gatos-Saratoga Joint Union High School District can apply to go there, or at least have been able to do so in the past.) *Please click on the image below to see a larger version of it.
Home values are influenced by many factors, one of them often being school scores. Twenty years ago, many Los Gatos residents felt that they had to be “in the schools” to give their children a quality education. Many do still prefer the Los Gatos Union School District, but it’s not as uniformly thought before since the scores in the Union School District have been rising quite a lot in recent years. The part of San Jose (Cambrian) which falls within the Union School District is extremely popular now due to the more affordable price tag with really great schools. Many of them are expecting the scores at Leigh High School to rise in time since all of the “feeder schools” are scoring in the 900s.
Browse homes for sale in Los Gatos 95030 & Monte Sereno 95030 (Below this list, see also Los Gatos and Monte Sereno 95032 – real estate listings in Los Gatos and Monte Sereno)
$2,195,000 : 15211 Becky LN, MONTE SERENO3 beds, 2 full baths
$1,599,000 : 17505 High ST, LOS GATOS3 beds, 2 full baths
$1,279,000 : 114 Yosemite WAY, LOS GATOS3 beds, 2 full baths
$2,775,000 : 19750 Littlebrook DR, LOS GATOS5 beds, 3 full, 1 part baths
$1,999,000 : 16991 Cypress WAY, LOS GATOS4 beds, 3 full baths
See all Real estate in the 95030 zip code.
(all data current as of 7/7/2015)
Listing information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Read full disclaimer.
$2,595,000 : 106 Heintz CT, LOS GATOS4 beds, 3 full, 1 part baths
$2,350,000 : 16620 Kennedy RD, LOS GATOS4 beds, 2 full, 1 part baths
$1,089,000 : 100 Lorain PL, LOS GATOS3 beds, 2 full baths
$1,500,000 : 107 Colorado CT, LOS GATOS5 beds, 7 full baths
$1,249,000 : 231 Thomas DR, LOS GATOS3 beds, 2 full baths
See all Real estate in the 95032 zip code.
(all data current as of 7/7/2015)
Listing information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Read full disclaimer.
Saratoga and Los Gatos are neighbors, but their real estate markets are not the same! Today we’ll consider the condo and townhouse market in these two uscale Silicon Valley areas and view some elements “side by side”. See what you think!
First, let’s have a peek at how fast things are selling. Saratoga & Los Gatos both are at under 3 week for the “days to sell over time”. Saratoga tends to sell a little better than Los Gatos for condominiums and townhomes, and that’s the case now as well – at least months months, and recently. (Reasons, not sure – perhaps because the location is a little closer to Cupertino and Sunnyvale and the many high tech jobs there. Or it could be related to the school scores or any number of factors.)
Let’s check some other criteria and see how they stack up there. Let’s look at the new listings as opposed to the solds. How far apart are they? (The closer they are, the “hotter” the market. If the solds are going faster than the new listings are coming on, it’s a red hot seller’s market.) For most of the last year, Saratoga condominiums have been selling and closing faster than new ones have entered the market, or have tied it, except for March and April. In Los Gatos, same pattern recently of new listings outpacing sales, and in January the closed sales outpaced new inventory. But overall, it’s close to a tie or there’s a slight leaning toward new listings rather than sales unless you look back to last fall. So a little bit cooler of a market in Los Gatos by this standard.
What does it cost to buy a home with really good schools in Silicon Valley? Los Gatos, Saratoga, Cupertino and Palo Alto are all areas with highly regarding public schools. These aren’t the only areas with good schools but they are popular “west valley” areas that people may consider if working for Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook or any number of high tech employers.
Los Gatos and Saratoga both have multiple school districts, running from good to very good or excellent. The cost of housing tends to follow the popularity of the district, so for those areas I’m showing the breakdown not just for the whole town of Los Gatos but also by the high school district (Los Gatos-Saratoga or Campbell Union High School District). Same with Saratoga. (The Monte Sereno real estate market is very similar to Los Gatos, but slightly more expensive. Most of Monte Sereno has Los Gatos schools, but a small number of homes are in the Campbell area.)
Here are the average numbers for single family homes sold in the last 60 days ranging from 1500 – 2500 square feet, on a lot between 5000 and 10,000 SF, with 3-5 bedrooms and 2-3 bathrooms to give a sense of what it would cost to purchase a typical house in these areas. Please note that right now it’s a strong seller’s market, so many (if not most or all) homes are selling for more than the list price. DOM stands for days on the market.
If you are new to Santa Clara County, you may be wondering if this is correct. The cost to buy a home in these areas is what?
- Los Gatos: approximately $1,200,000 to $1,675,000 depending on the school district
- Saratoga: approximately$1,500,000 to about $2,000,000 depending on the schools
- Cupertino: approx $1,700,000 (some high schools will bring in higher prices and others lower)
- Palo Alto: approx $2,700,000
Remember, these prices do not mean that the houses being sold are perfect. Because it is a strong seller’s market, many properties are being sold which need new roofing, extensive pest work, remodeling, perhaps updating of electrical or plumbing systems or more. Many home buyers will need to spend 1-2% on things like termite fumigation, dry rot or roof repairs, carpets, paint, windows and more, and usually this will be done before they move in. So whatever the budget is, buffer it a little bit for both money and time to make it turnkey.
For people relocating to Silicon Valley from out of the San Jose or Peninsula area, this real estate market can be daunting. There are other areas with good schools which are a bit further from most employment areas which can be an alternative, too. They include the Cambrian 95124 and Almaden 95120 (especially the southern area with Bret Harte Middle School and Leland High School) areas within San Jose.
Finally, in some cases, it may be more affordable to make use of private schools, which are plentiful in the San Francisco Bay area. In some situations it can be financially more affordable to buy outside of the highly competitive areas with the best schools and utilize the private school system. Some of the private schools are religious, some secular, and some with a language focus (bilingual in French, German, Chinese, etc.).
Interested in purchasing a home in one of these fantastic communities? Please call or email me! 408 204-7673 or mary (at) popehandy.com
Mid-century modern homes, including those designed by Joseph Eichler, dot the Silicon Valley & South Bay Area real estate landscape. There are probably more than 5,000 Eichlers in Santa Clara County altogether, plus all the other homes of that genre with the similar modern style, which was influenced by the ranch and prarie styles as well as the dramatic work by Frank Lloyd Wright (open beam ceilings, nearly flat roofs, lots of exposed wood & glass windows stretching from the floor to the ceiling). Eichlers, especially, put a premium on privacy from the street but open to the outdoors otherwise.
Not every community in Santa Clara County has Eichler homes, but most have the mid-century modern style homes & neighborhoods. These homes vary from tiny, modest cottages of 1100 square feet to large & elegant houses of nearly 3,000 square feet, featuring big, central atriums or courtyards. (There are also some co-ops in the valley too.) The quality varies, as the homes were constructed by several different builders with different home buying budgets in mind. Real estate prices range from “entry level” to very expensive, depending on the location (city and schools), size of the home & lot, and condition of the property. Most of them are now about 50 years old, though some are a little younger.
Some of the West Side Silicon Valley Communities which feature Eichler and Mid Century Modern Homes
In Los Gatos there are no Eichlers but there are a small handful of single family homes which are mid-century modern on Eastridge Drive (just off Blossom Hill Road and Hillbrook). There are a couple more at the end of Magnuson Terrace (off Magnuson Loop and Los Gatos Blvd). Additionally, there are some smaller mid-50s homes on El Gato (and adjacent portions of Escobar) off of Los Gatos-Almaden Road. Unfortunately, not all of these homes are “well kept”, though many are.
Monte Sereno is home to 16 Eichler designed houses on Via Sereno beginning at the intersection of Winchester Blvd with Via Sereno. These houses were built in the late 60s to early 70s.