If 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
For people relocating to Silicon Valley, often there’s not just one city, town or area which seems like a good fit. Sometimes it may come down to what your money can buy or how difficult it is to purchase in one area versus another. This is frequently the case with the “West Valley” areas where schools are good and the neighborhoods are tidy.
There are two statistics which are especially helpful in understanding the Santa Clara County real estate market. One is the “days on market” or DOM. The shorter this is, the hotter the market – and the harder it is to purchase. The second is the sale price to list price ratio, which hints at the existence of multiple offers, overbids, and buyers giving away all of their rights.
Today, then, we’ll have a look at these, starting with Almaden, the southernmost area, and working our way north along the coastal range. The charts below are all for single family homes (houses and duet homes, not condos or townhomes).
Almaden Valley is a district within the city of San Jose. Its boundaries roughly follow the 95120 zip code, though there are some parts of nearby zip codes which somewhat overlap into Almaden too. How’s the Almaden market? Red hot! Days on market is crazy low – a mere 16! And the average sale price is almost 104% of list price…and rising!
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!
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.
Palo Alto is always the hottest ticket in town. Continue reading
It’s a sizzling hot seller’s market in Silicon Valley, meaning the San Jose area, Santa Clara County and San Mateo County generally have critically low housing inventory and extremly strong buyer demand. But it’s not equally hot in every city, area, school district or price point. Some home buyers may be interested in more than one area. For instance, often I have clients looking at both Almaden and Cupertino, or Cambrian (San Jose) and Campbell, or Los Gatos and Monte Sereno…. So if you are looking for a less crazed area in which to buy, it might be useful to compare the months of inventory* to see where it might be more possible to buy a home, especially if you’ve been beat out on multiple offers a few times.
Today we’ll just consider where these houses are located, but know that it is also possible to run the data by school district, pricing tier, sale type (regular vs short sale vs bank owned) whether or not there’s a pool or garage, etc. I pulled the info from MLSListings.com and then ranked them from hottest to coolest. (Not all areas are represented.)
What can we learn from this information? The first question might be “why are some areas selling so much faster than others?” Although sometimes we can say that only inexpensive, moderate or expensive areas are moving fast, that doesn’t seem to be the case here. Palo Alto is one of the priciest points nearby, and yet it has less than 3 weeks of inventory. At other times we say “it’s all about the schools” but Santa Clara, which aside for a sliver served by Cupertino schools, is the #1 hottest segment of the market – and it is not highly prized for academics. (Same with Blossom Valley.) Cupertino is usually at the top of the pile for desirability, but it’s behind several other communities. What I’m seeing from this one angle is that there aren’t any easy answers, much as I’d like to present some clear cut trend with a big Ah Ha.
Although the underlying “why” may remain a mystery for right now, it’s still helpful for home buyers who are looking for relief. Been beat out 5 or 10 times? Your odds will be improved in the areas listed at the bottom of the sheet: Monte Sereno, Los Gatos, Saratoga, Almaden Valley are all just a bit easier places in which to buy. They are all great communities with strong schools. This kind of info could help you to move from frustrated shopper to happy home owner. Continue reading
Is it a good time to sell a home in Silicon Valley? One of the best ways to get a pulse on the real estate market is with the months of inventory (MOI), also known as the absorption rate. The way we calculate it is simple: find the current available inventory (not under contract or sale pending), then find the number of homes with that exact criteria which have closed escrow in the last 30 days. Divide the first by the second and you get the months of inventory.
Today I spent a little time on MLSListings.com, our local mls association (of which I am a member) and I ran the numbers for single family homes (houses and duet homes) in Cupertino, Los Altos, Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, Mountain View, Palo Alto, San Jose (all areas combined), Santa Clara, Saratoga, Sunnyvale and three of San Jose’s districts: Almaden, Cambrian, and Willow Glen. Below, please find the results of that study. (This is for single family homes of any price range or school district in each city or area named.)
Which are the hottest markets? They’re the ones with the smallest MOI – Mountain View is at .56 of a month (about 2 weeks), Sunnyvale at .66 month (about 2.5 – 3 weeks), Cupertino at .8 of a month, Palo Alto .81. All of these are very, very red hot seller’s markets. Every area, city or town studied was a hot market except for Monte Sereno, which at any given time has few listings and few sales plus a wide range of pricing, so often for this small city it’s best to look at the Los Gatos and Saratoga stats to see what’s really happening. A few very high priced listings may make the whole area look slow, when it fact it may be just a function of the pricing tier. Continue reading
Mini update for Santa Clara County as a whole as of September 17, 2012 for houses in SCC:
Actives = 1295
Regular sales for sale = 1157 (89%
Short sales for sale = 95 (7%)
Bank owned houses for sale = 43 (3%)
Sold in the last 30 days = 859
Regular sales closed in last 30 days = 675 (79%)
Short sales closed in last 30 days = 151 (18%)
Bank owned houses sold in last 30 days = 33 (4%)
It seems that although short sales are in increasingly smaller part of the inventory of available homes, they are highly desirable and are showing up in the solds at twice their ratio of actives. Put another way, the absorption rate looks to be higher. Let’s check the math on the moths of inventory:
All houses in SCC: 1295/859 = 1.51 months of inventory
Regular sales in the county: 1157/675 = 1.71
Short sales in SCC: 95/151 = .63 moi (63% of one month!)
Bank owned homes: 43/33 = 1.3
All of these numbers are low, low, low – but the short sales are the lowest of all!
POST FROM APRIL 22, 2011:
Yesterday we looked at the types of home sales around Silicon Valley by price point. Not terribly surprising, most of the short sales and bank owned homes were in the lowest price ranges. Today we’ll look at this type of information not by pricing tier but instead by geography – in other words, by either town, city or district of San Jose (area). This post will not cover every area but will be a sampling a few communities, mostly on the west side of the valley (since that’s primarily where I work).
By way of reminder, the small image to the left reflects Santa Clara County’s houses for sale as a whole – all areas and all price points. (You can see the full sized image by clicking on it.) The green area represents “regular home sales” and the brick red and light orange signify distressed properties listed on the MLS for sale (red is short sales and orange is bank owned or REOs). Next let’s see a few regions within the county to see how things are faring geographically.
1. Almaden Valley area of San Jose – homes listed for sale by type – very few distressed properties on the market!
Almaden is a lovely southwest San Jose suburban community (zip code 95120) that grew up initially with the cinnabar or mercury mining activity. Today it’s an upscale area of more expensive homes than most of the county, it enjoys really good schools and scenic views of the coastal range as well as the Santa Teresa Foothills. Housing here is costly but residents love the quality of life. Since the cost of homes for sale here is high, it’s not super surprising, after seeing yesterday’s post, that there are very few distressed homes on the market here. Next we’ll check the other extreme…. 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.
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
AreaVibes.com ranks cities all over the United States and recently came out with the top 100 for California. Many of our Silicon Valley cities and towns made the grade!
- Los Altos Hills # 3
- Monte Sereno # 6
- Los Altos # 8
- Saratoga # 9
- Palo Alto # 10
- Foster City # 11
- Cupertino # 26
- Mountain View # 27
- Belmont # 29
- San Carlos # 35
- Menlo Park # 38
- Woodside # 46
- Portola Valley # 50
- Atherton # 64
- Los Gatos # 67
- Sunnyvale # 82
- Scotts Valley # 89
- Daly City # 96
They called the Loyola area of Los Altos a city and it was on this list too (# 39 ) but it is only a district, not a city or town. Surprising, then, that they didn’t include Almaden Valley (part of San Jose) or other nice districts as well.
To see the entire list, please visit their website:
Finding a home to rent in Silicon Valley can be an enormous challenge. Most Realtors don’t do rentals (since very few are offered on our MLS), so consumers looking to find rental housing are often doing it on their own. This can be especially tough if you are relocating to the San Jose area!
Who you gonna call?
In my experience, the best places to find homes to rent, besides literally driving through neighborhoods, is online with Craigslist or via Bay Rentals. Bay Rentals does charge a fee but they do great work and you will know you’re not getting scammed.
Below you can browse properties offered for rent in Los Gatos, Monte Sereno and Saratoga. There aren’t very many of them but it’s a piece of the information puzzle.
$6,300 : 204 Edelen AVE, LOS GATOS3 beds, 2 baths
See all Real estate in the city of Los Gatos.
(all data current as of 7/23/2017)
Listing information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Read full disclaimer.
Sorry, but we couldn't find any results in the MLS that match the specified search criteria.
$10,000 : 18584 Sobey RD, SARATOGA4 beds, 5 baths
$4,200 : 20120 Sea Gull WAY, SARATOGA3 beds, 2 baths
$6,000 : 12389 Larchmont AVE, SARATOGA4 beds, 3 baths
$4,950 : 20485 Williams AVE, SARATOGA3 beds, 2 baths
$3,400 : 20350 Zorka AVE, SARATOGA2 beds, 1 bath
See all Real estate in the city of Saratoga.
(all data current as of 7/23/2017)
Listing information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Read full disclaimer.
The Silicon Valley real esate market is heating up but it’s not heating “evenly”. Some price points and areas (or school districts) enjoy a hot seller’s market while other segments are lagging. A big factor in the overall health of the realty market in the San Jose area is the percentage of listings which are distressed properties, meaning short sales and bank owned homes. Today we’ll see the ratios of these homes to the regular sales using graphs to get a quick visual take on the market trends and statistics.
Today we’ll look at homes listed on the MLS in all of Santa Clara County (including San Jose, Campbell, Los Gatos, Saratoga etc.) by price point. All of the graphs in this post will reference houses and duet homes combinesd(about 99% houses), not condos or townhomes.
Overall, it looks like about 1/3 of all homes for sale in the county are distressed sales. Next let’s look at this data by price point and then we’ll check it by area. The images below will be smaller but the colors will represent the same elements in each one (green being regular sales, brick being short sales and light orange being REOs).