Monte Sereno

Monte Sereno

Monte Sereno is an upscale, small city of about 4,000 residents. It shares police, parks, library and school services with neighboring Los Gatos and the residents of Monte Sereno tend to be very involved in the life of Los Gatos for that reason. In a sense, they are like sister cities living next door to each other.

Monte Sereno is not just a mini-me of Los Gatos, though.  Unlike its larger next door neighbor, there’s no industry in this city.  Aside from the post office and city offices, it’s 100% residential: there are no commercial buildings whatsoever. And it’s pricey! Houses tend to be a bit more expensive in MS, even though it has the same schools (a larger driver of home values in Silicon Valley) and zip codes with LG. There are a good number of estate properties and luxury homes too. Looking for an exclusive neighborhood? This will fill that bill – along with much of Los Gatos and Saratoga.

How’s the real estate market in Monte Sereno?

I update my readers via this blog and also via my Live in Los Gatos blog fairly often on various Silicon Valley communities, including Monte Sereno. Here are a couple of resources for keeping a pulse on the market trends and statistics in this neat little city:

Properties for Sale in Monte Sereno CA

The vast majority of residential real estate in Monte Sereno is single family homes (houses & duet homes), but there are a few townhouses in the city limits too (some townhouses are held in PUD ownership, others in condominium ownership). Also, most (99%) of Monte Sereno is in the 95030 zip code (tiniest of fractions in 95032) and in the Los Gatos School District (tiny fraction in Moreland schools).

At any given time there are usually fewer than 50 houses or homes for sale. Below are the listings currently on our MLS, beginning with those listed most recently. If you click through, you may also view the available properties via map – an easy way to get a lay of the land!

  1. 6 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,758 sq ft
    Lot size: 7,143 sqft
  2. 3 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,862 sq ft
    Lot size: 12,218 sqft
  3. 5 beds, 5 baths
    Home size: 5,100 sq ft
    Lot size: 1.00 ac
  4. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 3,209 sq ft
    Lot size: 1.03 ac
  5. 4 beds, 4 baths
    Home size: 3,900 sq ft
    Lot size: 18,817 sqft

See all Real estate in the city of Monte Sereno.
(all data current as of 7/21/2017)

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

With our 300 sunny days per year in Silicon Valley (at least most years!), golf is a sport enjoyed year round here in the San Jose area.  Living near a golf course, or having a golf course view, is highly desirable as it provides scenic open space as well as convenience for avid golfers.

Silicon Valley Golf Homes, Silicon Valley Golf Properties

There are beautiful courses throughout the South Bay Area and it’s possible to find small condos with views of them at fairly affordable prices (Sunnyvale’s Sunken Gardens area is one of them).  Today, though, I want to provide a list of homes for sale near golf courses in the foothill areas of Silicon Valley.  Many of these will also be luxury homes. So the MLS list of these houses on the market which you can browse includes these areas:

San Jose areas including Evergreen & Silver Creek, Santa Teresa, Blossom Valley and Almaden; Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, Saratoga, Cupertino, and Los Altos.

There are golf courses to be found in other parts of Santa Clara County too (Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara and more) – let me know if you are interested in these parts and I can send you a link for searching them for similar residential real estate.

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.
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What makes a Silicon Valley house a luxury home? How is high end real estate different from the rest of the market? When is a property not just a home with land, but an estate? 

In other parts of the U.S., spending $700,000 may fetch a 4000 square foot home, new construction, in an upscale gated community with country club amenities such as a golf course, tennis courts, and more. Here, that same $700,000 will procure an entry to mid-level single family home in many parts of Santa Clara County. 

Luxury connotes a combination of qualities, features, and amenities. And it includes pricing (relative to the nearby market), condition, land, design. 

Pricing Luxury Homes in Silicon Valley: What Do They Cost? 

Expensive Silicon Valley homes are not necessarily luxury homes. Depending on the city or town, the price tag could be higher or lower. For instance, a fabulous house on a large lot in Gilroy’s Eagle Ridge might sell for 1/3 as much as the identical type of home, land and neighborhood found in Saratoga, Monte Sereno, or Los Gatos, or Los Altos, if a similar home happened to be available. Generally, though, luxury homes could cost as little as $1,000,000 or so in some parts of Silicon Valley or in neighboring counties, but in most parts of Silicon Valley, a true estate type property will be valued at $2,000,000 or $3,000,000 or more.  In some areas, such as Palo Alto, that $2 million doesn’t go too far and the home you can purchase at that price tag may need major updating – or it could be “land value”.  For our purposes today, we’ll use $2 million as the bottom number for estate properties, but it may or may not be the case in some areas. 

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Santa Clara County Condo Market

How's The Silicon Valley Real Estate Market?Real estate statistics and trends at a glance – below please find the data for Sept 2010 and Aug 2010 for all of Santa Clara County. (View the whole report online here – Santa Clara County Condo Market Trends Report. It is updated each month between the 5th and 10th, and this link will always bring you to the most current report.)

Countywide, the condo market has had a rough few years – and this year is no exception.  Prices are starting to nudge up again, but the number of sales remains sluggish.

Trends At a Glance Sep 2010 Previous Month Year-over Year
Median Price $320,000 $347,500 (-7.9%) $328,750 (-2.7%)
Average Price $367,947 $374,824 (-1.8%) $361,880 (+1.7%)
No. of Sales 288 330 (-12.7%) 394 (-26.9%)
Pending Properties 774 795 (-2.6%) 845 (-8.4%)
Active 1,148 1,112 (+3.2%) 1,132 (+1.4%)
Sale vs. List Price 99.4% 99.5% (-0.1%) 101.3% (-1.8%)
Days on Market 60 54 (+12.7%) 57 (+6.2%)
Trends At a Glance Aug 2010 Previous Month Year-over Year
Median Price $347,500 $345,000 (+0.7%) $330,000 (+5.3%)
Average Price $374,824 $403,846 (-7.2%) $378,864 (-1.1%)
No. of Sales 330 298 (+10.7%) 350 (-5.7%)
Pending Properties 795 839 (-5.2%) 837 (-5.0%)
Active 1,112 1,073 (+3.6%) 1,163 (-4.4%)
Sale vs. List Price 99.5% 99.3% (+0.2%) 100.6% (-1.1%)
Days on Market 54 51 (+4.4%) 58 (-7.8%)

Median List Prices of Condos in Almaden Valley, Los Gatos, Saratoga and Cupertino

A stranger graph you may never have seen – it is very tangled looking! The slate blue line represents the Saratoga condo market, which I can attest first hand has been suffering.  Of these four market areas, it’s the most expensive.  The green line is Almaden Valley, San Jose, 95120.  It has been slipping in price fairly consistently this year.  Interstingly, though, Los Gatos has had a softer ride and Cupertino’s prices are rising!

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

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Today we’ll look at the ratio & relationship between real estate listings and sales of houses and duet homes in Silicon Valley over the last eighteen months. The goal is to get a sense of the market trends in terms of the overall absorption of homes for sale.  (We’ll give a glance at condo and townhome sales but the focus is on single family homes.) How hard is it to sell a home?  The answer has to do with supply and demand – the number of listings and the number of sales.

In the graphs below, the reddish brown line represents the number of pending sales.  The blue line indicates the number of listings or homes for sale. Put simply, the closer these two lines are together, the hotter the market – that is, the more of a seller’s market it is.  When they are far apart, it’s more cold, more of a buyer’s market.  If the lines cross, it is a wild frenzy (that does happen in one case, as you will see). Below please find the graph for the homes in Santa Clara County overall (all areas).

Santa Clara County listings to sales Jan 2009 to June 2010

 You can see that these two lines pinch together in about December 2009 to January 2010.  Prices had dropped and investors were swooping in! The  market has cooled since then.

Santa Clara County condo & townhome listings to pending sales March 2008 to June 2010

Santa Clara County condo & townhome listings to pending sales Jan 2009 to June 2010

 For condos and townhouses, all of Santa Clara County:Here the two lines  – or the market – were close together for about 3-4 months.  Buyers understood that condominiums in Silicon Valley were bargain priced, and they responded by buying.Now let’s look at various areas around the county.  We’ll take these in Alphabetical order, beginning with Almaden Valley.

Almaden Valley listings to pending sales March 2008 to June 2010

Almaden Valley listings to pending sales Jan 2009 to June 2010

 As you can see, the market improved but never got as “hot” as in the county generally.  This is because it’s a more expensive area, and most of what was selling in winter consisted of entry level housing.
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How's The West Valley Real Estate Market?How’s the move-up real estate market in the west valley areas of Silicon Valley?  Today we’ll have a glance at the segment of the realty market (for houses for sale, not condos or townhomes) with list prices between $800,000 and $1,200,000 in Almaden, Cambrian, Los Gatos/Monte Sereno, Saratoga, the LG Mountains, Cupertino and Campbell.  (Monte Sereno has very few properties in this price range so it wasn’t helpful to break it out separately.)We will look at a few of the statistics for the area as a whole, but look at the absorption rate or months of inventory area by area.

Recent sales: In all of these areas combined, there were 146 houses or duet homes which have closed escrow (sold & closed) in the last 30 days.  Only 4% total were short sales (2%) or bank owned property sales (another 2%).  Bargain hunters trying to scoop up one of these be aware: it’s slim pickings!

Of the 146 houses sold, ten of them went “all cash”, all but one of the rest were “conventional” (could mean any range of downpayments but a regular loan) and one was listed as “other” so it could have been owner financing. None, of course, were FHA backed financing – the limits are too high for that.

For all areas combined, the average list price to sales price was 99.68%.   Lots of variation from one area to the next, though, just as with the absorption rate or MOI, which is covered below. Cupertino’s ratio was 102.34%, while  in Campbell it was 95%.

Absorption rate or months of inventory: It varies on the school district, price point, home type and home sale type (distressed vs regular sale).  For example, in Almaden Valley right now, overall it is a strong seller’s market – prices are rising, especially in the lower price points, and the months of inventory is a very brisk 1.8 (6 is said to be “balanced”, more than 6 is a buyer’s market and less than 6 is a seller’s market). Short sales are at 2.6 months of inventory overall.  But look at homes selling between 1.2 mil and 2 million and it’s a different story: in that part of the market it’s 5.8 months of inventory – almost “balanced”.

Here’s how they stack up for months of inventory:

Silicon Valley's "West Valley" Communities' MOI for Move-Up Homes

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The Garden Conservancy hosts annual garden tours throughout the US, including here in Silicon Valley.  Tomorrow there will be a (self-guided) tour in Saratoga, Los Gatos and Monte Sereno featuring the beautiful landscaping of four homes plus an Italianate Garden at Villa Montalvo, also in Saratoga.

Tickets cost  $5 per garden per person (kids under 12 are free).  Or, become a member of the Garden Conservancy and enjoy discounted ticket prices. They also offer a directory, which can be purchased, of all the tours nationwide.  Great idea fodder!

How many of the Silicon Valley homes for sale are listed as short sales? How many are bank owned properties? This morning I did some time pulling the numbers out for my readers so that you can see the actual real estate figures.

What’s being counted below are homes for sale, including houses, duet homes, condominiums and townhouses (or townhomes) in the various areas of Santa Clara County listed below.

Area, City or Town Available Short Sale   Bank Owned
Los Gatos 181 7 2
Monte Sereno 35 0 0
Saratoga 117 4 0
Cupertino 95 4 1
Los Gatos Mtns 68 4 6
Santa Clara 157 45 13
Almaden Valley – SJ 103 4 1
Cambrian Park – SJ 134 28 6
Blossom Valley – SJ 198 83 29
Willow Glen – SJ 228 27 14
San Jose (all areas) 1944 574 183
       

As was the case a year or two ago, most of the short sale activity is taking place in the most affordable price ranges. The higher priced areas are not immune, though – but because there are fewer distressed properties to choose from, they get purchased rather quickly, so we’d see a higher percentage of them among the pending sales rather than the available listings.

Today I did a post on this subject focusing specifically on the Los Gatos real estate market in terms of short sales today vs the last couple of years (and the question of whether or not the trend is to rising numbers of short sales available). To learn more, visit the article on my Live in Los Gatos blog.

For bargain hunting buyers of high end properties, then, it’s slim pickings!  In the entry level areas, there’s much more selection but also lots of competition.  Last week I was involved with some buyers in a bidding frenzy in a terribly underpriced Cambrian short sale: it got 43 offers!  (So please remember that the list price may be completely unrelated to the sales price.)

If you’re looking to buy or sell a home in Silicon Valley, it helps to have the assistance of a Realtor with a pulse on the market.  Please contact me for a confidential & no-obligation meeting today!

Are real estate prices rising in Silicon Valley? In many places and certainly in the lowest price ranges, housing prices are going up. I see this especially in entry level homes for sale but also in the most affordable homes in expensive areas too.

In Monte Sereno, Los Gatos, and in the Los Gatos mountain communities it’s often a little different than the rest of the valley, so rather than generalize, let’s see for ourselves. Today I’ll use the charts from Altos Research (by permission – I have a subscription) to illustrate the pricing situation in these areas over the last 90 days among single family homes (houses rather than condos or townhouses). This post will include a series of graphs. The first chart does a great job of indicating affordability – that is, which areas/zips are more easy or difficult to afford.

Here are two snapshots of the median list price of Monte Sereno 95030, Los Gatos 95030, Los Gatos 95032, and Los Gatos mountains 95033. First, one with the 3 LG zip codes combined:

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

Then with them separated out by zip:

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

The most expensive homes in Monte Sereno appear to be the softest part of the market.

A quick word about how “mild” the changes may seem, whether up or down – this is purely a function of the graph having a very broad price range. If we separate it out to just Monte Sereno or Los Gatos alone, it looks more startling:

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

If we do JUST Los Gatos 95030:
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Translation

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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
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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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