Santa Clara

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!

Today I was showing homes in Santa Clara to my buyers and saw one home with very “funky” (non compliant) strapping around the hot water heater. It was weird enough that I took a photo!


Unusual here – and confused – is the slanted lower strap that is in the top half as well as the bottom half of the water heater and goes around the ducting. Really bizarre!

What water heater strapping DOES require is a hefty strap in the top third and another in the bottom third of the water heater. Blocking may be required too. To see all of the requirements per the State of California, see the online directions for strapping water heaters (a how-to).

The tide is turning for Silicon Valley real estate: fewer listings are coming onto the market and more homes are being purchased by homebuyers anxious to get into a house before interest rates rise and the $8000 first time homebuyer’s credit expires.

The shift is most visible in areas with the most affordability, but even is more upscale, higher priced areas, it’s still a noticeable change.

Today I’ll share with you a series of graphs, by area, of single family homes in terms of new listings, current inventory, and pending sales (sales under contract).  These were created using our mls system (information deemed reliable but not guaranteed).

Here’s the “key” (since if I put it alongside each image it would not fit without making all of it unreadable):

color key

Description of each graph is ABOVE the image.

Almaden Valley (95120 area of San Jose) this is a more expensive part of Santa Clara County, but the market improvement is very clear. Cool market.

Almaden Valley San Jose pending home sales trends

Blossom Valley (95123 and 95136 zip codes, an area of San Jose) – this is a very affordable part of Silicon Valley and has taken a huge hit on the “price rollback”.  But it’s getting better now – note the rise in sales, low number of new homes coming on the market and overall lessening of inventory. Number of pendings is almost the same as the total inventory. Hot market.

Blossom Valley area of San Jose real estate pending trends

Cambrian Park (95124 & 95118 area of San Jose) – trends among listings, inventory, and sales for single family homes. The trend of less inventory and more sales is quite evident. Warm market overall – very hot under $500,000, cool in higher price ranges. (But hot only if prices are deeply reduced.)

Cambrian Park pending sale and inventory trends

Continue reading

Los Gatos and Saratoga, CAMoney Magazine’s 25 Top Earning Towns list (of residents with the highest median incomes) included three of our prized Silicon Valley communities: Saratoga (ranked #4), Los Altos (ranked #6) and Los Gatos (ranked #19). That’s quite a show! Of course, it doesn’t necessarily reflect the highest standard of living, as our real estate is quite pricey here, particularly in those three areas. (Monte Sereno isn’t mentioned, possibly because of its smaller size. If Almaden Valley were its own town, it probably would have made the list too.)

What do these three areas have in common, besides attracting high earners?

All have excellent public schools, scenic beauty, and low crime. Each one has a vibrant downtown area and a sense of community identity with festivals and events happening throughout the year. All of them have a history connected to the orchards, vineyards, and agriculture of days past and even today tend to have a lot of trees and open spaces. You can find wineries in or near each of them too, and farmer’s markets are found in each community also. All are nestled into the western foothills of Silicon Valley.

They are all unique, of course, with pros and cons depending on your own focus for commute, amenities, and even weather (Los Altos is closer to the bay and a little cooler than Los Gatos). If you want to go to San Francisco frequently, Los Altos will be more convenient. If you want to go to Santa Cruz and Monterey more often, Los Gatos will be closer.

How’s the real estate market in Santa Clara, California? In a nutshell, it’s doing much better than the majority of Santa Clara County or Silicon Valley. Let’s look at the absorption rate first, which is the rate at which the current inventory would sell off if no new homes were to come on the market and properties would continue selling at the current rate. The National Association of Realtors says that 6 months or less of inventory is a sellers market whereas more than 6 months reflects a buyers lunch.

Santa Clara CA real estate absorption rates

As you can see on the absorption rate chart above, the condo market has had its ups and downs, faring better than the single family market five months of the nine so far this year, but faring far, far worse on the others.

Next let’s track the data for Santa Clara’s houses, and afterwards, condos and townhomes.

Real Estate Statistics for Single Family Homes in Santa Clara, CA

Trends At a Glance Sep 2008 Previous Month Year-over Year
Median Price $662,500 $616,500 (+7.5%) $742,250 (-10.7%)
Average Price $681,878 $654,516 (+4.2%) $762,340 (-10.6%)
No. of Sales 46 42 (+9.5%) 50 (-8.0%)
Active 188 206 (-8.7%) 192 (-2.1%)
Sale vs. List Price 98.4% 98.0% (+0.4%) 98.2% (+0.2%)
Days on Market 39 49 (-19.7%) 39 (+0.5%)

Things seem to be improving. It will be good to keep an eye on this market to see if this month was just a blip or if the market is truly on its way back up.

Real Estate Statistics for Condominiums and Townhouses in Santa Clara, CA

Trends At a Glance Sep 2008 Previous Month Year-over Year
Median Price $507,500 $412,000 (+23.2%) $495,475 (+2.4%)
Average Price $492,786 $467,405 (+5.4%) $498,054 (-1.1%)
No. of Sales 14 25 (-44.0%) 20 (-30.0%)
Active 100 90 (+11.1%) 134 (-25.4%)
Sale vs. List Price 98.1% 97.1% (+1.0%) 98.9% (-0.8%)
Days on Market 28 50 (-43.8%) 45 (-37.6%)

Prices seem to be on their way up and inventory is up from last month but down from last year, and days on the market are down too. The Santa Clara condo market appears to be improving so this is definitely something to watch. Buyers, this may be a great time to buy a condo in Santa Clara!

Earlier today I updated my series on Silicon Valley short sales at my Live in Los Gatos blog, where I’ve been tracking the number of active listings in select parts of Santa Clara County which are offered for sale as short sales. Below please find the areas and dates I’ve charted:

3/26/2008 5/18/2008 7/19/2008 9/18/2008
Los Gatos 5 8 7 9
Monte Sereno 1 0 0 1
Saratoga 0 1 4 3
Los Gatos Mtns 3 2 3 0
Cambrian Park 59 63 68 49
Santa Clara 56 63 69 75
Campbell 13 19 23 20
Cupertino 1 1 0 1
Los Altos 0 2 1 0
Sunnyvale 50 58 51 48
Blossom Valley 196 217 190 177
San Jose (all) 1534 1777 1708 1578

To read the entire post, please continue on to Silicon Valley Short Sale Snapshot.


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Mary Pope-Handy
Sereno Group Real Estate
214 Los Gatos-Saratoga Rd
Los Gatos, CA 95030
408 204-7673
Mary (at)
License# 01153805

Selling homes in
Silicon Valley:
Santa Clara County,
San Mateo County, and
Santa Cruz County.
Special focus on:
San Jose, Los Gatos,
Saratoga, Campbell,
Almaden Valley,
Cambrian Park.
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2009: Sellsius list of top
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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
Active Rain and Inman News.

Non blog award

Best real estate agent in Silicon Valley from the San Jose Mercury News poll of readers in 2011
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2011 readers' poll,
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