Saratoga

Saratoga

How’s the Saratoga California real estate market?

Orchard and Hills in Saratoga, California

Orchard and Hills in Saratoga, California

This is a fairly comprehensive article on the Saratoga real estate market that will include the live statistics from Altos Research for listed properties (not closed) in Saratoga CA 95070, the closed sale data from the RE Report for last month in Saratoga 95070, and the numbers I crunched for Saratoga – overall and by price point and high school district, since Saratoga has 3 different high school districts, each with an impact on home values.

First, let’s consider the months of inventory by price point and high school district that I crunched using MLSListings.com, our local multiple listing service provider.

The months of inventory is a reference to how fast homes would be absorbed into the market if sales continued at the same pace and no new inventory came onto the market. It’s often referred to as “the absorption rate” – and that can be months of inventory, weeks of inventory, or days of inventory. A “balanced” market is somewhere around 4-5 months for us, though the National Association of Realtors says that 6 months is balanced nationwide. Anything under 3 is a good seller’s market, and under 1 is like saying that homes are “flying off the market.”

(For comparison, please also see a similar article on the Live in Los Gatos blog for the town of Los Gatos – real estate market by price point and high school district.)

Here’s the chart for Saratoga – all price points, all school districts.

And for comparison, here’s the chart from last month:

This month shows steady, low inventory with increasing sales, creating a higher MOI. Despite winter cooling, the market just won’t let up, and an overall 2.375 MOI is still a sellers market. By comparing across school districts you can see how different each area’s individual market can be. The overall MOI for different schools this month ranges from 1.8 to 2.778. Small levels of inventory can create big data swings like, and can make for not the most accurate charts. Nonetheless, we can still spot market trends if we know where to look.

 

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Sketch of houseIt can be really challenging for people moving to Silicon Valley to get a sense of real estate prices, and perhaps more, to compare housing costs from one town or district to another.

One question I get a lot is this: what does it cost to buy a 4 bedroom, 2 bath house of about 2000 square feet?

So to answer this question, let’s see what houses like this are selling for (4 bed, 2 bath, appx 2000 SF or 185 square meters) and see how the cost looks in one Santa Clara Count y / Silicon Valley area versus another.

Today I compared several areas and cities using this criteria: single family homes of 1800 – 2200 SF, 3-5 bedrooms, 2-3 bathrooms, on lot sizes of 6000 SF to 10,000 SF. Normally I would chart this over the last 2 months, or 60 days, but because of the low inventory causing the sellers market I have expanded the search to the last 4 months, or 120 days, for a better range. As of this writing, Los Altos only had one sale over the last 120 days, so data for that segment spans from 0 to 180 days back, or 6 months, and in that half a year we have merely 3 sold.

Here’s how it shakes out in the “west valley areas” along the Highway 85 corridor, most of which are known to have good to great public schools. What areas are most affordable? One way of analyzing this is the “price per square foot” figure. Whenever I update the chart, I re-arrange the order of the cities from high to low based on the price per square foot, although there’s usually minimal movement.

Below are my results from the same search back in September 18, 2015. By comparisson, you can tell that Santa Clara’s average Price has increased, pushing it above Almaden and Campbell.

How competitive is the market? Have a look at the DOM or “Days on Market” figure. All of these days on market are short, but they range from low to heart-skippingly fast.

In most cases, the priciest and most desirable places have either the best schools or shortest commute location or both (Palo Alto and Cupertino have both). Had I ranked these for school scores, you’d find that Cambrian is fairly high up and a good “bang for the buck” location – though not a super short commute for folks who work in Mountain View (though not so bad for people working in Cupertino).  Almaden, too, offers a good value for the quality of the schools, homes, and neighborhoods, though the commute is longer. None of these is especially close to North San Jose (where a major employer is Cisco).

It should also be noted that in some of the smaller communities with less on the market these numbers may not be as stable as others with more data – for instance, Saratoga only had four homes sold matching this criteria within the 120 days of collected data, and therefore may not be as accurate as others, such as the Blossom Valley area of San Jose with the most data at 35 homes sold. For these smaller communities with less data, it is beneficial to look at them more closely – Saratoga, for instance, has 3 different high school districts which have an impact the real estate prices.  This chart is really just a snapshot to give a general sense of the relative affordability of these markets to one another. Continue reading

The Saratoga holiday season begins this Saturday, November 26, 2016, with the Chamber of Commerce Holiday Wine Stroll followed by Tree Lighting & Celebration of Light.

Tickets for the Wine Stroll are on sale now online or by phone for $40 and will be available day-of for $45. The Stroll goes from 2pm to 5pm. Visit the website or call 408-867-0753 for more details.

The Tree Lighting Ceremony will begin at 5:30pm. For more information, visit the website at saratoga.ca.us/treelighting

 Tree Lighting Flyer

  1. 3 beds, 2 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 3,207 sq ft
    Lot size: 12,458 sqft
  2. 4 beds, 2 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 2,102 sq ft
    Lot size: 10,018 sqft
  3. 5 beds, 4 full baths
    Home size: 2,619 sq ft
    Lot size: 9,757 sqft
  4. 5 beds, 3 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 4,481 sq ft
    Lot size: 1.17 ac
  5. 5 beds, 3 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 3,147 sq ft
    Lot size: 12,501 sqft
  6. 3 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 1,910 sq ft
    Lot size: 42,863 sqft
  7. 4 beds, 2 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 2,500 sq ft
    Lot size: 12,893 sqft
  8. 6 beds, 4 full baths
    Home size: 2,989 sq ft
    Lot size: 14,026 sqft
  9. 4 beds, 3 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 3,497 sq ft
    Lot size: 18,687 sqft
  10. 6 beds, 6 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 6,427 sq ft
    Lot size: 43,560 sqft

See all Real estate in the city of Saratoga.
(all data current as of 3/26/2017)

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

Thanksgiving is just a few days away, and there are interfaith services going on next week which welcome all.

In Los Gatos, the ecumenical service is tonight at 7:30pm at Los Gatos United Methodist Church, located at 111 Church Street. For more information, please see a post on my Los Gatos blog, Live in Los Gatos:
http://liveinlosgatosblog.com/thanksgiving-interfaith-service-in-los-gatos-this-tuesday/

In Saratoga, the interfaith service is Thursday morning from 10-12 at Congregation Beth David.  Read all the details here:
http://www.sivicouncil.org/blog/event/51st-annual-saratoga-interfaith-thanksgiving-service/

Wishing everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving! Hope to see you at one of these events!

 

  1. 3 beds, 2 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 3,207 sq ft
    Lot size: 12,458 sqft
  2. 4 beds, 2 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 2,102 sq ft
    Lot size: 10,018 sqft
  3. 5 beds, 4 full baths
    Home size: 2,619 sq ft
    Lot size: 9,757 sqft
  4. 5 beds, 3 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 4,481 sq ft
    Lot size: 1.17 ac
  5. 5 beds, 3 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 3,147 sq ft
    Lot size: 12,501 sqft

See all Real estate in the city of Saratoga.
(all data current as of 3/26/2017)

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

How's The Luxury Home Market?Luxury home sales are a little sluggish in the west valley areas of Santa Clara County. Right now in Almaden Valley, Los Gatos, Monte Sereno and Saratoga, there are 97 houses for sale listed at or more than two million dollars (just checked MLSListings.com), but in the last 30 days only 27 have sold and closed escrow in those same areas and price ranges. For the Almaden – Saratoga region generally, then, there are 3.6 months of inventory in the over two million dollar price range (97 / 27).  That makes it barely a seller’s market, though things have livened up since June. (In the same region, there are 25 pending sales.)

Next we’ll look at these four Silicon Valley communities separately to see how the luxury market in each one is faring overall.

Almaden Valley (San Jose, 95120)

Currently in Almaden there are 8 houses for sale which are listed at or over $2,000,000.  In the last 30 days, just 1 sold (with 1 property pending sale).  That makes for a whooping eight “months of inventory.” That would mean this luxury market is not in a seller’s market. It’s a deep buyer’s market in Almaden Valley among the most expensive real estate offerings for sale. Five to six months is balanced and over six is a buyer’s market. Continue reading

Did you know that locals in Saratoga  once had a two-day long party to celebrate a road? Those party animals!

Saratoga Toll Rd

Congress Springs Road is the name given to a stretch of Highway 9 as it passes through Saratoga, where it is also called Big Basin Way. East of 35, the road follows Saratoga Creek between the Saratoga Gap Open Space Preserve and Sanborn County Park to the edge of downtown Saratoga, or Saratoga Village, near the intersection with Ambric Knolls Road (as indicated on Google Maps).

The origins of Congress Springs Road (and this portion of 9) came from a committee of private investors in 1863 who wanted to build a road into the Santa Cruz mountains to access the expansive lumber resources around the San Lorenzo River and Pescadero Creek. Constructed between 1865 to June, 1871, the five-year project was a significant engineering feat, built by Chinese laborers through dense forest and undergrowth on steep valley slopes. The final track stretched from downtown to Saratoga Summit and was a road named the Saratoga and Pescadero Turnpike and Wagon Road.

The project was highly anticipated and its conclusion was met with a two-day, overnight celebration. Over two-hundred attended the festivities, where colorful wagons paraded up to the Summit before stopping at a picnic and camp site to spend the night with music, speeches, and a lavish trout dinner before the trek home next morning.

Within a year, the road was collecting tolls ranging from 25 cent to 1 dollar (based on vehicle and capacity), and had an established stage route.

The road was purchased by the county for $5,000 on December 29, 1879 and re-named Congress Springs Road on Feb 2, 1880 after the famous Pacific Congress Springs.Congress Springs

Don’t know this landmark? Saratoga is home to natural mineral springs, about a mile out of town, which have a similar composition to the renown Congress Springs in Saratoga, NY. A resort was built on 720 acres around the springs and opened the summer of 1866. By the 1870s, the resort was the place to be – popular with the famous, wealthy, fashionable, and elite, the resort also bottled and shipped Congress water internationally as a healthy beverage and cure for numerous maladies. The hotel featured private rooms and cottages with lush lawns, hiking, fishing (the Saratoga Creek was abundant with fish), hunting, and picnicking on the grounds, and by 1872, hot and cold mineral baths, connections with the Southern Pacific Railroad, and its own dairy, orchard, and vineyard.

On June 15, 1903, a fire broke out in the kitchen during dinner. Despite attempts to control the fire, the hotel was decimated by the blaze. The hotel was never rebuilt and the resort slowly stagnated until it was diminished to a picnic ground and the property was purchased by the San Jose Water Works and closed to the public in 1942.

So what is left of this many-named mountain road? Portions of it have been widened, re-engineered and paved to be a part of highway 9. Sections of the road were not used to build the highway and have since been repurposed as Saratoga Toll Road and Saratoga Toll Road Trail in Castle Rock State Park. (citation: http://www.trailstompers.com/castle-rock-state-park-trail-runs.html)

Toll Gate in Saratoga 1850Something to clarify is that a “closer in” stretch of this road already had a toll booth on it, and a sign in Saratoga Village marks that one as having begun in 1850 – 1851. The City of Saratoga has a little historical background on that earlier toll road (see http://www.saratoga.ca.us/about/history.asp), explaining that Saratoga began as a saw mill (Los Gatos has a parallel in Forbes Mill), and that

“In 1848, William Campbell set up shop on the banks of what is now Saratoga Creek. His sawmill was destined to be the seed of a new community, but before he could complete it, gold was discovered at the western base of the Sierras, touching off the California Gold Rush and delaying Campbell’s plans.Martin McCarty leased Campbell’s mill in 1850, and began improving access to the site by building a toll road.”

Related reading:
Saratoga California neighborhood map

Want to learn more about Saratoga’s history?  Information for this post was collected from a variety of interesting sources, including these:

Signposts II by Patricia Loomis  (wonderful book with short articles on local, Santa Clara County history, particular road and place names)

Blog Posts:

Online archival newspaper resources: http://cdnc.ucr.edu/cgi-bin/cdnc?a=d&d=SFC19030616.2.35

And online book, Pen Pictures from the “Garden of the World”

For an interesting article on the Springs: http://www.fohbc.org/PDF_Files/Saratogas_BGrapentine.pdf

Often I have clients who are interested in purchasing a 4 bedroom, 2 bath home in a good school district in Silicon Valley, particularly in the South Bay and West Valley areas.    Tonight I did a study on the MLS of homes that have sold and closed escrow in the last 4 months with these characteristics:

  • single family home (house)
  • 4 bedrooms
  • 2 bathrooms
  • 1800 to 2200 square feet of living space
  • 6000 to 10,000 sf lot

Disclaimers aside, here are the numbers for select West Valley Communities in the West/South Bay area with good schools. The first number is the average sales price per square foot, the second number is the average sales price:

Capture

And a look at the chart from all the way back in 2011. What’s changed? A lot! The order has shifted some, showing where demand has increased or decreased. Most noticeably, the prices are significantly lower in 2011 than they are now.

The home prices tend to run with the school district API scores.  You can check the 2013, three year average, API scores in Santa Clara County for both the districts and the individual schools online here.         Continue reading

Saratoga Foothill Club - designed by Julia MorganThe Saratoga Foothill Club, designed by Julia Morgan, is a Silicon Valley architectural landmark. It is located in a residential neighborhood near the Big Basin Rd and Sunnyvale-Saratoga Rd intersection, a block away from the downtown area. If you’ve never been, it’s worth a trip!  Go for a couple of hours and enjoy lunch in downtown Saratoga Village, too.

Basic Info

Saratoga Foothill Club
20399 Park Place
Saratoga CA 95070
info@foothillclub.org    (408)867-3428

Availability:   Tuesday through Sunday, 9:30 AM – 10:00 PM (per this writing)

http://www.foothillclub.org/    (disclaimer: events listed on this page are from 2014 and earlier)
http://www.saratogafoothillclub.com/
National Register of Historic Places – Registration Form

History of the Club

I’ll post a very detailed history below.  Generally, though, this club was part of a trend of women getting involved in their communities to both improve the places where they lived but also to improve their influence.  This took place before women were permitted to vote and can be seen as part of the broader, growing civic influence of women.

The Building and Grounds

The architect: Julia Morgan

Today what may be more compelling than the movement behind the building is perhaps the building itself. Fittingly, it was designed by the most prominent female architect in California, Julia Morgan, an graduate of the University of California (Berkeley – it was the only UC at the time) and the prestigious Ecole des Beaux Art in Paris.  She was a sorority sister with Grace Fisher Richards, one of the founding members and the then-current president of the Club.  She was also the first licensed female architect in the state. (She is best known for her gorgeous work at Hearst Castle.)  This certainly was not lost on the women who hired her!  Nor on many other clients – “Of the 480 Morgan projects listed in Boutelle’s Julia Morgaa Architect, 1995, from 1896 to 1946, more than one third were for women clients or for women’s organizations…. Even more impressive is the fact that Morgan also hired-women professionals. By 1927, six of her fourteen employees were women, a remarkable number for an established business.” (Per the register)***

The Saratoga Foothill Club was built out of redwood (outside and in, though the floors are hardwood) with a wood shake roof in the Craftsman or Arts and Crafts style in 1915.  As with many of her designs, it is simple, understated, and made ample use of natural materials.  Julia Morgan was inspired by the local Bay Area School of design.  The bungalow feel fits in nicely with the neighborhood.

The structure itself is a one story building that’s 74′ wide across the front and 60′ deep, plus some pop-out areas around the sides. Inside there’s redwood paneling (redwood is a soft wood), hardwood floors in most of the area (carpeting in the entry).  The kitchen has sheet vinyl and paster walls – more practical. In addition to the kitchen there’s a main room measuring 33’9” x 40’3 and a dining room with an open fireplace – the last two are joined by two sets of accordian doors. There’s a storage room and also a projection room. And of course there are restrooms.  The building is set on a 7409 SF lot, nearly level, with a beautiful courtyard and pergola.  (More info below slideshow.)

Saratoga Foothill Club Julia Morgan designed Saratoga Foothill Club Julia Morgan architect Saratoga Foothill Club side view Saratoga Foothill Club door Saratoga Foothill Club facade Saratoga Foothill Club plaque Saratoga Foothill Club pan

 

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hero-shakespeare-hollywood-768x400 - CopySummer means outdoors Shakespeare! The Los Gatos troupe, Festival Theatre Ensemble, just finished their annual run in Oak Meadow park and Sunnyvale’s Full Circle Farm. But don’t be blue, there’s more to see in Saratoga!

The company, formerly known as the Shady Shakespeare Theatre Company, is going under their new title Silicon Valley Shakespeare for their current season of outdoors performances at Sanborn County Park in the hills over Saratoga. This group has been active for 16 years and is a well-loved regular in the Saratoga summer arts scene. Every year they hold two sets of outdoor performances. The first is a free performance of a Shakespeare play in Willow Street Park, San Jose. Next, at Sanborn Park in Saratoga, they put on two different shows, one Shakespeare and something else more contemporary.

This year performances include Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra, and Shakespeare in Hollywood by a contemporary playwright.

It’s a great deal, too, with tickets priced from $10-$22 and youth 17 and under are free with paying adult. Tickets are available to purchase online, so buy tickets ahead of time. Shows run through August 30th.

Can’t make it this year? Next year’s lineup has already been announced online, so make plans!

  1. 5 beds, 3 full baths
    Home size: 4,015 sq ft
    Lot size: 1.99 ac
  2. 5 beds, 3 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 6,489 sq ft
    Lot size: 29.54 ac
  3. 4 beds, 3 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 2,678 sq ft
    Lot size: 14,897 sqft
  4. 4 beds, 2 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 2,814 sq ft
    Lot size: 1.21 ac
  5. 1 bed, 1 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 864 sq ft
  6. 5 beds, 4 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 4,863 sq ft
    Lot size: 16,117 sqft
  7. 4 beds, 3 full baths
    Home size: 1,850 sq ft
    Lot size: 8,145 sqft
  8. 3 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 1,606 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,141 sqft
  9. 2 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 1,015 sq ft
    Lot size: 1,829 sqft
  10. 4 beds, 2 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 2,514 sq ft
    Lot size: 12,022 sqft

See all Real estate in the city of Los Gatos.
(all data current as of 3/26/2017)

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

Villa Montalvo in Saratoga, CaliforniaThe beautiful estate of Villa Montalvo in Saratoga is home to one of the oldest artist residencies in the United States, and this year the program is celebrating two big anniversaries. With 75 years of residency and the ten year jubilee of the Sally and Don Lucas Artists Program, this calls for a celebration. This past February began the year-long celebration that Montalvo has simply titled 75/10.

With program alumni from across the globe, festivities are being held internationally and locally.

Local celebrations, such as A Toast to the Residency in March, opened the resident building for tours and special exhibit. Annual events are also getting special treatment this year. The Artsplash Celebration in April also hosted a special open studio with the artists-in-residence in addition to its regular schedule of events. More recently, Rock the Garden joined the festivities  this past Friday, July 24th, by going big with more multidisciplinary alumni performances, food and drink, than before.

An ongoing feature of the 75/10 celebration is the rejuvenation of a monthly events series, now titled Open Access: Inside the Lucas Artist Program. The work of artists-in-residence will be showcased with presentations and activities that will exhibit the multidisciplinary approach of the program. This event series is designed to give audiences the unique opportunity to engage in the creative process with current Fellows.

It is a great time for locals to come and enjoy all of the features of Villa Montalvo.

There is always a great array of artistic styles to be enjoyed at the Villa, and most are open to the public. As a part of their ongoing program of arts there will be, and have been, a number of new temporary and semi-permanent exhibits and installations opening throughout the year for public reception. Theatrical performances include many opportunities for families with small children to engage in the creative environment – from puppet theatre to unique fairytales and summer theatre camp. The outdoor amphitheater is known for hosting the concerts of many famous artists, and is popular with music lovers throughout the bay. If you want some natural beauty, the grounds have gardens and hiking trails with wooded paths and spectacular views of the valley up into the Los Gatos foothills, and are open daily.

 

Read more about the celebrations on the Montalvo website:

http://montalvoarts.org/residencyanniversary/

or check out the anniversary blog with the latest information on all anniversary celebrations:

http://blog.montalvoarts.org/7510-anniversary.html

  1. 6 beds, 6 full, 2 half baths
    Home size: 7,951 sq ft
    Lot size: 1.31 ac
  2. 5 beds, 4 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 5,259 sq ft
    Lot size: 1.26 ac
  3. 6 beds, 6 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 6,427 sq ft
    Lot size: 43,560 sqft
  4. 4 beds, 3 full, 2 half baths
    Home size: 5,255 sq ft
    Lot size: 5.07 ac
  5. 6 beds, 6 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 5,161 sq ft
    Lot size: 29,403 sqft
  6. 3 beds, 2 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 3,700 sq ft
    Lot size: 2.02 ac
  7. 5 beds, 5 full, 2 half baths
    Home size: 5,569 sq ft
    Lot size: 3.50 ac
  8. 4 beds, 5 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 4,956 sq ft
    Lot size: 1.27 ac
  9. 5 beds, 4 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 4,930 sq ft
    Lot size: 1.05 ac
  10. 6 beds, 4 full baths
    Home size: 4,148 sq ft
    Lot size: 1.41 ac
  11. 6 beds, 5 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 4,816 sq ft
    Lot size: 2.01 ac
  12. 4 beds, 4 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 4,655 sq ft
    Lot size: 43,560 sqft
  13. 4 beds, 3 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 3,914 sq ft
    Lot size: 1.43 ac
  14. 6 beds, 6 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 3,674 sq ft
    Lot size: 19,776 sqft
  15. 5 beds, 4 full baths
    Home size: 4,300 sq ft
    Lot size: 34.11 ac
  16. 5 beds, 3 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 3,147 sq ft
    Lot size: 12,501 sqft
  17. 5 beds, 3 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 4,481 sq ft
    Lot size: 1.17 ac
  18. 4 beds, 3 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 4,631 sq ft
    Lot size: 15,812 sqft
  19. 5 beds, 3 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 3,152 sq ft
    Lot size: 13,329 sqft
  20. 4 beds, 4 full, 2 half baths
    Home size: 4,203 sq ft
    Lot size: 12,283 sqft

See all Real estate in the city of Saratoga.
(all data current as of 3/26/2017)

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

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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


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