Saratoga

Saratoga

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 upscale 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.)

Saratoga days to sell over time 2014 - condos

Saratoga days to sell over time 2014 – condos

Los Gatos days to sell over time 2014 - condos

Los Gatos days to sell over time 2014 – condos

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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Many newcomers to the San Jose & Silicon Valley areas want to buy new homes (or newer ones).  Santa Clara County, though, had a big “building boom” after World War II ranging from the 1940s through the 70s.  At the end of the building frenzy, most of the land was taken.  More importantly, most of the really good land was built up.

How old is the “average” San Jose home for sale?  Probably about 45 – 50 years old, on average.  Depending on where you’re looking, precisely, the homes could be younger or older on average.

There are some nice communities of new and younger homes in Silicon Valley, but there aren’t a lot of them.  Most of the new home communities have houses on small lots.  Some are near high voltage power lines (homes on Taft in San Jose’s Cambrian Park area) or next to freeways (Summerhill development off Samaritan Drive in San Jose).

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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.
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Saratoga Retirement Community - Odd Fellow's 1912 Manor HouseWhen I was 13 years old, my parents moved from Santa Clara to Saratoga, where our newly built George Day home had been constructed against a pastoral backdrop of orchards plus one small horse ranch directly behind us.  In winter, when many trees lost their leaves, we could see past Fruitvale Avenue and glimpse the towers of the old Odd Fellows Home.  I always wondered what that was about and who those odd fellows were who seemed to retire there, in that stately old building away from the main drag.  It was a mystery to me.

Today that same campus is home to the Saratoga Retirement Community, a continuing care facility. The International Order of Odd Fellows still owns this senior living site, but it’s managed by Pacific Retirement Services.  Best of all, it is open to everyone, and you don’t need to be a member of the IOOF to live there.  And, in fact, in the early 2000s my grandfather rented an apartment in the Assisted Living area for a few years – and loved it.  That was before the Manor House was totally rehabbed and again the pinnacle of the community. Continue reading

Saratoga, California is well loved due to its scenic setting, nestled into the base of the Santa Cruz Mountains, as well as for great schools, shops, dining and overall fabulous quality of life. This little city on Silicon Valley’s west side has attracted some of the best and brightest folks drawn to our high tech area.  Because of the high desirability of Saratoga homes and neighborhoods, Saratoga CA real estate prices are sky high – even by local standards.

How bad is it?

Home pricing depends on all kinds of factors, such as proximity to Saratoga Village, whether or not the home is in walking distance to schools, views, lot size, home size, newness of construction and remodeling and many other elements, perhaps strongest of which is the schools.

For home buyers searching by zip code or city name, it’s very easy to get confused, especially if you’re coming from out of the area and do not realize that one city can utilize several different school districts!   Saratoga is served by three different high school districts and four elementary school districts: Los Gatos Saratoga Joint Union High School District or LGSUHSD (with Saratoga elementary and middle schools), Fremont Union High School District or FUHSD (with Cupertino elementary & middle schools), Campbell Union High School District or CUHSD (with Campbell & Moreland elementary and middle school districts).  Today we’ll view affordability by high school district.  As a fairly recent sampling, we will consider houses sold in Saratoga, California 95070 over the last 150 days, or appx 5 months.

How many houses have sold in each district over the last 5 months?  Have a look.

Saratoga CA Home Sales by High School District (Single Family Homes in last 150 days)

 

About 60% of the sold houses enjoy “Saratoga Schools”, meaning Saratoga High School, Redwood Middle School and any of the elementary schools part of this district.  Approximately 31% have Campbell or Moreland Schools, with either Westmont or Prospect High School.  A very tiny sliver, about 9%, is within the Cupertino Schools area (Lynbrook High School).

Comparing Saratoga CA residential real estate on a price per square foot basis

Often consumers want to compare based heavily on a price per square footage basis – something which I have cautioned against many times because it is seldom as accurate or helpful as one might think.  But because of the demand for this info, let’s have a look.

Saratoga California Average Price Per SF 11-23-2013 By HSD

If you are familiar with Saratoga, California, you will find the above graph puzzling if viewed by itself.  Saratoga High (933) and Lynbrook High (946) are exceptionally high scoring schools on the Academic Performance Index or API.  This is not so true with Westmont (795) or Prospect (775).  How, then, can they be priced so similarly on a per square footage basis? Continue reading

A sign from Saratoga: “Education is a journey, not a destination” – well said!

Education is a journey

 

Where will you see this?  It’s on the reverse of the one below.

West Valley College sign

  1. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,399 sq ft
    Lot size: 10,402 sqft
  2. 8 beds, 11 baths
    Home size: 10,500 sq ft
    Lot size: 8.30 ac
  3. 4 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,791 sq ft
    Lot size: 10,027 sqft
  4. 3 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,320 sq ft
    Lot size: 2,347 sqft
  5. 6 beds, 6 baths
    Home size: 8,151 sq ft
    Lot size: 1.41 ac
  6. 5 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,900 sq ft
    Lot size: 24,781 sqft
  7. 3 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,983 sq ft
    Lot size: 20,320 sqft
  8. 4 beds, 4 baths
    Home size: 2,832 sq ft
    Lot size: 21,000 sqft
  9. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,364 sq ft
    Lot size: 12,253 sqft
  10. 4 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 2,625 sq ft
    Lot size: 12,623 sqft

See all Real estate in the city of Saratoga.
(all data current as of 9/20/2017)

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

Beckwith Building in downtown Los Gatos, California

The beautiful Beckwith Building in downtown Los Gatos, California

I have been fortunate to have made 5 trips to Europe, one of them lasting 9 months, and will be returning again before the end of 2013 (this time to Belgium).  It is so diverse, beautiful and compelling! Having experienced a little culture shock myself (when living in Florence, Italy, for one year of university), I’m very sympathetic about how hard an international move can be, and I understand that for Europeans moving to Silicon Valley, there can be an acute culture shock, particularly for those coming from more rural areas.

The bulk of Silicon Valley is located in Santa Clara County, which is at the southern end of the San Francisco Bay.  In this county, there are approximately 1.8 million people, almost a million of them in the city of San Jose.  Some areas, or districts, of San Jose have a distinctive character and are almost like towns or small cities themselves.  So in this article I’ll mention both cities and towns, but also areas or districts of San Jose, which might appeal to our European transplants.   Most of my comments will reference Santa Clara County or “south bay” locations, but I will also mention others on the San Francisco Peninsula and SF Bay Area too.

Architecture, Urban Centers and Charm

It is an unfortunate negative in Silicon Valley that much of our housing consists of ranch style tract homes, and truthfully, they are not exactly a work of art.  New or newer homes tend to be on very tiny parcels of land (or “lots”) and for many people may simply feel too congested or crowded. But there are beautiful residential neighborhoods – you just need to know where to look!  In many ways, the areas with higher charm can make our global home buyers feel more comfortable than if they were faced with only track, ranch neighborhoods.

Do you value unique, older architecture with Victorian, Craftsman, Tudor or other home styles? Then check out these areas:

  • Within San Jose: the Japantown, Vendome, and Naglee Park areas of downtown San Jose. Also in central San Jose are the Rosegarden, Shasta Hanchett and Burbank neighborhoods which all boast some lovely older homes.  Or, if you love classic Spanish Revival style homes with views, consider the old Alum Rock area of San Jose near the country club (golf course).  The Willow Glen area of SJ (zip code 95120) is full of lovely old established neighborhoods with historic homes and tree lined streets.  If your job takes you to downtown San Jose, all of these areas will be fairly close.

Please read the rest of this article on the Move2SiliconValley.com website:

http://www.move2siliconvalley.com/which-silicon-valley-areas-are-the-most-european-feeling/

  1. 1 bed, 1 bath
    Home size: 936 sq ft
    Lot size: 871 sqft
  2. 2 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 1,380 sq ft
    Lot size: 666 sqft
  3. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,649 sq ft
    Lot size: 5,758 sqft
  4. 3 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 1,408 sq ft
    Lot size: 2,800 sqft
  5. 2 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,024 sq ft
    Lot size: 1,524 sqft
  6. 4 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,500 sq ft
    Lot size: 8,555 sqft
  7. 4 beds, 4 baths
    Home size: 2,316 sq ft
    Lot size: 5,519 sqft
  8. 2 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,000 sq ft
    Lot size: 749 sqft
  9. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,232 sq ft
    Lot size: 3,423 sqft
  10. 2 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 1,752 sq ft
    Lot size: 548 sqft

See all Real estate in the 95112 zip code.
(all data current as of 9/20/2017)

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

Scenic Silicon ValleyIf 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

Fremont Older trailsWant to get away for a scenic hike but not drive hours for some time in nature?  The Fremont Older Open Space Preserve may be just the ticket.

Located in Cupertino but stretching into Saratoga, this enormous preserve, which is managed by the  Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, includes nearly 15 miles of trails within 739 acres of open space.  The parking lot is a little small, so best to carpool if meeting friends there, and easiest if you arrive early on weekends.

Fremont Older trailhead

The preserve includes many scenic vistas of the rolling hills, the coastal range, and the valley below. Continue reading

Days on market for several "west valley" communities within Silicon ValleyFor 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!

Almaden Valley days on market and sale price to list price ratio

Almaden Valley, San Jose, 95120 days on market and sale price to list price ratio

Los Gatos is a bit north of Almaden and has many micro-markets within it based on proximity to downtown Los Gatos, the school districts, view of the hills or valley and many other factors. (This is “in town”, zip codes 95030 and 95032, not the Los Gatos Mountains 95033.)  The market is also red hot in Los Gatos! The days on market are significantly longer (36 as opposed to Almaden’s 16), but the sale price to list price ratio is a tad higher here. Continue reading
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
Silicon Valley:
Santa Clara County,
San Mateo County, and
Santa Cruz County.
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Special focus on:
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Saratoga, Campbell,
Almaden Valley,
Cambrian Park.
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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.


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