Silicon Valley

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

Updates at bottom. For original article (May 21, 2010) begin to read below:

Mount Umunhum sits high on the Santa Cruz Mountain range, and from there enjoys spectacular views. Looking inland, you can see San Jose & most of Santa Clara County, on a clear day even as far north as San Francisco from Mt. Umunhum. Turning toward the Pacific Ocean, from Mt. Umunhum’s heights you can see Santa Cruz and Monterey on a fogless day.

Continue reading

Sometimes sellers want to sell their home without the representation of a licensed real estate agent.  But to try to encourage agents to show their home to a buyer, those same sellers might offer a buyer’s agent a commission (often somewhere between 2.5 and 3%, but it varies).  The sellers are surprised when they don’t get a ton of real estate professionals clamoring to see and show their properties.

What’s going on?  Why are licensed real estate sales people sometimes (or often) reluctant to show the home of an “unrepresented seller” (or “for sale by owner” seller)?

There are a couple of reasons why Realtors and other licensees may not be wildly enthusiastic about getting into a transaction with an unrepresented seller.

  1. There is more liability for the licensed real estate professional
  2. There is the risk of “implied agency

Sometimes, as you know, transactions don’t go as planned and buyers or sellers are both unhappy at the end and the whole mess may end up in court.  (Knock on wood, this has not happened to me!) If it does, the judge may well look at everyone involved and find that there was one professional real estate person in the bunch.  The liability may shift greatly onto that person – even if he or she was not representing both sides (was not a dual agent) and was not compensated for the responsibility of both sides. Continue reading

Tough pathSelling a home is always stressful, no matter the reason.  But some circumstances are tougher than others, and perhaps the worst is selling a house or home after the death of a loved one or in the face of declining health, particularly with serious or terminal illness, specifically if the sick individual is living at the home which must be sold.  Today we’ll discuss that situation.

How can you sell a property if the owner usually cannot leave for buyer showings and cannot really keep the home in top condition?

It is of course not ideal to have the property being listed, marketed and sold not show well and if the seller cannot step out when home buyers visit.  But there are strategies which may help.  The goal is to sell the home quickly, which normally will also cause the price to be as high as possible (given everything).

First, before the home is ever actively marketed: Continue reading

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. 0 beds, 0 bath
    Home size: 2,409 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,394 sqft
  2. 4 beds, 4 baths
    Home size: 2,409 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,394 sqft
  3. 2 beds, 1 bath
    Home size: 1,372 sq ft
    Lot size: 5,201 sqft
  4. 1 bed, 1 bath
    Home size: 894 sq ft
    Lot size: 727 sqft
  5. 3 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 1,507 sq ft
    Lot size: 1,197 sqft
  6. 2 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,241 sq ft
    Lot size: 1,498 sqft
  7. 1 bed, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,420 sq ft
    Lot size: 988 sqft
  8. 2 beds, 1 bath
    Home size: 1,152 sq ft
    Lot size: 5,384 sqft
  9. 2 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,218 sq ft
    Lot size: 727 sqft
  10. 3 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,620 sq ft

See all Real estate in the 95112 zip code.
(all data current as of 6/26/2017)

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

1 million dollarsThe average sales price of houses sold in Santa Clara County has been sitting at just over one million dollars for the last four months.  This isn’t shocking to Realtors active in the San Jose area, as we’ve seen appreciation going through the roof over the last 18 months or so.  In many areas, home values are up about 20% over a year ago.  But this fact did make front page news in today’s San Jose Mercury: Average Silicon Valley home tops $1 million.

What sort of home is that million dollar place in Silicon Valley?  To provide a quick snapshot, I ran the closed sales of single family homes (mostly houses but also some duet homes) for the last week in this county.  This is all of the county, both more and less expensive areas, with better and worse school districts, from Palo Alto to Gilroy.  On average, these properties were 43 years old with  living areas of approximately 2000 square feet on lots of about 11,000 SF and had been on the market for 22 days.  The average list price  was $1,055,765  and average sales price $1,089,940.

These numbers are horrifying for people considering our market from out of the area. But here – it’s just how it is.

  1. 3 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,501 sq ft
    Lot size: 5,998 sqft
  2. 3 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,108 sq ft
    Lot size: 5,823 sqft
  3. 2 beds, 1 bath
    Home size: 914 sq ft
    Lot size: 1,546 sqft
  4. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,542 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,551 sqft
  5. 3 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 1,880 sq ft
    Lot size: 1,951 sqft
  6. 0 beds, 0 bath
    Home size: 2,409 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,394 sqft
  7. 4 beds, 4 baths
    Home size: 2,409 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,394 sqft
  8. 3 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,703 sq ft
    Lot size: 2,944 sqft
  9. 3 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,962 sq ft
    Lot size: 8,058 sqft
  10. 4 beds, 4 baths
    Home size: 2,178 sq ft
    Lot size: 2,012 sqft

See all Real estate matching your search.
(all data current as of 6/26/2017)

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

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!

Santa Clara County average days on market and sale price to list price ratio

Santa Clara County average days on market and sale price to list price ratio

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.

Sunnyvale average days on market and sale price to list price ratio Sunnyvale

Sunnyvale average days on market and sale price to list price ratio Sunnyvale

Palo Alto is always the hottest ticket in town. 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.)

Months of Inventory for many Silicon Valley Communitites

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

A common buyer question right now is whether or not the real estate market in Silicon Valley is overheated, if we are experiencing “another bubble”.  If you visit open houses in places like Sunnyvale, Cupertino, and in many parts of the Peninsula, you may see droves of buyers and be convinced that the market is, in fact, overheated.

Silicon Valley encompasses a large area, primarily Santa Clara County and some of San Mateo County, but a few sections of neighboring counties as well. Generalizing about huge regions is tricky.  Overall, though, it is a deep seller’s market throughout Silicon Valley.  But there is a great deal of variation from one city or town to the next, as well as between ages of homes, quality of schools and neighborhoods, and price point.   Today we will focus primarily on a couple of statistics: the ratio of sales price to list price for houses in San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties, and ratio of new listings to sold and closed ones of houses in these counties.

First, though, a look at the two counties combined to show the broadest common real estate trends for Silicon Valley in relation to the sales price to list price ratio and “days to sell”.

Santa Clara County and San Mateo County sale price to list price ratio and average days to sell

Santa Clara County and San Mateo County sale price to list price ratio and average days to sell

The chart above gives a snapshot of the Silicon Valley market, which appears to have had a peak in about October – November 2012. likely reflecting sales 45-60 days earlier, when the days to sell hit a yearlong low.  Since that time, though, things appear to have calmed down.

New listings of houses for sale versus sold homes in San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties

A few days ago, before getting the stats for closed sales in January 2013, I wrote about the trends for new listings of houses in relation to the closed sales in Santa Clara County in late fall 2012.  What we were seeing was that homes in escrow were closing or finalizing the sales faster than new inventory was coming on the market.  The closings in January, though,reflecting sales which began in December, a trend reversal, back to a more normal ratio, in both Santa Clara County and San Mateo County.  December is often the softest month of the year, with few listings relative to the rest of the year and sales at lower price points.  Looks like this December followed that pattern to a point.  Have a look at the charts for both counties and notice the trend reversal, below.

New Listings vs Sold SCC Feb 2013 (Small)

Santa Clara County New Listings vs Sold Houses last 12 months

Continue reading

Many of the statistics quoted by news agencies and real estate information analysts refer to the “active” inventory as not just the homes which are truly available, but also those which are sale pending but with contingencies still in place (whether huge contingencies, such as bank approval on a short sale or the normal ones, such as property inspection and loan approval).  This often results in a more bloated look at what’s available than what is really the case, and it gives buyers the sense that it’s easier to purchase than it truly is. Let’s look at some statistics to see what’s happening over the last year, when it shifted from being a buyer’s market to a severe seller’s market for houses in Santa Clara County.

Normally there are more homes available (for sale, without a “sale pending” status attached) than there are closed sales each month.  But right now, the available properties are being gobbled up much faster than new ones are getting put onto the multiple listing.  Let’s view the graph to see the relationship between these two figures for houses listed and sold in Santa Clara County in 2012.

New listings vs sold throughout 2012 in Santa Clara County CA

At the beginning of 2012, please note that the new listings (the red line) outpaced the sold and closed properties (green line).   The delta between them shrinks over the course of the year, until in the fall they are nearly equal until closed sales far outstrip new listings.   That is a complete flip in the market, and it represents a shift in power from the buyer to the seller, too.  For those who prefer just the numbers, here they are: Continue reading

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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.
:
Special focus on:
San Jose, Los Gatos,
Saratoga, Campbell,
Almaden Valley,
Cambrian Park.
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Valley Of Hearts Delight
Santa Clara County Real Estate,
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Silicon Valley real estate,
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Mary’s Blog Awards
Top 25 real estate blogs 2016
2016: Personal Income's list of top 25 real estate blogs.


Best Realtor blog award
2016: Coastal Group OC's list of best Realtor blogs


The 2009 Sellsius list of top 12 women real estate bloggers
2009: Sellsius list of top
12 women real estate bloggers


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
"Best real estate agent
in Silicon Valley"

2011 readers' poll,
San Jose Mercury News

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