Willow Glen (SJ)

Willow Glen

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

View from a high rise in downtown San Jose, looking east - Autumn 2011San Jose is the biggest city in Silicon Valley (and considers itself to be the Capital of Silicon Valley), is the tenth largest city in the United States of America with over 1 million in population, and it has a very large footprint – approximately 180 square miles. Because of the size, it isn’t surprising that many distinct neighborhoods exist within the city. In my blog you can find descriptions and outlines of these districts or neighborhoods. You can also find market analysis dedicated to different regions of San Jose. Because the areas are so different, the market in separate sectors of the city can change dramatically from one area to the next. If you are looking for a home in Silicon Valley, it is best to consider San Jose by its neighborhoods rather than as a whole to understand the market. Nonetheless, looking at the big picture can often give you a general taste for the market. Currently, it’s a steady sellers market.

Below you will find the Altos Research Charts, a live feed of data on the markets in San Jose. You will also find the RE Report, charts with statistics comparing sales in the last month and comparing them month-over-month and year-over-year. These are both the usual tools I use to gauge a market. Directly below are links to the market analysis of specific neighborhoods in San Jose. Some of these, where I work the most, are updated monthly, and others are updated every few months.

Altos Charts for San Jose as a Whole – automatically updated each week – single family homes

First, the basic charts for single family homes or houses. FYI, Altos uses LIST prices. The RE Report further down uses SOLD prices (which is part of the reason why I utilize both).

List prices of single family homes / houses by price quartile:

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

Average days on market of listed homes (houses) by pricing tier:

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

Inventory levels for the last 3 years for houses for sale in San Jose:

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

 

Altos Research charts for the condomium and townhouse market in San Jose – automatically updated each week

Condominium and townhouse LIST prices by quartile: Continue reading

Willow Glen in San JoseWillow Glen is perhaps the most charming residential area of the city of San Jose with its old style architecture, tree lined streets and quaint downtown area on Lincoln Avenue and nearby. For folks working in downtown San Jose, the Willow Glen area (roughly the same as 95125 zip code, though a bit of 95124 is included also) is extremely convenient. Inventory hasn’t improved since last year, and homes continually sell close to list price quickly, in just over a month. Willow Glen remains in a sellers market.

Click for the complete Willow Glen real estate report with all of the numbers, stats and trends from the closed sales of houses for last month. Further down in this article you’ll find the Altos Research charts as well.

Willow Glen Stats At A Glance

Year-Over-Year

  • Median home prices increased by 13.8% year-over-year to $1,203,000 from $1,057,500.
  • The average home sales price rose by 12.1% year-over-year to $1,240,750 from $1,106,990.
  • Home sales fell by 0.0% year-over-year to 48 from 48.
  • Active listings rose 28.3% year-over-year to 59 from 46.
  • Sales price vs. list price ratio fell by 2% year-over-year to 99.2% from 101.2%.
  • The average days on market rose by 3.6% year-over-year to 34 from 32.

Compared To Last Month

  • Median home prices improved by 0.5% to $1,203,000 from $1,197,500.
  • The average home sales price rose by 1.7% to $1,240,750 from $1,220,210.
  • Home sales up by 20.0% to 48 from 40.
  • Active listings dropped 37.9% to 59 from 95.
  • Sales price vs. list price ratio dropped by 1.6% to 99.2% from 100.8%.
  • The average days on market increased by 4.0% to 34 from 32.

A little cooling won’t take us out of a deep sellers market, but it should ease conditions slightly for long-term buyers.

And next, of Willow Glen condos:

Continue reading

San Jose is the largest city in Santa Clara County (or Silicon Valley) with about one million residents. The districts or areas within San Jose vary tremendously in many ways, including their respective real estate markets.

Today we’ll have a comparative look at the median list prices in the housing market in three areas & zip codes of San Jose: Almaden Valley (95120), Cambrian Park (95124) and Willow Glen (95125).  First, how these three areas line up against each other and against San Jose as a whole in terms of the median list prices of homes for sale in the last year.

Please note: the charts below are “live” html and the commentary is appropriate as of today, Nov. 23, 2015  The charts will continue to change and be updated,though, so it’s possible that a year from now the commentary may seem disjointed.  Now you’ll know why!

First, a glance at Almaden, Willow Glen, Cambrian and San Jose genererally.

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

Almaden prces took a little dip in mid to late summer, and so did Willow Glen 95125.  Cambrian 95124, though, has been very strong (as I can attest from working with buyers and sellers there recently). San Jose as a whole is close to flat.

 

San Jose as a whole, by price quartile is next. It is pretty level generally at this time.

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

 

Next, let’s focus on the Almaden Valley area of town by price quartile also:

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

As we might expect, the least volatile pricing is in the most affordable homes.

Next, Cambrian Park…
Continue reading

First: Days on Market vs Days to Sell:    We should start by clarifying that the average “days on market” includes the properties which do go pending and sell (many of them quickly) as well as those which linger on the market a long time and eventually become cancelled, expired or withdrawn listings.  The average days on market is usually significantly shorter than the average days to sell for that reason.

San Jose Houses – Days to Sell from MLS Listings

Just now, I pulled the statistics from MLSListings for all of the city of San Jose (all price points, school districts etc.) for single family homes (mostly houses, a few duet homes). This is the Days to Sell info, which specifically views the days on market of homes that DID sell as opposed to all homes on the market. Here’s how the numbers shake out:

San Jose Days to sale & SP-LP ratio

As you can see, it’s a strong seller’s market in San Jose, with residential real estate selling above list price (though not nearly as much above as last April!) and homes that go pending doing so at an average of 24 days.  Please note that this data represents the properties that DO sell.  In every market, there are homes which do not sell.  (Usually they are overpriced, but other troubles can be the root of the market rejection.)

Some parts of San Jose are “hotter” than others.  Let’s have a look at the Cambrian area, where I tend to be especially active.

Cambrian days to sell and SP to LP ratio

If we were to look only at Cambrian houses listed under $1 million, we’d find that the market is hotter still:

Cambrian LP under 1 mil

San Jose has an average days to sell of 24.  In the Cambrian district of SJ, it’s a mere 16 but for homes under $1 million, it’s a rapid, ultra red hot 13!!

Other areas of San Jose are also fairly strong, but please remember that any number of variables (school district, pricing tier, exact location or condition) can make these general numbers not apply to a particular property.  Next up: let’s have a view of Evergreen, Blossom Valley, Almaden Valley, Willow Glen, and the Campbell border area of San Jose. Continue reading

Hacienda Gardens smaller modelThe Hacienda Gardens subdivision in San Jose straddles the Willow Glen and Cambrian districts, and it enjoys the highly regarded Cambrian schools. Homes and lots tend to be a little on the small side, so prices are relatively affordable as Willow Glen or Cambrian neighborhoods go, especially for such a strong school district. As San Jose real estate goes, this is a good value area due to great schools, more modest prices and lots of great amenities in the immediate area.

What are homes like in the Hacienda Gardens neighborhood?

There are around 550 houses in this San Jose subdivision. They were built originally in 1953 and 1954, though some may be newer or rebuilt since then.  Ranch style homes, they were constructed with 3-4 bedrooms and 1 or 2 bathrooms and came with an attached one or two car garage.  The builder used slab foundations and wall heaters, but many home owners have since added forced air heat (and central air conditioning).

Square footage of these houses runs from 1060 SF to 1400 SF in 82% of the homes (I crunched the numbers using county real estate records via the Realist Report), but 78 are larger than this (18%) and one is a hair over 3,000 SF.

Most of the neighborhood has parcels of around 5500 square feet, as a ballpark. I ran the data on this too and found 486 of the 550 or so homes had lot sizes of 6000 SF or less (88% of the homes). But just like with the house sizes, there are a few that are bigger – 64 or 12% are larger than this, and the largest parcels are 1/4 acre or more.

There’s some new construction close to the shopping center too – it was built in very recent years. When I get more info on those homes, I will update this article.

Where is the Hacienda Gardens area?

Hacienda Gardens appx boundariesThis corner of San Jose is entirely in the 95124 zip code, but about one third is north of Foxworthy (and just south of beautiful Doerr Park), which our MLS refers to as the Willow Glen area, and the other two thirds is between Foxworthy and Hillsdale, just west of Meridian Avenue, in the Cambrian area.

Adjacent to this neighborhood is the Hacienda Gardens Shopping Center, which runs between Hillsdale, Meridian, and Foxworthy Avenues. In recent years that shopping center changed hands and has been given a gorgeous facelift, making it a place neighbors will appreciate having in close proximity. It is home to a good-sized Rite Aid store, the long-term tenant Hometown Buffett, and a number of other restaurants offering pizza, Chinese food, and BBQ as well as other shops, institutions, and stores, such as Wells Fargo. Continue reading

“Red flags” are clues that something is wrong or potentially wrong. They’re the hints that we need to investigate something further, the sign that we should be on alert.

Some parts of San Jose, and Silicon Valley generally, enjoy beautiful older homes with classic styling and beautiful finishing work.  These properties and neighborhoods are prized because they are not cookie cutter, not ranch, not too new.  They may be Victorian, Craftsman, Spanish, or any number of other interesting architectural styles.

One area of Santa Clara County that is well known for both charming historic homes and unfortunately also some stuctural issues among those older houses is the Willow Glen district of San Jose.

Willow Glen Foundation Red FladOn Saturday I showed some clients about a half dozen homes, all in Willow Glen, and we saw a lot of “red flags” which hinted of foundation problems, among others.  I thought I’d share a few pics I snapped at one of them with my treo camera here.  All of these were taken on the front porch of this house – all visible structural  “red flags” before we ever set foot into the house.
Continue reading

Yesterday on my way home from a final walk through on a property in Blossom Valley, I stopped by some open houses – following signs, just like a lot of consumers do.  At one of the homes I spoke with a Realtor who’s starting to see a slowing in the real estate market.  That hasn’t been my own experience, so I asked him about his take on things and he mentioned the rising inventory in areas where he’s active in Silicon Valley.

There are many ways to get a pulse on the market, but perhaps one of the easiest ways to check it is to see the sale price to list price ratio and the days on market.  MLSListings, my local multiple listing service (of which I am a member), does some wonderful things with interactive graphs and charts, so I made use of that tool to see how San Jose is faring as a whole and also in some of the zip codes where I sometimes sell homes.  The charts below are for single family homes (not condos, townhomes, duplexes, etc.) and are by zip code for all price ranges.  Remember, stats are easily skewed one way or the other, and we might have seen different results if we teased it out by home size, lot size, school district, price point, presence of an in-ground pool, or any other factors.  This is the “big picture”.  First, then, San Jose as a whole.

San Jose AV DOM and SP to LP ratio all prices

What we see here is that homes are selling faster (shorter and shorter DOM or Days on Market) and a rising sales price to list price ratio.  Both of these indicate a strong seller’s market for the city of San Jose as a whole. Next, we’ll list a sampling of zip codes in San Jose, primarily along the west side (where I tend to be more active in my sales) but not exclusively so.  I’m putting these in numerical order.

Real estate market trends in San Jose 95112 - Downtown San Jose

In San Jose’s 95112 zip code, which is Downtown San Jose, it’s a mixed bag.  The sale price to list price ratio is rising (seller’s market) but the days on market are also rising (softening market).  This area would require more information – it could be that a few homes have been on the market for a very long time and skewing the stats, or homes in certain price points are just not selling.  From this vantage, though, it looks like 95112 is mixed.

Next: 95117, 95118, 95120, 95123, 95125, 95126, 15129, 95136, 95148

Continue reading

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.
Continue reading

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

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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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.


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