Cambrian Park (SJ)

Bel Estos Drive near Carlton and Rosswood in San Jose's Cambrian areaMy Cambrian area of San Jose Real Estate Report was recently published with the updated numbers from the closed sales last month for this part of San Jose (95124 and 95118 with a little of 95008 too). Please click on the link above to see much more information there.

In this district of San Jose, we have been experiencing dreadfully low inventory of homes for sale, and buyers aren’t backing off as much as usual for this time of year – I believe because there is just a whole lot of pent up demand from upwards of two years in a deep seller’s market. What does that mean? Sellers, if you have a problem home, or one not updated or well maintained, this is the time to sell it – buyers have little to choose from so are purchasing properties that need more work than they would bother with in a more balanced market.

Want to learn more about Cambrian Park real estate, the Cambrian district, Cambrian neighborhoods, school districts and zip codes? Please also see this article: Cambrian Park: Good Schools, Low Crime, Close to Los Gatos and Campbell. Cambrian neighborhoods can be located at the menu bar:  Neighborhoods –> San Jose (all areas) –> Cambrian Park (SJ).

Be sure to read to the end to see the live Altos charts too – they are near the end of the article so please keep reading into the next page!

Generally speaking it is still a hot seller’s market and great time to sell a Cambrian home.

 Please see the whole Cambrian Real Estate Report for charts, stats and more.
Other related Cambrian district resources:
Learn about the Cambrian months of inventory, or absorption rate, by elementary school district.

The condo and townhouse real estate market for San Jose 95124 & 95118

The Alta Vista neighborhood, which sits along the border of Los Gatos and the Cambrian Park district of San Jose, is very highly sought after and valued for many, many reasons. Real estate prices vary depending upon the precise location within the neighborhood as well as the size and condition of the home.

Why is this area so popular?  Most of the streets close to Alta Vista School are beautifully tree-lined, and from virtually everywhere in the neighborhood, you are close to Blossom Hill (that’s the name of the hill, not just the name of the road!). Homes are well kept, streets are wide enough, and except when there’s a school function, there really aren’t too many cars on the street. It is very scenic, pleasant and uncrowded feeling. Although you’re in the city or town, you feel close to the country there.

Additionally, many homebuyers select this area because the school scores are high and because it’s easy to get to the elementary and middle schools without crossing any major streets: that is a big plus! It is also a quick drive to highway 85, just a couple of miles to the Los Gatos shopping areas (at Los Gatos Blvd and Blossom Hill Road) or to Vasona Lake County Park. For many, it’s a way to be close to Los Gatos while paying less expensive San Jose prices.

Prior to being developed for housing, this spot at the base of Blossom Hill was once blanketed in orchards and was scenic enough that it was part of the “blossom tours” that used to take place at the height of the flowering.  Hence, one large section of this neighborhood has street names that begin with “blossom”.


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Close to the Los Gatos border sits one of the more affordable Cambrian neighborhoods in San Jose and the west valley generally. It enjoys lovely views of the hills, great public schools with high API scores, a neighborhood private school to boot, and convenient access to freeways and stores. There’s no sign, marker or gateway to the area, so many of its residents are probably unaware that the official name to it is Cambrian Gardens.

This neighborhood provides an incredible “bang for the buck” for home buyers wanting excellent schools and not wanting to pay luxury home pricing. In many ways, it’s a “sleeper” – meaning that many people don’t know it’s there, but it’s a good deal!

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Convenient to Good Samaritan Hospital, Carlton Elementary School and freeway access to highways 17 and 85, the beautiful “King Street” neighborhood in San Jose’s Cambrian Park district seems to be close to everything. But a drive through the tree-lined streets with tidy homes seems like a relaxing step into the welcoming neighborhoods of yesteryear rather than the hustle and bustle of today’s Silicon Valley.

Typical "King Street" House

As with the nearby Alta Vista neighborhood, homes here show a pride of ownership not found everywhere. Holidays include beautiful displays of lights that invite neighbors out to tour after dark. Many home owners wrap the trunk of the trees between the sidewalk and street with blankets of white lights, making for a stunning look down the road.

The “King Streets” enjoy an uncommon appeal that makes homes here perennially desirable to home buyers. The popularity of the area is due partly to the convenience factor (easy to get to a great elementary school with high API scores, easy to get to the freeways, Los Gatos and Good Sam) and the beauty or neighborhood charm factor. It is a winning combination for this west valley community! Many who wish to live in Los Gatos choose this part of San Jose because it’s on the border, so it is not uncommon for the King Streets to be a first home and the move up one is in Los Gatos.


View “The King Streets” in a larger map
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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:

And a look at the chart from all back in 2015…

And 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 2015 chart shows prices somewhere in-between the 2011 and 2017 levels. Palo Alto and Los Altos remain consistently in the top two positions.

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

Cambrian Park Plaza signCambrian Park, or more broadly, Cambrian, is a west San Jose neighborhood or district and is one of the more affordable, high-value areas in Silicon Valley. The schools are good, the crime is low, and the commute is not too bad. For people relocating to Santa Clara County, this is a place to know about since quality education and affordability are often high priorities! Most Silicon Valley home buyers would say that Cambrian Park real estate offers a very good value.

What’s the compromise for the more reasonable prices of homes for sale? Well, Cambrian doesn’t have an interesting, upscale downtown area like Campbell, Los Gatos, Saratoga, or Willow Glen.

But it does have tons of shopping & restaurants and even a Farmer’s Market. It also enjoys a top notch hospital (Good Samaritan) and plenty of parks as well as a fantastic rec center with a large park adjacent to it, the Camden Community Center, which has tons of programs (including an after school program for youth), classes, and a fabulous pool.  (My family and I lived in Cambrian in the “Cambrian Gardens” neighborhood for 10 years and loved it – our kids made great use of the community center too.)

Altogether, there are about 75,000 to 80,000 residents in Cambrian, spread throughout the three zip codes of 95124, 95118 and a little tiny bit of 95008.

If there is a “central Cambrian Park”, it would have to be near the original Cambrian Park Shopping Center, which was the first actual mall in San Jose! That area is sometimes known as Cambrian Village.  People sometimes use the three names interchangeably: Cambrian, Cambrian Park, Cambrian Village.:

Where is Cambrian Park? Map of approximate Cambrian Boundaries:


View Cambrian Area of San Jose in a larger map

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I am a full-time, second generation, award-winning & enthusiastic Los Gatos real estate agent, serving this town and the county too – a Silicon Valley Realtor. Real estate was my second career after I’d worked happily in the area of religious education (in Catholic high schools) & ministry for several years. Economics necessitated an employment change, and real estate was a natural fit as it really is a “helping profession” and I’d grown up with it. I like to joke that my first words were “raised foundation”.

An area native, I was raised in Santa Clara and Saratoga, graduating from Saratoga High in 1977. As an adult I lived in several parts of the valley, including 10 years in Cambrian Park, and since 1999, in Los Gatos. Over the years I’ve also spent extensive time in Campbell, Almaden, and many parts of the West Valley.

I hold a Bachelor of Arts from Gonzaga University in Spokane (a Catholic university run by Jesuits – in Religious Studies, 1981) and thanks to my parents’ generosity, was able to enjoy a fabulous Junior year abroad at Gonzaga-in-Florence, Italy (1979-1980), which cemented my love of travel and all things Italian. (With some refreshing, I can still manage a simple conversation in Italian – which is fun!) After some teaching, I earned a Master of Arts (in Systematic Theology, 1986) from The Graduate Theological Union/Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley.

Afterwards I returned to teaching religion in Catholic high schools, a very rewarding career, for a few years, until our children came onto the scene. I did a lot of related volunteer work too, with my favorite being as a volunteer chaplain at Good Samaritan Hospital in the early 90’s. Additionally, I worked in the Rainbows Program at our parish, St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception in Los Gatos. Rainbows is a peer-to-peer ministry/support group for kids suffering from any major loss, such as the death of a parent or divorce.

My husband, Jim Handy, analyzes the semiconductor market. He grew up in many places due to his father’s line of work and speaks French and he too loves to travel; eons ago we honeymooned in Tahiti on Bora Bora where he got to practice his language skills (between their Polynesian French and his Belgian-Swiss-American accent it got interesting at times). We have been very happily married since 1985. Jim was a Parks Commission volunteer in the Town of Los Gatos for years, and even now, long after he’s left, he has his ear to the ground on that topic – I get a lot of interesting information about the town’s doings from him!

 

Our two children, Brian & Clair, are now twentysomethings. Real estate is inescapable for them, as it had been for me, and when Clair was in second grade she said, “uh oh Mommy, we have termites!” and had correctly spotted the telltale drywood termite pellets on our hardwood floor; I suspect she was the only second grader with the ability to correctly identify termite activity. So, real estate is a little contagious!

 

Like their parents, they love to travel and together we’ve been in much of the US, plus parts of Mexico, England, France, Switzerland, Italy, and Japan. Brian is now a grad student at USC in Los Angeles, having graduated from four happy years Loyola Marymount University in LA and prior to that, at Bellarmine College Preparatory in San Jose. Clair is currently assisting me in real estate, also graduated from LMU in LA and enjoyed four happy years at Notre Dame High School in downtown San Jose.

 

I hail from a large and loving extended family and it’s a very tight-knit group. In my free time, I enjoy keeping in touch with them and with many old friends (who feel like family) – and actually many friends and relatives become my clients, just as my clients often become my friends. In recent years, that’s meant a lot of time with older family members- something possible with a real estate career.

 

I try to put a priority on family visits and reunions. (And I have spent a lot of time at relatives’ retirement homes so earned my designation as a Seniors Real Estate Specialist). My siblings & many other relatives come here to visit often and I’m happy that usually they stay at my house. As one cousin said, “sometimes it’s as if you have a revolving door at the front of your house: just the way you like it!”
Mary Pope-Handy
408 204-7673
mary (at) popehandy.com
Realtor, ABR, CIPS, CRS, SRES
Sereno Group, Los Gatos
Serving Santa Clara County: Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, Saratoga, Campbell, and San Jose (Almaden Valley, Cambrian Park, Willow Glen) and nearby
California Department of Real Estate license # 01153805

 

Hobbies

Hobbies include enjoying walks in the neighborhood, Belgatos Park, and throughout the San Francisco Bay area – usually with camera in hand and blogging ideas being created! I love to write, hence the huge number of blogs, and wonder if someday I might write a novel. Photography, live music, and travel are all top hobbies too. I often enjoy the Almaden Music in the Park or any of the Los Gatos musical events. In 2016, I was over the moon to hear Andrea Bocelli perform at the SAP center in San Jose.

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…
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Silicon Valley home buyers, sellers, and their real estate agents rely heavily on the professional advice, insights and opinions of home inspectors, whether it’s for the property generally (house, townhouse or condominium inspection) or for some other component, such as the roof, foundation, chimney, pool, heater, etc. One of the most frustrating – and sometimes maddening – experiences for everyone involved happens when these inspection reports disagree with each other.

Either extreme is bad, either “calling” something when it’s fine or missing something if it’s not.  Often resolution is accomplished by having yet another inspector come out OR by having the two who disagree meet at the property to sort it out.

Here are some real examples I’ve experienced first hand over the years while selling residential real estate in Santa Clara County:

  1. Over-called: General property inspector called for “further inspection” of heater, roof, or chimney because he said something’s wrong.  Further inspection ordered by buyer or seller, and paid for by consumer – but the professional for that aspect of the home says it was just fine.  Is it fine or not? The home buyer or seller is out some money and one of the two reports says there’s a problem with it but the other says it’s OK.  (This happened a few times where the general inspector “called” things that experts said were in good working order.  For that reason, I had to stop recommending him to my clients and began working with another inspector who wasn’t so over-eager that he called things which were not bad.)
  2. Crawl space nightmare:  many homes have crawl spaces and if yours does, it’s important to either go down there yourself or have someone else do it for you periodically to check conditions there.  My buyers were purchasing a home near Carlton Elementary in Cambrian (Los Gatos border) and the pre-sale pest or termite inspection (the only one available) was from a company with the absolute worst reputation in the valley, and that report said that there was not one thing wrong in a 50 year old house (highly unlikely!).  We ordered new inspections, both home & pest.  Both my inspectors found a lot of damage in the crawl space, amounting to about $10,000 in damage not reported by first inspector.  The seller’s inspector had claimed to go into the crawl but it was evident that either he didn’t go or he didn’t do it thoroughly.  The seller wanted his inspector’s company to do the repairs but we negotiated for a more reputable provider and got it. Continue reading

In some parts of Silicon Valley, by crossing a particular road or driving a few feet, the whole look, feel and pricing of an area can change.

Bel Estos Drive near Rosswood Drive in San Jose

This is true for Rosswood Drive at Union Avenue in Cambrian Park.  On both sides of the intersection, there are many homes of 1200 to 1400 square feet (some larger too) all built around the same time.  Both are San Jose 95124 addresses.  Both are good areas – but the 2000 and 2100 blocks are  nicer than the 1800 & 1900 blocks of Rosswood and those homes sell for more. Why? What makes one area sell for more than another?

In the case of Rosswood Drive, part of it has to do with the beautiful canopy of trees that line the two thousand block of Rosswood and the adjoining streets (Bel Escou, Bel Canto, Bel Estos, Esther, etc.). Part of it is just that the homes are a little better maintained.  Historically, Union used to divide the schools too, and that used to be part of the higher prices – but that’s not really the case now.  (A similar jump happens along Los Gatos-Almaden Road by Harwood too – same builder, Leep, but prices nudge up just a little for homes closer to Blossom Hill Road.)

How can you tell, from looking at a neighborhood, how it compares with nearby streets in the same part of town generally?  Sometimes you cannot know from looking alone (for example a flood plain, earthquake fault or school boundary won’t show), but I’ll give you some cues as to what makes areas more or less desireabile visually.

These are some things I teach my San Jose area buyers to watch out for (lower values) in terms of appearance and sounds:
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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
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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.


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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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