How’s the Mountain View real estate market? This is one of the very hottest areas within Silicon Valley and is home to a myriad of high tech companies and in a stone’s throw of others. With a charming and walkable downtown, easy access to CalTrain and a vibrant atmosphere conducive to both work and play, it is no wonder that people relocating to the San Francisco Bay Area or Silicon Valley place Mountain View squarely in their target.
All that popularity comes at a cost, though. Prices have been sky high here for years, both for rentals and for home purchasing. The good news, though, for those with property or those who take the plunge and buy: it doesn’t look like Mountain View is going to lose its appeal anytime soon.
In this article, which is updated periodically, we will include live Altos Charts which automatically update weekly (so bookmark this page!) as well as monthly insights from the Real Estate Report for Mountain View. And time to time it will be enhanced with “in the trenches” commentary, too.
Overview of the city of Mountain View’s residential real estate market for houses:
Here are the statistics for sales in the last few months. You can see that the average days on market have risen to 28 days and inventory is down slightly. Prices are up month-over-month with homes on average selling over list price at a whooping 110.5%. Overall, there’s been some warming in the Mountain View housing market, but this is still a steady seller’s market. See the whole Mountain View Real Estate Report online here.
|Trends At a Glance||Aug 2017||Previous Month||Year-over-Year|
|Median Price||$2,275,000 (+9.9%)||$2,070,000||$1,663,000 (+36.8%)|
|Average Price||$2,164,830 (+3.0%)||$2,101,490||$1,711,450 (+26.5%)|
|No. of Sales||27 (+28.6%)||21||22 (+22.7%)|
|Pending||18 (-21.7%)||23||17 (+5.9%)|
|Active||8 (+14.3%)||7||21 (-61.9%)|
|Sale vs. List Price||110.5% (-2.5%)||113.4%||104.2% (+6.1%)|
|Days on Market||28 (+175.0%)||10||22 (+28.1%)|
|Days of Inventory||9 (-11.1%)||10||29 (-69.0%)|
And the chart from last month for comparison:
|Trends At a Glance||Jul 2017||Previous Month||Year-over-Year|
|Median Price||$2,070,000 (+0.9%)||$2,052,500||$1,690,000 (+22.5%)|
|Average Price||$2,101,490 (-6.4%)||$2,245,840||$1,814,480 (+15.8%)|
|No. of Sales||21 (-12.5%)||24||17 (+23.5%)|
|Pending||23 (+21.1%)||19||20 (+15.0%)|
|Active||7 (-30.0%)||10||28 (-75.0%)|
|Sale vs. List Price||113.4% (+1.0%)||112.3%||105.0% (+7.9%)|
|Days on Market||10 (-7.8%)||11||16 (-35.7%)|
|Days of Inventory||10 (-17.2%)||12||49 (-79.8%)|
Willow 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 has fallen slightly since last year. Though close to the same number of homes are selling, active listings are close to 25% what they were a year ago. Properties continually sell over list price quickly, in under 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.
|Trends At a Glance||Aug 2017||Previous Month||Year-over-Year|
|Median Price||$1,391,000 (+6.2%)||$1,309,380||$1,210,000 (+15.0%)|
|Average Price||$1,486,540 (+6.8%)||$1,391,670||$1,247,840 (+19.1%)|
|No. of Sales||55 (+10.0%)||50||59 (-6.8%)|
|Pending||54 (+17.4%)||46||45 (+20.0%)|
|Active||27 (-30.8%)||39||99 (-72.7%)|
|Sale vs. List Price||104.1% (+1.3%)||102.8%||100.5% (+3.5%)|
|Days on Market||22 (+13.0%)||20||24 (-8.6%)|
|Days of Inventory||15 (-37.1%)||23||50 (-70.7%)|
And the chart from last month for comparison:
|Trends At a Glance||Jul 2017||Previous Month||Year-over-Year|
|Median Price||$1,309,380 (+0.7%)||$1,300,000||$1,200,000 (+9.1%)|
|Average Price||$1,391,670 (+2.4%)||$1,359,430||$1,285,800 (+8.2%)|
|No. of Sales||50 (-41.2%)||85||51 (-2.0%)|
|Pending||46 (-8.0%)||50||52 (-11.5%)|
|Active||39 (+5.4%)||37||102 (-61.8%)|
|Sale vs. List Price||102.8% (-2.2%)||105.1%||100.2% (+2.6%)|
|Days on Market||20 (+26.6%)||16||24 (-17.1%)|
|Days of Inventory||23 (+85.4%)||13||60 (-61.0%)|
Things are slightly hotter since last month. Even then, a little cooling won’t take us out of a deep sellers market, but it would ease conditions slightly for long-term buyers.
And next, of Willow Glen condos:
How’s the Saratoga California real estate market?
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 a very stable market with minute warming since last month. The overall 1.48 MOI is a hot sellers market showing active Summer conditions. 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 0.25 to 1.875. Small levels of inventory can create big data swings and can make for less accurate charts. Nonetheless, we can still spot market trends if we know where to look.
Hearing the real estate market “war stories” about dozens of offers on Silicon Valley properties and overbids ranging from 20 – 55% had convinced me that we were in a Silicon Valley real estate market bubble back in early 2013. At least, this is what a bubble looks like, sounds like, feels like, and acts like. At the time I thought, “how much longer could this continue?” Four years and counting – that is the answer.
I tell my family and friends that we are in “crazyland” as buyers purchase homes with no contingencies of any kind, houses sell in 10 days or less (if everything is right, which seems to be the case 75% of the time), and those same properties are selling at well over list price and with much more than 20% down.
The absorption rate, or months of inventory: it is a Silicon Valley real estate market bubble?
What do the numbers say? I just logged into MLSListings.com and see that right now, in all of Santa Clara County there are 817 single family homes (houses + duet or attached single family homes). The pending and contingent homes measure 1074, far more! That ratio alone suggests that the market is in overdrive. In the last 30 days, 950 single family homes have sold & closed escrow. So the months of inventory is 817 divided by 950 = .86 of a month of inventory, so about 3.5 weeks of inventory. (When I originally blogged about the potential bubble, it was 1.8 months of inventory.)
In other words, things are flying off the shelves. And they have been, with only a few minor blips here and there, since early 2012. Does that sound like a Silicon Valley real estate market bubble to you – a crazy strong seller’s market lasting 4.5 years? I could be wrong, but I think of bubbles as being something fairly swift, not a multi year trend.
Homes are selling faster than new ones are coming onto the market!
It’s one thing to say that one city, town, or school district has a very low months of inventory (or high absorption rate). It is another altogether to say an entire county is that low. This is a major trend, not a tiny blip in the statistics.
How soon we forget that after the outrageously deep seller’s market in 2000, we had a steep drop in 2001. Or that all the crazy buying in the San Jose area (and other places) in 2005-06, combined with bad financial regulations, lead to the crash of 2007-2009. But perhaps that enormous “correction”, in which Santa Clara County lost about 50% of its value on average, had more room to recover than we initially realized. Jobs keep flowing in, and housing starts are not keeping up. Supply and demand – the age old equation. That would seem to refute the idea that this is a Silicon Valley real estate market bubble. Perhaps low inventory and strong demand are what we should be expecting going forward. Continue reading
One of the prettiest townhome communities in Santa Clara County is Vizcaya, which features a Mediterranean style of architecture in a community that is extremely tidy and well maintained. Driving in, it feels like you’ve just arrived at a resort.
Where is Vizcaya?
The Vizacaya neighborhood is in San Jose just off S Bascom and Curtner Avenues, but is close to the Campbell border and confusingly, has a Campbell mailing address. The community’s streets are Vizcaya Circle, Vizcays Way, and Pescara Court. The location is very convenient, with easy access to shopping, bus lines, and major traffic routes.
What are the homes like at Vizcaya?
Built between 1990 and 1996, these 92 townhomes are younger feeling and tend to have fairly open floor plans and plenty of large windows. The home sizes range between 2396 SF and 2656 SF, but many are so nicely designed that they tend to feel like single family homes. Lot sizes average around 4,100 SF (pretty big for a townhouse). The parcels range in size from 2480 SF to over 10,000 SF but most are 3000 – 5000 SF.
The homes in the Vizcaya community are condominiums with a townhouse architectural style. (Some townhouses are held in PUD ownership. In some locations, such as Almaden and Los Gatos, there are houses which are condos – or held in condo ownership.) There’s a small pool and spa at the center of the complex for residents to enjoy. The day I took the photos shown in the slideshow, below, painting was ongoing next to the pool, so it isn’t shown.
What does it cost to buy a townhome in Vizcaya?
These upscale properties don’t come on the market too often, but if you are lucky enough to find one available to buy, chances are that it will cost a million dollars or a more (as of this writing in October 2016).
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.)
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.
When a parent, spouse or loved one dies and he or she owned a home, there’s a lot for the survivors to do in addition to the very real and painful process of mourning. I have been through this with my own parents (and their house in Saratoga), a great aunt in Willow Glen and many clients in San Jose, Los Gatos and elsewhere in Silicon Valley.
Where to begin? in terms of settling the estate, it is wise to first speak with an attorney and tax professional about the property (will, trust etc. if applicable) and what they advise and require to help in doing what is required and adviseable. (I have some wonderful people I can suggest if you would like a referral.) They will try to help you to legally minimize capital gains and estate taxes and can advise you on topics such as when might be the best time to sell vis a vis the tax liability. This is extremely important and it can be very expensive to not take into account their guidance on this point, so I strongly recommend that you or other beneficiaries discuss everything with the attorney or accountant prior to electing whether the home will be sold, rented etc. in the short term.
How can a real estate professional help?
Most often, something you’ll need for the lawyer and CPA or other tax professional is a valuation of the home as of the date of death (whether or not there is a surviving spouse or co-owner). You can obtain this by hiring a licensed residential real estate appraiser who will do an appraisal for you. Alternatively, you may be able to engage a real estate licensee (salesperson) to do a competitive market analysis or comparative market analysis (CMA), which would provide the probable buyer’s value for the property. Continue reading
What should you expect when you go to visit homes for sale in Silicon Valley? Here are a few quick tips.
- Many home sellers in the San Jose area will ask that you remove your shoes. So wearing slip ons of some kind will be a lot easier than footwear with laces, buckles, zippers etc.
- Most of the time, sellers will not be home. They wisely will clear out, when possible, to give you the space to look without feeling like you’re imposing on them. Sometimes, though, for any number of reasons, this may not happen.
- If sellers are home, they will usually answer the door or, worst case, respond when the agent and buyers enter and announce themselves. Once in awhile, though, there’s a surprise seller somewhere in the house. (Maybe one time in a hundred? I have run into people who were in bed, in a shower, on a couch and simply not responding.) So be alert when viewing homes, be cautious, or it could be like that scene in “E.T.” where ET and the little girl see each other and scream their lungs out.
- Pets are usually not present and loose, but again, sometimes there’s a misfire, so be on guard for dogs and cats (more likely the latter). If dogs are present and loose I usually will not show the home. I love dogs and own one, but they’re not all equally friendly.
- Personalization: usually sellers will have decluttered and depersonalized their homes so that you and other home buyers can “see themselves” in that space. For some sellers, particularly seniors, it can be very difficult to remove those items until the moving van is in the driveway. So be prepared to see at least some homes with an inordinate amount of stuff, whether it’s family photos, collections, religious imagery or worship space, rooms not being used for their intended purpose, and so on. In these places, you’ll need to be able to see past what’s currently there as the personal items can be confusing. For instance, I have seen family rooms used as dining rooms, dining rooms used as hobby rooms, bedrooms used as prayer or exercise rooms, garages divided into several smaller rooms (with easily removable walls), etc.
- Normally, homes are clean and pleasant to see. Sometimes with distressed properties, tenant occupied (unmotivated residents), homes with invalid residents, or other physical or emotional situations the home may be a wreck. Know that you will probably see a wide spectrum of care for the house and yard.
What about your behavior in the home? Most home buyers are very considerate but here are a couple of things to think about.
In addition to removing your shoes if requested to do so, you should plan on making sure any little members of the family stay with you and are “gentle” on the home and belongings. Children can move fast and not all homes are child-proofed. (I have seen kids go in the opposite direction as their parents and then jump on the home seller’s furniture, open drawers of furniture, etc. – not good.) I worry the most when the sellers have a cat and the buyers have a toddler – often not a perfect combination. In fact, sellers and agents usually want your group to stay together and not go in opposite directions no matter what the ages are.
Home sellers usually understand that someone may need to use the bathroom while there, but in general, of course, they’d rather that this not happen. If you or your kids need to use the restroom, please check afterward to make sure that everything’s clean. The other day I visited my listing and when I went into the master bathroom there were big splotches of urine on the toilet seat. Not cool! (And if the seller is home, of course you should ask permission first.)
If the sellers are home, it’s good to keep any feedback to yourself until you have left the property (or to share it quietly so as not to be overheard).
These are the basics. Happy house hunting!
$1,198,888 : 19937 Beekman PL, CUPERTINO3 beds, 2 baths
$899,000 : 21060 White Fir CT, CUPERTINO2 beds, 1 bath
$1,788,000 : 852 Betlin AVE, CUPERTINO3 beds, 2 baths
$1,888,000 : 6721 John DR, CUPERTINO4 beds, 4 baths
$2,745,000 : 10466 Manzanita CT, CUPERTINO4 beds, 3 baths
$1,549,000 : 10455 Orange AVE, CUPERTINO1 bed, 1 bath
$3,688,000 : 7425 Heatherwood DR, CUPERTINO5 beds, 5 baths
$3,068,888 : 21724 Regnart CT, CUPERTINO6 beds, 5 baths
$3,188,000 : 7808 Creekline DR, CUPERTINO5 beds, 4 baths
$3,600,000 : 21800 Almaden AVE, CUPERTINO5 beds, 4 baths
See all Real estate in the city of Cupertino.
(all data current as of 9/19/2017)
Listing information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Read full disclaimer.
- Accumulating the down payment
- Cleaning up or creating a good credit history
- Deciding your priorities
- Budgeting so that you can live within your means while saving and after buying your home
(1) For most people, accumulating the down payment means saving money. This is very challenging, especially when people are accustomed to living on 100 – 105% of their income! This is an extremely common phenomena. It is always tempting to want to “reward” yourself with expensive dinners, lavish travel, luxury cars and other perks that make you feel like you have arrived. It is harder, but smarter, to see the reward as the fruit of discipline and to chart a goal and work toward it steadily.
How much do you need to save? There are a lot of variables here. Getting 20% down means saving a lot on the financing costs down the road. But if you can purchase with a small down payment (really hard to do with multiple offer situations), you can get there faster and perhaps will pay less than if you wait until you have a bigger down. A few years ago I met someone who saved diligently for more than 20 years to buy a home. Think about what has happened to the cost of housing in that time! Prices have about doubled since then. So don’t spend too long saving, lest inflation eat away at any benefits you get from the larger down payment.
It should be noted that if you are able to buy with FHA backed financing, your down payment can also be gifted from family and friends. That can speed up the time frame. (My 20-something kids will find this of particular interest, I am sure!) Continue reading
Some Silicon Valley home buyers do not want to have their own buyers agent, but instead expect that they can find properties in the San Jose area that they want to see and request that the listing agent show it to them in a private appointment. These same potential buyers may be surprised that the listing agent may refuse to show them the listing outside of a regularly scheduled open house – that is, if the seller is permitting open houses.
What’s going on?
In earlier articles we’ve discussed the need for a buyer broker agreement (verbal at the least, but possibly in writing) and why you, as a buyer, ought to have your own representation at the negotiation table. (If you missed these, see the links under “related reading” below.) Today I want to dispel the myth that the listing agent is required to open up and show condos or houses for sale to anyone who calls and requests seeing them and explain why that’s the case.
Showings of homes for sale are determined by the listing agreement or contract between the home seller, the listing agent or Realtor and the broker
The most important thing for buyers to understand is that the accessibility of the home for viewings depends upon the agreement, verbally or in writing, between the owner of the property and the agent/brokerage hired to market, negotiate, and sell the real estate. It’s not an “on demand” situation where an interested buyer can insist on seeing the property as desired. Here are some of the expected scenarios and reasons why showings are somewhat restricted most of the time: Continue reading