homes for sale

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. Those charts are below.

First, though, I want to share some info that I pulled from the MLS last night. It does appear that Cambrian home prices have come down quite a bit since the peak of pricing in March.  For home sellers wondering why their properties aren’t selling as quickly, this may be helpful. Also it’s good info for those thinking of selling their houses or condos in this second half of 2018.

The very best way to know what the market is doing is to track the same house as it sells and re-sells. However, most home owners don’t move often, so that is not helpful to us. The next best method is to find very similar properties and track them. That would be such as all condos in a large development with approximately the same floor plan / size.

Cambrian often mimics the valley as a whole pretty well, so I thought I would pull up a representative sample from a hot segment of the market to get my own sense of how things are going. I pulled starter homes with Campbell Union High School District, zip code 95124, with 1000 – 1500 SF, 3-4 bedrooms and 2+ baths.

Here are the averages from March to today (updated Sept 7, 2018):

March 2018 (10 sales)  average price per SF $1,100.53  average sale price $1,429,612
April 2018 (15 sales)     average price per SF $1,138.75  average sale price $1,417,000
May 2018 (14 sales)      average price per SF $1,076.54  average sale price $1,375,643
June 2018 (10 sales)     average price per SF   $980.64  average sale price  $1,258,550 (steepest drop from the month before)
July 2018 (12 sales)       average price per SF   $974.35  average sale price  $1,232,958
August 2018 (9 sales)    average price per SF  $899.29  average sale price $1,176,522

That is a drop in the average sale price of $253,090 over 5 months for this group, or about $50,618 per month on average (though some months it is more or less). The data here uses a fairly small pool, so it may not be accurate for all parts of Cambrian, but it is an indicator of what the market is doing overall since this is a very in-demand segment of Cambrian.

If we input this into excel and ask it to generate a forecast through December (which assumes the same rate of change, which may NOT be true), it looks like this – sellers please note, THIS IS WHAT BUYERS ARE THINKING AS THEY WAIT TO BID:

Cambrian segment forecast as of Sept 7 2018

When I plunked the data into excel, it gave a range of possible values…and of course the actual range is myriad! Where do YOU think these values will be with December’s closings (revealed in January)? As low as $871k? As high as $1 million?

Cambrian specialty search forecast as of Sept 7 2018

Now I need to remind everyone that the market is often not a straight line. Let’s stop and take a look at the county’s sales (average and median prices) to get a sense of that. Although the general trend for the last few years has been upward, please see that there are MANY drops, particularly in the second half of each year.

Santa Clara County home sales and prices

As is evident, seasonally, the market does often flatten or decline somewhat in the second half of each year. The peak is most often in spring sometime. Very often, the peak is in March (again, that means sales the month before, which is February, and that means getting your house all ready in January).  So let’s say that the market does drop at the current rate, in January 2019, this hypothetical Cambrian home would be selling at about $886,000, prior to the possible spring surge in pricing. To get the lowest price means buying in December, not buying in January, most likely. But – December also typically has the lowest inventory, so not much selection. For that reason, if you like a home now, I would suggest buying that home now. Buying a home for yourself and your family is not like buying a stock. You are going to live in it, so you will want to like it. I have seen many buyers try to time the market and end up going through December since they hated what was available, and then they got caught buying in the spring madness, and they paid more.

But who knows if prices will rebound in early 2019 or not. Who knows if prices will continue dropping this year. Some years, we have seen drops followed by rapid appreciation. Last year, prices rose through December, confusing everyone. This could be the beginning of a correction, or it could be a seasonal cool down – a gift for wearing Cambrian home buyers.

If it’s the beginning of a correction, buying now does not make sense unless you plan to be in your home for 10 years or so. If it is a seasonal experience, or a blip, then buying this fall is a good idea, since the new year is very likely to see prices move back up.

Which is it? I do not know for sure. The CEO of my company thinks that prices will trail off for the rest of this year, and then return to their upward march in the spring of 2019 (think Feb – April). When I see the hiring, the Google expansion, I know that people have to live somewhere. It may be a standoff between sellers and buyers on price. My usual advice is simple: if you are ready to get on with your life, and you’re going to stay there 5 or 10 years, buying now most likely makes sense.

Trends at a Glance

Trends At a Glance Aug 2018 Previous Month Year-over-Year
Median Price $1,297,500 (+3.0%) $1,260,000 $1,152,000 (+12.6%)
Average Price $1,315,560 (+0.3%) $1,311,880 $1,182,770 (+11.2%)
No. of Sales 52 (-8.8%) 57 75 (-30.7%)
Pending 50 (-3.8%) 52 47 (+6.4%)
Active 75 (+7.1%) 70 25 (+200.0%)
Sale vs. List Price 103.4% (-1.6%) 105.1% 108.2% (-4.5%)
Days on Market 26 (+52.7%) 17 12 (+117.1%)
Days of Inventory 43 (+17.4%) 37 10 (+332.7%)

 

And the month before:

 

Trends At a Glance Jul 2018 Previous Month Year-over-Year
Median Price $1,260,000 (-4.0%) $1,312,500 $1,140,000 (+10.5%)
Average Price $1,311,880 (-5.3%) $1,385,810 $1,178,450 (+11.3%)
No. of Sales 57 (-1.7%) 58 77 (-26.0%)
Pending 52 (0.0%) 52 61 (-14.8%)
Active 70 (+42.9%) 49 22 (+218.2%)
Sale vs. List Price 105.1% (-5.5%) 111.2% 107.9% (-2.6%)
Days on Market 17 (+39.4%) 12 19 (-11.0%)
Days of Inventory 37 (+50.4%) 25 (+329.8%)

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How’s the Saratoga California real estate market?

Orchard and Hills in Saratoga, California

Orchard and Hills in Saratoga, California

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.)

For most of the valley, inventory is up, prices are down, days on market are up, and sale price to list price ratio is up. It’s still a seller’s market, but it’s softening. If it continues in this direction, it will become a buyer’s market – but is not there yet.

Here’s the chart for Saratoga – all price points, all school districts. Please notice that the months of inventory is about DOUBLE from four months ago. Translation: it’s twice as hard to sell now as it was in mid-April. At the same time, 3.15 months of inventory is still very decent! Also, though home prices can be quite high, the bulk of properties are under $3 million. It’s challenging to sell homes higher than that amount, overall.

 

2018-08-17 Saratoga MOI all areas

 

And from 4 months ago:

2a - Saratoga, CA, Real Estate Market Update

 

By comparing across school districts you can also see how different each area’s individual market can be. Saratoga with Saratoga schools is a little slower of a market. Why? Most likely because it’s a bit pricier than other areas. This area is about 50% slower than it was a few months ago. The overall MOI makes it seem like Saratoga with Saratoga Schools is a bit sluggish. That’s not really the case in most price points, but at $4 million and up, it is a buyer’s market.

 

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The Monte Sereno real estate market is similar to Los Gatos, but distinct - Monte Sereno shares many features with Los Gatos but is a distinct cityHow is the Monte Sereno real estate market? Because the city is small, with just about 4000 residents, there usually are few homes listed for sale or selling, and with small numbers we can get seeming volatility. Last January, for instance, there was only one home listed and none sold!

There are no condominiums or townhomes in Monte Sereno at present (we are watching closely the proposed development at La Rinconada, which is unincorporated as of this writing). One of the major challenges for this city is to ensure that at least some housing units are deemed “affordable.” You can find the city’s housing plan here (a pdf online):
http://www.montesereno.org/DocumentCenter/Home/View/674

Recently closed home sales in Monte Sereno

Here are the quick statistics for the closed sales in the last complete month to give a sense of how things are going with the Monte Sereno real estate market. Sales data comes from my Monte Sereno Real Estate Report. Given that the supply of homes to study is tiny, what can we tell from this data?

It’s true that an average Monte Sereno house is about $2.5-3.5 million, and often higher in the current market – a little steep for most folks! With 11 active, 6 pending, and 4 sales this past month, low data makes it hard to get the most accurate market information. During times like this, it’s more important to look at the trends over multiple months than to base your understanding of the market off a single month, and to compare with similar, nearby markets such as Los Gatos.

Below are the charts from the last two months. Overall, the market is this part of the valley is mostly flat month over month, but up double digits year over year. (Oddly, this market has been heating up while most of the valley has been cooling!)

Trends at a Glance

Trends At a Glance Aug 2018 Previous Month Year-over-Year
Median Price $2,467,810 (-14.9%) $2,900,000 $3,562,500 (-30.7%)
Average Price $2,944,770 (-2.7%) $3,027,330 $3,755,000 (-21.6%)
No. of Sales (0.0%) 6 (+50.0%)
Pending (-16.7%) 6 (+25.0%)
Active (-33.3%) 6 (-20.0%)
Sale vs. List Price 96.7% (-3.6%) 100.3% 97.2% (-0.5%)
Days on Market 21 (-0.8%) 21 82 (-74.8%)
Days of Inventory 20 (-33.3%) 30 38 (-46.7%)

 

And a look at the data from the previous month for the Monte Sereno real estate market:

Trends At a Glance Jul 2018 Previous Month Year-over-Year
Median Price $2,900,000 (-9.4%) $3,200,000 $2,950,000 (-1.7%)
Average Price $3,027,330 (-6.3%) $3,230,000 $3,373,000 (-10.2%)
No. of Sales (+50.0%) 4 (0.0%)
Pending (0.0%) 6 (+50.0%)
Active (-40.0%) 10 (-33.3%)
Sale vs. List Price 100.3% (+1.9%) 98.4% 101.4% (-1.1%)
Days on Market 21 (-6.4%) 22 70 (-70.1%)
Days of Inventory 30 (-58.6%) 73 45 (-33.3%)

Continue reading to view live Altos Research charts for the real estate market in Monte Sereno, including by pricing quartile. 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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How are the key housing indicators in the Almaden Valley area of San Jose? At the moment it’s said to be a hot “seller’s market” overall.  But look closer and you can see that in the Almaden Valley housing market there are clear market micro-climates.  Prices are better for sellers, while buyers struggle with higher prices and less homes to choose from.  Recently we have seen a slight cooling, too – very welcome for Almaden home buyers.

Almaden Valley Housing Market: Inventory of Houses for Sale

Right now I have a few Almaden Valley home buyers and they have all been disappointed at the lack of inventory. What’s happening?

First, let’s see what “usually” happens in the 95120 zip code in terms of the number of houses for sale. Here’s a look at the last 10 years (all available history), care of Altos Research – you can see that it’s been rising since January 1st, but it’s a proverbial drop in the bucket:

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

Here you can see that inventory has regular peaks and dips. Inventory tends to rise early each year and peak in mid to late summer. After the peak is a decline through autumn and winter with the lowest point in the coldest part of the year before turning around again before spring.

Now let’s look up close at just the last 3 years. Again, inventory IS rising, so it’s betting a little easier for buyers, but still difficult compared to the last 3 years.

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

As usual, our inventory bottoms out in winter and then rises beginning sometime after the Super Bowl or perhaps a little later. Right now we are still in “rising inventory” mode in Almaden, so the market should be softening a little. Also, we are hearing of “buyer fatigue”, so in many cases there may be fewer offers than earlier in the spring. Continue reading

Buying a home in Silicon Valley is seldom easy, but right now, it’s nearly impossible with Santa Clara County’s critically low housing inventory.  With slightly rising interest rates getting folks off the fence and strong job growth in the San Jose area – especially since Google announced its expansion in downtown, there are many more home buyers than home sellers.   While this isn’t unusual, the severity of the problem certainly is extreme.    How bad is it?  Here’s a visual cue dating from January 2001 to March 2018 which indicates that this month’s inventory of single family homes for sale in Santa Clara County is the lowest we’ve had for March since 2001 (that’s as far back as I can get the data from MLS Listings). I’ve been selling homes for 25 years and have never seen it so dire.

2018-03-23 Inventory of Single Family Homes for Sale in Santa Clara County (status 1 only)

This is sort of like “inventory limbo” – how low can you go? To me, this is uncharted territory for our region.

I am really wondering if other cities around the world have had this kind of inventory crisis in the past, and if so, what happened to pull them out of it. Obviously, we need more inventory, and that will mean either more new construction, incentives for current owners to sell, an easier way for people to commute long distances to work, or some combination of the three.

How does this impact you?

Many long time residents may recall that we have had a shortage for a few years here.  In January 2012, I wrote about it here: Why is it so hard to buy Silicon Valley real estate right now?  Compared to the recession that had just ended, inventory was low – I can look back now and think “wow, we had no right to complain!  We had a lot more inventory then as we do now!”  What also happened is that with the restricted inventory, home prices rose.  A lot.

If you are a renter and want to be a home buyer, you  now have two things going against you: rising interest rates and rising home prices (due to strong demand and critically low supply of homes to buy).  If you wait a year, there’s a good chance that you will lose quite a lot of buying power as interest rates continue to go up and home prices do, too.   Please check out my article on rates: How will rising interest rates impact your home buying power?  Super low inventories tend to cause rapid price appreciation, and if you aren’t careful you could be priced out of the market (either because of home prices or because of those rising interest rates).

Normally, I’d be saying “take heart, buyers, inventory usually starts to rise after the SuperBowl” or “inventory rises after Valentine’s Day” or “we’ll see more homes coming on the market in March”. Well, it just hasn’t happened to any kind of significant degree.

If you are a seller, this is great news for you as it’s very likely that your equity will be increasing with the tight inventory.  Buyer demand is good and interest rates are still very tolerable.  It is hard if you want to sell and buy something else, but if you are down-sizing, you may be able to capitalize by purchasing all cash.

If you are a buyer, it’s important to realize that these days, most homes are selling with no contingencies of any kind (loan, appraisal, inspection). Purchasing a condo, townhome, or house is not for the faint of heart! Being not just pre-approved, but having an underwriter’s approval subject only to the ratified contract, a preliminary title report, and a satisfactory appraisal will put you into a better position. Cash is king, of course, so being able to absorb any appraisal shortfall is crucial. However, don’t let the all cash buyers scare you as some of them over estimate the value of cash. Most sellers will wait a few extra days if it means making more money on the sale.

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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Severe inventory shortage

Why is it so hard to buy a home in Silicon Valley?  Most of it has to do with our ongoing and severe inventory shortage.

I initially wrote the article below on Feb 9, 2012.  I thought it was bad then – and I suppose that relatively speaking, it was. But it’s much worse now!

Today is May 1, 2017, and I ran the numbers of available single family homes in Santa Clara County in a chart comparing since January of 2012.  Have a look, and please note the year over year numbers:

2017-05-01 Santa Clara County Inventory of Single Family Homes

The situation has only intensified since I first wrote this article in early 2012.  There are many reasons for the problem: older people won’t sell for tax reasons (mostly capital gains). move up buyers who elect to stay and add on rather than deal with hugely increased property taxes.  In general, home owners are opting to “buy and hold”.

Is it hard to buy a house in the San Jose area? You bet.  And unfortunately, I don’t see an end in sight anytime soon.

*********************************

Original article: Feb 9, 2012

Right now I’m working with a number of very frustrated home buyers.  Silicon Valley real estate inventory is painfully low, and in the lower price ranges especially, that means multiple offers are fairly common.  FHA home buyers, in particular, are getting out bid and out negotiated by all cash buyers, many of whom are investors.

How low is the inventory?  Let’s have a look at January’s inventory for houses & duet homes (“class 1” or single family homes) over the last ten years in Santa Clara County (San Jose, Los Gatos, Campbell, etc.):

2012  1,382
2011  2,007
2010  2,426
2009  4,759
2008  4,872
2007  2,698
2006  2,202
2005  1,285
2004  1,612
2003  3,119

The average January inventory of available houses over the last 10 years is 2,636.  At 1,382, January 2012’s available inventory of houses for sale in the San Jose area was just 52% of normalContinue reading

Everyone wants a good deal, and in this article I’ll be featuring great Silicon Valley real estate home buying opportunities.

Normally I don’t write about other agent’s listings, but the listing agent in this case is a friend of mine, Azita Alaverdi, and I have her permission to promote this home.  (Her site for it is:  http://21720calerocreekalmaden.com/ )

Today’s listing (10-25-2015) is a fantastic 15 year young Almaden Valley property close to Calero Reservoir.  Located at 21720 Calero Creek Court, this 4 bedroom, 3.5 bath home enjoys 4330 SF of living space set on over an acre.  It is mostly a one story home but there is one bed and one bath on an upper level.  Offered at $1,995,000, this home is a tremendous bargain!  (Price per SF cost is $460.74. – more typical might be $490 per SF.)

This property is a fantastic opportunity in a quiet, scenic location!  Looking to buy a luxury property in Almaden?  Give me a call – I’d love to help you to purchase this beautiful home!

Good deals don’t last – if you are interested, HURRY!

We're sorry, but we couldn't find MLS # 81516581 in our database. This property may be a new listing or possibly taken off the market. Please check back again.

Today consumers have a lot of choices as to where to search for properties for sale in Silicon Valley (the South Bay area, Santa Clara County, San Jose, Los Gatos, Almaden etc.).  But not all “find a home” sites are equally accurate.  Some websites display listings that are sale pending, sold & closed or even withdrawn.

The very best, most accurate and most often updated site is the public branch of our agent-supported Multiple Listing Service or MLS, which is MLSListings.com.  You can find it at www.MLSListings.com. (If sending your own agent info a house, it is helpful if you provide both the street address and the MLS #.  By the way, the first few digits of the number imply the year that the listing was put into the system.  811 = 2011.  810 = 2010.)

Why is MLSListings.com the best source for finding Silicon Valley homes for sale?

It is updated constantly.  Within a few minutes of whenever a real estate agent or broker changes the listing status, comments, photos, showing instructions, open house information,etc., the new information is displayed on MLSListings.  While it’s not instantaneous, most changes appear within 5-10 minutes (photos being the slowest to load).

MLSListings is syndicated out to some other sites, but some don’t update often (or at all).  Other sites rely upon the listing agent to go to that one site and update the status.  Realtors and other licensees get busy and this task may slip through the cracks, making you believe that a home is available when it’s not. MLSListings.com is the source.

You don’t have to register. Some of the portals that you might consider visiting to view the MLS info may not include the virtual tour or all pics – or might show them to you only if you register.  You do not need to register to view houses, condos, townhouses, multi units etc. on MLSListings.com. 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
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