Los Gatos

Leo or Leona - the mascot of Los GatosMost of the Santa Clara Valley is undergoing a cooling trend. With Los Gatos 95030 & 95032, though, it has not been a straight decline as in some areas, though the peak of the market was in March (think February sales with closings 30 days later).  Here are the current numbers, per my Los Gatos real estate report (click on the link for full information).

The Los Gatos Mountains are a distinctly different market and as such are covered in a separate market update, updated less frequently than here, but with live Altos charts for that area.

Los Gatos / Monte Sereno housing values and pricing trends (aka “area 16” for our MLS, zip codes 95030 and 95032) – month over month, it’s down 13.9%, and year over year, up 16.1%.

Trends at a Glance

Trends At a Glance Jul 2018 Previous Month Year-over-Year
Median Price $2,410,000 (-13.9%) $2,800,000 $2,075,000 (+16.1%)
Average Price $2,424,220 (-14.5%) $2,834,730 $2,237,580 (+8.3%)
No. of Sales 31 (-20.5%) 39 38 (-18.4%)
Pending 34 (-20.9%) 43 29 (+17.2%)
Active 75 (+8.7%) 69 68 (+10.3%)
Sale vs. List Price 101.9% (0.0%) 101.9% 103.7% (-1.7%)
Days on Market 25 (+39.0%) 18 24 (+4.9%)
Days of Inventory 73 (+41.5%) 51 54 (+35.2%)

 

And last month:

Trends At a Glance Jun 2018 Previous Month Year-over-Year
Median Price $2,800,000 (+13.1%) $2,475,000 $2,052,000 (+36.5%)
Average Price $2,834,730 (+4.8%) $2,705,630 $2,320,190 (+22.2%)
No. of Sales 39 (+30.0%) 30 55 (-29.1%)
Pending 43 (-6.5%) 46 42 (+2.4%)
Active 69 (-6.8%) 74 63 (+9.5%)
Sale vs. List Price 101.9% (-1.6%) 103.6% 103.5% (-1.5%)
Days on Market 18 (-27.3%) 25 20 (-9.4%)
Days of Inventory 51 (-30.7%) 74 33 (+54.5%)

 

The Santa Clara County real estate market is cooling off, which is very often the case in summers here. It varies from place to place within the region, and one pricing tier to the next, but I am definitely seeing and hearing about fewer offers, more lowball offers, contingencies creeping back into sales, etc. In red hot properties with great schools, you might get a half dozen offers…and three of them may be “bad” offers from home buyers who are pessimistic on the market. They do not get the sale, of course, but it is interesting to hear about an increase in those kinds of bids.

My RE REport just came out, and here are some images and data from that for Santa Clara County. First, the market barometer. Here, you can see that sellers had stronger power in March than they do now – by quite a lot! (Click on the image to go to the report and see a clearer version of it.)

Graphic image - Santa Clara County market barometer.

 

Next, the average and median sale prices and the number of units (again, click on the image to go to the report). This graphic does not look as bad or as much of a change as the one before, though you can see that since May prices have gone down a little, and sales are now tipping downward and are fewer than sales for this time last year.

Graph of Santa Clara County home prices and sales

Next, the sale price to list price ratio is a bit more startling. Sales are still averaging about 1-05% of list price – so that is hard for sellers to complain about – however, it is unmistakable that the climate for home selling in Silicon Valley is undergoing a change and this is literally past its peak. Buyers and sellers alike need to wonder whether it will calm down or continue at the current rate of decline. Is it a buying opportunity, or the beginning of a correction?

Graphic of the Santa Clara County sale price to list price ratio

The numbers themselves point to a turnaround in the market. I’ll jot the median sale price for the county here – it’s a large enough pool of sales to be pretty reliable as a gauge of the real estate market in the San Jose area:

July 2018 $1,350,000
June 2018 $1,402,000
May 2018  $1,416,000
April 2018  $1,420,000
March 2018 $1,450,000 – PEAK
February 2018 $1,380,000
January 2018 $1,163,000

Between March and July, the median sale price dropped $100,000, or 6.89%. As you can see, it had also jumped considerably between January and March, and even at today’s lower median sales price, it’s still higher than January. It will be interesting to see where it ends up in January of 2019.

A quick look at the numbers for this month’s Santa Clara County RE Report:

Trends at a Glance

Trends At a Glance Jul 2018 Previous Month Year-over-Year
Median Price $1,350,000 (-3.7%) $1,402,000 $1,175,000 (+14.9%)
Average Price $1,624,690 (-5.1%) $1,712,500 $1,409,380 (+15.3%)
No. of Sales 847 (-13.3%) 977 1,015 (-16.6%)
Pending 924 (-0.6%) 930 931 (-0.8%)
Active 1,151 (+8.0%) 1,066 816 (+41.1%)
Sale vs. List Price 105.6% (-2.0%) 107.8% 105.5% (+0.1%)
Days on Market 19 (+13.7%) 17 20 (-6.7%)
Days of Inventory 41 (+28.8%) 32 24 (+69.0%)

 

It’s now August 10th and it’s too early to know for sure what the August numbers are doing, but normally August is a quiet month with sale prices a little off. So we’ll see. Continue reading

Cameo Park West - Leep Homes in Campbell with LG mailing addressThe Cameo Park West neighborhood is located close to where Los Gatos, Campbell, and Saratoga meet. It’s actually in the city of Campbell but has a Los Gatos mailing address. This is a tidy community bordered by Pollard Road, San Tomas Aquino Creek, the Highway 85 freeway, and Rolling Hills Middle School.

The 122 or so homes here were built in 1966 and 1967 by one of the better tract builders in the area, Leep Homes. Houses range from 1380 square feet to 2620 SF, and lot sizes run between 6000 SF and about 12,600 SF. A typical home might have around 1800 SF and be situated on an 8000 SF lot. The houses have thoughtful floor plans and the bedrooms and living areas are usually a good size.

Leep homes tend to have a fairly consistent layout – here are the 1 story home traits

  • most are single story homes
  • front porch with two bedrooms facing the front (sometimes one goes further into the front yard than the other)
  • formal entryway, often with double doors
  • step down living room straight ahead from the foyer (the rest of the house is all the same level)
  • fireplace located on side of living room closest to kitchen – it’s often a two way fireplace
  • kitchen (and sometimes also a family room) just behind the garage
  • laundry in the attached 2 car  garage but close to the kitchen, usually immediately next to the door from the garage to the kitchen
  • bedrooms are all down a hall in the opposite direction from the kitchen.  Just before the master bedroom suite there will be the hall bath (then inside the master suite, the owner’s bathroom and then bedroom)
  • the master bedroom faces the back yard, often leading to a patio shared between the kitchen (family room) and living room
  • central, forced air heat
  • hardwood floors
  • copper plumbing
  • no formal dining room (but plenty of space in the kitchen for eating)
  • sliding glass doors from the master bedroom, the living room and kitchen / family room

Below is a pan of one of the streets in Cameo Park West, taken in 2011.

Cameo Park West street in Campbell

 

Strengths and weaknesses of the Cameo Park West neighborhood

It’s very easy to list the strengths of this neighborhood: it’s very clean, well kept, had a good builder, convenient location (close to two schools and only a block or two or three to Safeway and nearby shops). Major shopping is within easy reach at Westgate, El Paseo and nearby (appx 7 minute drive). For those wishing to take Lawrence Expressway, it’s a breeze – just hop onto Quito and it becomes Lawrence, making a lot of commutes simpler, easier and faster. For Los Gatos, this location is closer to places like Apple, Google, and other high tech centers (as compared to downtown Los Gatos or east LG).

The elementary school is Marshall Lane, the middle is Rolling Hills and the high is Westmont. Both the elementary and middle enjoy API scores of over 900 and Westmont has a very respectable score that’s more than 800.

The negatives do not impact everyone, but that said, they do exist. At one end of the neighborhood, there’s super close proximity to highway 85, to the train tracks and to the high voltage power lines and towers. Those are never a plus.

Many homes along Elwood back up to Rolling Hills Middle School. Is that a negative or a positive? That really depends on your point of view, and some would prefer to back to a school yard than to another house. But most buyers would prefer another home.

What do homes cost in the Cameo Park West area?

Like most of the 95032 zip code, it’s unlikely to find a house for  under $1.5 million there today (if you do, it is likely in “fixer” condition). To be able to purchase one of these homes, be prepared to pay between $1.7 million and $1.8 million in most cases. Of course, it could always be less or more depending on exact location, size and condition of home, plus the marketing situation (is it easy to see, is it clean and without bad odors, has it been fairly updated etc.).

  1. 6 beds, 5 baths
    Home size: 4,277 sq ft
    Lot size: 12,397 sqft
  2. 3 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,545 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,516 sqft
  3. 3 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 1,365 sq ft
    Lot size: 2,108 sqft
  4. 4 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,322 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,041 sqft
  5. 3 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,261 sq ft
    Lot size: 8,751 sqft
  6. 4 beds, 4 baths
    Home size: 2,351 sq ft
    Lot size: 4,748 sqft
  7. 5 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 2,211 sq ft
    Lot size: 10,476 sqft
  8. 3 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 1,675 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,573 sqft
  9. 3 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,346 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,237 sqft
  10. 4 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,998 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,817 sqft

See all Real estate in the city of Campbell.
(all data current as of 8/13/2018)

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

House for saleIn a raging hot seller’s market such as we are experiencing today in Silicon Valley, home owners may be subject to some very costly temptations.

Home seller temptation # 1: overconfidence on the market

Because folks read about the dozens of offers on some homes, by extension, it’s easy to believe that every home sells, for top dollar, with no effort or planning on the part of the seller. This is a huge mistake. Perhaps we should even call it a myth since it may be commonly believed.

In today’s wildly hot market, there are still some homes that DO NOT SELL. 

What are the odds that your home won’t sell?

I just pulled some numbers from the MLS today, July 23, 2018. You may find them surprising!

  • In Santa Clara County, there are currently 1274 single family homes on the market
    • 490 of them have been on the market at least 30 days – 38% are not moving quickly & likely need a price reduction, if it hasn’t already been done
    • 211 of the 1274 have been for sale for at least 60 days – 17% have had 2 months worth of open houses, keeping the home spotless, etc.
    • 107 of the 1274 have a “days on market” of 90 days or more – 8% have serious market rejection
  • These are not all luxury homes!
    • 9 are listed at under $1 million
    •  13 are offered between $1 million and $1,499,999 (“normal” houses in our area)
    •  9 are on the market between $1.5 mil and $1,999,999
    • 14 are listed at $2 million to $2,499,999 (these are still not luxury homes in most cases)
    • 11 are priced between $2.5 mil and $2,999,999
    • That’s 56 homes of 107 that are under $3 million. The balance are “high end homes”, which usually are more challenging to sell

The best homes, those which are well priced, well marketed, and are easily shown, sell within 2-3 weeks. After that, home buyers view them as stale listings and assume something terrible is wrong with them. After three weeks, unless the home gets a deep price reduction, it’s unlikely to get multiple offers.

This first temptation is the greatest one, and it often leads to mistakes in areas #2 and #3, listed below. Continue reading

When it’s a hot seller’s market, like it is right now in Silicon Valley, it is challenging to be a home buyer.  That means it’s also hard to be a buyer’s agent, since it may require writing many, many offers (and a lot of time and energy) before the clients get into contract.  Since Realtors are usually only paid when a property closes, that means it’s not too hard to go broke if a real estate professional focuses a lot of time with buyers.   In other words, in a market like this, most agents would prefer to work with sellers rather than buyers, because it’s more likely that they’ll make a living.

Home buyers Realtors look for these traitsWhat can you do to increase the odds of finding a great Realtor who will take you seriously, work with you and for you, and give it a good effort even if it’s an uphill battle?  First, let’s understand what a real estate licensee is looking for a client – at least in most cases.  Usually, the savvy agent doesn’t want to waste time with people who are not serious, not ready, or who will not be loyal.  The smart Realtor knows that without these three things, it’s unlikely that they will be able to sell that person a home, or at least not in a reasonable period of time.

Serious home buyers:

Only about half of all home buyers will likely buy in the year they think they might, so it’s important for real estate professionals to try to make sure that they don’t spend months on someone only to have him or her remain permanent renters.  The agent must qualify the client to make sure it’s worth the risk of spending time with him or her.

Clues that the buyer isn’t serious include these:

(1) Comments like “I may have to look at homes for a year or two” or “I may need to write a hundred offers to get the right deal” or “I’m in no rush” indicate that this isn’t a big priority for the buyer (so maybe it shouldn’t be for the agent, either). This buyer is able, ready and probably also loyal – but not serious.  Some, though, will clarify with a time frame and this is a game changer. “My lease is up in July, so ideally, I’d like to get into contract in March, close in April and move in May.  But if I find the right house sooner, I’ll buy sooner.”  That works!

(2) If there are two decision makers, having only one do most of the house hunting and the other showing up at distant intervals often indicates that it’s a priority for one but not both.  Sometimes that’s not the case, but it is a red flag.  Both need to be serious. Continue reading

multipleoffers3 300x170 - Why do you keep losing out on multiple offers?

Multiple Offers

You may have heard that the Silicon Valley real estate market is slightly softer now than it was a a few months ago.  That’s true – at least for most of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties and nearby. In many cases there are now half as many offers as there were in February, March, or April. But it’s still a hot seller’s market, and that means that often there are multiple offers, overbids, and sales with no contingencies.

For my last few listings – which have been in San Jose, Saratoga, Los Gatos, the Cambrian area of San Jose and the Campbell area of San Jose – there’s been a consistent “spread” of offers.   If there were 6 offers, it might look like this:

  1. Best offer frequently the highest price and best terms. It is 10-20% over list price, 25-30% down at least, and has no contingencies for inspection, loan, and most of all, appraisal (the percentage over has to do with whether the home was priced spot on the value or strategically under).  These offers come with all disclosures signed, and the buyer’s agent has even done her or his Agent Visual Inspection Disclosure.  They include the proof of funds and usually also write a nice letter to the sellers about why they want to purchase that home.
  2. The best offer is also someone who’s been SURE that he or she or they wanted the home from the very beginning and looks ROCK SOLID. NO WAVERING, not a “last minute” offer. Any hesitation on your side will cause the seller to not feel good about your odds of closing the sale. Be consistently interested if you want the sale. A shaky looking buyer may not include their proof of funds.  Perhaps they would not sign the disclosures yet or otherwise submit an incomplete package.  They don’t come across as certain about buying this property and need a few days to see the property again, or show it to their parents, or otherwise confirm the decision to buy. Their agent is not so thorough. If the TDS is not fully signed off, is the buyers’ agent trying to sneak a 3 day right of cancellation into the contract? The best buyer’s offer doesn’t look shaky – it looks dead set on buying the home and has done everything possible to convince the seller of their conviction.
  3. The second best or next runner up is usually strong on terms (at least 25% down, few or no contingencies) but perhaps made an offer price a little under the top value.  Sometimes the next runner up has a good price and mostly good terms, but something is not quite as solid.  If the offers are tied but one buyer has no contingencies and the other has any, that will be the tie-breaker.
  4. Middle of the pack is usually a combination of a price where the home should appraise, a solid down payment, and few or no contingencies. It may be a price that seems “reasonable”. Buyers may feel that it is “a fair offer” or a win-win. Often the fair offers aren’t good enough to take the prize in multiple offers. If you can project what most buyers think a home will be worth, maybe you might want to consider getting ahead of that pack and seeing where the pricing trajectory will take you.
  5. Bottom offers are under, at, or barely over list price, and include an appraisal contingency as well as others (one for loan or one for property condition). If there’s a rent back, they want their PITI covered.

If you’ve been writing offers and not succeeding, try to see your own pattern in this spread.  Is there one thing, or perhaps are there two or more things, you’re just not ready to do?

Why it is so hard

Continue reading

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.

Trends At a Glance May 2018 Previous Month Year-over-Year
Median Price $4,075,000 (+1.6%) $4,011,500 $2,663,000 (+53.0%)
Average Price $3,800,000 (-5.3%) $4,011,500 $2,663,000 (+42.7%)
No. of Sales (+100.0%) 2 (+100.0%)
Pending (+100.0%) 3 (+20.0%)
Active 11 (+10.0%) 10 17 (-35.3%)
Sale vs. List Price 99.1% (-9.0%) 108.8% 96.0% (+3.2%)
Days on Market 23 (+102.2%) 12 35 (-33.6%)
Days of Inventory 83 (-43.1%) 145 255 (-67.6%)

 

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

Trends At a Glance Apr 2018 Previous Month Year-over-Year
Median Price $4,011,500 (-30.8%) $5,800,000 $2,878,750 (+39.3%)
Average Price $4,011,500 (-30.8%) $5,800,000 $2,878,750 (+39.3%)
No. of Sales (+100.0%) 1 (0.0%)
Pending (+200.0%) 1 (+200.0%)
Active 10 (+42.9%) 7 (+25.0%)
Sale vs. List Price 108.8% (+12.6%) 96.7% 95.3% (+14.2%)
Days on Market 12 (-84.0%) 72 37 (-68.5%)
Days of Inventory 145 (-31.0%) 210 116 (+25.0%)

Continue reading to view live Altos Research charts for the real estate market in Monte Sereno, including by pricing quartile. Continue reading

How's The Luxury Home Market?Luxury home sales are going like crazy in the west valley areas of Santa Clara County. Right now in Almaden Valley, Los Gatos, Monte Sereno and Saratoga, there are 115 houses for sale listed at or more than two million dollars (just checked MLSListings.com), and in the last 30 days 52 have sold and closed escrow in those same areas and price ranges. For the Almaden – Saratoga region generally, then, there are 2.212 months of inventory in the over two million dollar price range (115/52). That makes it a strong seller’s market. Things have certainly stayed lively since last year. (In the same region, there are 39 pending sales.)

Next we’ll look at these four Silicon Valley communities separately to see how the luxury market in each one is faring overall.

Almaden Valley (San Jose, 95120)

Currently in Almaden there are 12 houses for sale which are listed at or over $2,000,000.  In the last 30 days, 3 sold in that price range (with 2 sales pending). That makes for 4 “months of inventory,” which can be considered a balanced market in many areas though is leaning towards being a seller’s market. That would mean this luxury market has good turnover but is not as strong a market as elsewhere. It’s a close to balanced market in Almaden Valley among the most expensive real estate offerings for sale. Five to six months is balanced and over six is a buyer’s market. Continue reading

Free E Waste event April 21 2018 in Los Gatos and other Sereno Group office locations

Please stop by a Sereno Group office listed below to take part in a FREE e-waste, e-recycling
collection event on   Sunday April 21, 2018    9:00AM- 1:00- PM.

A FREE e-waste collection event is being held in 3 area Sereno Group offices on Sunday, April 21, 2013 from 9:30am to 1:30pm:

Where to go to drop off the approved items?

 

PALO ALTO
Corner of Emerson and Lytton Avenue

LOS ALTOS  * SHREDDING AVAILABLE AT THIS LOCATION *
369 S. San Antonio Road (Sereno Office Parking Lot)

LOS GATOS * SHREDDING AVAILABLE AT THIS LOCATION *
214 Los Gatos – Saratoga Road (Sereno Office Parking Lot)

WILLOW GLEN
1425 Lincoln Avenue (WG Elem. School Parking Lot)

SANTA CRUZ
2407 Porter Street (Sereno Office Parking Lot)

What to Bring, what’s accepted:

  • Computers / Laptops / Servers
  • Televisions / Monitors
  • DVD / CD Players
  • Fax Machines / Printers
  • Copy Machines
  • Toner Cartridges
  • Speakers / Stereo Equipment
  • Rechargeable Batteries
  • Telecome Equipment / Telephones / Cell Phones
  • Wire / Cabling / Printed Circuit Boards
  • Aluminum / Scrap Metal
  • Microwave Ovens

Items NOT Accepted:

  • Alkaline Batteries
  • All Lightbulbs
  • DLP TV’s

GreenMouse Recycling shreds and Grey Bears reconfigures all hard drives so no one can access your personal information!

 

Additional details: https://www.serenogroup.com/Earth-Day-E-Waste-Event

 

cornucopia_photoThanksgiving is just a few weeks away, and there are interfaith services going on and welcome all.

Only a few have announced dates yet, so this post may be updated when I am alerted to more.

On Thursday, November 23, after starting the turkey and before the guests arrive, head over to the Saratoga Federated Church at 20390 Park Pl for the 52nd Annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Service from 10am-noon. This celebration is hosted by a different religious community each year in the Los Gatos, Saratoga, Monte Sereno area and is the perfect chance to share community time and spread thanksgiving with your neighbors. Congregation Beth David is the only website with information on this event at the present (please use the link to learn more).

Wishing everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving! Hope to see you at one of these events!

 

  1. 5 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,893 sq ft
    Lot size: 14,096 sqft
  2. 4 beds, 6 baths
    Home size: 5,259 sq ft
    Lot size: 40,288 sqft
  3. 1 bed, 1 bath
    Home size: 925 sq ft
    Lot size: 936 sqft
  4. 2 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,228 sq ft
    Lot size: 1,215 sqft
  5. 4 beds, 4 baths
    Home size: 3,106 sq ft
    Lot size: 13,956 sqft

See all Real estate in the city of Saratoga.
(all data current as of 8/13/2018)

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

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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


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