Santa Clara County

Sketch of houseIt can be really challenging for people moving to Silicon Valley to get a sense of real estate prices, and perhaps more, to compare housing costs from one town or district to another.

One question I get a lot is this: what does it cost to buy a 4 bedroom, 2 bath house of about 2000 square feet?

So to answer this question, let’s see what houses like this are selling for (4 bed, 2 bath, appx 2000 SF or 185 square meters) and see how the cost looks in one Santa Clara Count y / Silicon Valley area versus another.

Today I compared several areas and cities using this criteria: single family homes of 1800 – 2200 SF, 3-5 bedrooms, 2-3 bathrooms, on lot sizes of 6000 SF to 10,000 SF. Normally I would chart this over the last 2 months, or 60 days, but because of the low inventory causing the sellers market I have expanded the search to the last 3 months, or 90 days, for a better range. As of this writing, Saratoga only had one sale over the last 90 days, so data for that segment may or may not be a good average.

Here’s how it shakes out in the “west valley areas” along the Highway 85 corridor, most of which are known to have good to great public schools. What areas are most affordable? One way of analyzing this is the “price per square foot” figure. Whenever I update the chart, I re-arrange the order of the cities from high to low based on the price per square foot, although there’s usually minimal movement.

To compare, here are the numbers from the this past January 26, 2017. There were fewer sales, so the search range was bumped up to 120 days instead of 90 days (and Los Altos was so low, it was individually searched at 180 days). You might notice price per square foot appears lower across the board in January compared to July. This is most likely because the market has heated up over spring and summer, which you can also see in the DOM.

Below are my results from the same search back in September 18, 2015. By comparison, you can tell that Santa Clara’s average Price has increased, pushing it above Almaden and Campbell.

How competitive is the market? Have a look at the DOM or “Days on Market” figure. All of these days on market are short, but they range from low to heart-skippingly fast.

In most cases, the priciest and most desirable places have either the best schools or shortest commute location or both (Palo Alto and Cupertino have both). Had I ranked these for school scores, you’d find that Cambrian is fairly high up and a good “bang for the buck” location – though not a super short commute for folks who work in Mountain View (though not so bad for people working in Cupertino).  Almaden, too, offers a good value for the quality of the schools, homes, and neighborhoods, though the commute is longer. None of these is especially close to North San Jose (where a major employer is Cisco).

It should also be noted that in some of the smaller communities with less on the market these numbers may not be as stable as others with more data – for instance, Los Altos only had four homes sold, the second lowest, matching this criteria within the 90 days of collected data, and therefore may not be as accurate as others, such as the Blossom Valley area of San Jose with the most data at 38 homes sold. For these smaller communities with less data, it is beneficial to look at them more closely – Saratoga, for instance, has 3 different high school districts which have an impact the real estate prices. This chart is really just a snapshot to give a general sense of the relative affordability of these markets to one another. Continue reading

The Santa Clara County real estate statistics for Single Family Homes

 Read the full report for houses and duet homes in Santa Clara County here (You can also access the stats for San Mateo and Santa Cruz Counties from here!)

Prices are up year over year after a prolonged, unrelenting sellers market. Inventory is almost half what it was a year ago, which is bad news for buyers – the market conditions can’t balance out without inventory to meet the demand!

Trends At a Glance Jun 2017 Previous Month Year-over-Year
Median Price $1,171,000 (-2.4%) $1,200,000 $1,050,000 (+11.5%)
Average Price $1,438,580 (-0.6%) $1,446,930 $1,330,430 (+8.1%)
No. of Sales 1,156 (+9.0%) 1,061 1,045 (+10.6%)
Pending 1,117 (-14.5%) 1,306 803 (+39.1%)
Active 788 (-16.4%) 943 1,381 (-42.9%)
Sale vs. List Price 105.9% (+0.1%) 105.8% 103.5% (+2.4%)
Days on Market 18 (-2.2%) 18 21 (-16.4%)
Days of Inventory 20 (-25.9%) 27 38 (-48.4%)

And the numbers from last month for comparison:

 

Trends At a Glance May 2017 Previous Month Year-over-Year
Median Price $1,200,000 (+3.4%) $1,160,000 $1,117,900 (+7.3%)
Average Price $1,446,930 (+1.2%) $1,429,430 $1,419,890 (+1.9%)
No. of Sales 1,061 (+27.4%) 833 962 (+10.3%)
Pending 1,306 (+10.8%) 1,179 963 (+35.6%)
Active 943 (+5.0%) 898 1,290 (-26.9%)
Sale vs. List Price 105.8% (-0.3%) 106.1% 104.4% (+1.3%)
Days on Market 18 (+5.9%) 17 19 (-6.2%)
Days of Inventory 27 (-14.7%) 31 40 (-33.7%)

Continue reading

The Blossom Valley area of San Jose is on the south end of the city and covers the 95123 and 95136 zip codes. For our MLS, it’s “area 12.” A more affordable section of Silicon Valley, Blossom Valley has much to offer in addition to more reasonable housing prices. Many areas enjoy views of the Santa Teresa Foothills or the Communications Hill knolls or even the coastal foothills in the distance, as with the photo below. One corner of it sits alongside beautiful Almaden Lake, too. One corner is located at the crossroads of Highways 85 and 87, making it an easy commute destination for those working in downtown San Jose. And there’s an abundance of shopping opportunities.

You might notice things look a little different. The REReport page has been updated to improve load time and give mobile viewers a better experience. With the update, the Sales At A Glance (the bullet points) section and both Short Sales and Foreclosures have been dropped, but Days of Inventory has been added and if you click the link you will find a new kind of market commentary available. It will take a little while to clean up some quirks in the new system, so each area might have some things missing, but expect them to return soon! Thank you for your patience.

Blossom Valley from the Church on the Hill

Much more could be written, but let’s now instead turn to the real estate market there.

First, “live,” automatically updating Altos Charts for San Jose 95123 and 95136 and single family homes (houses and duet homes). These use list prices, not sales prices.

The median list price of both 95123 and 95136, all prices, single family homes (houses and duet homes, if there are any).

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

Next, the median list price for just the San Jose 95123 area of Blossom Valley, and separated by price quartile:

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

And next, the median list price of just San Jose 95136 by price quartile:

Continue reading

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.

You might notice things look a little different. The REReport page has been updated to improve load time and give mobile viewers a better experience. With the update, the Sales At A Glance (the bullet points) section and both Short Sales and Foreclosures have been dropped, but Days of Inventory has been added and if you click the link you will find a new kind of market commentary available. It will take a little while to clean up some quirks in the new system, so each area might have some things missing, but expect them to return soon! Thank you for your patience.

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 nearly two years of 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

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.

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

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

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

Los Gatos High - Silicon Valley home prices by high school districtBelow, please find the charts indicating Silicon Valley home prices by high school district for transactions closed in December 2016 for condos and townhomes first, and later also for single family homes.  The vast majority of Silicon Valley is found within Santa Clara County and San Mateo County, with small portions also in Santa Cruz County and Alameda County.  Alameda County is not part of the local MLS, so unfortunately I don’t have that data to share.  The data presented here is courtesy of my brokerage, Sereno Group.

Silicon Valley home prices by high school district: a few words of caution

If you only glance at the median sale price, you may be confused about the most expensive Silicon Valley places in which to live for the condominium or townhouse buyer.  For instance, in Santa Clara County, the Los Gatos-Saratoga Joint Union High School District has a median sale price of $1,4 85,000.  At first view, this seems to be the most expensive part of the county.  But please note that the average square footage is 1910.  Now look at Palo Alto Unified, with a median sale price of $1,260,000 – but an average square footage of just 1313.    The price per square foot, though, correctly pegs the pain value of home buying in Silicon Valley as PA Unified comes in at a whopping $1,014 per square foot.  (More disclaimers: large homes sell for much less than smaller ones on a price per sf basis, so this is more helpful when the average square footage is similar.)

Also, please note that the high school district boundaries do not neatly follow those of city, town, zip code, or any other boundary. It’s sloppy at best.  Campbell Union High School District covers not only Campbell, but parts of San Jose, Los Gatos, Saratoga, and Monte Sereno.   The Los Gatos-Saratoga Joint Union High School District encompasses parts of Los Gatos, Saratoga, Monte Sereno, the Los Gatos Mountains and even a sliver of the Almaden Valley in San Jose.

Condos and townhomes – prices by high school district

San Mateo County and Santa Clara County home prices by high school distirct

San Mateo County and Santa Clara County home prices by high school distirct

Santa Cruz County has some Silicon Valley jobs and a strong number of residents who work in tech on the other side of “the hill”. Studying these home values, you can imagine why some locals are willing to commute across the Santa Cruz Mountains. It is much more affordable.

Santa Cruz County home prices by high school district

Santa Cruz County home prices by high school district

Next, the same data but for single family  homes .

Single family homes pricing by high school district in San Mateo County and Santa Clara County

Single family homes pricing by high school district in San Mateo County and Santa Clara County

 Santa Cruz County single family home prices by high school district

Santa Cruz County single family home prices by high school district

Interested in buying or selling anywhere in these counties?  Please call or email me today!

 

Related reading:
Cambrian Months of Inventory (by elementary school district)
Saratoga, CA real estate market update (with info by price point and high school district)
Los Gatos real estate market trends by price point and high school district (on the Live in Los Gatos blog)
Learn more about what homes cost in Silicon Valley on the Move2SiliconValley blog

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 rising interest rates getting folks off the fence and strong job growth in the San Jose area, 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 2003 to December 2016 which indicates that last month’s inventory of single family homes for sale in Santa Clara County is the lowest we’ve had since January 2003 (that’s how far back MLSListings.com shows them).  Perhaps much longer.

 

2017-1-3 Inventory of Single Family Homes in Santa Clara County

It’s all about supply and demand.  Look at the shortage of supply!   Below is an alternate presentation of the same information but as a spread sheet format. I like this better because you can skim all of any particular month, such as December, and see how the most recent one compares to the same month in prior years.  December 2016 had just 515 houses and duet homes on the market.  The year before it was 834, which is historically low, but not nearly as dire as the current numbers. Santa Clara County’s critically low housing inventory is at historic lows!

 Santa Clara County's critically low housing inventory

Santa Clara County’s critically low housing inventory

 

This is precisely why it is so hard to buy a home in San Jose, Los Gatos, Campbell, Saratoga, or anywhere in Silicon Valley today.  Has it improved since the inventory was measured by the MLS?  No, it hasn’t.  It was 452 as of January 1st and 450 today, on the 3rd!!  This is sort of like “inventory limbo” – how low can you go?

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).

Take heart, home buyers, often the supply of homes for sale does go lower in January before rising again in either late January or early February.  So buyers, hang on!

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.  Don’t wait until interest rates rise to the point where it impacts home prices due to affordability.   At some point, we will hit that tipping point, and that’s when the all cash buyers really win.

Santa Clara County is experiencing critically low inventory of homes for sale and it’s at the level of a true inventory crisis. It’s not unusual to see listings decrease in December, but this is more than the normal dip of properties on the market in Silicon Valley. It’s worse.

This afternoon I ran the statistics on MLSListings, and here’s what I see for available listings of single family homes in Santa Clara County (the greater San Jose area):

Santa Clara County inventory of single family homes as of 12-7-2016

Usually the data is taken from the last day of the month, and obviously doing this on the 7th may skew it a little for this month (or maybe not: perhaps it will be lower still!). But check out the year over year figures – what do you see as typical for November or December going back as far as 2002?

Buyers are jumping on the best properties. I’m finding multiple offers on a wide variety of houses and in all kinds of price ranges and locations, including Morgan Hill, which is often much more sluggish than parts north. (This is not the story of every house on the market, of course. Many are badly photographed, overpriced, hard to see, not clean, or have other issues which make them undesirable to Silicon Valley home buyers. When real estate has an attractive price, is clean and shows well, is nicely marketed, staged, accessible, etc., it will get a crowd of interested buyers. Or at least one!)

 

Interest rates and the inventory crisis

No doubt, interest rates are a huge factor in the low inventory crisis, as they impact buying power.

If a home buyer could afford a monthly payment of $4000, here’s what happens with different interest rates (assuming a 30  year fixed mortgage):

$4000 at last winter’s rate of 3.5% = loan amount of $1,002,127
$4000 payment at today’s rate of 4.125% = loan amount of $928,506
$4000 payment at a rate of 5% (within a few years?) = loan amount of $838,267

Rising interest rates may stunt price appreciation somewhat, but you cannot count on it – it does not always happen. Or there may be a pressure downward on pricing, but perhaps not proportional (not enough help for the stretched home buyer).

Scarcity and multiple offers

Houses priced aggressively (lower than what the sellers and listing agent think it’s truly worth) to attract multiple offers are getting huge results and overbids. Not every property is selling fast, but on average, homes are going for more than 100% of list price in this area. With multiple offer situations, buyers who succeed in winning are those with larger down payments (more than 20%), few or no contingencies, a high price, and of course offer an As Is sale.

If you are a home buyer trying to compete in this challenging real estate market, please take a look at this summary article and the six related posts:

http://sanjoserealestatelosgatoshomes.com/summary-of-tips-for-multiple-offer-situations-silicon-valley-real-estate-contracts/

If you are a home owner thinking of selling, now is a great time! The lower the inventory the better your odds are of selling. If you tried selling your property without success this year, please read this article on why some houses or condos don’t sell:
http://sanjoserealestatelosgatoshomes.com/why-didnt-my-san-jose-home-sell/. Another article on that same topic is on my popehandy.com site: Things which will make a home buyer RUN from purchasing your home

And back to the first question about inventory: when will it rise? As you study the chart, above, you’ll notice that inventory normally rises in spring and peaks in the summer most years. So, buyers, continue looking and hang on. There will be some new offerings in the new year, and by March we should see a significant uptick. If not, look out – prices will go up even faster. So if you find a home you love now, don’t wait.

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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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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