Santa Clara County

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.

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

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

Trends at a Glance

Trends At a Glance Jun 2018 Previous Month Year-over-Year
Median Price $1,312,500 (-6.0%) $1,396,000 $1,101,000 (+19.2%)
Average Price $1,385,810 (-2.8%) $1,425,020 $1,117,310 (+24.0%)
No. of Sales 58 (-19.4%) 72 64 (-9.4%)
Pending 52 (-3.7%) 54 72 (-27.8%)
Active 49 (0.0%) 49 40 (+22.5%)
Sale vs. List Price 111.2% (-2.0%) 113.4% 108.5% (+2.5%)
Days on Market 12 (+16.3%) 10 12 (+2.8%)
Days of Inventory 25 (+20.0%) 20 18 (+35.2%)

And the chart from last month:

 

Trends At a Glance May 2018 Previous Month Year-over-Year
Median Price $1,396,000 (-2.4%) $1,430,000 $1,100,000 (+26.9%)
Average Price $1,425,020 (-2.1%) $1,456,070 $1,103,120 (+29.2%)
No. of Sales 72 (+10.8%) 65 57 (+26.3%)
Pending 54 (-3.6%) 56 56 (-3.6%)
Active 49 (+44.1%) 34 31 (+58.1%)
Sale vs. List Price 113.4% (-2.1%) 115.9% 105.8% (+7.2%)
Days on Market 10 (+13.4%) 9 13 (-21.7%)
Days of Inventory 20 (+34.6%) 15 16 (+25.1%)

And the chart from last month:

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

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

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

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

Like most of Santa Clara County, the wild appreciation of the last 5 to 6 years in Blossom Valley seems to now be slowing, and maybe flattening.  It is possible that we have hit the “peak of the market”, but it’s also possible that this is simply a seasonal pattern. Often in late spring to early summer, we see inventory levels rise while buyers pull back. This can cause home sale prices to quite appreciating, and in some years, prices decline just a little bit. In 2017, it seemed that the normal patterns simply broke, as late in the year – November and December – buying was at a feverish pitch normally reserved for March.

About Blossom Valley

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.

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

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 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 due to a prolonged, unrelenting sellers market. Available inventory is less than half of what it was a year ago, while sales remain consistent. This is bad news for buyers – the market conditions can’t balance out without inventory to meet the demand!

Trends At a Glance Jan 2018 Previous Month Year-over-Year
Median Price $1,163,000 (-10.1%) $1,293,690 $929,000 (+25.2%)
Average Price $1,439,310 (-7.5%) $1,556,330 $1,259,470 (+14.3%)
No. of Sales 450 (-36.1%) 704 488 (-7.8%)
Pending 581 (+12.8%) 515 533 (+9.0%)
Active 376 (+38.7%) 271 762 (-50.7%)
Sale vs. List Price 108.9% (-0.4%) 109.3% 101.2% (+7.6%)
Days on Market 21 (+2.0%) 21 37 (-43.0%)
Days of Inventory 25 (+117.1%) 12 47 (-46.5%)

And the numbers from last month for comparison:

Trends At a Glance Dec 2017 Previous Month Year-over-Year
Median Price $1,293,690 (+0.4%) $1,288,500 $960,000 (+34.8%)
Average Price $1,556,330 (-3.9%) $1,619,100 $1,186,120 (+31.2%)
No. of Sales 704 (-11.1%) 792 746 (-5.6%)
Pending 515 (-32.1%) 758 544 (-5.3%)
Active 271 (-41.2%) 461 694 (-61.0%)
Sale vs. List Price 109.3% (+0.8%) 108.5% 101.2% (+8.0%)
Days on Market 21 (-3.5%) 22 34 (-39.3%)
Days of Inventory 12 (-31.6%) 17 28 (-58.6%)

Continue reading

Another Silicon Valley real estate market bubble? (Image of bubbles in a hot tub.)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

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.

2 1 - Comparing cost of housing in West Valley communities from Palo Alto to Los Gatos to Blossom Valley: what will a 4 bedroom home cost?

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.

Capture2 - Comparing cost of housing in West Valley communities from Palo Alto to Los Gatos to Blossom Valley: what will a 4 bedroom home cost?

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.

4homesb2 - Comparing cost of housing in West Valley communities from Palo Alto to Los Gatos to Blossom Valley: what will a 4 bedroom home cost?

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

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:

2a 3 - What Does It Cost to Buy a 4 Bedroom, 2 Bath Home in Silicon Valley with Good Schools?

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

Homes sold 60Day 3 5Bed 2 3Bath 4 20 2015 e1493852936467 - What Does It Cost to Buy a 4 Bedroom, 2 Bath Home in Silicon Valley with Good Schools?

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.

Cost to buy a 4 bed 2 bath house in the West Valley areas of Silicon Valley

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

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Translation

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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