Saratoga

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 4 months, or 120 days, for a better range. As of this writing, Los Altos only had one sale over the last 120 days, so data for that segment spans from 0 to 180 days back, or 6 months, and in that half a year we have merely 3 sold.

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.

Below are my results from the same search back in September 18, 2015. By comparisson, 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, Saratoga only had four homes sold matching this criteria within the 120 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 35 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

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.)

Here’s the chart for Saratoga – all price points, all school districts.

And for comparison, here’s the chart from last month:

This month shows a decrease in inventory as well as in sales, creating a higher MOI – a significant cooling of the market fairly consistent with normal December trends. Despite cooling, the market just won’t let up, and an overall 3.375 MOI is still a sellers market. By comparing across school districts you can see how different each area’s individual market can be. The overall MOI for different schools this month ranges from 1.5 to 7! But minuscule inventory makes big data swings like this commonplace, and not as accurate.

 

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 

(NEW! You can also access the stats for San Mateo and Santa Cruz Counties from here!)

Prices are up month over month and year over year after some slight cooling earlier this month. Inventory is up from a year ago but not enough to catch up with the deficit.

 

Santa Clara County Stats At A Glance for sales closed in November 2016

Year-Over-Year

  • Median home prices increased by 5.2% year-over-year to $1,010,000 from $960,500.
  • The average home sales price rose by 7.1% year-over-year to $1,297,260 from $1,211,630.
  • Home sales rose by 21.1% year-over-year to 850 from 702.
  • Active listings fell 22.1% year-over-year to 1,531 from 1,965.
  • Sales price vs. list price ratio fell by 0.9% year-over-year to 101.6% from 102.5%.
  • The average days on market rose by 9.2% year-over-year to 31 from 28.

Compared To Last Month

  • Median home prices slipped by 3.8% to $1,010,000 from $1,050,000.
  • The average home sales price rose by 1.0% to $1,297,260 from $1,283,920.
  • Home sales down by 6.2% to 850 from 906.
  • Active listings dropped 23.1% to 1,531 from 1,991.
  • Sales price vs. list price ratio dropped by 0.2% to 101.6% from 101.8%.
  • The average days on market dropped by 1.4% to 31 from 31.

 

Continue reading

The Saratoga holiday season begins this Saturday, November 26, 2016, with the Chamber of Commerce Holiday Wine Stroll followed by Tree Lighting & Celebration of Light.

Tickets for the Wine Stroll are on sale now online or by phone for $40 and will be available day-of for $45. The Stroll goes from 2pm to 5pm. Visit the website or call 408-867-0753 for more details.

The Tree Lighting Ceremony will begin at 5:30pm. For more information, visit the website at saratoga.ca.us/treelighting

 Tree Lighting Flyer

  1. 5 beds, 4 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 5,259 sq ft
    Lot size: 1.26 ac
  2. 5 beds, 4 full baths
    Home size: 3,180 sq ft
    Lot size: 15,115 sqft
  3. 6 beds, 6 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 5,161 sq ft
    Lot size: 29,403 sqft
  4. 2 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 1,231 sq ft
    Lot size: 1,481 sqft
  5. 4 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 2,000 sq ft
    Lot size: 11,412 sqft
  6. 5 beds, 4 full baths
    Home size: 3,095 sq ft
    Lot size: 11,543 sqft
  7. 3 beds, 1 full bath
    Home size: 1,226 sq ft
    Lot size: 15,638 sqft
  8. 3 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 2,016 sq ft
    Lot size: 11,020 sqft
  9. 6 beds, 5 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 4,816 sq ft
    Lot size: 2.01 ac
  10. 4 beds, 4 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 3,958 sq ft
    Lot size: 21,780 sqft

See all Real estate in the city of Saratoga.
(all data current as of 2/21/2017)

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

Thanksgiving is just a few days away, and there are interfaith services going on next week which welcome all.

In Los Gatos, the ecumenical service is tonight at 7:30pm at Los Gatos United Methodist Church, located at 111 Church Street. For more information, please see a post on my Los Gatos blog, Live in Los Gatos:
http://liveinlosgatosblog.com/thanksgiving-interfaith-service-in-los-gatos-this-tuesday/

In Saratoga, the interfaith service is Thursday morning from 10-12 at Congregation Beth David.  Read all the details here:
http://www.sivicouncil.org/blog/event/51st-annual-saratoga-interfaith-thanksgiving-service/

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

 

  1. 5 beds, 4 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 5,259 sq ft
    Lot size: 1.26 ac
  2. 5 beds, 4 full baths
    Home size: 3,180 sq ft
    Lot size: 15,115 sqft
  3. 6 beds, 6 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 5,161 sq ft
    Lot size: 29,403 sqft
  4. 2 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 1,231 sq ft
    Lot size: 1,481 sqft
  5. 4 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 2,000 sq ft
    Lot size: 11,412 sqft

See all Real estate in the city of Saratoga.
(all data current as of 2/21/2017)

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

How's The Luxury Home Market?Luxury home sales are a little sluggish in the west valley areas of Santa Clara County. Right now in Almaden Valley, Los Gatos, Monte Sereno and Saratoga, there are 97 houses for sale listed at or more than two million dollars (just checked MLSListings.com), but in the last 30 days only 27 have sold and closed escrow in those same areas and price ranges. For the Almaden – Saratoga region generally, then, there are 3.6 months of inventory in the over two million dollar price range (97 / 27).  That makes it barely a seller’s market, though things have livened up since June. (In the same region, there are 25 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 8 houses for sale which are listed at or over $2,000,000.  In the last 30 days, just 1 sold (with 1 property pending sale).  That makes for a whooping eight “months of inventory.” That would mean this luxury market is not in a seller’s market. It’s a deep buyer’s 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

I am a full-time, second generation, award-winning & enthusiastic Los Gatos real estate agent, serving this town and the county too – a Silicon Valley Realtor. Real estate was my second career after I’d worked happily in the area of religious education (in Catholic high schools) & ministry for several years. Economics necessitated an employment change, and real estate was a natural fit as it really is a “helping profession” and I’d grown up with it. I like to joke that my first words were “raised foundation”.

An area native, I was raised in Santa Clara and Saratoga, graduating from Saratoga High in 1977. As an adult I lived in several parts of the valley, including 10 years in Cambrian Park, and since 1999, in Los Gatos. Over the years I’ve also spent extensive time in Campbell, Almaden, and many parts of the West Valley.

I hold a Bachelor of Arts from Gonzaga University in Spokane (a Catholic university run by Jesuits – in Religious Studies, 1981) and thanks to my parents’ generosity, was able to enjoy a fabulous Junior year abroad at Gonzaga-in-Florence, Italy (1979-1980), which cemented my love of travel and all things Italian. (With some refreshing, I can still manage a simple conversation in Italian – which is fun!) After some teaching, I earned a Master of Arts (in Systematic Theology, 1986) from The Graduate Theological Union/Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley.

Afterwards I returned to teaching religion in Catholic high schools, a very rewarding career, for a few years, until our children came onto the scene. I did a lot of related volunteer work too, with my favorite being as a volunteer chaplain at Good Samaritan Hospital in the early 90’s. Additionally, I worked in the Rainbows Program at our parish, St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception in Los Gatos. Rainbows is a peer-to-peer ministry/support group for kids suffering from any major loss, such as the death of a parent or divorce.

My husband, Jim Handy, analyzes the semiconductor market. He grew up in many places due to his father’s line of work and speaks French and he too loves to travel; eons ago we honeymooned in Tahiti on Bora Bora where he got to practice his language skills (between their Polynesian French and his Belgian-Swiss-American accent it got interesting at times). We have been very happily married since 1985. Jim was a Parks Commission volunteer in the Town of Los Gatos for years, and even now, long after he’s left, he has his ear to the ground on that topic – I get a lot of interesting information about the town’s doings from him!

 

Our two children, Brian & Clair, are now twentysomethings. Real estate is inescapable for them, as it had been for me, and when Clair was in second grade she said, “uh oh Mommy, we have termites!” and had correctly spotted the telltale drywood termite pellets on our hardwood floor; I suspect she was the only second grader with the ability to correctly identify termite activity. So, real estate is a little contagious!

 

Like their parents, they love to travel and together we’ve been in much of the US, plus parts of Mexico, England, France, Switzerland, Italy, and Japan. Brian is now a grad student at USC in Los Angeles, having graduated from four happy years Loyola Marymount University in LA and prior to that, at Bellarmine College Preparatory in San Jose. Clair is currently assisting me in real estate, also graduated from LMU in LA and enjoyed four happy years at Notre Dame High School in downtown San Jose.

 

I hail from a large and loving extended family and it’s a very tight-knit group. In my free time, I enjoy keeping in touch with them and with many old friends (who feel like family) – and actually many friends and relatives become my clients, just as my clients often become my friends. In recent years, that’s meant a lot of time with older family members- something possible with a real estate career.

 

I try to put a priority on family visits and reunions. (And I have spent a lot of time at relatives’ retirement homes so earned my designation as a Seniors Real Estate Specialist). My siblings & many other relatives come here to visit often and I’m happy that usually they stay at my house. As one cousin said, “sometimes it’s as if you have a revolving door at the front of your house: just the way you like it!”
Mary Pope-Handy
408 204-7673
mary (at) popehandy.com
Realtor, ABR, CIPS, CRS, SRES
Sereno Group, Los Gatos
Serving Santa Clara County: Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, Saratoga, Campbell, and San Jose (Almaden Valley, Cambrian Park, Willow Glen) and nearby
California Department of Real Estate license # 01153805

 

Hobbies

Hobbies include enjoying walks in the neighborhood, Belgatos Park, and throughout the San Francisco Bay area – usually with camera in hand and blogging ideas being created! I love to write, hence the huge number of blogs, and wonder if someday I might write a novel. Photography, live music, and travel are all top hobbies too. I often enjoy the Almaden Music in the Park or any of the Los Gatos musical events. In 2016, I was over the moon to hear Andrea Bocelli perform at the SAP center in San Jose.

  • Allmaden Valley view from Nightfall Court
    Allmaden Valley view from Nightfall Court

Whether you call it the San Jose area, Santa Clara County, Silicon Valley, The South Bay, or even the old moniker of “The Valley of Heart’s Delight”, there is a lot to love about living here. I’ve put together a slideshow with a taste of the residential communities in and near San Jose, including Almaden, Willow Glen, Cambrian, Evergreen, Los Gatos, Saratoga, Monte Sereno, Campbell, Cupertino, Santa Clara and more. Sit back and enjoy the photos!

2014 Saratoga Rotary Art ShowIf you enjoy art, wine tasting, festivals, or leisurely time outdoors with food and entertainment, then the Saratoga Rotary Art Show should be on your list of must-do things this weekend.  The 59th annual event takes place on the campus of West Valley College from 10am to 5pm on Saturday, April 30th and Sunday, May 1st.  It is hosted by the Saratoga Rotary and is sponsored by a number of local businesses.  To get all of the details, please go to this link on the Saratoga Rotary’s website:

http://www.saratogarotaryartshow.org/

http://www.saratogarotary.org/

  1. 5 beds, 4 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 5,259 sq ft
    Lot size: 1.26 ac
  2. 5 beds, 4 full baths
    Home size: 3,180 sq ft
    Lot size: 15,115 sqft
  3. 6 beds, 6 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 5,161 sq ft
    Lot size: 29,403 sqft
  4. 2 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 1,231 sq ft
    Lot size: 1,481 sqft
  5. 4 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 2,000 sq ft
    Lot size: 11,412 sqft
  6. 5 beds, 4 full baths
    Home size: 3,095 sq ft
    Lot size: 11,543 sqft
  7. 3 beds, 1 full bath
    Home size: 1,226 sq ft
    Lot size: 15,638 sqft
  8. 3 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 2,016 sq ft
    Lot size: 11,020 sqft
  9. 6 beds, 5 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 4,816 sq ft
    Lot size: 2.01 ac
  10. 4 beds, 4 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 3,958 sq ft
    Lot size: 21,780 sqft

See all Real estate in the city of Saratoga.
(all data current as of 2/21/2017)

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

Multiple Offers

You may have heard that the Silicon Valley real estate market is softer now than it was a year 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 then. 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 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 is 5-15% 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. Next runner up is usually strong on terms (at least 25% down, 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 seems “shaky”.  Maybe they would 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.
  3. Middle of the pack is usually a combination of a price where the home should appraise, at least 20% down, and few or no contingencies.
  4. Bottom offers are barely over list price, have exactly 20% down, and include an appraisal contingency as well as others (one for loan or one for property condition).

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

Home sellers want to know when they agree to your purchase contract that you won’t back out and that you won’t renegotiate the terms later.  If they have paid for all the presale inspections, they aren’t going to want you to have 7+ days to decide if the condition is to your liking.  They want to know you have read everything and are cool with it.  Likewise with the appraisal. In overheated markets like this one, many times there’s an appraisal shortfall.  Sellers want to sell to buyers who can absorb any deficit, so you need more than 20% down to do that.

We Realtors generally don’t like the kind of market in which buyers get stuck writing offers with no contingencies in order to win the house, but the truth is, that someone in every pack will do it.  And you need to know that if you’re trying to buy a home.   (In my recent Belwood of Los Gatos sale I had 11 offers and 7 had no contingencies, as an example.)

A few years ago, I did a series of articles on multiple offers – everything from financing tips to the value of presenting an offer in person, and much more.  If you’ve been unsuccessful in buying a home and bid more than 2-3 times, please have a read. It may help you a lot:

A summary of tips for multiple-offer situations in Silicon Valley real estate contracts

By the way, in even the hottest market, there are homes that don’t sell.  (Some sellers fall for popular home selling myths that everything sells at every price, but it’s not true.)  If you have feelings of aversion to these bidding wars, do yourself a favor and ONLY look at homes that have been on the market 3 weeks or more.  Often the main thing wrong is an inflated price.  Some sellers won’t do an official price reduction, but may take a lower offer than you may think.  Some homes have just been hit with the Ugly Stick.  Ugly you can fix.  Often the Ugly Home will sell for a lot less because yes, it is not that heart warming and it is a lot of time, money, and effort to fix it up.  But guess what – it can be a great price and you won’t have to deal with competing bids in many cases.

Happy home hunting!

 

Related articles:

What are your cold feet costing you?

Why do sellers care if the offer has a loan or is all cash?

Shopping for what you can afford: how not to depress yourself while house hunting in Silicon Valley

Getting priced out of the market when housing prices rise rapidly

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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
Silicon Valley:
Santa Clara County,
San Mateo County, and
Santa Cruz County.
:
Special focus on:
San Jose, Los Gatos,
Saratoga, Campbell,
Almaden Valley,
Cambrian Park.
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Valley Of Hearts Delight
Santa Clara County Real Estate,
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2016: Personal Income's list of top 25 real estate blogs.


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The 2009 Sellsius list of top 12 women real estate bloggers
2009: Sellsius list of top
12 women real estate bloggers


Mary Pope-Handy's Live in Los Gatos blog won the 2007 Project Blogger contest, sponsored by Inman News and Active Rain

2007: Mary Pope-Handy and Frances Flynn Thorsen win the Project Blogger Contest for Mary's Live in Los Gatos blog. The contest was sponsored by
Active Rain and Inman News.


Non blog award


Best real estate agent in Silicon Valley from the San Jose Mercury News poll of readers in 2011
"Best real estate agent
in Silicon Valley"

2011 readers' poll,
San Jose Mercury News

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