Saratoga

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. Available inventory is less than half that of 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 Aug 2017 Previous Month Year-over-Year
Median Price $1,151,000 (-2.0%) $1,175,000 $980,000 (+17.4%)
Average Price $1,423,440 (+1.0%) $1,409,380 $1,260,500 (+12.9%)
No. of Sales 986 (-2.9%) 1,015 917 (+7.5%)
Pending 947 (+1.7%) 931 1,028 (-7.9%)
Active 630 (-22.8%) 816 1,626 (-61.3%)
Sale vs. List Price 106.4% (+0.8%) 105.5% 101.4% (+4.9%)
Days on Market 19 (-5.2%) 20 29 (-33.9%)
Days of Inventory 19 (-20.5%) 24 53 (-64.0%)

And the numbers from last month for comparison:

Trends At a Glance Jul 2017 Previous Month Year-over-Year
Median Price $1,175,000 (-0.4%) $1,180,000 $1,038,750 (+13.1%)
Average Price $1,409,380 (-2.4%) $1,444,410 $1,273,720 (+10.7%)
No. of Sales 1,015 (-15.9%) 1,207 918 (+10.6%)
Pending 931 (-13.9%) 1,081 959 (-2.9%)
Active 816 (-4.4%) 854 1,747 (-53.3%)
Sale vs. List Price 105.5% (-0.4%) 105.9% 102.1% (+3.3%)
Days on Market 20 (+10.6%) 18 23 (-13.2%)
Days of Inventory 24 (+17.5%) 21 57 (-57.8%)

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How’s the Saratoga California real estate market?

Orchard and Hills in Saratoga, California

Orchard and Hills in Saratoga, California

This is a fairly comprehensive article on the Saratoga real estate market that will include the live statistics from Altos Research for listed properties (not closed) in Saratoga CA 95070, the closed sale data from the RE Report for last month in Saratoga 95070, and the numbers I crunched for Saratoga – overall and by price point and high school district, since Saratoga has 3 different high school districts, each with an impact on home values.

First, let’s consider the months of inventory by price point and high school district that I crunched using MLSListings.com, our local multiple listing service provider.

The months of inventory is a reference to how fast homes would be absorbed into the market if sales continued at the same pace and no new inventory came onto the market. It’s often referred to as “the absorption rate” – and that can be months of inventory, weeks of inventory, or days of inventory. A “balanced” market is somewhere around 4-5 months for us, though the National Association of Realtors says that 6 months is balanced nationwide. Anything under 3 is a good seller’s market, and under 1 is like saying that homes are “flying off the market.”

(For comparison, please also see a similar article on the Live in Los Gatos blog for the town of Los Gatos – real estate market by price point and high school district.)

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 very stable market with minute warming since last month. The overall 1.48 MOI is a hot sellers market showing active Summer conditions. 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 0.25 to 1.875. Small levels of inventory can create big data swings and can make for less accurate charts. Nonetheless, we can still spot market trends if we know where to look.

 

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What makes an expensive house in the San Jose area more than just a pricey bit of real estate, but instead a Silicon Valley luxury home? How is high end real estate different from the rest of the market? When is a property not just a home with land, but an estate?

In other parts of the U.S., spending $1,200,000 may fetch a 4000 square foot home, new construction, in an upscale gated community with country club amenities such as a golf course, tennis courts, and more. Here, that same $1,200,000 will procure an entry to mid-level single family home in many parts of Santa Clara County. It won’t necessarily be a Silicon Valley luxury home.

Luxury connotes a combination of qualities, features, and amenities. And it includes pricing (relative to the nearby market), condition, land, design.

Pricing Luxury Homes in Silicon Valley: What Do They Cost?

Expensive Silicon Valley homes are not necessarily luxury homes. Depending on the city or town, the price tag could be higher or lower. For instance, a fabulous house on a large lot in Gilroy’s Eagle Ridge might sell for 1/3 as much as the identical type of home, land and neighborhood found in Saratoga, Monte Sereno, or Los Gatos, or Los Altos, if a similar home happened to be available. Generally, though, luxury homes could cost as little as $1,000,000 or so in some parts of Silicon Valley or in neighboring counties, but in most parts of Silicon Valley, a true estate type property will be valued at $2,000,000 or $3,000,000 or more.  In some areas, such as Palo Alto, that $2 million doesn’t go too far and the home you can purchase at that price tag may need major updating – or it could be “land value”.  For our purposes today, we’ll use $2 million as the bottom number for estate properties, but it may or may not be the case in some areas.

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What does it cost to buy a home with really good schools in Silicon Valley? Los Gatos, Saratoga, Cupertino and Palo Alto are all areas with highly regarding public schools. These aren’t the only areas with good schools but they are popular “west valley” areas that people may consider if working for Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook or any number of high tech employers.

Los Gatos and Saratoga both have multiple school districts, running from good to very good or excellent. The cost of housing tends to follow the popularity of the district, so for those areas I’m showing the breakdown not just for the whole town of Los Gatos but also by the high school district (Los Gatos-Saratoga or Campbell Union High School District). Same with Saratoga. (The Monte Sereno real estate market is very similar to Los Gatos, but slightly more expensive. Most of Monte Sereno has Los Gatos schools, but a small number of homes are in the Campbell area.)

Here are the average numbers for single family homes sold in the last 60 days ranging from 1500 – 2500 square feet, on a lot between 5000 and 10,000 SF, with 3-5 bedrooms and 2-3 bathrooms to give a sense of what it would cost to purchase a typical house in these areas. Please note that right now it’s a strong seller’s market, so many (if not most or all) homes are selling for more than the list price.  DOM stands for days on the market.

If you are new to Santa Clara County, you may be wondering if this is correct. The cost to buy a home in these areas is what?

  • Los Gatos: approximately $1,500,000 to $2,150,000 depending on the school district
  • Saratoga: approximately $1,700,000 to about $2,500,000 depending on the schools
  • Cupertino: approx $2,000,000 (some high schools will bring in higher prices and others lower)
  • Palo Alto: approx $2,700,000 – $3,000,000

Remember, these prices do not mean that the houses being sold are perfect. Because it is a strong seller’s market, many properties are being sold which need new roofing, extensive pest work, remodeling, perhaps updating of electrical or plumbing systems or more. Many home buyers will need to spend 1-2% on things like termite fumigation, dry rot or roof repairs, carpets, paint, windows and more, and usually this will be done before they move in. So whatever the budget is, buffer it a little bit for both money and time to make it turnkey.

To compare, here’s the same chart, following the same criteria, taken in April 2014. See what’s changed:

Market info April 19 2014

 

For people relocating to Silicon Valley from out of the San Jose or Peninsula area, this real estate market can be daunting. There are other areas with good schools which are a bit further from most employment areas which can be an alternative, too. They include the Cambrian 95124 and Almaden 95120 (especially the southern area with Bret Harte Middle School and Leland High School) areas within San Jose.

Finally, in some cases, it may be more affordable to make use of private schools, which are plentiful in the San Francisco Bay area. In some situations it can be financially more affordable to buy outside of the highly competitive areas with the best schools and utilize the private school system. Some of the private schools are religious, some secular, and some with a language focus (bilingual in French, German, Chinese, etc.).

Interested in purchasing a home in one of these fantastic communities?  Please call or email me!  408 204-7673  or mary (at) popehandy.com

  1. 1 bed, 1 bath
    Home size: 786 sq ft
    Lot size: 2.03 ac
  2. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 1,735 sq ft
    Lot size: 4,874 sqft
  3. 0 beds, 0 bath
    Home size: 2,573 sq ft
    Lot size: 9,395 sqft
  4. 3 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 1,625 sq ft
    Lot size: 3,449 sqft
  5. 2 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 994 sq ft
    Lot size: 2,108 sqft
  6. 3 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,190 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,098 sqft
  7. 4 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,498 sq ft
    Lot size: 7,405 sqft
  8. 4 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,677 sq ft
    Lot size: 7,100 sqft
  9. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,263 sq ft
    Lot size: 5,201 sqft
  10. 3 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,430 sq ft
    Lot size: 3,824 sqft

See all Real estate in the city of Cupertino.
(all data current as of 9/20/2017)

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

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 105 houses for sale listed at or more than two million dollars (just checked MLSListings.com), and in the last 30 days 56 have sold and closed escrow in those same areas and price ranges. For the Almaden – Saratoga region generally, then, there are 1.88 months of inventory in the over two million dollar price range (105/56). That makes it a strong seller’s market. Things have certainly livened up a lot since October. (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 9 houses for sale which are listed at or over $2,000,000.  In the last 30 days, 8 sold in that price range (with two sales pending). That makes for just over 1.13 “months of inventory.” That would mean this luxury market has rapid turnover and is in a strong seller’s market. It’s a deep seller’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

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

Who was Painless Parker, and why was he so well known in Saratoga, San Francisco, and beyond?

Edgar Randolph Parker, born Friday, Mar. 22, 1872  in Newfounland, Canada, would eventually come to be known as Painless Parker..

In 1890, at age eighteen he set off for the Philadelphia Dental College (and apparently also studied in NY)  and his career as a dentist began..

He was a renegade dentist in the early 1900s with his flamboyant self-promotion, traveling from town to town with his dentistry show, proclaiming “painless” dentistry and hiring bands to play as he pulled teeth. In one day he pulled 357 teeth!

Dentists weren’t supposed to advertise, and California charged Dr. Parker with violating trade rules by practicing under the false name of Painless Parker instead of using his actual name.  In response, in 1915 Dr. Parker promptly legally changed his first name from Edgar to Painless.

He opened 30 dental clinics in the 1920s — which he called “Painless Parker’s Dental Parlors” — up and down the west coast, at one time employing 240 workers including  79 dentists in 8 states, and it grossed $3 million per year.

It was during this heyday of his that he bought 218 rolling acres off Prospect Road, close to the Saratoga Country Club (as the bird flies).You would know it today as Parker Ranch or the Parker Ranch neighborhood.

Parker died in 1952 at age 80 in San Francisco. He was buried here as Edgar Randolph Parker in the family plot at Madronia Cemetery in Saratoga, the implication being that, while death may have come as a release, it couldn’t be called Painless.

Parker’s son, Ned, followed his father into the profession and practiced dentistry in Oregon.  The Los Gatos Weekly-Times ( April 3, 1996) stated of Ned “It seems he could never pass the examination in California.”

If you find yourself in Philadelphia, you might visit the Philadelphia Dental College, Parker’s Alma Mater, which later was renamed the Temple’s School of Dentistry. The museum is at the dental school, N Broad Street and W Allegheny Avenue. And there you can view the “Painless Parker’s” Bucket of Teeth!

 

 

 

 

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

The Parker Ranch neighborhood is found in the low western foothills of Saratoga along the Cupertino border, making it a fantastic commute location for many high tech workers.  With larger homes and lots, it’s easy to stretch out!   The rolling hills make a pleasant vista, or, if you’re in a higher elevation provide beautiful valley views.  The Parker Ranch subdivision boasts highly acclaimed Cupertino schools.  There are many reasons why this is a much beloved area of Saratoga.

There are just shy of 80 houses and luxury homes in Parker Ranch, so it’s not a hugely populous area, but it is fairly large.  Here are a few quick facts on this scenic subdivision:

  • Range of home size:  2,797-7,500 SF
  • Average SF:  4,517 SF
  • Range of lot size:  22,000-146,361 SF
  • Average Lot:  70,786 SF
  • Years Built:  1900-2013, lots of development in the 1980s

What do homes cost in Parker Ranch?

Because there’s an incredible variety in home and lot size, as well as age and condition, it’s not easy to pinpoint the likely price of the neighborhood.  However, as a very broad rule, most homes will currently range between $2.5 and $3.5 million.

What are the subdivision’s boundaries?

Map Boundaries:  Streets include Vista Arroyo Ct, Star Ridge Ct, Prospect Rd (pasture only), Picea Ct, Pheasant Ridge Rd, Parker Ranch Rd (major road), Parker Ranch Ct, Farr Ranch Rd (2nd major road), Farr Ranch Ct, Diamond Oaks Ct, Continental Cir, Comer Dr, and Chiquita Ct. To the W and N, the border is Prospect rd. A SW portion borders the Saratoga Country Club. To the S is Mt Eden.

Parker Ranch subdivision map - Saratoga, CA

Any special issues with Parker Ranch homes?

As with all homes near the coastal foothills, water and drainage will be very important to manage here.  Also there are high voltage power lines running through part of the community, with some homes built very close to both the lines and the towers.

Homes for sale in Parker Ranch

 

 

Related Reading:

Saratoga, CA – on the popehandy.com site

Saratoga Quarry Park

Just east of Hakone Gardens at the edge of downtown Saratoga Village off of Congress Springs Road sits the 64 acre property which is Saratoga Quarry Park.

The site was first used to mine from the hills all the way back in 1856 when it was used to quarry lime for the gold and silver mining industry.

The history of Saratoga Quarry Park

Quarry Park in Saratoga, CA

Saratoga Quarry Park was purchased in 1921 by Santa Clara County to extract rock and gravel for the county roads. In 1967 the county stopped using this site as a quarry. Still county property, public workers began to use the location as a recreational facility, with volunteers building picnic grounds and barbeques, landscaping and hardscaping. County employees held parties and even weddings on the site until the late 1990s.

The City of Saratoga purchased the property in 2011 with the intent to develop a park. The park opened with 0.8 miles of trails and picnic grounds on October 31, 2015. Someday, the city hopes to add trails which would connect the Quarry Park to Hakone Gardens and another to the Skyline to the Sea Trail through the Santa Cruz Mountains.

The old quarry in Saratoga California

Part of Saratoga's old quarry, off Big Basin Way

While quarry ridges have been softened and landscapes to return the mountainside to a more natural habitat and prevent erosion, many remnants from the quarry days remain and are even celebrated. Two marked tunnels, though blocked off for entry, have pathways built for visitors to peek inside and learn about the work that was done there. Some old, large gears are now used as decoration, such as axles from mine carts being used as benches. The largest structure is the Old Loading Structure, the concrete remains of the building still standing by the parking lot entrance. Once used to deposit freight into train cars and then into semis, the building now holds large black and white photographs from when the quarry was active.

 

Vollyball court at the quarry

Many of the special features, such as native gardens, boardwalks, and viewing platforms were Eagle Scout Projects from troop 566, added in 2015.

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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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