How’s the Saratoga California real estate market?
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.)
For most of the valley, inventory is up, prices are down, days on market are up, and sale price to list price ratio is up. It’s still a seller’s market, but it’s softening. If it continues in this direction, it will become a buyer’s market – but is not there yet.
Here’s the chart for Saratoga – all price points, all school districts. Please notice that the months of inventory is about DOUBLE from four months ago. Translation: it’s twice as hard to sell now as it was in mid-April. At the same time, 3.15 months of inventory is still very decent! Also, though home prices can be quite high, the bulk of properties are under $3 million. It’s challenging to sell homes higher than that amount, overall.
And from 4 months ago:
By comparing across school districts you can also see how different each area’s individual market can be. Saratoga with Saratoga schools is a little slower of a market. Why? Most likely because it’s a bit pricier than other areas. This area is about 50% slower than it was a few months ago. The overall MOI makes it seem like Saratoga with Saratoga Schools is a bit sluggish. That’s not really the case in most price points, but at $4 million and up, it is a buyer’s market.
The Santa Clara County real estate market is cooling off, which is very often the case in summers here. It varies from place to place within the region, and one pricing tier to the next, but I am definitely seeing and hearing about fewer offers, more lowball offers, contingencies creeping back into sales, etc. In red hot properties with great schools, you might get a half dozen offers…and three of them may be “bad” offers from home buyers who are pessimistic on the market. They do not get the sale, of course, but it is interesting to hear about an increase in those kinds of bids.
My RE REport just came out, and here are some images and data from that for Santa Clara County. First, the market barometer. Here, you can see that sellers had stronger power in March than they do now – by quite a lot! (Click on the image to go to the report and see a clearer version of it.)
Next, the average and median sale prices and the number of units (again, click on the image to go to the report). This graphic does not look as bad or as much of a change as the one before, though you can see that since May prices have gone down a little, and sales are now tipping downward and are fewer than sales for this time last year.
Next, the sale price to list price ratio is a bit more startling. Sales are still averaging about 1-05% of list price – so that is hard for sellers to complain about – however, it is unmistakable that the climate for home selling in Silicon Valley is undergoing a change and this is literally past its peak. Buyers and sellers alike need to wonder whether it will calm down or continue at the current rate of decline. Is it a buying opportunity, or the beginning of a correction?
The numbers themselves point to a turnaround in the market. I’ll jot the median sale price for the county here – it’s a large enough pool of sales to be pretty reliable as a gauge of the real estate market in the San Jose area:
July 2018 $1,350,000
June 2018 $1,402,000
May 2018 $1,416,000
April 2018 $1,420,000
March 2018 $1,450,000 – PEAK
February 2018 $1,380,000
January 2018 $1,163,000
Between March and July, the median sale price dropped $100,000, or 6.89%. As you can see, it had also jumped considerably between January and March, and even at today’s lower median sales price, it’s still higher than January. It will be interesting to see where it ends up in January of 2019.
A quick look at the numbers for this month’s Santa Clara County RE Report:
Trends at a Glance
|Trends At a Glance||Jul 2018||Previous Month||Year-over-Year|
|Median Price||$1,350,000 (-3.7%)||$1,402,000||$1,175,000 (+14.9%)|
|Average Price||$1,624,690 (-5.1%)||$1,712,500||$1,409,380 (+15.3%)|
|No. of Sales||847 (-13.3%)||977||1,015 (-16.6%)|
|Pending||924 (-0.6%)||930||931 (-0.8%)|
|Active||1,151 (+8.0%)||1,066||816 (+41.1%)|
|Sale vs. List Price||105.6% (-2.0%)||107.8%||105.5% (+0.1%)|
|Days on Market||19 (+13.7%)||17||20 (-6.7%)|
|Days of Inventory||41 (+28.8%)||32||24 (+69.0%)|
It’s now August 10th and it’s too early to know for sure what the August numbers are doing, but normally August is a quiet month with sale prices a little off. So we’ll see. Continue reading
The Cameo Park West neighborhood is located close to where Los Gatos, Campbell, and Saratoga meet. It’s actually in the city of Campbell but has a Los Gatos mailing address. This is a tidy community bordered by Pollard Road, San Tomas Aquino Creek, the Highway 85 freeway, and Rolling Hills Middle School.
The 122 or so homes here were built in 1966 and 1967 by one of the better tract builders in the area, Leep Homes. Houses range from 1380 square feet to 2620 SF, and lot sizes run between 6000 SF and about 12,600 SF. A typical home might have around 1800 SF and be situated on an 8000 SF lot. The houses have thoughtful floor plans and the bedrooms and living areas are usually a good size.
Leep homes tend to have a fairly consistent layout – here are the 1 story home traits
- most are single story homes
- front porch with two bedrooms facing the front (sometimes one goes further into the front yard than the other)
- formal entryway, often with double doors
- step down living room straight ahead from the foyer (the rest of the house is all the same level)
- fireplace located on side of living room closest to kitchen – it’s often a two way fireplace
- kitchen (and sometimes also a family room) just behind the garage
- laundry in the attached 2 car garage but close to the kitchen, usually immediately next to the door from the garage to the kitchen
- bedrooms are all down a hall in the opposite direction from the kitchen. Just before the master bedroom suite there will be the hall bath (then inside the master suite, the owner’s bathroom and then bedroom)
- the master bedroom faces the back yard, often leading to a patio shared between the kitchen (family room) and living room
- central, forced air heat
- hardwood floors
- copper plumbing
- no formal dining room (but plenty of space in the kitchen for eating)
- sliding glass doors from the master bedroom, the living room and kitchen / family room
Below is a pan of one of the streets in Cameo Park West, taken in 2011.
Strengths and weaknesses of the Cameo Park West neighborhood
It’s very easy to list the strengths of this neighborhood: it’s very clean, well kept, had a good builder, convenient location (close to two schools and only a block or two or three to Safeway and nearby shops). Major shopping is within easy reach at Westgate, El Paseo and nearby (appx 7 minute drive). For those wishing to take Lawrence Expressway, it’s a breeze – just hop onto Quito and it becomes Lawrence, making a lot of commutes simpler, easier and faster. For Los Gatos, this location is closer to places like Apple, Google, and other high tech centers (as compared to downtown Los Gatos or east LG).
The elementary school is Marshall Lane, the middle is Rolling Hills and the high is Westmont. Both the elementary and middle enjoy API scores of over 900 and Westmont has a very respectable score that’s more than 800.
The negatives do not impact everyone, but that said, they do exist. At one end of the neighborhood, there’s super close proximity to highway 85, to the train tracks and to the high voltage power lines and towers. Those are never a plus.
Many homes along Elwood back up to Rolling Hills Middle School. Is that a negative or a positive? That really depends on your point of view, and some would prefer to back to a school yard than to another house. But most buyers would prefer another home.
What do homes cost in the Cameo Park West area?
Like most of the 95032 zip code, it’s unlikely to find a house for under $1.5 million there today (if you do, it is likely in “fixer” condition). To be able to purchase one of these homes, be prepared to pay between $1.7 million and $1.8 million in most cases. Of course, it could always be less or more depending on exact location, size and condition of home, plus the marketing situation (is it easy to see, is it clean and without bad odors, has it been fairly updated etc.).
$1,328,000 : 1619 Silacci DR, CAMPBELL3 beds, 2 baths
$1,648,000 : 84 Lavonne DR, CAMPBELL3 beds, 3 baths
$1,880,000 : 480 Pine Bridge PL, CAMPBELL4 beds, 3 baths
$1,598,000 : 1614 Walters AVE, CAMPBELL4 beds, 3 baths
$1,550,000 : 2209 Montezuma DR, CAMPBELL5 beds, 2 baths
$1,799,000 : 1056 Central AVE, CAMPBELL4 beds, 3 baths
$1,428,000 : 3802 Century DR, CAMPBELL5 beds, 2 baths
$1,299,000 : 1215 Shadle AVE, CAMPBELL4 beds, 2 baths
$1,249,000 : 601 El Patio DR, CAMPBELL2 beds, 3 baths
$1,398,000 : 107 Sunnyside AVE, CAMPBELL4 beds, 3 baths
See all Real estate in the city of Campbell.
(all data current as of 9/18/2018)
Listing information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Read full disclaimer.
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.
What 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
You may have heard that the Silicon Valley real estate market is slightly softer now than it was a a few months ago. That’s true – at least for most of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties and nearby. In many cases there are now half as many offers as there were in February, March, or April. But it’s still a hot seller’s market, and that means that often there are multiple offers, overbids, and sales with no contingencies.
For my last few listings – which have been in San Jose, Saratoga, Los Gatos, the Cambrian area of San Jose and the Campbell area of San Jose – there’s been a consistent “spread” of offers. If there were 6 offers, it might look like this:
- Best offer frequently the highest price and best terms. It is 10-20% over list price, 25-30% down at least, and has no contingencies for inspection, loan, and most of all, appraisal (the percentage over has to do with whether the home was priced spot on the value or strategically under). These offers come with all disclosures signed, and the buyer’s agent has even done her or his Agent Visual Inspection Disclosure. They include the proof of funds and usually also write a nice letter to the sellers about why they want to purchase that home.
- The best offer is also someone who’s been SURE that he or she or they wanted the home from the very beginning and looks ROCK SOLID. NO WAVERING, not a “last minute” offer. Any hesitation on your side will cause the seller to not feel good about your odds of closing the sale. Be consistently interested if you want the sale. A shaky looking buyer may not include their proof of funds. Perhaps they would not sign the disclosures yet or otherwise submit an incomplete package. They don’t come across as certain about buying this property and need a few days to see the property again, or show it to their parents, or otherwise confirm the decision to buy. Their agent is not so thorough. If the TDS is not fully signed off, is the buyers’ agent trying to sneak a 3 day right of cancellation into the contract? The best buyer’s offer doesn’t look shaky – it looks dead set on buying the home and has done everything possible to convince the seller of their conviction.
- The second best or next runner up is usually strong on terms (at least 25% down, few or no contingencies) but perhaps made an offer price a little under the top value. Sometimes the next runner up has a good price and mostly good terms, but something is not quite as solid. If the offers are tied but one buyer has no contingencies and the other has any, that will be the tie-breaker.
- Middle of the pack is usually a combination of a price where the home should appraise, a solid down payment, and few or no contingencies. It may be a price that seems “reasonable”. Buyers may feel that it is “a fair offer” or a win-win. Often the fair offers aren’t good enough to take the prize in multiple offers. If you can project what most buyers think a home will be worth, maybe you might want to consider getting ahead of that pack and seeing where the pricing trajectory will take you.
- Bottom offers are under, at, or barely over list price, and include an appraisal contingency as well as others (one for loan or one for property condition). If there’s a rent back, they want their PITI covered.
If you’ve been writing offers and not succeeding, try to see your own pattern in this spread. Is there one thing, or perhaps are there two or more things, you’re just not ready to do?
Why it is so hard
Luxury home sales are going like crazy in the west valley areas of Santa Clara County. Right now in Almaden Valley, Los Gatos, Monte Sereno and Saratoga, there are 115 houses for sale listed at or more than two million dollars (just checked MLSListings.com), and in the last 30 days 52 have sold and closed escrow in those same areas and price ranges. For the Almaden – Saratoga region generally, then, there are 2.212 months of inventory in the over two million dollar price range (115/52). That makes it a strong seller’s market. Things have certainly stayed lively since last year. (In the same region, there are 39 pending sales.)
Next we’ll look at these four Silicon Valley communities separately to see how the luxury market in each one is faring overall.
Almaden Valley (San Jose, 95120)
Currently in Almaden there are 12 houses for sale which are listed at or over $2,000,000. In the last 30 days, 3 sold in that price range (with 2 sales pending). That makes for 4 “months of inventory,” which can be considered a balanced market in many areas though is leaning towards being a seller’s market. That would mean this luxury market has good turnover but is not as strong a market as elsewhere. It’s a close to balanced market in Almaden Valley among the most expensive real estate offerings for sale. Five to six months is balanced and over six is a buyer’s market. Continue reading
Please stop by a Sereno Group office listed below to take part in a FREE e-waste, e-recycling
collection event on Sunday April 21, 2018 9:00AM- 1:00- PM.
A FREE e-waste collection event is being held in 3 area Sereno Group offices on Sunday, April 21, 2013 from 9:30am to 1:30pm:
Where to go to drop off the approved items?
Corner of Emerson and Lytton Avenue
LOS ALTOS * SHREDDING AVAILABLE AT THIS LOCATION *
369 S. San Antonio Road (Sereno Office Parking Lot)
LOS GATOS * SHREDDING AVAILABLE AT THIS LOCATION *
214 Los Gatos – Saratoga Road (Sereno Office Parking Lot)
1425 Lincoln Avenue (WG Elem. School Parking Lot)
2407 Porter Street (Sereno Office Parking Lot)
What to Bring, what’s accepted:
- Computers / Laptops / Servers
- Televisions / Monitors
- DVD / CD Players
- Fax Machines / Printers
- Copy Machines
- Toner Cartridges
- Speakers / Stereo Equipment
- Rechargeable Batteries
- Telecome Equipment / Telephones / Cell Phones
- Wire / Cabling / Printed Circuit Boards
- Aluminum / Scrap Metal
- Microwave Ovens
Items NOT Accepted:
- Alkaline Batteries
- All Lightbulbs
- DLP TV’s
GreenMouse Recycling shreds and Grey Bears reconfigures all hard drives so no one can access your personal information!
Additional details: https://www.serenogroup.com/Earth-Day-E-Waste-Event
This March, travel back in time to the early- to mid-20th century and celebrate Santa Clara Valley’s heritage with the Saratoga Historical Foundation and the City of Saratoga’s Blossom Festival.
When the hills of Los Gatos, Saratoga, and the surrounding regions were covered with fruit blossoms every year, a Blossom Festival was held with parades, food, games, and theatrical performances. These massive celebrations saw visitors come from miles around to enjoy the beauty of the valley and the festivities.
On March 24th from 10am-4pm, the Saratoga Heritage Orchard and Civic Center area will be host to a new Blossom Festival. The event is free and family friendly. Children may enjoy kids craft and activity tables and a petting zoo. History buffs can rub elbows with costumed characters from Saratoga’s by-gone-days, see vintage vehicles, motors, and tractors, and swing to a live band playing tunes from the 1930s-40s. Foodies might enjoy gourmet food trucks, prune and apricot tasting (the prize crops of the Valley of Heart’s Delight), and docent-led orchard tours. There will also be artists, craftspeople, entertainment, and more!
Join us in the orchard under a snowfall of pink and white flower petals and celebrate the beauty of the changing season at the Saratoga Blossom Festival!
Saratoga Heritage Orchard and Civic Center area
13777 Fruitvale Avenue in Saratoga, CA
March 24th from 10am-4pm, free to all!
Only a few have announced dates yet, so this post may be updated when I am alerted to more.
On Thursday, November 23, after starting the turkey and before the guests arrive, head over to the Saratoga Federated Church at 20390 Park Pl for the 52nd Annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Service from 10am-noon. This celebration is hosted by a different religious community each year in the Los Gatos, Saratoga, Monte Sereno area and is the perfect chance to share community time and spread thanksgiving with your neighbors. Congregation Beth David is the only website with information on this event at the present (please use the link to learn more).
Wishing everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving! Hope to see you at one of these events!
$2,450,000 : 20450 Williams AVE, SARATOGA4 beds, 5 baths
$2,980,000 : 19517 Via Real DR, SARATOGA5 beds, 3 baths
$4,998,000 : 21771 Congress Hall LN, SARATOGA5 beds, 5 baths
$2,988,000 : 19999 Angus CT, SARATOGA4 beds, 3 baths
$2,698,000 : 12743 BROOKGLEN CT, SARATOGA5 beds, 3 baths
See all Real estate in the city of Saratoga.
(all data current as of 9/18/2018)
Listing information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Read full disclaimer.
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.