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.

Los Gatos (Town of Los Gatos, 95030, 95032)

Right now there are 42 homes listed in the luxury price point of $2 million or more, and just 8 have sold & closed in the last month, so there is a 5.25 month supply of inventory in Los Gatos. That means it’s a balanced market in the Los Gatos luxury homes. What about pending sales? There are 7 homes in this price range “under contract”.

Monte Sereno (City of Monte Sereno, 95030 & 95032)

In Monte Sereno, a very high end but very small community of only about 4,000 residents, currently there are 9 properties for sale in this upper pricing tier.  Three have sold in the last month, so there are three months of inventory.  There are only two houses under contract or “sale pending” in Monte Sereno right now as well. This leaves Monte Sereno in a clear buyer’s market. (All but a tiny handful of properties are within the attendance boundaries of the Los Gatos Union School District.)  Please note that this constitutes all of properties for sale and pending in Monte Sereno; only one sold property was not in the $2M+ range. The entirety of the current Monte Sereno market is luxury properties.

Saratoga (City of Saratoga, 95070)

Saratoga enjoys a good number of estate properties and very high-end real estate. As of today, there are 38 such homes on the market and 27 sold and closed escrow in the last month. In Saratoga, the months of inventory is 3.6, not too far from neighboring Monte Sereno. This is a light seller’s market. This and Los Gatos are the closest to a balanced market of the areas we’re studying today.  Additionally, there are 15 pending sales in this upper price range.

Please note: In all of these areas, “the market” will be influenced further by the exact pricing tier ($2.1 million is a very different market than $15 or $20 million!), each property’s school district and whether or not it’s got a view, any issues (busy road, power lines, too-close proximity to anything negative) plus of course condition.  A nicely remodeled home from top to bottom will get far more attention, in every price range, than one which is 20+ years old on the inside. Additionally, homes will be helped if they are placed in areas where neighboring properties are equally valuable or more so, and they will be hurt if they are over-improved for the neighborhood.

What about schools?

Isn’t it all about the schools?  Some people seem to think so – but we should see for ourselves.  Let’s just consider the impact of schools on a property’s micro-market. If you were getting ready to buy or sell, you would make this one of your factors to consider, but not the only one.  For this brief example, we’ll use the high school district.

Saratoga and high school districts, months of inventory:

Saratoga, with the Los Gatos Saratoga Unified High School District (LGSUHS 476) – houses offered at over $2 million today = 29
Saratoga, with the Los Gatos Saratoga Unified High School District (LGSUHS 476) – houses sold in the last 30 days over $2 million = 11
Months of inventory for this part of Saratoga = 2.64

Saratoga, with the Fremont Union High School District (Cupertino Schools 475) – homes for sale $2 mil and up = 2
Saratoga, with the Fremont Union High School District (Cupertino Schools 475) – homes sold/30 days $2 mil and up = 4
Months of inventory for this section of Saratoga = 0.5

These homes are selling the fastest by far!

Saratoga, with the Campbell Union High School District (CUHSD 473) – houses listed at or over $2 million today = 7
Saratoga, with the Campbell Union High School District (CUHSD 473) – houses sold/30 at or over $2 million = 0
Months of inventory for this section of Saratoga = ∞

Campbell schools are clearly not where the demand is happening in the luxury market.

The “conventional wisdom” is that the best schools will always have the best market.

But we can see from this brief study that it’s not the case for Saratoga if we’re comparing the over $2 million property by school district. How can this be? A number of factors could be at play. Many home owners are not opposed to the use of private schools. Other prefer having their kids at schools which are less academically stringent (and perhaps a more “normal” environment – that’s a comment I hear a lot). And some folks don’t have kids living at home, and would much rather have more house for their money and not pay for schools they don’t need. Lots of reasons could be impacting this situation.  No matter the cause, it’s a good wake-up call to not assume the drivers of the market.

How long will it take to sell a luxury property in Silicon Valley’s west valley area?

For these 4 zip codes generally, the 28 homes now under contract had an average days to sell of 47.  Of the 28, 3 sold in under a week and 17 in under a month, but many sold in a couple of months. Four took over 100 days, and one took over 200 days – over half a year! It is not uncommon for a high end home to take 90 days to sell or more.

How can this information help you if you’re are a buyer or seller?

If you are a home owner thinking of selling an estate property, it is a tremendous help to know whether or not there is much demand for the type of home you wish to sell.  If nothing is “moving”, either the whole lot of listings is overpriced (which can happen) or buyers are voting with their feet and choosing another community in which to buy. Sometimes this happens because of schools, other times simply because the lower price ranges make a home purchase in a more exclusive area possible now when it wasn’t as possible before. In any case, if you need to sell in an area where little or nothing is selling, you will have to price your home so attractively that it’s probably painful.  Remember, the one thing we do not control is the market.

On the other hand, if homes are selling, you’ll want to study what is and isn’t selling.  Sometimes it’s “issues”.  Sometimes it’s the presence of or lack of something, such as a pool, remodeling, conforming neighborhood (where all homes are tidy and appealing).

If you are a home buyer interested in purchasing luxury real estate, you will also benefit from knowing how much competition there is for the type of home you wish to buy.  Right now, you may have an easier time negotiating in Los Gatos rather than in Monte Sereno. Of course it depends entirely on the house you like and whether or not it’s priced right.

Interested in understanding the market a little more? Please contact me for a confidential, no-obligation meeting.

  1. 3 beds, 3 full, 2 half baths
    Home size: 4,336 sq ft
    Lot size: 26,005 sqft
  2. 6 beds, 5 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 4,880 sq ft
    Lot size: 39,508 sqft
  3. 4 beds, 2 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 2,984 sq ft
    Lot size: 1.07 ac
  4. 5 beds, 6 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 5,633 sq ft
    Lot size: 1.01 ac
  5. 4 beds, 3 full baths
    Home size: 2,870 sq ft
    Lot size: 1.29 ac
  6. 4 beds, 3 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 4,800 sq ft
    Lot size: 39,988 sqft
  7. 5 beds, 6 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 7,002 sq ft
    Lot size: 35,022 sqft
  8. 5 beds, 3 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 3,462 sq ft
    Lot size: 1.04 ac
  9. 5 beds, 5 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 5,569 sq ft
    Lot size: 3.56 ac
  10. 4 beds, 4 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 4,300 sq ft
    Lot size: 43,560 sqft

See all Real estate in the city of Saratoga.
(all data current as of 4/25/2017)

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

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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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