A key ingredient in understanding how the Silicon Valley real estate market is faring is the ratio of regular sales to distressed properties on the market (Bank owned or REO listings and short sale listings). Today we’ll study Los Gatos and four areas or districts of San Jose: Almaden Valley, Willow Glen, Cambrian Park, and Blossom Valley.

First, let’s look at the county numbers as a general overview.  In all of Santa Clara County, there are 3537 houses, duet homes, condominiums & townhouses for sale and available (“status 1” for my Realtor readers) on our multiple listing service. Of those, merely 1964 are “regular sales” (56%), 1105 are short sales (31%) and 375 are bank owned homes or REOs (11%).

Now let’s drill down to a few areas: Los Gatos, Almaden Valley, Willow Glen, Cambrian Park and Blossom Valley.  We’ll check out the ratio of regular sales of houses and condos in each of these areas.  How do these compare to the county average of 56%? Have a look:

Percentage of Regular Sale Type Listings in Los Gatos, Almaden, Willow Glen, Cambrian and Blossom Valley

This is helpful information for both home buyers & home sellers.  Home sellers need to understand the challenges that come with selling in an area with more short sales or REOs, if they are in one of those parts of the valley.  Or vice versa: if there are few distressed properties on the market, this makes it easier to sell (with less downward pressure on pricing).  Buyers need to appreciate that they will have better luck negotiating in areas where many homes are being sold under some pressure.

A quick disclaimer – if we narrowed this study by school district and even neighborhood school, we might find that these “general numbers” are actually quite different at the hyper-local level.  For example, if you visit a post of mine about the Los Gatos real estate market on my Live in Los Gatos blog, you’d find that when we separated out the various school districts, and even price points, the ratio of distressed properties and their absorption rates change very dramatically.  To see those, scroll down until you see the blue and yellow boxes.

The condo market in San Jose and nearby areas has taken a beating throughout our downturn.  Even so, condos in Los Gatos, Almaden and Willow Glen are faring pretty decently.

Now let’s hone in on each of these five areas and the two main housing types to see the ratio in each of regular sales, short sales, and REOs.
Los Gatos short sales, bank owned homes, and regular sales are next.  Green represents regular sales.  In most areas, it seems that there are about 3 times as many short sales as REOs – but not always. (Read more on the Los Gatos real estate market here.)

Los Gatos Houses for sale & sale type

It is very dramatic – there are very few distressed houses for buyers to consider in Los Gatos right now: just 5 short sales and no REOs.  (The REOs do come on the market but are gobbled up quickly.)

What about condos for sale in Los Gatos?

Los Gatos Condos & percentage of short sales and REOs

This is still pretty healthy compared to most areas we’re considering today, but about 1/3 of the homes for sale are short sales or bank owned homes.

San Jose’s Almaden Valley is another pretty healthy market with relatively few distressed homes. Next I’ll post the graph for houses, then condos, in Almaden.

Almaden Houses for sale and sale types

Almaden Condos & real estate sale types

One of the driving factors for both Almaden and Los Gatos are the great schools. (More reading: check out the Almaden school district and school boundary maps & API scores for all of the Almaden Valley schools.)

Willow Glen, also part of the city of San Jose, is charming, convenient, has great community involvement – it’s always been a highly desirable place in which to live.  Next are the two graphs for Willow Glen houses and then Willow Glen condos:

Willow Glen Houses for Sale by "sale type"

Willow Glen Condos & sale types for listed properties

Cambrian Park
, also in San Jose and adjacent to all of the other areas we’re reviewing today, has become more prized over the years, first after highway 85 made it more accessible in the early 90s, and then again recently as the Union Schools began to trend up strongly in the API scores.  (Cambrian has 3 different elementary school districts, ranging from good to great. Read about the Cambrian Park real estate market in more detail here.) Most houses are still normal sales – making it a lot easier for home sellers than is the case for condo owners hoping to sell in the same neighborhoods.

Cambrian Houses: regular sales, short sales, REOs

Cambrian Condos and sale types

Blossom Valley
, yet another San Jose district, is burdened with the most distressed properties by ratio of any of these five places.  For home sellers in the 95123 and 95136 areas, it may well feel like an uphill battle to get a property sold and closed. With condominiums and townhouses especially, this is difficult for sellers there.

Blossom Valley Houses & sale types of homes for sale

Blossom Valley Condos & Sale Types

Earlier in this article, I gave a “quick disclaimer” about the hyper-local marke.  In Blossom Valley, Sakamoto Elementary School has fabulous API scores.  I have not pulled these numbers out, but I believe that because the school is an enormous draw, homes in that area are probably selling far better than the average in Blossom Valley (and distressed homes are probably selling far faster).

What to do with this information?  If you are buying in a part of Santa Clara County in which there are a lot of distressed homes for sale, you may get a great bargain right now. But be prepared because as more come onto the market, it may hurt your home’s market value.  Conversely, if you wish to purchase in an area with few distressed properties on the market, you may not be able to negotiate as much as you’d like – but those areas may be more insulated from further drops in value.

Downsizing? It may be a dream time for you to move from Los Gatos, Almaden Valley or Willow Glen to other areas where the market is softer.

Moving up?  That may be a little painful, especially if you’re going from an area with more short sales and REOs to another with fewer of them!

No matter what your situation, if you’re interested in buying or selling in any of these areas or nearby, please contact me for a private, confidential consultation.  I’m happy to meet with you and learn if we can work together to help you achieve your goals.


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Mary Pope-Handy
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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