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Santa Clara County Real Estate Market

The Santa Clara County real estate market continues to overheat at an amazing rate.

  • Both the average and median sale price set new highs for the month of April, up from a year ago by 21.1% (average) and 18.5% (median).
  • The sale price to list price ratio continues to rise and was at 109.9% in April
  • Compared to last year, inventory is down 23.5%, but sales are up 119.5%, making it extremely strong selling conditions and nightmarish buying conditions

Santa Clara County Real Estate Market Data

The first image below is the brief update on the housing market from my Silicon Valley RE Report – 4 page printable PDF.

Please note the staggeringly high average sale price for the county at  $1.959 million. Appraisal problems are the major challenge today: both delays with appraisals generally (apparently due to demand) and appraisal shortfalls. Some appraisals factor in current market conditions, and may consider pending sale prices, while others use comps 3-4 months old, which will naturally create a valuation shortfall.

 

Santa Clara County Real Estate Market Trends at a Glance

 

Data from MLS Listings for the Santa Clara County real estate market

Inventory is critically low. It’s rising month over month, but not nearly to what would be normal for this time of year. In 2018 we also had an extreme seller’s market but April 2021 was even stronger – check out the data below.

(If the image below is too small, please click on it and a larger version will pop up.)

 

Active Inventory - SCC SFH 2015 - April 2021

 

The average sale price has set new highs.Compare the year over year numbers!

(If the image below is too small, please click on it and a larger version will pop up.)

 

Average Sale Price - SCC SFH 2015 - April 2021

 

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Willow Glen real estate market in San Jose

Willow Glen real estate market is a strong seller's market. This Willow Glen sign is from the downtown business district.The real estate market of Willow Glen in San Jose just keeps heating up, with significantly more activity overall than a year ago. It’s a raging hot seller’s market for these homes! This article will provide data and analysis for the residential markets in this area, updated monthly. Here are a few points from the single family housing market update:

  • Continually low active inventory shows that listings can’t keep up with this hyperactive market!
  • Closed sales have nearly doubled from the month before and have more than tripled April 2020 sales!
  • Most homes sell in two weeks and at an average of 108.5% of list price!

The Willow Glen Real Estate Market

Willow Glen is perhaps the most charming residential area of the city of San Jose with its old style architecture, tree lined streets and quaint downtown area on Lincoln Avenue and nearby. For folks working in downtown San Jose, the Willow Glen area (roughly the same as 95125 zip code, though a bit of 95124 is included also) is extremely convenient.

The Willow Glen real estate market for single family homes remains in a long-term seller’s market despite recent cooling.

But things have certainly changed since March of 2020. We have a partial view of the affect those changes are having on this area’s real estate market with this month’s update, though not the complete picture. For an understanding of how Covid-19 is affecting the local real estate market, please check my post titled Coronavirus Impact on Real Estate Sales.

At the start of the shutdown, the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) stopped the timer on all Days on Market (DOM). Therefore these numbers will be off beginning from March 17th through around May 17th, 2020. In the data below, this will affect any numbers related to the days on market, the absorption rate, and the days of inventory for those previous months, though current numbers are accurate.

1. Willow Glen Market Trends: Single Family Homes

April’s market saw some ups and downs, but generally it remained a hot seller’s market. Sales almost doubled while pending sales took a dip from the month before, both skyrocketing above last year’s sales and pendings. Active inventory rose a little month-over-month and is still less than half of what it was in 2020. Far more homes are selling than are currently available creating a blazing seller’s market and putting pressure on buyers. The sales to list price ratio slipped from last month, but remains high above last year at a fiery 108.5%. Overall the market is experiencing extremely active spring trends and Willow Glen homes continue to be in a raging hot seller’s market!

Here are the most recent housing sales statistics from the RE Report.

Click for the complete Willow Glen real estate report:

Trends At a Glance Apr 2021 Previous Month Year-over-Year
Median Price $1,719,500 (+1.1%) $1,700,000 $1,437,500 (+19.6%)
Average Price $1,845,500 (-2.7%) $1,895,870 $1,585,490 (+16.4%)
No. of Sales 100 (+81.8%) 55 30 (+233.3%)
Pending 85 (-16.7%) 102 29 (+193.1%)
Active 29 (+31.8%) 22 70 (-58.6%)
Sale vs. List Price 108.5% (-0.4%) 108.9% 103.0% (+5.4%)
Days on Market 14 (-6.1%) 15 (+59.7%)
Days of Inventory (-29.9%) 12 68 (-87.6%)

And last month:

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Los Gatos Real Estate Market Trends and Statistics

Leo or Leona - the mascot of Los GatosThe Los Gatos real estate market shows a clear seller’s market with some ups and downs. Once again the “in-town” (95030) zip code is less active for single family home sales than the 95032 zip code which continues to be in high demand. Here are a few quick points from the Los Gatos single family home market detailed below:

  • Pending and closed sales have risen from the month before, more than double last year’s activity.
  • The average sales price rose roughly 12.5% from last month and last year while the median price remains relatively stable.
  • The sale to list price ratio jumped to 106.5%.

However a lot has changed since March 2020. We can see some of the result of the pandemic on local real estate markets in these monthly analyses, but it will take a while before we can get the full picture. For more on how Covid-19 is affecting our local real estate market, please check my post titled Coronavirus Impact on Real Estate Sales.

During the shutdown so far, the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) stopped the timer on all Days on Market (DOM). Therefore these numbers will be off beginning from March 17th through around May 17th. In the data below, this will affect any numbers related to the days on market, the absorption rate, and the days of inventory from those months indicated. Current numbers should be accurate.

This post will include info from both Altos Research, which uses LIST prices, and the RE Report, which uses listing and closed sale data, for the “in town” areas of Los Gatos (95030 and 95032).

From ALTOS – a view of LG 95030 (these are updated automatically a few times a month):

Altos Real-Time Market Profile Los Gatos, CA SFH 95030

And 95032:

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Mulches and Fire Danger

Tanbark or mulch in front of a San Jose home

Tanbark wood mulch separated by a dry creek bed, cement path, & brick retaining wall in a low-water San Jose yard.

May Day is a celebration of spring, but “April showers” were few and far between and it’s already starting to feel like summer! With another record-breaking hot year and the Bay Area in severe to extreme drought conditions homeowners concerned about water use and fire prevention are turning to gardening and landscaping for the solution. But a word of warning! Since updating my surprisingly popular post on mulch vs tanbark and the risk of termite infestation, I came across another reason to be cautious when applying it to your perimeter: fire.

Organic Mulches and Fire Hazard

Mulch can work wonders in a garden – it helps soil retain moisture, protects roots, reduces weeds, insulates the ground, can add nutrients and enrich the earth, adds visual appeal, and it’s affordable. It’s on every guide for landscaping water conservation (including Valley Water’s recommendations and San Jose Water’s tips)! Do a search and you’ll find it comes in a broad variety of materials. These can be divided into two groups: organic and inorganic. And organic matter can burn.

The University of Nevada Cooperative Extension has published their (easy to read) findings from a study comparing the combustibility of various organic landscape mulches. I recommend reading the booklet, but here are some of the key points I found most interesting: (more…)

Ranch Style Homes

Oster Area Ranch Style HomeLove it or hate it, you can’t escape it: the Ranch.

By far the most abundant architectural style among Silicon Valley homes is the ranch. A recent resurgence in interest in this unique and pervasive house design suggest it is regaining popularity, and there are plenty of reasons to love it! Here we’ll take a peek at the history, how to identify, and the function behind the ranch design. Ready to meet America’s dream home?

New modern ranch homes for town or country living by the National Plan Service, Inc (1956) on Archive.org

by the National Plan Service, Inc (1956) on Archive.org – Click to see

Back on the Ranch: A Brief History

In the early 1930s, San Diego designer Cliff May took the architectural world by storm with his spin on the Spanish colonial revival home. Inspired by adobe ranchos and modern design with an emphasis on comfortable California living, May developed this unique style. This soon evolved into the quintessential California ranch style.

It’s no surprise that the ranch has come to be known as a suburban style. Its popularity was widespread during the booming post-war years through the 1970s, peaking in the 1950s with ranch homes accounting for as many as 9 out of 10 new homes! (Witold Rybczynski, p 207)

Having saturated the market for decades, and with buyers wanting bigger homes, the market shifted away from building the sprawling single-story ranch in the later decades of the 20th century. Still the design retained popularity in the resale market. With more ranch homes celebrating their golden jubilee (some of the earliest are approaching 90) and some gaining historic designations there has been a renewed interest in ranch architecture over the last decade or so.

Design Elements

 “Today, almost any house that provides for an informal type of living and is not definitely marked by unmistakable style symbols is called a ranch house.” (Sunset Western Ranch Houses (1946), IX – 1946).

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Cambrian months of inventory

Cambrian Park Plaza SignThe Cambrian area of San Jose is a very “hot market” overall, but it can be confusing to know how hot it really is, just like the rest of Santa Clara County, because there are multiple school districts – and schools are probably the number one driver of home values in this highly educated valley. Also, we know that the market started off hotter than the year before but cooled down a lot in Spring due to the pandemic. As rules start to loosen again, the market has started to heat up quite noticeably! The best homes are still the ones selling quickly and often with multiple-offers.

An explanation of “months of inventory”

What does “months of inventory” mean? This figure references how long it would take to sell a property if homes continued to sell and close at the current pace with no new inventory coming on the market. A good analogy is to consider a bathtub which drains. If you add no new water to the tub, how long will it take to empty out?

The months of inventory is sometimes called the absorption rate. The question is simple: how long will it take for the current inventory of homes for sale to get absorbed by the home buyers purchasing them? It doesn’t have to be calculated by months. It could be in days, weeks, or years. But months is probably most common.

The months of inventory for any part of the real estate market can vary, depending on many factors, including age of home, house size, lot size, and school district, whether or not there’s a pool, and many other things. It can be very useful to understand this metric when selling a Silicon Valley home. I’ve done market numbers crunching tied to the specific characteristics of a property (say, small yard with pool or big yard with no pool) to find the impact of those characteristics on the probability that a home will sell – or how fast.

The Cambrian area of San Jose’s months of inventory as a whole, and in one price point

Cambrian was once an enormous zone of the Santa Clara Valley. Today we mostly think of it as within San Jose in the 95124 and 95118 zip codes. Some of it it adjacent to Campbell – a very tiny sliver is IN Campbell (we’re only dealing with the San Jose portion in our charts), and a tinier still area is in San Jose and is under the Campbell School Union District. Most of this area is in one of three elementary school districts: Cambrian, Union, or San Jose Unified.

Here’s the breakdown – first, for ALL of Cambrian (MLS area 14 for my Realtor readers) that’s within the City of San Jose and second, by elementary school district. We will look at all prices for single family homes and then within a price range of $900K – $1.2M. The area for Campbell Elementary is so small that the numbers are usually not statistically useful (no offense to the Campbell school residents). It can just jump around too much to be helpful and often gives us no usable data. Often, as in this most recent batch, there are no homes available or sold from this area at all.

Please have a look – once again, the homes in the Union School District are extremely hot, especially those in the lower price points, but this time San Jose Unified holds the majority of the lower-price market!

2021-04-19 Cambrian MOI

These homes are flying off the market right now! The majority of sales and active inventory are coming from the Union Elementary School District. San Jose Unified is in a distant second place for sales overall, but it is the clear leader in the entry-level market with the greatest inventory and sales. On the other hand, the Cambrian Elementary District has fewer sales and active inventory, but is a very active market (currently the second fastest MOI overall) and is significantly hotter than it has been in past analysis. Inventory remains low and struggles to keep up with the high levels of demand fueling a hot seller’s market in Cambrian’s real estate market.

Below we have past charts for comparison. I usually do this analysis a few times a year, and it is good to see the long view.

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Cambrian Park Condo & Townhouse Real Estate Market Update

Cambrian Park Real Estate Market graphicHow’s Cambrian Park condo & townhouse market? Normally we answer this question in brief with regular monthly updates over on the Cambrian Park Real Estate Market Update. However with fantastic neighborhoods like Montanas de Los Gatos, Cambrian condos are not to be missed! So today we’ll take a closer look at the condominium and townhome market in this popular San Jose district!

Before we dive in, let’s see what’s selling now in the Cambrian Park condo & townhouse  segment of the market.

Just now (as of April 15, 2021), I looked into the MLS to see the condo and townhome sales in Cambrian over the last 30 days. Out of 11 sales, 9 were listed as condos and 2 were listed as townhomes (all were held in in condo ownership). Condos sold between $430,000 – $1,005,000 and townhome sales closed between $855,000 – $980,000. Most sold in under 2 weeks and over list price, although the 3 properties that took longer than 2 weeks to sell closed under list price. Properties ranged from a 1 bed 1 bath to a 3 bed 2.5 bath, although most were 2 bed 1 bath units. The majority were built in the 1970s – 1980s, although the youngest property was built in 2007.

Now let’s have a look at some of the numbers from my Real Estate Report:

Real Estate Report: Cambrian Park Condo & Townhouse Market – San Jose

It’s a hot spring market for the Cambrian condo market!

Trends At a Glance Mar 2021 Previous Month Year-over-Year
Median Price $699,500 (-13.6%) $810,000 $730,000 (-4.2%)
Average Price $727,350 (-9.0%) $799,333 $756,377 (-3.8%)
No. of Sales 10 (+11.1%) 9 11 (-9.1%)
Pending 14 (+40.0%) 10 (+55.6%)
Active 11 (+57.1%) 7 11 (0.0%)
Sale vs. List Price 102.0% (-0.5%) 102.5% 103.1% (-1.0%)
Days on Market 24 (+242.9%) 7 12 (+94.1%)
Days of Inventory 33 (+57.1%) 21 30 (+10.0%)

 

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