What is an easement?

What is an easement? Two signs plus a legal document concerning easements or non-easementsEasements are referenced in home selling, particularly in the preliminary title report and the seller’s disclosures.

But what are they, exactly?

An easement gives a person or an entity the right to use or enter another’s property for a limited and specific reason. Easements are often granted, sometimes in exchange for something valuable (possibly cash). But there are other ways for easements to be created, too. We’ll review them at the end of this article.

See also: Where are the easements? Request a color coded easement map from your title company!

Sometimes, in older shopping centers, you may see a plaque or tile in the walkway stating that the owner gives permission. In the sign to the right, which is difficult to read, it says “Permission to pass is hereby granted at the option of the property owner.”

At other times, you’ll see signage indicating the exact opposite of a right to pass, announcing that a road or path is private and that it is not a right of way.

Often you do not see them at all, as with underground utility company’s right to access the lines.

Common easements

Utility easements are a good example of an entity with these rights. For example, nearly all homes in Silicon Valley get power from P, G, and E. At times there are underground utilities and at times there are above ground power lines, but either way, those lines belong to P,G, and E and that utility company has a right to access, service, and protect them. They may trim trees or bushes that risk interfering with the lines and causing a fire, for instance.
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Los Altos: Beautiful Silicon Valley Suburb

Los Altos downtownLos Altos is a scenic town, semi-rural, conveniently located, with notably good schools (Los Altos or Cupertino schools). The charming old style downtown enjoys superior restaurants, shops, and is a pleasant place to stroll. The town enjoys a community college and a golf course. Its a great place for pedestrians and cyclists (lots of paths), and is a quick jaunt to both Palo Alto and Mountain View, both very popular peninsula destinations.

There’s a brief history of Los Altos on that city’s website that I found interesting. First, the land that started the community was originally 140 acres purchased from Sarah Winchester. Second, Foothill Expressway used to be a right of way for the Southern Pacific Railroad. The train line ceased operations in 1964, and the expressway was put in. Love local history from the Valley of Heart’s Delight? The Los Altos History Museum is a worthwhile destination.

The zip codes don’t stay within the city’s boundaries. Both 94022 and 94024 can be found in Los Altos and adjacent Los Altos Hills.

Los Altos Real Estate Market Conditions

Below please find first information from Altos Research, and then from the RE Report (we have subscriptions to both). Altos’ data is for the city and by zip codes. It uses list prices and its charts and reports are updated automatically each week. The RE Report uses data for each full month and provides it for the city as a whole and also by four distinct regions or neighborhoods. Both reports offer a subscription option if you click on the links.

The next 3 charts are from Altos Research and they are updated weekly, so check back often!  You can see the weekly report, with even more data, by visiting the link. Subscribe for Los Altos, for one of its zip codes, or anywhere else nearby by first entering the desired zip or city in the “Search Anywhere” button and then clicking on subscribe.

Whole town- both 94022 and 94024

 

 

94022

 

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The Monte Sereno Real Estate Market

The Monte Sereno real estate market is similar to Los Gatos, but distinct - Monte Sereno shares many features with Los Gatos but is a distinct cityHow is the Monte Sereno real estate market? Because the city is small, with just about 3,500 residents, there usually are few homes listed for sale or selling, and with small numbers we can get seeming volatility. This article is updated monthly with new data and analysis, so scroll down to read the latest and check back regularly. Here are a few details from the latest market update:

  • With so few sales and listings, Monte Sereno real estate data can swing quite wildly, so take it with a grain of salt.
  • This city appears to be in a seller’s market with severely low inventory, just 4 available homes at the end of May. That’s slim pickings!
  • There were just 2 closed and 4 pending sales last month.
  • The sale to list price ratio fell below 100% with the average Monte Sereno property selling at 91.3% of asking price and in over 2 months.

There are ALMOST no condominiums or townhomes in Monte Sereno. As of Febuary 2024, the MLS showed just 6 sales in these two categories in total – and that’s going back to 1998! And one of those, at least, appears to actually be in Los Gatos. One of the major challenges for this city is to ensure that at least some housing units are deemed “affordable.” You can find the city’s housing plan here (an online pdf):  http://www.montesereno.org/DocumentCenter/Home/View/674

Because this is such a small city and there’s a tiny pool of data, please also have a look at the Los Gatos real estate market post on this site.

Below is a quick market profile for the Monte Sereno real estate market. This is updated automatically weekly, so please check back often.

 

Monte Sereno Altos Real-Time Market Profile

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Santa Teresa real estate market

Silver Leaf Park in the Santa Teresa area of San Jose - the proximity of parks will impact the Santa Teresa real estate market for that neighborhood

Silver Leaf Park in the Santa Teresa area of San Jose

How’s the Santa Teresa real estate market? The scenic Santa Teresa area of San Jose is popular as it’s a bit more affordable, offering lovely views of the hills and public schools that seem to be improving over time making the area more desirable. These positives appear to be helping that district hold its value well. Here are a few details from the latest monthly market update for Santa Teresa single family homes (read the full analysis below):

  • Both the single family and condo / townhouse market are seller’s markets with extremely few available listings, per the latest monthly data
  • Average and median sale prices for single family homes slipped month-over-month, with year-over-year growth of around 0% – 7% (see charts below for details)
  • Homes are selling quickly, though turnover is slowing down with time on market at an 19 day average, with market absorption at 30 days
  • Available inventory more than doubled, closed sales grew, and pending sales shrank month-over-month. Compared to last year, we see the same trends.

To begin our analysis below, we have some live data feeds broken up by zip code. Santa Teresa (our MLS Area 2)  includes a small bit of the 95123 zip code, which is more expensive, but most of that zip code is Blossom Valley, so we will omit it. The 95138 zip code is about half Santa Teresa and half Evergreen (more expensive area), so take those numbers with a big grain of salt. I find the 95119 zip code to be most helpful, but even then, the school district is divided between Oak Grove and Morgan Hill.

Weekly update from Altos Research with a “market profile” of San Jose’s Santa Teresa area, zip code 95119 for single family homes / houses:

When there’s not enough data, the fields will be blank.

 

Santa Teresa of San Jose 95119 Real-Time Market Profile

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City of Santa Clara real estate market

Santa Clara real estate market - The Santa Clara Women's Club http://www.santaclarawomansclub.org/

The Santa Clara Women’s Club (old adobe house)
http://www.santaclarawomansclub.org/

The real estate market in the city of Santa Clara, like the rest of Silicon Valley, is one which continues to be impacted by low inventory and extremely high demand.

  • The May sale to list price ratio dropped -4.4% since last month, but remains at a jaw dropping 114.3% of asking, well above this time last year!
  • Available inventory rose month-over-month while closed and pending sales slipped. Year-over-year closed sales and active inventory are up while pending sales are relatively stable.
  • Time to sell slowed to an average of just 10 days on market, while the average days of inventory (or market absorption) slowed to 17 days.
  • Prices rose month-over-month, and are up about 28%-29% from last year.

Prices in Santa Clara rose astronomically through 2021 and in the first half of 2022. I grew up in that city and was amazed to see that the average and median sales price was hovering around $2 million during the hottest months of 2023! That dropped off around fall and winter, as anticipated, but by February 2024 the average sales price had already topped that $2 million marker and continues to rise, still well above that in May. While it may decline some later in the season, there is the sense that this may be the new norm.

The Real Estate Market for the City of Santa Clara

Below there are charts for the market activity over the last few months for single family homes in Santa Clara. Market activity has been high for years, and dispite some ups and downs over the last year, it remains high today. Low inventory across the valley means there is still a greater demand to fill than properties available. Further down in the article, we’ll check in on the condo market, too.

First, a market profile, automatically updated weekly, for the city of Santa Clara (these reports are available by zip code, too, and for condos/townhomes as well as single family dwellings). Check out the weekly Altos report HERE and click on subscribe to get weekly updates on all of Santa Clara or any particular zip code. (Scroll to the bottom and check out the profile of houses across 4 pricing quartiles – super interesting.)

 

Santa Clara Real-Time Market Profile

According to Altos, it’s a strong seller’s market with elevated market action rising through spring, finally leveling out around the start of summer.

Data from my Real Estate Report

Next, stats at a glance for the Santa Clara real estate market for single family homes.

Despite rising interest rates and limited options for buyers, the market for single family homes in the city of Santa Clara is going wild!! Homes on average are selling more than 14% over asking in just a week and a half – it’s a red hot seller’s market!

Have a look at the market by the numbers below, or visit my RE Report page for Santa Clara stats here.

Trends at a Glance

Trends At a GlanceMay 2024Previous MonthYear-over-Year
Median Price$2,190,000 (+8.3%)$2,021,500$1,706,000 (+28.4%)
Average Price$2,218,020 (+6.5%)$2,082,080$1,718,320 (+29.1%)
No. of Sales46 (-8.0%)5039 (+17.9%)
Pending32 (-15.8%)3833 (-3.0%)
Active26 (+13.0%)2320 (+30.0%)
Sale vs. List Price114.3% (-4.4%)119.5%108.2% (+5.6%)
Days on Market10 (+24.0%)818 (-42.0%)
Days of Inventory17 (+27.1%)1315 (+10.2%)

 

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Mountain View CA real estate market trends and statistics

Mountain View real estate market trends - by Mary Pope-Handy and Clair Handy - blue house with wordsThe Mountain View CA real estate market was a strong market and continued heating up, even breaking some recent records!

Quick summary on the realty market in Mountain View, CA

  • The average sale price for houses rose annually but down 1/10 of a percent monthly (to me, “flat” pricing)
  • The median sale price is also up annually and flat month over month
  • Days on market rose a tad from 11 in April to 16 in May
  • The sales to list price ratio cooled from 113.6% in April to 108.3% – not a lot of relief for home buyers
  • The condo market is appreciating even more steeply (see data closer to the bottom of this page)

Mountain View CA real estate market trends at a glance

First let’s have a look at the Real Estate Report for residential sales data. Happily, inventory rose and so did the number of sales (pending sales were flat).

Trends At a GlanceMay 2024Previous MonthYear-over-Year
Median Price$2,750,000 (0.0%)$2,750,000$2,500,000 (+10.0%)
Average Price$2,834,310 (-0.1%)$2,838,300$2,717,800 (+4.3%)
No. of Sales34 (+25.9%)2725 (+36.0%)
Pending21 (-22.2%)2723 (-8.7%)
Active14 (-44.0%)2514 (0.0%)
Sale vs. List Price108.3% (-4.7%)113.6%107.7% (+0.5%)
Days on Market16 (+52.7%)1111 (+46.5%)
Days of Inventory12 (-54.0%)2717 (-26.5%)

 

Throughout much of the valley, we are finding that some homes sell very quickly and with strong overbids, and others languish on the market (most often that happens if they are overpriced, but it could be other issues, too).

Mountain View CA real estate market trends and data by neighborhood or district

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Saratoga CA Real Estate Market Update

Orchard and Hills in Saratoga, California - photo for article on the Saratoga CA real estate market

Orchard and Hills in Saratoga, California

The Saratoga CA real estate market is a strengthening sellers’ market for single family homes :

  • the average sale price rose annually by a hair, and was down month over month
  • inventory in May of Saratoga houses for sale is up compared to the year before, but the same as in April 2024
  • the sale to list price ratio rose to 109.1% in May from 106.8% in April (and 101.2% in May 2023) – a strong seller’s market

How’s the Saratoga CA real estate market?

Saratoga has a diverse real estate market due to a wide range of home prices, square footage, lot sizes, school districts, and more. The luxury tier, generally $4 million and up (but in Saratoga, that’s really still just a house in an expensive part of town) normally moves slower than other price points. Saratoga’s entry level housing is usually the strongest. If the numbers swing wildly at any given month, it could be that more or fewer homes in a particular school district and pricing tier.

To really understand the Saratoga CA real estate market, you’ll need to get hyper local data for that home’s pricing tier, school district, and any other impactful data points.

 

Trends at a Glance for the Saratoga CA Real Estate Market

Here’s a quick overview from the RE Report details below or please view the full data here.

Trends At a GlanceMay 2024Previous MonthYear-over-Year
Median Price$4,037,500 (-4.2%)$4,215,000$3,790,000 (+6.5%)
Average Price$4,235,720 (-6.6%)$4,533,660$4,227,960 (+0.2%)
No. of Sales32 (+77.8%)1828 (+14.3%)
Pending22 (0.0%)2213 (+69.2%)
Active35 (0.0%)3520 (+75.0%)
Sale vs. List Price109.1% (+2.7%)106.3%101.2% (+7.8%)
Days on Market11 (-62.9%)2917 (-35.7%)
Days of Inventory33 (-41.8%)5621 (+53.1%)

Altos Research real estate market data for Saratoga, CA single family homes

Next, a quick glance at the Altos Research market profile for a quick summary of the Saratoga CA real estate market conditions. Altos uses LIST prices, not sold prices, for this chart and the others, below.

Market profile for Saratoga CA 95070

 

Real-Time Market Profile Saratoga, CA 95070

 

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