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 is up annually and monthly by well more than double digits
  • inventory of Saratoga houses for sale is way down compared to a more normal December (see inventory table below)
  • the sale to list price ratio moved down to just 100% in January. December and January are usually the softest months of the year, so this is not surprising.

 

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.

Saratoga inventory of homes for sale

With 25 years worth of data to display, I thought the format below would make the most sense. It’s too wide to have all years side by side. We know that inventory is low everywhere. As a benchmark, I checked inventory from 2013 (when the market was truly recovered from the Great Recession) to 2023 and also from 2000 – 2024 (January).

 

Saratoga CA inventory of single family homes for sale 2000-2024 January

 

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 GlanceJan 2024Previous MonthYear-over-Year
Median Price$4,140,000 (+29.7%)$3,192,000$3,500,000 (+18.3%)
Average Price$4,280,580 (+24.9%)$3,427,130$3,640,000 (+17.6%)
No. of Sales14 (-6.7%)15(+100.0%)
Pending(-54.5%)11(-16.7%)
Active12 (-20.0%)1517 (-29.4%)
Sale vs. List Price100.0% (-8.5%)109.3%101.2% (-1.2%)
Days on Market21 (+17.1%)1834 (-38.0%)
Days of Inventory26 (-14.3%)3073 (-64.7%)

 

 

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

 

(more…)

Finding Mid-Century Modern and Eichler Homes in Silicon Valley’s West Side

Mid-century modern homes, including those designed by Joseph Eichler, dot the Silicon Valley & South Bay Area real estate landscape.  There are probably more than 5,000 Eichlers in Santa Clara County altogether, plus all the other homes of that genre with the similar modern style, which was influenced by the ranch and prarie styles as well as the dramatic work by Frank Lloyd Wright (open beam ceilings, nearly flat roofs, lots of exposed wood & glass windows stretching from the floor to the ceiling).  Eichlers, especially, put a premium on privacy from the street but open to the outdoors otherwise.

Not every community in Santa Clara County has Eichler homes, but most have the mid-century modern style homes & neighborhoods. These homes vary from tiny, modest cottages of 1100 square feet to large & elegant  houses of nearly 3,000 square feet, featuring big, central atriums or courtyards.  (There are also some co-ops in the valley too.)  The quality varies, as the homes were constructed by several different builders with different home buying budgets in mind.  Real estate prices range from “entry level” to very expensive, depending on the location (city and schools), size of the home & lot, and condition of the property. Most of them are now about 50 years old, though some are a little younger.

Some of the West Side Silicon Valley Communities which feature Eichler and Mid-Century Modern Homes

In Los Gatos there are no Eichlers but there are a small handful of single family homes which are mid-century modern on Eastridge Drive (just off Blossom Hill Road and Hillbrook). There are a couple more at the end of Magnuson Terrace (off Magnuson Loop and Los Gatos Blvd).  Additionally, there are some smaller mid-50s homes on El Gato (and adjacent portions of Escobar) off of Los Gatos-Almaden Road. Unfortunately, not all of these homes are “well kept”, though many are.

An Eichler home in Saratoga - beautiful mid-century modern houseMonte Sereno is home to 16 Eichler houses on Via Sereno beginning at the intersection of Winchester Blvd with Via Sereno.  These houses were built in the late 60s to early 70s.
(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).

(more…)

Market comparison: Los Gatos, Saratoga, Cupertino and Los Altos

Market comparison: Los Gatos, Saratoga, Cupertino and Los AltosToday we’re looking at the real estate market for houses in some of the “west valleycommunities along the base of the Santa Cruz Mountains – areas where schools are good, crime is low, residents enjoy scenic views of the hills (or of the valley from the hills, depending on the location) and overall, a highly educated population not too far from Highway 85. This will be a real estate market comparison for Los Gatos, Saratoga, Cupertino, and Los Altos.

Of the four municipalities, three are really very similar to each other in several regards.  Cupertino has the largest population – about 61,000 people – but Los Altos, Los Gatos and Saratoga are all similarly sized, somewhere between 31,000 residents.  The latter three also enjoy a traditional “downtown” area which is popular with pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists alike. (Monte Sereno has under 4,000 residents, which is so small that the statistics are very easily thrown from month to month, so it is omitted in this quick study.)  Of the four, Cupertino, then, is the least similar due to size and lack of a central downtown area for now. This may feel different once the Vallco Mall is redeveloped.

We’ll take a quick look at these areas now in terms of the real estate market trends and statistics for each area, considering just “class 1” (houses and duet homes).  The charts used below are from Altos Research, to which I have a subscription, and they will be automatically updated each week.

Please note:  the Los Gatos data is probably a little artificially low as it will include all 3 zip codes, meaning also the Los Gatos Mountains, which are quite a bit more affordable than the areas “in town”.

In addition, as of this writing we are in the shelter-in-place phase 1 of the pandemic. This post is updated approximately every quarter or half-year, so we’re just starting to see the results of these changes to the market,  but it will take a while to see the full picture. For now you can read more about the Coronavirus impact on real estate sales in my post on the topic.

Also, 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.

Now on with the analysis!

Market Comparisons

(1) Median List Price (per Altos Research):

 

Real Estate Market Chart by Altos Research www.altosresearch.com

(more…)

What Is A Plat Map, And What Can You Learn From It?

A plat map comes with your preliminary title report (provided by your title company with maps from the Santa Clara County tax assessor’s office when you purchase or sell a home in California), tucked away at the back and somewhat mysterious with lots of numbers in small print. It holds quite a bit of helpful information if you know what it is you’re seeing. Today we’ll view a sample of one of these – breaking down the plat map shown as a small thumbnail image on the right to more readable parts so that you can learn how to “read” or understand a plat map.

Quick overview of what’s on a plat map

There’s a wealth of information on the plat map. Take a look and see what you can pick out on your own first.

 

 

Plat Map of part of the Cambrian area of San Jose

 

 

(more…)

The Silicon Valley Real Estate Market is in Recovery, But Not Every Area Is! A Study of Sunnyvale, Santa Clara and Saratoga Median List Prices

The real estate news is so mixed it’s mind boggling, whether it’s a national perspective, one specific to California, the San Francisco Bay Area, the “south Bay”, Silicon Valley or even San Jose in particular.  It is anything but a uniform, monolithic market. Even so, it’s good to look at the big picture along side the hyper local level, and that’s what we’ll do today.

Today’s San Jose Mercury News featured a front page article by Sue McAllister (an excellent reporter) on Santa Clara County housing values.  She shares that Zillow says that we’ve hit bottom here in Santa Clara County.  That is certainly good news to home owners accross Silicon Valley!  And I don’t disagree that countywide, we’re definitely looking up right now.  No guarantees for the future, but Zillow says that the threat of a second or double dip no longer seems likely. Whew!

Unfortunately, there’s another real risk to this recovery and it’s not the “shadow industry”. This time it’s homeowners walking away because they’re underwater (not because they can’t afford to stay, but because they choose not to).  Sixty Minutes did a segment on this phenomena of home owners walking away last night., which you can watch via this link.
(more…)

Silicon Valley Real Estate Summary for 2009

Home sales in Santa Clara County have bounced back, ending the year on an up note! Home sales were up 28.7% in 2009, while the median price dropped 20.2%. The good news? Prices bottomed out in the first quarter and have been rising steadily, albeit slowly, ever since.

To read about the market in particular parts of Santa Clara County (both cities and districts within the city of San Jose), you can read my full on-line report here: http://popehandy.rereport.com.

There is also a 4 page printable version with more insightful articles about the annual market, here: http://rereport.com/scc/print/Mary.PopeHandySCC.pdf   

Economists are mixed on what will happen in 2010 and beyond, but many think that this year will be better than last, and 2011 will be a “hot” market again as prices are largely undervalued right now.

 

 

 

Buyers Lament that “There’s No Inventory” in Silicon Valley

This week one of my buyers asked me about the inventory levels in Santa Clara County (San Jose, specificially) and wondered if they’re lower than usual.  I get this question a lot lately so wanted to present the numbers to the readers of this Valley of Hearts Delight Blog.

How low is the inventory? It’s way off from last year in most parts of the west valley. But remember, last year was unusual.  (Below are the numbers for single family homes, or houses.)

 

SFHAlmadenCambrianCampbellLos GatosSaratoga
MLS Areas1314151617
      
11/30/200950868113386
11/30/20089317616118493
11/30/20075816313011358
11/30/2006549210310854
11/30/200556817310456
11/30/200426325810826
6 yr average5610510112562

 

How much is this year’s inventory off from the average of the last 6 years?

Almaden: down appx 10%
Cambrian: down appx 18%
Campbell: down appx 20%
Los Gatos: up appx 6%
Saratoga: up appx 38%

Once again, “easy answers” allude us.

If we were to push this further, we’d find that certain price points (or bands or strata) in the market are way above or below the typical numbers.  It is very hard to generalize accurately.  Anecdotally, though, it seems as though there’s very little on the market as far as my buyers are concerned (and right now, my buyers are looking at properties in Santa Clara County ranging from the 400s to between 1 and 2 million).

For information on your particular situation, please contact me.