Los Gatos Real Estate Market Trends

Los Gatos real estate market graphic with home near downtownAs of today, June 4 2024, the Los Gatos real estate market in 95030 & 95032 is softening, but still a seller’s market. We are seeing inventory rise, but we’re also seeing interest rates rising, and that appears to be putting a damper on sale prices.

Across the county, first time home buyers are the most active and more entry level prices is the strongest segment.

Los Gatos real estate market statistics for the last 30 days (not a calendar month)

Numbers for today (pulled from the MLS), going back 30 days:

  • 61 houses for sale today (June 4, 2024)
    • the average days on market for these homes is 73 days (but 3 have been on for 555-557 days!)
    • the median days on market 22 days
  • 2 are contingent, 26 are sale pending  (no contingencies)
  • 32 have closed in the last 30 days
    • average home size 2,424 SF
    • Lot size data is off – someone entered a number incorrectly, so it’s messed up
    • average days on market = 18 (up from 7 last month)
    • the LONGEST days on market was  83, and of the 32 homes, 21 sold in 10 days or less
    • average sale price  $3,196,188
    • median sale price $3,200,000 (same as last month)
    • average sale to list price ratio 105% ( it was110% 30 days ago, 109% in April, 104% in mid-March and 101% in early-mid January)

Nine of the sold homes were  $4 mil or more. The highest sale price was $5,310,000.

Some of the homes for sale have been on the market a long time, but for houses that do sell, it’s usually in 10 days or less. Some price points do typically take longer, though.

 

 

Further below you’ll find similar charts for houses in the Los Gatos Mountains and also condos and townhomes “in town”.

Los Gatos real estate market statistics: multi year data by month

Here is some Los Gatos real estate market data that I pulled directly from the MLS today.

Inventory of available homes for sale in Los Gatos 95030 and Los Gatos 95032

Inventory is finally into a healthier range (though I recall the days when 80 was typical).

 

Inventory of Los Gatos homes for sale 95030 95032 MLS area 16

 

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Free concerts in Los Gatos this summer: Vasona Vibrations, Music in the Park, Jazz on the Plazz

Free Music Series in Los Gatos

Looking forward to those fabulous free summer concerts? So am I! So I’ve combined the schedules of different Los Gatos music festivals: Music in the Park, Jazz on the Plazz, and Fiesta de Artes, as well as some single-day events in a post on my Live in Los Gatos blog. Not all schedules are published, and remember to check the festival web sites for rules, schedule changes, and directions.

Follow this link to get to the free concert schedule on the Live in Los Gatos Blog!

Summer Concerts: Los Gatos Free Music Collage 2023

 

 

 

Surrey Farms neighborhood in Los Gatos

Surrey Farm Neighborhood Los Gatos CA (Silicon Valley)A Los Gatos neighborhood which is “close to town” but feels further out is the highly sought after Surrey Farms area, located off Kennedy Road less than a mile from Los Gatos Boulevard, and less than 1.5 miles to all the local public schools:  Van Meter or Blossom Hill Elementary, Fisher Middle, Los Gatos High. Adjacent to Surrey Farms is the independent Hillbrook School.

About Surrey Farms

There are about 70 single family homes or houses in Surrey Farms, most of them on quarter-acre to half-acre lots, but a handful are on over half an acre, and four are over one acre.  The houses were mostly constructed from the mid 1950s into the mid 1960s, though development has continued since with over 30% of homes built between the 1970s and 2010s.  Original construction was all done in the “ranch style” and consisted of about 2,000 to 3,000 SF in most cases.  Today many have been remodeled, enlarged or even fully rebuilt, and the home sizes are bigger, currently with 50% of them over 3,000 SF and more than 15% over 4,000 SF.

More land is slated to be developed soon, with 12 units (2 story homes) proposed for the 12 acre parcel which is currently under contract with some kind of contingency (it is listed at about $16 million). That’s all that I  know as of right now – things could change.

 

Surrey Farms Gate

 

Regarding the name: folks in Los Gatos do call this subdivision “Surrey Farms”, but I did some research on the county records and it appears that the original name was “Surrey Farm” – singular!  My best guess is that it was a farm or horse ranch by that name prior to the housing being built…but that would take a bit more research that I haven’t yet done.

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Cambrian & Cambrian Park Neighborhoods: How to Choose Where to Live?

Cambrian Park neighborhoods are very popular within San Jose. With close proximity to Los Gatos, Campbell, Willow Glen and Blossom Valley, there’s lots to do within Cambrian itself or very nearby.  Cambrian also enjoys good schools, low crime, two newer libraries, two Farmer’s Markets, and a fabulous rec center, the Camden Community Center.

Cambrian Park neighborhoods

cambrian-park-plaza-signWhere is Cambrian Park and how big is it? The 2010 census reported Cambrian Park as having less than 4,000 people, but it didn’t include all Cambrian Park neighborhoods! In contemporary usage, though, Cambrian consists of much more than the area known as “Cambrian Village” (which has this small population), and now includes about 75,000 residents in all.

The area includes most of the 95124 zip code plus the 95118 zip code. Historically, though, Cambrian was really a very vast area including much of Campbell and many areas now falling under different district names.  The area is alternately known as Cambrian, Cambrian Park, and Cambrian Village – the latter referring to the area near Union & Camden Avenues.

Related posts not to be missed:

 

Cambrian Park neighborhoods area with general boundaries

 

How do you decide where in Cambrian to live? Many aspects of home buying will likely come into play, from schools desired and budget available to the ambiance and practical things you desire such as RV parking, an extra large garage, family room, guest suite, commute issues (proximity to freeways),  etc.

School Districts serving the Cambrian Park neighborhoods

Your decision might be influenced by the school district you want; the Cambrian Park neighborhoods have three elementary school districts. Most are good to great – Cambrian Park almost no low scoring schools – but some are exceptionally high. Some districts may have more offerings for special needs kids or gifted kids – if you have children and are looking at placing them in the local public schools, do your research before you house hunt!

  1. The north and northwest side of Cambrian Park (going into Campbell and Willow Glen) has schools belonging to the Cambrian School District (see map).
  2. The east side of Cambrian Park (going toward Blossom Valley) is part of the territory of the San Jose Unified School District.  Schools for all of San Jose are beautifully mapped out by the district – you have to zoom in to see the boundaries around Cambrian but it includes all three local districts so is worth the extra steps!
  3. The southwest side of Cambrian (and east Los Gatos) is within the boundaries of the Union School District, which also has a helpful map of the borders. The map is a pdf and it is very detailed.
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The Heritage Grove Neighborhood in Los Gatos and the Heintz Open Space Preserve

Heintz farmhouseThe Heritage Grove neighborhood in Los Gatos had an interesting beginning. An old apricot orchard used to line Blossom Hill Road between Union and Leigh Avenues until the 1990s. The former owners, Ralph and Sophie Heintz, lived there in their farmhouse until their deaths, at which time the property was willed to the University of California at Berkeley for eye research.

Sophie and Ralph were interesting people. He ran a small train on their property and was an inventor. She was a ham radio operator.

In 1998, the Heintz land (and house etc.) was sold to Summerhill Homes and a portion developed as housing by Summerhill. A few of the homes higher up in the neighborhood were built by different builders.  That Los Gatos neighborhood is now called the  Heritage Grove neighborhood.

A strip of trees was planted along Blossom Hill Road, reminiscent of the history of the area.  A wonderfully large section of land was made a permanent open space, now known as the Heintz Open Space Preserve.  This open space connects directly with Belgatos Park, which also connects with the Santa Rosa Open Space Preserve. So the network of trails is quite extensive. (Link to Town of Los Gatos page with pdf files of these three trail maps. Link to Google Maps map of Blossom Hill Trails, drawn by Jim Handy.)

In 2015, we did a video drive through of the Heritage Grove neighborhood. Please take a look:

 

 

 

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Check the months of inventory to see if it’s a good time to sell your home!

Months of Inventory explained with an hourglassIs it a good time to sell a home in Silicon Valley? One of the best ways to get a pulse on the real estate market with an eye to selling or buying is with the months of inventory (MOI), also known as the absorption rate. This is the months of supply of housing for sale.

The months of inventory tells us how fast the current inventory of properties will be sold off if sales were to continue at the same rate with no new inventory were to come on the market.

The easiest analogy is with a bathtub full of water. If we added no more water to the tub, and the drain were opened, how much time would it take for the water to be depleted if it continued to empty at the same rate? That’s the question being answered with the absorption rate of inventory.

Or, simpler still, if you have an hourglass that you turn over, how long does it take for the sand to empty from the top (since you cannot add more sand to that end)?

How to calculate the months of inventory or MOI

The way to calculate the months of inventory is simple:  find the current available inventory of homes for sale (not under contract or sale pending), then find the number of homes with that exact criteria which have closed escrow in the last 30 days.  Divide the first by the second and you get the months of inventory. Or, I can just use the stats program on the MLS to generate that number, as I did today.

Earlier I pulled this data from MLSListings.com, our local MLS association (of which I am a member) and I ran the numbers for single family homes (houses and duet homes) in Cupertino, Los Altos, Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, Mountain View, Palo Alto, San Jose (all areas combined), Santa Clara, Saratoga, Sunnyvale. Separately, I also ran this same query for the City of San Jose by district.

The months of inventory by city or town in Santa Clara County

A balanced market for our area is 2-3 months of inventory (for most of the US it’s 4-6 months). Two months or less is a seller’s market, and one month or less is a very hot seller’s market.

Here’s a look at the months of inventory by city or town in SCC in April 2023 for single family homes.  As you can see, the vast majority of the county is a strong seller’s market, with the only exception being Los Altos Hills.

 

Santa Clara County months of inventory by city in Santa Clara County - single family homes for April 2023

 

Which are the hottest markets?  They’re the ones with the smallest months of inventory -Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, Cupertino, Milpitas and many more are well under the 2 month market. A few are a tad higher and in the “balanced market” area, and only one is in a deep buyer’s market.

The months of inventory by area within the City of San Jose

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How do prices compare between Los Gatos, Saratoga, Cupertino and Palo Alto?

Los Gatos Saratoga Cupertino and Palo AltoWhat does it cost to buy a home with really good schools in Silicon Valley? Los Gatos, Saratoga, Cupertino and Palo Alto are all areas with highly regarding public schools and high home prices. These aren’t the only areas with good schools but they are popular “west valley” areas that people may consider if working for Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook or any number of high tech employers.

Los Gatos and Saratoga both have multiple school districts, running from good to very good or excellent. The cost of housing tends to follow the popularity of the district, so for those areas I’m showing the breakdown not just for the whole town of Los Gatos but also by the high school district (Los Gatos-Saratoga or Campbell Union High School District). Same with Saratoga. (The Monte Sereno real estate market is very similar to Los Gatos, but slightly more expensive. Most of Monte Sereno has Los Gatos schools, but a small number of homes are in the Campbell area.)

Cost Comparison: 4 West Valley Communities with Good Schools

Here are the average numbers for single family homes sold in the last 60 days ranging from 1,500 – 2,500 square feet, on a lot between 5,000 and 10,000 SF, with 3-5 bedrooms and 2-3 bathrooms to give a sense of what it would cost to purchase a typical house in these areas. Please note that right now it’s a strong seller’s market, so many (if not most or all) homes are selling for more than the list price.  DOM stands for days on the market.

 

Comparing Los Gatos, Saratoga, Cupertino, and Palo Alto Markets 3/27/2023

 

If you are new to Santa Clara County, you may be wondering if this is correct. The cost to buy a home in these areas is what?

  • Los Gatos: approximately $2,000,000 to $2,600,000 depending on the school district and size of the home and condition (more on that below)
  • Saratoga: more on this below, but approximately $2,800,000 to about $3,500,000 depending on the schools, condition, etc.
  • Cupertino: approx $2,600,000 – $3,200,000 (some areas will bring in higher prices and others lower)
  • Palo Alto: approx $2,700,000 – $3,900,000 and any home over 2,000 SqFt (except for one fixer) sold at or over $3.7M

Remember, these prices do not mean that the houses being sold are perfect. Because it is a strong seller’s market, many properties are being sold which need new roofing, extensive pest work, remodeling, perhaps updating of electrical or plumbing systems or more. Many home buyers will need to spend 1-2% on things like termite fumigation, dry rot or roof repairs, carpets, paint, windows and more, and usually this will be done before they move in. So whatever the budget is, buffer it a little bit for both money and time to make it turnkey.

A Closer Look: Los Gatos and Saratoga

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Where are the high voltage power lines?

High Voltage Power Lines Collage

High Voltage Power Lines from around the West Valley.

High voltage power lines are a “location issue” that impacts real estate values, and it sometimes elicits worry regarding safety.

High voltage power lines: how far is far enough?

Something we have spoken about recently with our clients is being far enough away so that if the tower and high voltage power lines were to fall, they’d miss your home and property. In our recent series of atmospheric rivers in January 2023, in San Jose one of these large transmission towers did fall down. It’s rare, but not impossible.

I have not seen a website that can tell us how tall any given tower is, but from what I have read online, it seems that most of them are under 200 feet tall, but some could be higher than that. In most cases, that puts the lines about 4 houses away if the lots are a typical 6,000 SF lot of 60′ across the front and 100′ deep.

We cannot speak to the concerns around potential increased risk of cancer or other problems. Each consumer should research that issue on his or her own.

Where are the high voltage power lines?

High Voltage Power lines - map - CaliforniaYears ago, I painstakingly mapped out the transmission lines from what I knew on the ground and what I could tell from tracing the Google satellite view. (You can find that link near the bottom of this article.)

Today, though, there’s something better than my map available online. The California Energy Commission has a map of the transmission lines that you can view using THIS LINK. Or click on the image at the left.

From the landing page you can zoom in or out. It covers the entire state of California – you might find it interesting to navigate around a little.

Also, a few years ago, PG&E published an interactive map where you can view the location of electric lines (I’ve filtered the imbedded map below to show Electric Transmission Lines in the South Bay), and another map of natural gas pipelines, searchable by address. This doesn’t cover the entire state, but it does cover all of the Bay Area / Silicon Valley.

The PG&E map:

On the map I hand-drew at the bottom of this article I did also include the location of schools. Quite a lot of schools do have transmission lines present.

What other location issues are there to factor in?
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Thanksgiving Interfaith Service in Saratoga

The Thanksgiving Interfaith Service in Saratoga often takes place on Thanksgiving morning. There’s also an annual service in Los Gatos, and that one is anywhere from 2 – 7 days in advance of the holiday.

Both of these welcome everyone to join them in gratitude and prayer. Also in both of these areas, the venue rotates from one house of worship to another each year. In Los Gatos, the interfaith prayer event took place a week before Thanksgiving (you can read about the Interfaith Thanksgiving Service in Los Gatos here).

It was harder to find information online for the similar service in Saratoga this year. I just found this small blurb on the Saratoga Federated Church website:

Saratoga’s Thanksgiving Interfaith Service – November 24, 2022

Thursday, November 24 at 10:00 am at LDS Church at 19100 Allendale Avenue, Saratoga.

And this from the Congregation Beth-David site:

INTERFAITH THANKSGIVING SERVICE IN SARATOGA (OFFSITE/ZOOM)

Thursday, November 24, 10:00 – 11:00 am.
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
19100 Allendale Avenue, Saratoga
Join with others for an uplifting service of thanksgiving and community. Rabbi Roller will be delivering the sermon. For those preferring to attend the service on Zoom, please follow this link: https://zoom.us/j/3211896714?pwd=MDB5elUxZlpBNTljOVU2bTVObTl3dz09

Wishing everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Below is an OLD graphic from 2018 – helpful mainly because it shows which faith communities have been involved in the past.

 

2018 Thanksgiving Interfaith Service in Los Gatos

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Does It Cost to Buy a 4 Bedroom, 2 Bath Home in Silicon Valley with Good Schools?

Often I have clients who are interested in purchasing a 4 bedroom, 2 bath home in a good school district in Silicon Valley, particularly in the South Bay and West Valley areas. But what does it cost to buy that “average home”? Tonight I did a study on the MLS of homes that have sold and closed escrow in the last 4 months with these characteristics:

  • single family home (house)
  • 4 bedrooms
  • 2 full bathrooms
  • 1800 to 2200 square feet of living space
  • 6000 to 10,000 sf lot

Disclaimers aside, here are the numbers for select West Valley Communities in the West/South Bay area with good schools.

Cost to Buy 4 Bed 2 Bath Home in Popular Silicon Valley Communities

The first number is the number of sales during that time (more sales = more reliable averages). This one is not in the older charts, but with inventory as low as it has been lately this makes a huge difference. The second number is the average sales price per square foot, the third number is the average sales price, and the last number is the average days on market:

2022-11-3 Average Cost to Buy West Valley Homes 120D 4b-2b West Valley

 

And now a look back to late winter, early spring of 2017…

 

 

What’s changed? A lot! The order has shifted some, showing where demand has increased or decreased. Most noticeably, the prices are mostly up significantly, which is most noticeable in the price per square foot. Cambrian has traveled a good deal up the ladder. Palo Alto and Los Altos were displaced by the sole Saratoga sale, and Blossom Valley of San Jose remains in it’s regular position at the bottom.

The home prices tend to run with school rankings. Previously this was by district API scores.  You can check the 2013, three year average, API scores in Santa Clara County for both the districts and the individual schools online here, however that system is no longer used. So how to people judge? Most buyers use sites like GreatSchools.org when looking for a home with good schools which ranks schools on a scale of 1-10 in a few categories.            (more…)