Milpitas

The Milpitas real estate market is red hot, one of the hottest in Santa Clara County. The city offers strong schools and a lot of home for the money, so it is always popular.

Milpitas Real Estate Market Trends at a Glance

You can always view the most current info on the Milpitas market on my RE Report (it’s updated between the 5th and 10th of each month). Like elsewhere in the valley, the Milpitas market has been cooling a bit as compared to spring, but prices remain up significantly from a year ago. Homes are selling on average in 20 days – many which sell over list price will do so much sooner, though, often in 10 days or less. Those which sell more than 3 weeks after hitting the market are likely to sell under list price. (This is true nearly everywhere in Santa Clara County .)

 

Trends At a Glance Sep 2018 Previous Month Year-over-Year
Median Price $1,180,000 (+12.4%) $1,050,000 $983,444 (+20.0%)
Average Price $1,216,950 (+5.9%) $1,149,160 $1,025,940 (+18.6%)
No. of Sales 30 (+3.4%) 29 20 (+50.0%)
Pending 33 (+50.0%) 22 27 (+22.2%)
Active 38 (-7.3%) 41 11 (+245.5%)
Sale vs. List Price 102.5% (-2.6%) 105.2% 106.8% (-4.0%)
Days on Market 20 (+4.2%) 19 14 (+42.2%)
Days of Inventory 37 (-13.4%) 42 16 (+130.3%)

 

And from the month before:

 

Trends At a Glance Aug 2018 Previous Month Year-over-Year
Median Price $1,050,000 (-19.2%) $1,300,000 $1,009,000 (+4.1%)
Average Price $1,149,160 (-11.0%) $1,290,780 $1,103,980 (+4.1%)
No. of Sales 29 (+7.4%) 27 30 (-3.3%)
Pending 22 (-31.3%) 32 25 (-12.0%)
Active 41 (+17.1%) 35 (+412.5%)
Sale vs. List Price 105.2% (-3.1%) 108.6% 108.1% (-2.7%)
Days on Market 19 (-5.2%) 20 15 (+22.9%)
Days of Inventory 42 (+9.1%) 39 (+430.2%)

 

 

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The Santa Clara County real estate market is cooling off, which is very often the case in summers here. It varies from place to place within the region, and one pricing tier to the next, but I am definitely seeing and hearing about fewer offers, more lowball offers, contingencies creeping back into sales, etc. In red hot properties with great schools, you might get a half dozen offers…and three of them may be “bad” offers from home buyers who are pessimistic on the market. They do not get the sale, of course, but it is interesting to hear about an increase in those kinds of bids.

My RE REport just came out, and here are some images and data from that for Santa Clara County. First, the market barometer. Here, you can see that sellers had stronger power in March than they do now – by quite a lot! (Click on the image to go to the report and see a clearer version of it.)

Graphic image - Santa Clara County market barometer.

 

Next, the average and median sale prices and the number of units (again, click on the image to go to the report). This graphic does not look as bad or as much of a change as the one before, though you can see that since May prices have gone down a little, and sales are now tipping downward and are fewer than sales for this time last year.

Graph of Santa Clara County home prices and sales

Next, the sale price to list price ratio is a bit more startling. Sales are still averaging about 1-05% of list price – so that is hard for sellers to complain about – however, it is unmistakable that the climate for home selling in Silicon Valley is undergoing a change and this is literally past its peak. Buyers and sellers alike need to wonder whether it will calm down or continue at the current rate of decline. Is it a buying opportunity, or the beginning of a correction?

Graphic of the Santa Clara County sale price to list price ratio

The numbers themselves point to a turnaround in the market. I’ll jot the median sale price for the county here – it’s a large enough pool of sales to be pretty reliable as a gauge of the real estate market in the San Jose area:

July 2018 $1,350,000
June 2018 $1,402,000
May 2018  $1,416,000
April 2018  $1,420,000
March 2018 $1,450,000 – PEAK
February 2018 $1,380,000
January 2018 $1,163,000

Between March and July, the median sale price dropped $100,000, or 6.89%. As you can see, it had also jumped considerably between January and March, and even at today’s lower median sales price, it’s still higher than January. It will be interesting to see where it ends up in January of 2019.

A quick look at the numbers for this month’s Santa Clara County RE Report:

Trends at a Glance

Trends At a Glance Jul 2018 Previous Month Year-over-Year
Median Price $1,350,000 (-3.7%) $1,402,000 $1,175,000 (+14.9%)
Average Price $1,624,690 (-5.1%) $1,712,500 $1,409,380 (+15.3%)
No. of Sales 847 (-13.3%) 977 1,015 (-16.6%)
Pending 924 (-0.6%) 930 931 (-0.8%)
Active 1,151 (+8.0%) 1,066 816 (+41.1%)
Sale vs. List Price 105.6% (-2.0%) 107.8% 105.5% (+0.1%)
Days on Market 19 (+13.7%) 17 20 (-6.7%)
Days of Inventory 41 (+28.8%) 32 24 (+69.0%)

 

It’s now August 10th and it’s too early to know for sure what the August numbers are doing, but normally August is a quiet month with sale prices a little off. So we’ll see. Continue reading

Adobe Wall in Santa Clara (Adobe Woman's Club)It’s possible to live in Silicon Valley and have no idea that there are still some original adobe houses to be found right here in the San Jose area. Today, though, I hope to help some of our residents discover the past which is lurking right in front of us!

The historic Adobe Woman’s Club is just a block or two off the campus of Santa Clara University, tucked away on a side street now that The Alameda is re-routed as The El Camino.  Address: 3260 The Alameda, Santa Clara.  According to the state’s historical preservation site, this state landmark # 249 is one of the oldest in the Santa Clara Valley, was built between 1792 and 1800 and was one of many row houses built for the native Americans who worked at Mission Santa Clara.  Please note that this is private property and you may not enter without permission, but the adobe abode is very visible from the sidewalk.

Adobe Woman's Club in Santa ClaraToday the beautifully preserved adobe house functions as a nonprofit group with these objectives: “to promote educational, moral, social welfare, cultural, civic and community service.  Anyone who supports these objectives is welcome.”  This scenic place can also be rented out for private events.  The garden is quite lovely and the interior appears to be very modern.  You can see photos of the inside of the house at the club’s website: The Santa Clara Woman’s Club.

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Scenic Silicon ValleyIf you arrived into Silicon Valley via Highway 101, driving south from San Francisco, you might believe that the Santa Clara Valley, the San Jose area and Silicon Valley as a whole has got to seem to be the ugliest place on earth. Although heavily traveled, that is not the “scenic route”.

So, too, if you are looking for a place to live and are groping to find a place that is reasonably priced, fairly safe and not a terrible commute distance. You might not even have “is nice looking” on your wish list. You might not think it’s possible if all you ever see are the ugly concrete tilt-up buildings in north San Jose, Santa Clara, Alviso, or anywhere along the 237 corridor.  That area is an architectural wasteland.

Let me assure you: there are a lot of beautiful places in Silicon Valley where you can rent or buy a home. But how do you find them? It helps a lot to have a local give you a few pointers.  I’ll give you some tips today on finding a scenic place to live.

Hills – An easy way to find a scenic location to make your home is to settle near the hills, especially those in the west valley (the Santa Cruz Mountains or the Coastal Range) as they are green year-round. Communities at the base of the west valley foothills include, in Santa Clara County, Palo Alto, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Cupertino, Saratoga, Monte Sereno, Los Gatos, and the Almaden Valley area of San Jose. All of these areas are adjacent to the hills or mountains and offer far better than average schools (many of them qualify as great – compare costs between these areas). Continue reading

It’s a sizzling hot seller’s market in Silicon Valley, meaning the San Jose area, Santa Clara County and San Mateo County generally have critically low housing inventory and extremly strong buyer demand.  But it’s not equally hot in every city, area, school district or price point.  Some home buyers may be interested in more than one area.  For instance, often I have clients looking at both Almaden and Cupertino, or Cambrian (San Jose) and Campbell, or Los Gatos and Monte Sereno…. So if you are looking for a less crazed area in which to buy, it might be useful to compare the months of inventory* to see where it might be more possible to buy a home, especially if you’ve been beat out on multiple offers a few times.

Today we’ll just consider where these houses are located, but know that it is also possible to run the data by school district, pricing tier, sale type (regular vs short sale vs bank owned) whether or not there’s a pool or garage, etc.  I pulled the info from MLSListings.com and then ranked them from hottest to coolest.  (Not all areas are represented.)

Months of Inventory in Several Areas Comparing Silicon Valley

What can we learn from this information?  The first question might be “why are some areas selling so much faster than others?”  Although sometimes we can say that only inexpensive, moderate or expensive areas are moving fast, that doesn’t seem to be the case here.  Palo Alto is one of the priciest points nearby, and yet it has less than 3 weeks of inventory.    At other times we say “it’s all about the schools” but Santa Clara, which aside for a sliver served by Cupertino schools, is the #1 hottest segment of the market – and it is not highly prized for academics. (Same with Blossom Valley.)  Cupertino is usually at the top of the pile for desirability, but it’s behind several other communities.  What I’m seeing from this one angle is that there aren’t any easy answers, much as I’d like to present some clear cut trend with a big Ah Ha.

Although the underlying “why” may remain a mystery for right now, it’s still helpful for home buyers who are looking for relief.  Been beat out 5 or 10 times?  Your odds will be improved in the areas listed at the bottom of the sheet: Monte Sereno, Los Gatos, Saratoga, Almaden Valley are all just a bit easier places in which to buy.  They are all great communities with strong schools.  This kind of info could help you to move from frustrated shopper to happy home owner. Continue reading

The annual market report is out at popehandy.REReport.com and we can now learn how 2011 compared to 2010.  The median sales price for houses in Santa Clara County was off 5.3% overall.  But from one part of the valley to the next it varied wildly with 6 cities or areas finding themselves in positive territory while others were off by double digits.

Santa Clara Coutny Cities median SP year over year 2011 to 2010In the image to the left, I’ve put into bold the cities where the median sales price of houses which sold and closed escrow in 2011 were ahead of 2010’s pricing.

What is it that makes Gilroy, Los Altos Hills, Los Gatos, Mountain View and Palo Alto “in the black”?

Most of these cities/towns are upscale, west valley communities.  But so are Saratoga, Cupertino, and Monte Sereno.

Gilroy was especially hard-hit with the housing downturn so perhaps in that case, it’s just coming back into more of a balance. (Then again, so was Morgan Hill and it’s still off by 12%.)

The LinkedIn IPO and others in the Palo Alto area drove prices up for some parts of the housing market nearby and it’s likely that this explains the positive growth for Palo Alto, Mountain View, and Los Altos Hills.  That said, it would seem that Los Altos, and perhaps even Sunnyvale would have seen stronger numbers on the same account.  Perhaps school scores are the key driver here.

Los Gatos, Saratoga and Monte Sereno often behave somewhat similarly as they are adjacent to one another and often attract similar home buyers who want good schools, a nice downtown area nearby and scenic beauty with the hills.  The annual numbers show Monte Sereno down 6.7%, Saratoga down 2% but Los Gatos up 6.4%.  With Monte Sereno, there are very few sales each month and each year (only about 4,000 residents), so there can be a wider swing without it necessarily being accurate. Saratoga and Los Gatos each have about 30,000 people who call these areas home, though, so the data is much more helpful.  Saratoga and Los Gatos both have multiple school districts, views, homes with better proximity to “downtown” and more variables – I think we’d have to dig a lot deeper to learn why these two neighboring markets are so diverse.  We might also have to look at multiple years of data to see if Saratoga spiked while LG slumped to explain the difference. Continue reading

California Spanish Style HomeSpanish style houses evoke a kind of nostalgia for “old California”, and when we think of local history, homes with a Spanish type of architecture seem most appropriate, especially if the landscaping reinforces it – things like bougainvillea, hibiscus, ferns, palms, roses and citrus trees.

California features different types of Spanish style homes

There are a number of Spanish styles found locally and throughout California: Spanish Colonial Revival, Spanish Mission, Spanish Eclectic, Mediterranean, and Monterey, which is the only archietectural style hailing from California (and admittedly is a hybrid).

Where to find classic, older Spanish style homes in Silicon Valley

Some neighborhoods, like downtown San Jose’s Japantown and many of the older areas in Willow Glen, are filled with beautiful Spanish Revival bungalows which were mainly built in the 1920s and 1930s. The largest collection is probably there, close to Lincoln Avenue and near Bird & Minnesota Avenues, and especially in the “Palm Haven” neighborhood of Willow Glen.

More can be found in the older parts of San Jose’s Alum Rock Park (up by the country club), in Santa Clara’s oldest neighborhood (by the university), in downtown Los Gatos and downtown Palo Alto, more in south county, especially Gilroy, and scattered throughout the Santa Clara Valley.

What about newer Spanish style homes in Silicon Valley?

There are some newer houses and homes with a Spanish flair, but for the most part it’s limited to the exterior (or “elevation”). The interiors of most Spanish style homes built since 1950 are not at all Spanish style. There were a number of Spanish style tract homes built in the 70s and 80s, but they are essentially ranch style homes with a Mediterranean elevation only.

Too often, the very newest homes don’t seem to know what style they’re trying to reflect at all, but tile and stucco and a few arches are thrown in to attempt something generically Mediterranean. In the last 20 years, many builders have created neighborhoods with varying home styles – the same floor plans but varying styles on the exterior such that one is pseudo Spanish, another is pseudo Craftsman, another is pseudo English cottage or Tudor. Home buyers may get to choose which “style” they want if they get in before it’s built.

Resources for Spanish style homes in the San Jose area

Fabulous books can be found to help restore and remodel these homes. Older houses need remodeling for practical reasons, and the younger ones can benefit from it to make them more authentically Spanish styled.

Meanwhile, if you love Spanish style homes of all ages, you’ll find plenty of classic older ones around here (all pre-1950). Unfortunately this search tool does not allow me to constrain results to the style of home, so there will be some Victorians and Arts and Crafts homes in the mix below.

For more reading:
Spanish Revival Style Home in Japantown Features Classic Tile Bathroom

Translation

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Mary Pope-Handy
Realtor
ABR, CIPS, CRS, SRES
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
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San Mateo County, and
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2007: Mary Pope-Handy and Frances Flynn Thorsen win the Project Blogger Contest for Mary's Live in Los Gatos blog. The contest was sponsored by
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