Select Page

Updating the Campbell Real Estate Market

Tudor style house on graphic that says - How's the Campbell real estate market?How is the Campbell real estate market? Campbell is still in a strong seller’s market and is heating up in spring after only mild seasonal cooling through early winter. This article, updated monthly, offers data and analysis on the residential real estate market in this popular Silicon Valley community. Here are a few points from the latest update on Campbell’s single family housing market:

  • The sales to list price ratio for home sales last month rose to a hot 106.8%.
  • These sales had a quick turnover with an average of 21 days on the market.
  • Median and average sales prices rose roughly 10% from February and even higher year-over-year.

The Campbell, CA Real Estate Market

It’s hard to predict what’s coming up next with all that’s happened since March of 2020. The charts below certainly show the impact of the pandemic on the real estate market, but it will take a while to see the full picture. To read more about the Coronavirus impact on real estate sales, check my blog post on the topic.

At the beginning 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 in those months, though current numbers are now accurate.

If you’re selling, perhaps last summer you’d have gotten 4 – 6 offers on your well prepared, beautifully staged, and aggressively priced home for sale. Recently, we’ve started to see those numbers again (and sometimes more!) as we enter a spring market with a long (and growing) backlog of demand. However, we are still seeing some buyers bring in offers with normal contingencies, particularly if there are not any competing bids. With the restrictions on showings and real estate in general, these numbers may still be low. As the vaccine rollout and reopening expands into spring and summer we may begin to see that extend to increased activity in the real estate market. But we’ll just have to wait and see!

Here’s a quick view of the Campbell real estate market stats from Altos Research, using LIST prices:

Campbell Altos Real-Time Market Profile

As of April 7th the Altos chart showing Campbell, CA single family homes is in a strong seller’s market with rising market action, low and growing inventory, and low days on market. Things are heating up in Campbell!

And now –  here are some quick stats, care of my RE Report for Campbell:

(more…)

Saratoga CA Real Estate Market Update

Saratoga, CA real estate remains in a strong seller’s market with a high volume of sales fighting for a small winter inventory. Detailed data and analysis on the current market is available below and updated monthly. Here is the latest snapshot for what’s happening with single family homes in this city:

  • The sales to list price ratio is a scorching hot 109.9% of asking!
  • Inventory is growing in early spring, but remains well below 2020 levels.
  • Available listings are moving quickly with an average of only 16 days on market, just over 2 weeks.

How’s the Saratoga California real estate market?

This year has been unlike any other, yet the market remains in the seller’s favor for the Saratoga, CA real estate market. Much of the market strength depends on the price point, school district, and condition – today’s buyers generally prefer recently remodeled homes. (Not long ago, I showed a home that was remodeled in 2010 and my buyers found it to be dated.) In response to this strong preference, many sellers have begun moving out and getting their homes updated prior to going on the market.

That being said, the real estate market today is not the same as it was as of March 2020. While the complete impact of the pandemic won’t be seen for a long time, we can see some of the results in the data and analysis below. To learn more about how Covid-19 is affecting the real estate market, please check my post: 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 months. Current numbers are accurate.

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

Orchard and Hills in Saratoga, California

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

Real-Time Market Profile Saratoga, CA 95070

In the latest update, April 6th, Altos shows a strong seller’s market despite severely low inventory.

Next, let’s turn to the closed sales from last month. This time we’re using data from a subscription service of mine to the RE Report.

Here are the real estate sales statistics for closed sales last month among houses and duet homes (if there are any) in the 95070 zip code (click on link to read the full Saratoga Real Estate Report for houses). Bottom line is that most livable homes in Saratoga will run between $2.5 and $3.5 million if they are mid sized (2000-3000 SF) and in the best schools area (Saratoga or Cupertino). Homes in the Campbell schools area, which have very strong elementary and middle schools, are very rare and generally more affordable, closer to $2 million (and occasionally lower), but depending on size, condition, and location they can be significantly higher (the ones selling between December 2020 – January 2021 averaged selling at $2.4, for instance).

Trends at a Glance for the Saratoga CA Real Estate Market

Saratoga is experiencing some spring warming. Prices are relatively stable month-over-month, but are significantly higher year-over-year. The number of closed and pending sales shot up from last month and are sky-high compared to last year. Active inventory grew a hair again and is persistently low year-over-year, currently under half of March 2020 numbers. The sales to list price ratio rose to a red hot 109.9% of asking! Properties are selling quickly with an average of only 16 days on market. Limited supply with ample demand is adding fuel to a prolonged hot seller’s market in Saratoga, CA.

Trends At a Glance Mar 2021 Previous Month Year-over-Year
Median Price $3,350,000 (-2.3%) $3,427,500 $2,597,500 (+29.0%)
Average Price $3,577,120 (-1.4%) $3,626,140 $2,657,900 (+34.6%)
No. of Sales 25 (+38.9%) 18 10 (+150.0%)
Pending 42 (+27.3%) 33 18 (+133.3%)
Active 16 (+14.3%) 14 43 (-62.8%)
Sale vs. List Price 109.9% (+2.8%) 106.8% 105.5% (+4.2%)
Days on Market 16 (-43.7%) 28 (+95.1%)
Days of Inventory 19 (-8.6%) 21 129 (-85.1%)

(more…)

2156 Ebbesen Ave San Jose, CA 95124

If you are house hunting in Cambrian Park, there’s a gem of an opportunity at 2156 Ebbesen Avenue in the Villa Cambrian subdivision (Parker area) near Union Avenue and 85. This charming home is located on a quiet street  and has been beautifully updated throughout. It’s updated throughout and enjoys highly prized Union Schools.  Fantastic commute location, too!

Family Room at 2156 Ebbesen Avenue, San Jose (Cambrian)

Quick facts on 2156 Ebbesen Avenue

  • Offered at $1,423,000
  • 4 bedrooms (1 used as an office with French door & built in bookshelves)
  • 2 updated bathrooms – the hall bathroom enjoys a deep, jetted bath
  • 1457 SF (per county records) of living space
  • Lot size 5911 SF (per county records, plat map shows lot as 60’x100′)
  • Built in 1965
  • single story home – just one step into the family room
  • attached 2 car garage with storage space & pull down ladder

This updated home has many upgrades!

  • updated kitchen with maple cabinets & Corian counter with breakfast bar
  • large, sunny living room
  • family room with gas log fireplace & built in bookshelves
  • screened in porch for indoor / outdoor living off the family room
  • beautiful engineered Brazilian cherry floors in living areas & hallway
  • fresh carpet in all 4 bedrooms
  • dual pane windows
  • central  air conditioning
  • 2 sun tunnels
  • loads of storage, including a large storage shed in backyard

 

Kitchen at Ebbesen

Schools for 2156 Ebbesen Avenue

Carlton Elementary – Union School District
Union Middle School – Union School District
Leigh High School – Campbell Union High School District

View all the photos and get more info at CambrianHomeSale.com

 

Spanish Style Homes

Spanish house on Ayer - Vendome

A home with many Spanish style elements on Ayer Ave in the Vendome district of San Jose near Japantown.

Curved terra cotta tile roofs and pale stucco walls, these are the tell-tale signs you’re looking at a Spanish style house! But what is a Spanish style home?

What makes a house a Spanish style home?

There are actually a number of more specific designs that might fall under this umbrella term. Some of these include Mission or California Mission Revival, Mediterranean Revival, Moorish Revival, Territorial or Territorial Revival, Pueblo Deco, Monterey Colonial, Colonial Californiano, and Mexican Style, but most frequently the term “Spanish Style” is used to describe the Spanish Eclectic or Spanish Colonial Revival architecture. We’ll focus on these last two as they are the most widely found designs and most of the Spanish style homes in the South Bay fall into at least one of these two categories.

Before we jump in any further, there’s a lot we can learn from these names. Revival styles draw on the look of a past era, which in this case is the Spanish colonial-era architecture of the far and south west found in historic adobes and the missions. This architecture is a reimagining, not a reproduction, of something vintage through a contemporary form. These are “eclectic” styles because the architecture does not follow any strict rules of design. Instead, it combines features of various styles, replacing or mixing elements for taste and functionality to become a kind of hybrid design.

What does this mean for the average homebuyer / homeowner?

(more…)

Why Isn’t My Silicon Valley Townhouse Selling?

why is my Silicon Valley townhouse not selling?Why isn’t my Silicon Valley townhouse selling?” wonders the home owner. Even in a seller’s market some properties struggle. Real estate agents know why the home (or townhome, or condo) isn’t getting any offers, or worse yet, any traffic at all. In fact, local Realtors who’ve seen it might wonder if the owner of the property has seen the MLS printout at all!

Why isn’t it selling?

Whether your home has been on the market for a while or you’re just about to list it, here are some of the most common culprits to look out for:

  1. Terrible photos (or not enough of them): in our San Jose area MLS we are allowed 9 photos. How many are in your listing?
  2. More on photos: Would it be so hard to turn the lights on in the home when photographing the property? Real estate looks much better when well lit than when dark. Even beautifully remodeled kitchens can look so-so if the lights are not all on! A bright room will make you money…a dark room will cost you!
  3. Is there a video or virtual tour? **
  4. Is the listing syndicated so that buyers can find it on multiple websites?
  5. How is the pricing? Did you price a 2 bedroom townhouse as if it’s a 3 bedroom? That’s a very common but huge mistake! Compare apples to apples – the buyers are doing that, and when you bought your home, you did too!  Did you price the home using comps from 6 months ago, or comps from 3 miles away, or a different school district? Huge mistake!
  6. What’s your competition? Luxury homes will almost always take longer than a mid-priced home nearby – they’re in entirely different markets with entirely different demands. You’ve got to know what market you’re in and what buyers will be comparing your home against! If you’re a short sale, you need to be competitive against other short sales. Don’t be satisfied that your home is less expensive than a “regular sale”. They are two entirely different things!
  7. MLS description and comments: Don’t waste this valuable space! What kind of comments are in the precious few words allowed to describe your home in the multiple listing service? I have seen inane things use up that space. It is imperative that the descriptions be strong. For example, not “nice kitchen” (that could mean almost anything), but instead “slab granite countertops” – specifics that buyers want to hear about!
  8. Commission rate: if your townhome is a “regular sale” and everything in your area is selling with a buyer’s agent commission rate offered at 2.5% or 3% but you’re offering 2%, guess what happens? Little or no traffic, that’s what! Remember that agents are selling homes as their livelihood, and while many will overlook a low commission, many others will not. (When I list homes I run the CR of similar homes so that my sellers can make an informed decision on this point.)

**This is more important than ever right now with restrictions on showings and open homes during the pandemic. Read more about how covid-19 is impacting the real estate market in Silicon Valley and how to sell a home during the quarantine in my articles on this blog.

There are many reasons why a Silicon Valley townhouse might not sell, but marketing correctly will give you the best odds for success and, in a sellers market as we are in, may bring you a higher sales price. If yours isn’t selling, have a look at the price, the photos, and the description and see if anything is amiss, and check what’s happening with comparable properties in the market. These are the most important areas to consider. Other issues may be at play, but if these are correct your home should sell despite other challenges.
(more…)

Meet the Oak Canyon Neighborhood of Almaden Valley in San Jose

Almaden Valley in San Jose is comprised of many neighborhoods and subdivisions. One of them, close to the border with Los Gatos and Cambrian Park, is particularly popular: the Oak Canyon neighborhood.

There are many reasons for its draw among Silicon Valley home buyers: the houses were well built by Shea Homes in about 1980, so they are relatively newer by Silicon Valley standards. They’re larger homes on comfortable lots, often 8000 sf or so but some as small as 6500 sf and others larger than a quarter acre in the Oak Canyon corner of Almaden.

Most of the homes boast a 3 car garage, which is a big help with storage of stuff, if not storage of cars. The roads gently turn, which makes a more pleasing look. It’s a very “conforming” neighborhood where everyone keeps up the homes and yards. Much of Almaden is viewed by consumers as somewhat remote, but this section, near the mouth of Almaden, is not too deep into the valley and is a better commute location for most. One of the largest pulls for the area, though, is the nearby elementary school, Guadalupe School, which has an excellent reputation for quality education and ranks exceedingly well on testing.

 

Where is the Oak Canyon neighborhood in Almaden Valley, San Jose?

Oak Canyon is found near the intersection of Camden Avenue and Coleman Road in San Jose but is bordered by Coleman on one side and the Guadalue Creek on the other sides. (The far side of the Guadalupe Creek at this point is Cambrian Park.)  Just the other side of Coleman Road is the Montevideo neighborhood, and next to that is the Almaden Meadows neighborhood.

 

Oak Canyon Neighborhood Map

 

And to provide some bearings, here’s a map of the Almaden Valley district of San Jose generally:

 

Almaden Valley Map

 

(more…)

Glencrest Patio Homes in the Williams area of Almaden Valley

Glencrest Patio Homes in AlmadenThe popular Glencrest neighborhood in Almaden includes both the Glencrest patio homes as well as larger houses on regular lots.

This corner of Almaden is located at the end of Serenity Way near Glenview Park and Cathedral Park in the Williams area. The Glencrest patio homes area is shaped like a pentagram (a five sided object) so is easy to spot on the map.

The community enjoys a shared pool. The outside ring of homes are single family houses on large, normal lots of about 10,000 to 13,000 square feet (on Valley Quail Circle, Hollow Lake).

The more modest patio or zero lot line properties are found on the inside streets and have about 6,000 SF lots – the streets are Quail Creek Circle, Mountain Quail Circle, and Quail Cove Way.

The Glencrest homes were built by Shapell, a company which is known for a very high quality. Most were built in 1987 or 1988.

The big draws for these homes are as follows:

  • Top Almaden schools are close by: Williams, Bret Harte and Leland
  • Shappell is a highly regarded builder, perhaps the most valued in Santa Clara County
  • The Glencrest area homes, whether on normal lots or zero lot line / patio homes, are fairly young by local standards

Because the Glencrest patio homes are smaller, they are more affordable. Many people consider them entry level houses for Williams Elementary School. For this reason, real estate sales in the Glencrest area often command surprisingly high prices given that structures are built on one of the property lines and that there are no windows on that side of the home.

There are some negatives to any area. Here, the interior streets are narrow, and of course a zero lot line is not ideal. Water and hillside locations don’t help homes, so it’s important to manage drainage effectively.

Real estate listings and homes for sale in and near the Glencrest neighborhood of San Jose’s Almaden Valley: please view using the following link

Glencrest Patio Homes for Sale

 

 

 

 

 

Post-Tension Slab Foundations

Post-Tension Slab FoundationPost-tension slab foundations are found in newer homes. Here in the Bay Area, a structure’s foundation needs to withstand not only the load of the building, but expansive soils, and the ubiquitous earthquake. Certain foundations are better at handling these conditions, and are seen more frequently here. One of these which is gaining popularity in new construction is the post-tension slab foundation.

What is a Post Tension Foundation?

Post-tensioning is a technique that was developed and first put to regular use in the 1970s, and approved methods have been published by the Post-Tensioning Institute (PTI), a nonprofit organization, since 1976. Sometimes called post tensioning, or simply PT, this is a type of slab foundation with added reinforcement.

In essence, a slab foundation, aka a slab on grade foundation, is a concrete base only a few inches deep, sitting directly on earth. You might see this for a small shed or playhouse, but larger structures are almost always reinforced, usually with rebar, and a fabric water barrier is lain out before the concrete is poured.

A post-tension slab is reinforced with grids of steel cables cased in plastic sheathes instead of rebar. After the concrete has hardened around them, the cables are pulled taut with hydraulic stressing jacks. This pre-stressing of the concrete creates added compressive strength to the foundation.

(more…)

Raised Perimeter and Post and Pier Foundations

I recently published a piece on post-tension slabs, which is more used in new construction, however it’s not the most common type across existing homes in the South Bay. While basements are not often found in the South Bay, crawlspaces are. You’re most likely to encounter raised perimeter foundations.

 

Raised Perimeter and Post and Pier Foundation Compilation 1960s

Still images from historic reels shared by History San Jose showing one of the city’s suburban developments of the 1960s and the installation of this type of foundation. Click to go to the original video on Youtube.

What is a Raised Perimeter Foundation?

A raised, perimeter, or raised perimeter foundation is one that supports a structure while lifting it a few feet above the ground level, as the name implies. It is called a perimeter foundation because the exterior walls are held up by a reinforced concrete stem wall, while the body of the house is supported by a post and pier construct. (In earthquake-free parts of the world, the stem wall may be brick or cinder block.)

This type of foundation is usually only raised around 1-1/2’ – 2’ high, one or two stair steps above ground level. Much taller would make a top-heaviness that becomes less stable against seismic force.

Alternatively, some floors might be set quite low. Two rooms in my single-story house are a step below the rest. They are still raised on posts and piers, but they are distinctly lower than the rest. This is called a sleeper floor. In the crawlspace, this translates to very tight quarters, and I have met professionals who will, and who will not, be able to work in that space.

What is a Post and Pier Foundation?

Post and Pier section of blueprint plus lowered subfloor for tile

Post and pier (or girder) foundation blueprint, including crawlspace access point and lowered subfloor and sleeper floor.

Post and pier, or beam and post foundation, supports a structure by raising it on individual posts distributed evenly beneath a structure. Each pillar of support consists of three parts: the pier, the post, and the beam.

The pier is a vertical anchor set deep in the ground, usually made of concrete (but occasionally other resistant material like steel). The pier rises a few inches above ground level and is attached to a vertical post. The post, or column, is generally foundation-grade treated wood. This post attaches to a horizontal beam, or girder, which directly supports the floor joists. Occasionally, the pier may act as a post and connects directly to the beam, but that is very uncommon in my experience.

Post and pier foundations can be built without the perimeter wall, but functionally it is very different. You will often see decks built this way, including decks that are attached to homes with a raised perimeter foundation. Without the continuous stem wall the cost to construct is significantly less, but the resulting structure is more vulnerable to the forces of nature, to lateral seismic force, and to pests and wildlife. It also has greater airflow beneath, which is good in places with regular flooding, but provides less insulation from below.

(more…)

Gated Communities in San Jose & Silicon Valley

Where can you find gated communities in San Jose or Silicon Valley?  There aren’t many of them! (It is a myth, however, that the Silver Creek Valley Country Club is the only one in Silicon Valley. That’s just not true.)  There are fewer than a dozen, though, and in this post I’ll provide some basic info on each and links to the home owner association for each so you can learn more if you so desire.

Most of these enclaves include neighborhood pools.  Some also boast golf courses, spas and restaurants. One even has riding stables!

Evergreen gated communities

In the Evergreen area of San Jose (the east foothills), there are very two very large gated residential neighborhoods:  The Villages, which is a retirement community for seniors (and has age restrictions, one resident must be 55+) with many luxury amenities (pools, tennis courts, horseback riding stables, bocce ball, and more).

Silver Creek Valley Country Club, which is the largest and best known gated community in Santa Clara County, is also found in the east foothills in the Evergreen area.  A big complex and elegantly appointed, the Silver Creek Valley Country Club is also the most expensive of the gated communities. Silver Creek centers around a well known, beautiful golf course, and features a wonderful clubhouse as well as multiple pools. Some communities within Silver Creek have their own HOA, so it is possible to end up paying HOA dues to both Silver Creek and also a neighborhood HOA to boot.

(more…)