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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 in a strong seller’s market that was blazing hot earlier this year – but there’s been a good deal of cooling lately! This article, updated monthly, offers data and analysis on the residential real estate market within this popular Silicon Valley community. Here are a few details from the latest update on Campbell’s single family housing market:

  • The average sales to list price ratio for homes sold last month rose to 101.9% of asking. This 2.5% increase follows a crash in July leading to the lowest percentage seen since January 2020. Homes are selling less over asking (and sometimes under asking) and with fewer offers than last spring.
  • Prices are a little below last month and last year.
  • Average turnover raced to 13 days on market.
  • Data shows that August saw a drop in active inventory, with an increase in closed and pending sales.

The market in this popular west valley city appears to have warmed up a little, although it remains significantly cooler than it was earlier this year.

The Campbell, CA Real Estate Market

It’s hard to predict what’s coming next, especially since Silicon Valley real estate is connected to the global economy and many buyers rely on stocks to finance their purchase. On top of that, we’re emerging from an already atypical couple of years!

The market has not followed typical seasonal trends since before spring 2020, although we’re starting to see a bit more balance start to return in late spring of 2022. The charts below certainly show the impact of the pandemic on the real estate market, but we won’t see the full picture until it’s behind us. Read more about how the Coronavirus impacted real estate sales on my blog post about the topic.

If you’re selling a well prepared, beautifully staged, and aggressively priced house, you’ll likely see multiple offers on your home for sale. If it’s in an especially sought-after area and has good bones and a nice finish, the number of offers can create a bidding war. Competition is high enough that it’s pushing many buyers to make offers without any contingencies and above list price. For hot homes, desparate and worn out buyers sometimes spike prices well above list price just to get their foot in the door! However we’re also starting to see more worn out and priced-out buyers begin to exit the market and properties recieving fewer offers, or more contingent offers being accepted.

The market has been overdue for a correction and we’re beginning to see where this transitioning market might take us. Don’t expect a balanced market any time soon – California still has a housing shortage and buyers are still clamoring to get their foot in the door!

Here’s a quick view of the Campbell real estate market stats from Altos Research, using list prices (not sales price) which updates automatically about once per week:

Campbell Altos Real-Time Market Profile

The Altos chart is showing Campbell, CA single family homes in a strong seller’s market with a slight increase in market action following a dip. Inventory is shrinking dramatically again, but days on market are on the rise.

And now –  here are some quick stats, pulled from the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) through the RE Report:

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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 has some mixed signals, but overall it is a softening market.

  • Saratoga average house prices rose month over month but fell from last year
  • The median sale prices for single family homes was up month over month and year over year
  • The absorption rate shrunk to 42, indicating a stronger seller’s market
  • The sale to list price ratio fell to 95.6%, suggesting that the homes that are selling have sellers willing to work with the changed market conditions

 

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 zip code) 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.

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

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. Bottom line is that most livable homes in Saratoga will run between $3 and $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 fewer and generally more affordable, closer to $2 – $3.5 million (and occasionally lower), but depending on size, condition, and location they can be significantly higher.

Trends at a Glance for the Saratoga CA Real Estate Market

Data below is from the ReReport.

Our August numbers show a mixed reality: prices are up from July (the average price is down from a year ago), sales are up, and days of inventory are down, which all point to a good seller’s market. At the same time, the sale price to list price ratio has fallen to 95.6% and the days on market are up, both suggesting a cooler market.

Most likely there are several realities playing out at once with some locations, price points, or home sizes “hotter” than others.

The low sale price to list price ratio points to successful sellers accepting the new market conditions.

Trends At a Glance Aug 2022 Previous Month Year-over-Year
Median Price $3,712,500 (+20.7%) $3,075,000 $3,650,000 (+1.7%)
Average Price $3,644,270 (+3.4%) $3,524,030 $3,862,160 (-5.6%)
No. of Sales 26 (+62.5%) 16 35 (-25.7%)
Pending 40 (-18.4%) 49 50 (-20.0%)
Active 36 (0.0%) 36 26 (+38.5%)
Sale vs. List Price 95.6% (-5.2%) 100.8% 108.7% (-12.1%)
Days on Market 33 (+22.1%) 27 15 (+123.5%)
Days of Inventory 42 (-38.5%) 68 22 (+86.4%)

 

 

Altos Research – list prices for Saratoga CA 95070 (more…)

Cambrian Park Condo & Townhouse Real Estate Market Update

Cambrian Park Real Estate Market graphicHow’s Cambrian Park condo & townhouse market? Normally we answer this question in brief with regular monthly updates over on the Cambrian Park Real Estate Market Update. However with fantastic neighborhoods like Montanas de Los Gatos, Cambrian condos are not to be missed! So today we’ll take a closer look at the condominium and townhome market in this popular San Jose district!

Before we dive in, let’s see what’s selling now in the Cambrian Park condo & townhouse  segment of the market.

Just now (as of May 12, 2022), I looked into the MLS to see the condo and townhome sales in Cambrian over the last month.

  • there are 13 units listed for sale as “active” (not pending or under contract)
    • 8 are listed as condos (3 are “agent only” status) – average size is 894 SF and average list price is $673,111 4
    • 5 are listed as townhouses (2 are “agent only” status) – average size is 1574 SF and average list price is $1,168,800
  • 1 home is under contract with one or more contingencies
  • 13 homes are pending with no contingencies (average of 9 days on market, 4 condos, 9 townhomes)
  • 13 condos / townhomes have sold and closed escrow in the last 30 days (9 condos, 4 townhomes)
    • They sold with an average of 6 days on market (condos 5 days, townhomes 8)
    • average sale price to list price ratio was 116% (range 98% – 129%, condominiums averaged 113%, townhouses 122%)

 

Now let’s have a look at some of the numbers from my Real Estate Report:

Real Estate Report: Cambrian Park Condo & Townhouse Market – San Jose

It’s a hot spring market for the Cambrian condo market with prices up double digits over a year ago. This chart represents all of MLS Area 14, which is primarily 95124, a good deal of 95118, and a tiny sliver of Campbell 95008.

Trends At a Glance Apr 2022 Previous Month Year-over-Year
Median Price $730,000 (-2.7%) $750,000 $622,000 (+17.4%)
Average Price $883,084 (+2.3%) $863,467 $691,900 (+27.6%)
No. of Sales 13 (-13.3%) 15 14 (-7.1%)
Pending 13 (+18.2%) 11 15 (-13.3%)
Active (+75.0%) 4 14 (-50.0%)
Sale vs. List Price 112.9% (+1.9%) 110.8% 102.7% (+10.0%)
Days on Market (+6.5%) 6 12 (-43.8%)
Days of Inventory 16 (+95.2%) 8 29 (-46.2%)

 

Altos Research Live Charts

The market profiles are live, updating automatically once every week, with active inventory from MLS listings.

Most of Cambrian Park falls under the 95124 zip code.  Here’s a quick look at the main real estate market data points for Cambrian 95124 this week:

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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

 

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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.
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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 and streets.

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 Elementary, Bret Harte Middle, and Leland High School
  • Shapell 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

Glencrest Patio Homes

 

2022-03 Glencrest Patio Homes entrance

 

As you enter the interior part of the neighborhood, a small sign has some important information for anyone in a vehicle:

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Introducing a Beautiful Willow Glen Neighborhood, “The Willows”

The Willows - home on Brevins Loop in Willow Glen - The Willows near Rubino CircleWillow Glen is one of the most charming areas of San Jose, consisting of many older homes which feature lovely, classic architecture. Most Silicon Valley home buyers treasure the Willow Glen charm and ambiance, but many are seeking newer homes. A fabulous option is “The Willows“.

KB Homes built “The Willows” in 1999 to 2000. It is tucked away at the southernmost tip of Willow Glen, off of Foxworthy Avenue & close to Almaden Expressway, but only about 2.5 to 3 miles from all the action on Lincoln Avenue.

The tree-lined streets are built in something of a loop shape with Rubino Circle being the main access or loop road. Situated on the inner part of the loop are homes with smaller lots that are a little more affordable. The outer part of the circle is built with slightly larger homes on larger lots (but none of the lots are “big”). Sidewalks with soft curbs at the corners accompany the streets and make for a pedestrian-friendly, bike, wheelchair or stroller friendly area. Visit in the early evenings and you will see children and adults walking, strolling, taking dogs for a walk etc. – always a good sign! Because the neighborhood is a bit like an oversized cul-de-sac (no through traffic), it is very quiet in terms of traffic. The area has large street lights, too, making for a safe feeling community.

 

The Willows - Rubino Circle street view
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Does your HOA have enough in reserves?

How is the HOA’s reserve account? Does your HOA have enough in reserves so that you don’t have to worry too much about getting a special assessment?

When you live in or want to buy a  condominium, townhouse, or other common interest development with Home Owner Association (HOA) dues, it’s important to double check the financial health of the community. If the account balances are not sufficiently funded, the risk is higher of negative consequences down the road.

HOA reserve account - does your HOA have enough in reserves Graphic with apartments, clock, money, and text

Operating account and reserve account

HOAs have two types of financial accounts: one is for operating expenses (paying the gardeners, keeping up the complex, ongoing pest control work, etc.) and the other is the reserve account. The reserve account is a long term savings plan for major future repairs, replacement, or necessary upgrades. (more…)

Seasonal Pricing Patterns

The Silicon Valley real estate market tends to have seasonal pricing patterns. They are not rigid, and some years the typical or expected patterns don’t really hold. Generally, though, we expect the Spring market to be hot and the winter period to be cool. Is that true? Let’s take a look at the stats that I pulled today from MLS Listings.

Seasonal pricing patterns and today’s market

I spot checked the median sale price as well as the average sale price for houses in Santa Clara County, and they both followed the same seasonal pricing patterns. In the chart below, we have data from January 2013 (when the recovery really began) to November 2021. I’ve named the months with the peak prices and also the biggest dip each year. The pattern is a bit like the stock market – it does not only move up or down, but there are a lot of both with a generally upward trend.

This image is best seen on a tablet or desktop computer. If it is too small, please click on the image to view a larger version of it.

 

Seasonal pricing patters via the average sale price in SCC for SFH

 

 

If you prefer a data table, here’s one with just the peak bolded (please click to view larger image):
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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 foundation, known as perimeter or raised perimeter, also called post and pier, 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 Foundation, or a Perimeter Foundation?

A raised foundation, perimeter foundation, 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.) These are all names for the same thing.

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 about perimeter and slab both in the same house?

If a home is described as having both a perimeter and a slab foundation, most of that time it means that the majority of the house has a raised foundation, but the family room or other room directly behind the garage is on slab. This is very common in Silicon Valley

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.

These type of 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.

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