by Mary Pope-Handy, Clair Handy | Mar 10, 2023 | Condos & Townhomes, Houses, Luxury Homes, Market Reports, Saratoga, Single Family Homes
Orchard and Hills in Saratoga, California
The Saratoga CA real estate market has been giving us some mixed signals over the last few months. Overall, though, it’s a seller’s market. Some new listings are selling fast and with significant overbids. Other properties that have been on the market a while seem to just be sitting.
- Saratoga average house prices rose month over month, but were down year over year.
- The median sale prices for single family homes also rose monthly and fell annually.
- The days of inventory rose to 130 from 77.
- The sale to list price ratio to 105.2% in February from 101.2% in January.
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.
Trends at a Glance for the Saratoga CA Real Estate Market
Data below is from the ReReport.
Our February numbers show a market that warmed up from the month before in some data points, but cooled in others. Home prices continued to rise, but the number of pending sales fell further. Those homes that did sell went for 5.2% over list price on average.
Saratoga has many micro markets – but overall, it’s a seller’s market.
Trends at a Glance
|Trends At a Glance
|No. of Sales
|Sale vs. List Price
|Days on Market
|Days of Inventory
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.
Altos Research – list prices for Saratoga CA 95070 (more…)
by Clair Handy, Mary Pope-Handy | Mar 7, 2023 | Campbell, Condos & Townhomes, Market Reports, Most Popular Articles
How is the Campbell real estate market? Campbell is in a strong seller’s market that, but nowhere near as wild as last year! 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 skyrocketted to 106.5% of asking. Homes are regularly selling above list price, but with lower overbids and with fewer offers than last year.
- The median sales price was $2,005,000 (+30.2% since last month and down -9.5% from last year.)
- The average sales price was $2,026,700 (+10.3% month-over-month and -4.8% year-over-year)
- Average sales slowed to 24 days on market, and market absorption grew to 92 days. The best homes are being snatched up quickly, while others may linger longer on the market.
- February saw fewer closed sales and a rise in active inventory and pending sales month-over-month, not atypical for emerging spring trends, although inventory is still well below seasonally normal trends.
The market in this popular west valley city overall shows signs of a warming market.
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 wild few years!
If you’re selling a well prepared, beautifully staged, and aggressively priced house, you’ll likely see multiple offers on your home for sale, although it’s unlikely you will see a bidding war that looks anything like last year. Competition for homes has waned somewhat as buyers financial power shrank. We’re seeing more buyers write with contingencies and offer at or below asking, although most accepted offers we are seeing are coming in over asking and non-contingent.
For hot homes, there’s still plenty of demand. Desperate and worn out buyers want to get their foot in the door – especially before the market heats up again or interest rates continue to rise! However we’re also seeing worn out and priced-out buyers exiting the market. Motivated buyers will go after the best properties in their market, and the outlier listings linger.
The market has been overdue for a correction and we’re beginning to see where this transitioning market is taking us. Don’t expect a balanced market any time soon – California still has a severe housing shortage and buyers are still clamoring to get property!
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:
The Altos chart is showing Campbell, CA single family homes in a strong seller’s market with a recent drop in market action paired with rising inventory. Inventory is growing, but still well below typical, and these few homes continue to sell quickly.
And now – here are some quick stats, pulled from the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) through the RE Report:
by Mary Pope-Handy | Nov 14, 2022 | Cambrian Park (SJ), Condos & Townhomes, Market Info, Market Reports, Neighborhoods
How’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. Here we will provide some more depth with condominium and townhome data.
Before we dive in the the statistics for sold properties last month, let’s see what’s selling now in the Cambrian Park condo & townhouse segment of the market.
Cambrian Park Condo & Townhouse market
Just now (as of November 14, 2022), I looked into the MLS to see the condo and townhome sales in Cambrian over the last month. Inventory is painfully low, and therefore, so are the sales.
- There are 8 units listed for sale as “active” (not pending or under contract)
- 6 are listed as condos (1 is “agent only” status, do not show)
- 2 are listed as townhouses (both are “agent only” status)
- 0 homes are under contract with one or more contingencies
- 0 homes are pending with no contingencies
- 7 condos / townhomes have sold and closed escrow in the last 30 days (4 condos, 3 townhomes)
- They sold with an average of 14 days on market (condos 17 days, townhomes 9)
- Average sale price to list price ratio was 101% (range 97% – 112%, condominiums averaged 99%, townhouses 104%)
Home prices appear to be down about 10% from the peak generally. It could be more or less in any given micro market.
Now let’s have a look at some of the numbers from our Real Estate Report:
Real Estate Report: Cambrian Park Condo & Townhouse Market – San Jose
Home prices are down from the peak here as they are throughout the valley. Please take the month over month and year over year sale price numbers with a big grain of salt. With so few transactions happening, there’s not enough data to be really accurate. What’s better is finding what else has sold for your home (or the one you’re interested in) recently. It should be within a mile, have the same school district, zip code, and similar location overall, and it should be within 10% of the home size of the comparable, or “comp”.
What we do know is that the days of inventory and the days on market are both longer than they were. The market is jiggling up and down a little each month, and the general trend may be that we’ve hit the bottom of pricing for now.
|Trends At a Glance
|No. of Sales
|Sale vs. List Price
|Days on Market
|Days of Inventory
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:
What’s making it strong when prices have fallen? Mostly it’s a lack of inventory couples with a healthy buyer demand.
by Mary Pope-Handy | Jan 7, 2022 | Condos & Townhomes, Finance Information
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.
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…)
by Mary Pope-Handy | Jan 17, 2021 | Condos & Townhomes, photos, Sale Type, Selling Tips, Short Sales, Silicon Valley, Single Family Homes
“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:
- Terrible photos (or not enough of them): in our San Jose area MLS we are allowed 9 photos. How many are in your listing?
- 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!
- Is there a video or virtual tour? **
- Is the listing syndicated so that buyers can find it on multiple websites?
- 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!
- 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!
- 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!
- 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.
by Mary Pope-Handy | Jan 13, 2020 | Condos & Townhomes, Contracts & Forms, PUD
Homeowners Associations (HOAs) are created to oversee condominium complexes, townhome communities and planned unit developments (PUDs) on behalf of their members. These are non-profit organizations whose purpose is to manage common areas, enforce neighborhood rules and standards, and often, unofficially, to foster community unity too. In most cases, they collect fees from members and have local authority. In other words, if you do not pay your homeowner association dues, or abide by one of its rules*, the HOA can and usually will fine you or even foreclose on you!
There are loads of HOAs in Silicon Valley. As with all organizations, some are better run than others. Its a little different than owning real estate outside of a homeowners association.
What are the pros and cons to Homeowners Associations?
At their best, Silicon Valley HOAs keep the communities they manage beautifully landscaped and maintained, they hire good providers for needed improvements, and minimize risk to all the members. By having reasonable rules and community buy-in, the neighborhood can look inviting and property values can be better maintained.
At their worst, HOAs can be unresponsive to members needs, erratic, arbitrary and irresponsible. They may, by poor planning, cause huge assessments to be necessary or raise HOA dues so that they are very high – to the point where they make homes hard to sell. Not only are those an unhappy occasion, they can also make it hard to sell a home with a special assessment looming. Fortunately, this is seldom the case in most areas – but if the HOA has a high number of defaults due to owner bankruptcy or inability to keep up with mortgage, property insurance etc. it can cost all of the members eventually.
by Mary Pope-Handy | Aug 23, 2019 | Condos & Townhomes, homes for sale
This week I put a new listing on the market, a beautiful Newark condo for sale at 39887 Cedar Blvd #250. It’s nicely updated and remodeled throughout and enjoys a quiet location at the back of this resort-like condominium complex.
39887 Cedar Blvd # 250, Newark – Living Room
Offered at $539,888 with low HOA dues of just $376 per month
Spacious and updated 2 bedroom, 2 bath condo, with warm and tasteful décor in luxurious, resort like community. Fantastic location within Murieta, at back of complex, away from road noise. The unit is close to the elevator but has no adjoining walls, so is very quiet.
- 2 bedrooms
- 2 bathrooms
- 1071 SF
- Built in 1986
- Remodeled kitchen
- Updated baths
- Recessed lights in living room and master bedroom
- Colonial style crown molding and baseboard throughout
- Private deck
- Freshly painted
- 2 Assigned parking spaces, one of them covered
- Great commute location, also very close to shops and eateries
- HOA is Murieta, a gated community with secure elevator buildings and includes 2 pools, 2 spas, 2 club houses, plus a gym and onsite property management
Remodeled kitchen with slab granite counters and brand new oven, microwave, and dishwasher. Fridge included!
Please visit the virtual tour to get all of the details, including upcoming open houses and lots more photos!
- Kitchen remodeled with slab granite counters, brand newWhirlpool stainless steel oven, microwave, and dishwasher. Built in trash compactor. Stainless steel refrigerator included, too. Tile floor.
- Bathrooms updated and also feature granite counters, tile floors, and lights over vanities.
- Open floor plan – kitchen has opening to both dining and living
- Spacious master bedroom suite featuring double sinks and abundant closet space.
- Wonderful deck off of living room for relaxing outdoors
- Many upgrades: recessed lighting in living room and master bedroom, classic Colonial baseboard and crown molding, interior raised panel doors.
- Newer washer and dryer included.
- Freshly painted interior.
- Excellent parking: 1 covered space near building door, 1 assigned parking space behind the unit.
- Wonderful HOA: gated community with low dues covers garbage, water, and many amenities: secure elevator buildings, 2 pools and spas, gym, cabana / community rooms, lawn area,
- Onsite HOA office staffed during weekdays.
- Fantastic location with shopping and restaurants nearby and easy access to major commute routes.
- Newark Unified Schools: James L. Bunker Elementary, Newark Middle, Newark Memorial High
Please visit the virtual tour to get all of the details, including upcoming open houses and lots more photos!
by Mary Pope-Handy | Jun 20, 2019 | Buying Tips, Condos & Townhomes, Home Improvement, Luxury Homes, Older & Historic Homes, Remodeling
Most homes in Silicon Valley come with some type of parking space for cars beyond street parking. Home buyers want to know that there will be a place for their vehicles (and often their “stuff” too). Garages and parking are sometimes under-appreciated aspects of evaluating real estate, and sometimes there are parking surprises after the close of escrow, so it will be the focus of today’s topic.
Parking and resale value
Because a real estate purchase is a big ticket item, it is always important to consider the ability to sell it later. (Always buy with selling in mind!) Will the property you have or are considering buying be hard to sell in the future if it is not a red-hot sellers market? Parking can greatly impact “resale value“ and overall desirability to a large portion of consumers, who may look at that space as protection for a beloved vehicle, a safety feature, a future hobby room, or many other possibilities.
If you are evaluating a Common Interest Development (CID) condominium, townhouse, or planned unit development home with private roads and parking, there will be some special concerns that may be a little different than if you were purchasing a single family home. We’ll consider both.
General principle: In all types of housing in the San Jose area, usually the most highly desired type of parking arrangement is an attached garage with direct access into the home and with side by side parking provided (not tandem). This is not true in all cases but is generally true. You would not find home buyers interested in historic homes (Victorian, Spanish, Craftsman) wanting a prominent two car garage at the front of the house, commanding the lion’s share of the view from the street. (So don’t expect to see that in Japantown, Naglee Park, or the the Rose Garden areas of San Jose.) But for the typical buyer of the more common ranch style house, the attached garage is expected and appreciated, and if it’s missing it may be a challenge to sell the property later because the property will be appealing to a smaller pool of buyers.
Regarding direct access: garages are not allowed to have a door entering into a bedroom. This is for safety reasons since bedrooms are where residents are most vulnerable, and garages are an area of increased safety risk.
by Mary Pope-Handy | Sep 28, 2018 | Buying Tips, Condos & Townhomes
Why are some HOA dues so high in certain Silicon Valley townhouse or condo communities?
If you are shopping for a Silicon Valley condominium, townhouse, loft or other property that’s part of a home owners association or “HOA”, you may find yourself flabbergasted at some of the dues being charged in San Jose, Los Gatos, Saratoga, and all over Santa Clara Valley. Today we’ll go over what may be happening in them to cause this problem.
HOA dues may cover a number of things, and if it’s a luxury complex with luxury amenities, those dues will be high:
- common areas, such as driveways, parking, pool, fitness center, rec room, elevators, landscaping, golf course membership, etc.
- insurance: regular homeowners or blanket insurance but perhaps also earthquake or flood insurance
- reserve account funds for planned improvements may have run too low and need bolstering (repainting, termite work, reroofing, repaving, pool plastering etc.)
- covering the defaults from units where the owners are in or about to be in foreclosure
What is the range of pricing for HOA dues in Santa Clara County and Silicon Valley?
Depending on the age of the property and the amenities, the dues may run between $300 and $350 on the low end (newer, no amenities) to close to a thousand on the high end (The Villages retirement community has extraordinarily high dues but they may include membership in the golf course too). I’ve seen some in Menlo Park closer to $2,000 per month!
“Normal” is anywhere from $400 to $500 per month for a typical condo or townhome community.
Dues over $600 per month will deter investment buyers. Dues over $700 per month will deter almost everyone! (more…)
by Mary Pope-Handy | Oct 4, 2016 | Buying Tips, Condos & Townhomes, Home Types, PUD
There’s quite a bit of confusion around the real estate topic of “Common Interest Developments” (CIDs): condominiums, townhouses (or townhomes) and planned unit developments (PUD, sometimes called just Planned Development, or PD). Given that we have many of these communities in Silicon Valley, I think it’s important to explain what these are, why the type of ownership matters, and how you can tell the difference. (The explanation here is not a thorough legal definition but is a general description.)
Part of the confusion stems from the fact that there are two things to consider: the architecture of the buildings and the type of ownership.
- What is a townhouse (or townhome)? A townhouse is a type of building or architectural style, not the type of ownership involved. A townhouse could be a planned unit development (PUD) or it could be a condominium.
- What is a condominium or condo? A condominium is a type of ownership of the real estate. (We tend to think of it as an apartment which one buys, but that’s not correct.) Condo ownership means that the purchaser has 100% rights to the unit and a percentage of ownership in the common lands (fractional ownership in common areas). Condos can architecturally be a unit that resembles an apartment, a townhouse, or even a single family home.
- What is a PUD? A planned unit development is architecturally either a townhouse or a house in which 100% of the unit plus the land under it is owned and the ownership of the unit also provides for a membership in the homeowner’s association or HOA. The HOA in turn owns all the common elements (such as private roads and ammenities such as a pool, tennis court, parking lots, etc.). With a PUD, homeowners have an easement and rights to use the common area through their HOA membership.
- What is a CID? A common interest development, or CID, is a general term meaning the ownership of property in which there are “common areas” such as private roads, a pool, parking, tennis courts, utility rooms etc.
A townhouse that’s a condo can look exactly the same as a townhouse that’s a PUD. This is also true for other types of construction too. In Los Gatos we have some freestanding homes (or properties with the only common wall being at the garage) which are in condo ownership. Same with the beautiful Villas of Almaden community. Both have “common areas” and mandatory membership in the home owner’s association.