The Saratoga CA real estate market today is strongly in the seller’s favor with huge price increases from a year ago. There are a few hints of calming, but barely any, in Saratoga right now.
Some quick stats from the RE Report:
The sales to list price ratio is 115.2% , which is down 2.3% from the month (very slight cooling) before and up 8.9% from the year before.
Available inventory remains low at 23. Last month it was 18, and last year it was 33. Inventory does typically rise between March and April. Historically it is still quite low.
The median sale price was $4,100,000 (+7.2% over last month’s $3,825,500) , which is a huge jump up from a year before ( April 2021 it was $3,100,000, a change of +32.3%)
The average sale price was $4,217,770 (+7.4% over the prior month’s $3,926,940 ). In April 2021 it was $3,366,030 (+25.3% from then to now)
How’s the Saratoga 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.
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 $4 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 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
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.
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.
If you prefer a data table, here’s one with just the peak bolded (please click to view larger image): (more…)
Love it or hate it, you can’t escape it: the Ranch.
By far the most abundant architectural style among Silicon Valley homes is the ranch. A recent resurgence in interest in this unique and pervasive house design suggest it is regaining popularity, and there are plenty of reasons to love it! Here we’ll take a peek at the history, how to identify, and the function behind the ranch design. Ready to meet America’s dream home?
by the National Plan Service, Inc (1956) on Archive.org – Click to see
Back on the Ranch: A Brief History
In the early 1930s, San Diego designer Cliff May took the architectural world by storm with his spin on the Spanish colonial revival home. Inspired by adobe ranchos and modern design with an emphasis on comfortable California living, May developed this unique style. This soon evolved into the quintessential California ranch style.
It’s no surprise that the ranch has come to be known as a suburban style. Its popularity was widespread during the booming post-war years through the 1970s, peaking in the 1950s with ranch homes accounting for as many as 9 out of 10 new homes! (Witold Rybczynski, p 207)
Having saturated the market for decades, and with buyers wanting bigger homes, the market shifted away from building the sprawling single-story ranch in the later decades of the 20th century. Still the design retained popularity in the resale market. With more ranch homes celebrating their golden jubilee (some of the earliest are approaching 90) and some gaining historic designations there has been a renewed interest in ranch architecture over the last decade or so.
“Today, almost any house that provides for an informal type of living and is not definitely marked by unmistakable style symbols is called a ranch house.” (Sunset Western Ranch Houses (1946), IX – 1946).
SALE PENDING WITH 6 OFFERS!
Closing Monday, May 10th.
f 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!
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
Schools for 2156 Ebbesen Avenue
Carlton Elementary – Union School District
Union Middle School – Union School District
Leigh High School – Campbell Union High School District
“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.)
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…)
A plat map comes with your preliminary title report (provided by your title company with maps from the Santa Clara County tax assessor’s office when you purchase or sell a home in California), tucked away at the back and somewhat mysterious with lots of numbers in small print. It holds quite a bit of helpful information if you know what it is you’re seeing. Today we’ll view a sample of one of these – breaking down the plat map shown as a small thumbnail image on the right to more readable parts so that you can learn how to “read” or understand a plat map.
Quick overview of what’s on a plat map
There’s a wealth of information on the plat map. Take a look and see what you can pick out on your own first.
Fabulous opportunity in west San Jose – a beautifully remodeled 4 bedroom, 2 bath house with top Cupertino schools and exquisite English country garden is now for sale, offered at $1,099,000 at 1486 Larkin Avenue, San Jose CA 95129. This is not just any ranch style home in Silicon Valley, but a lovingly and impeccably updated, remodeled and maintained home on a scenic, tree lined street. A visit will convince you that this house has been cared for and upgraded with a tremendous level of detail and sophistication.
Top Cupertino schools, all with API scores well over 900!
Schools are a major driver of real estate desirability in Santa Clara County, and nowhere is that more true than in Cupertino and the parts of San Jose which enjoy its schools. All three educational levels of school enjoy extremely high Academic Performance Index or API scores.
The grammar or elementary school for this property is John Muir Elementary School (API 944). The middle or junior high school is Joaquin Miller Middle School (API 981) and the secondary or high school is Lynbrook High School (API 943). All three of these schools are very highly regarded, and in fact prestigious.
Not just a school district – this is a marvelous West San Jose home and yard!
Lest we treat this as though buyers were only interested in schools, let’s talk about this wonderful house too.
The kitchen is an absolute showpiece with a professional grade Viking range, Vent-a-hood, granite counters, ultra hard maple cabinets (painted white), dramatic vaulted ceilings with 2 large, electronically operated skylights, and much more! Throughout the home you’ll find high quality elements, including dual pane windows, hardwood floors (some under carpeting), remodeled baths, and on and on. I invite you to have a look at the virtual tour, embedded below, and to read the description on each page. There’s even more information immediately below that with the MLS information added too.
We're sorry, but we couldn't find MLS # 81217609 in our database. This property may be a new listing or possibly taken off the market. Please check back again.
In many communities such as Saratoga, Los Gatos, Los Altos, Willow Glen, Campbell and Palo Alto, there is a high premium placed on homes which are close to the downtown area. Many real estate agents advertise these as “walk to town” but the idea is simple: it’s nearby, you can stroll, skate, ride or bike, wheel yourself and forget the car.
Downtown Saratoga, also called Saratoga Village, welcomes residents and visitors to a charming, scenic area with fabulous shops, spas, wine tasting venues, restaurants and more. This part of the city boasts top scoring schools as well as lovely older and historic buildings and a gorgeous park alongside Saratoga Creek. Whether you spend an afternoon or a lifetime in Saratoga, this part of town will call you back again and again!
What do you need to know about buying a house, townhouse or condo in downtown Saratoga?
There are a few points which you are well served to know when purchasing residential real estate in this upscale community. We’ll touch on a few of them here: historic homes, traffic & noise, natural hazards, parking, and special issues with condos, townhouses and PUDs (planned unit developments).
First, this downtown Saratoga Village zone is historic; while not every property is deemed historic, many are and that means that there will be restrictions on remodeling and expansion of single family homes or houses. For instance, original glass in windows may need to remain if you’ve got a Victorian house dating from the 1890s, and expansions may need to be off the back of the home so that the facade keeps its initial look and feel (just examples). This can be frustrating if you buy a luxury home that “needs work” and you are surprised later. If the house was built before 1950 or so, double check the rules! (more…)
Looking for two Almaden houses for two different buyer families:
I am working with two wonderful cash buyer couples looking for homes to call their own in San Jose’s Almaden Valley district (95120 area). We’ve seen everything listed for sale on the multiple listing service so I’m hoping one of my readers will be able to point us to something not currently online.
Budget is up to appx 1 million in both cases. Both are looking for houses with good floorplans and locations with no big issues (no busy roads, not too close to schools etc.). Decent to large backyard sought – regular lots, no patio homes. Prefer homes that have been maintained but open to distressed properties. Location and layout are more important than the amount of updating & remodeling. Both are exceedingly serious and ready to buy now. Both will be owner occupied properties, not investment homes.
They want similar but not identical homes – 3 to 5 bedrooms (3 + den minimum), 2-3 baths, prefer no pool but will consider one with it….
How’s the inventory? This is key to both home buyers and sellers in Santa Clara County. Too little inventory of homes for sale pushes prices up, too much housing inventory pushes them down. Today we’ll have a look at the county level for the general Silicon Valley trends. Please understand that smaller areas (zip codes or even subdivisions) can be vastly different from the larger trends.
Our MLS no longer provides much historical data – it only goes back a couple or three years. My I have a subscription to the Real Estate Report, which stretches back a decade. The most current report covers January 2011 (February’s numbers will be there by the 10th of March) so I pulled these numbers plus those of the same month for prior years.
So what is really a “normal” level of inventory for Santa Clara County houses & duet homes on the market? I would say that anything in the 2000 to 3000 range is fairly normal. More than that is overheated, less than that is constricted. (In the early 90s it was many thousands of homes – if I recall correctly, it was over 8,000.)
Right now is not an extreme market in terms of the availability of homes to purchase in the South Bay. It feels tough because lending standards are stricter, as are appraisals, and because we are all jittery from the market crash and touch-and-go recovery. Sellers feel beat up over pricing and the new “requirement” that homes need to be about perfect to sell (or have the price slashed to an extreme, as they see it).
But the numbers are really not so bad, when you view them statistically. The inventory is a little low, but still within fairly normal ranges, historically.
Hi, I’m Mary Pope-Handy, the originator of this blog and a Silicon Valley Realtor with Sereno in the Los Gatos office. I help nice folks to buy & sell homes in Silicon Valley, mostly in Santa Clara County, since 1993.
In 2021, my daughter and long term assistant, Clair Handy, got licensed and became a Realtor. We both contribute to the research and many articles on this blog. More info on Clair will be forthcoming!
Mary Pope-Handy, Realtor ABR, CIPS, CRS, SRES
Sereno Real Estate 214 Los Gatos-Saratoga Rd Los Gatos, CA 95030 408 204-7673 Mary (at) PopeHandy.com License# 01153805
Clair Handy, Realtor
Sereno Real Estate 214 Los Gatos-Saratoga Rd Los Gatos, CA 95030 ClairHandy@sereno.com License# 02153633
Mary & Clair sell homes throughout Silicon Valley: Santa Clara County, San Mateo County, and Santa Cruz County. with a special focus on: San Jose, Los Gatos, Saratoga, Campbell, Almaden Valley, Cambrian Park.
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