Single Family Homes

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.

 

 

Plat Map of part of the Cambrian area of San Jose

 

 

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How’s the Saratoga California real estate market?

It’s a slight seller’s advantage in the  Saratoga CA real estate market right now, per Altos Research (see below). Much of it 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 are moving out and getting their homes updated prior to going on the market.

 

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.

 

 

As of writing this, January 7th, Altos shows a slight seller’s advantage in the market right now. Prices are rising, but inventory is dropping. Demand is high, but not as crazy as it was in spring or summer so houses are taking longer to sell.

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 and $3 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 $1.5, but depending on size, condition, and location they can be significantly higher (the ones selling in October 2019 were closer to $2.5, for instance).

Trends at a Glance for the Saratoga CA Real Estate Market

As with much of the county, it’s fairly flat right now in Saratoga. Though prices have tended to lag behind 2018, which was the peak of the market, December of 2019 looked quite stable year over year.

 

Trends At a Glance Dec 2019 Previous Month Year-over-Year
Median Price $2,602,500 (+2.1%) $2,550,000 $2,598,000 (+0.2%)
Average Price $2,745,590 (+0.9%) $2,721,480 $2,947,460 (-6.8%)
No. of Sales 18 (-14.3%) 21 15 (+20.0%)
Pending 14 (-41.7%) 24 12 (+16.7%)
Active 22 (-48.8%) 43 26 (-15.4%)
Sale vs. List Price 98.9% (-0.2%) 99.0% 100.3% (-1.4%)
Days on Market 42 (+9.4%) 38 69 (-39.7%)
Days of Inventory 37 (-38.3%) 59 52 (-29.5%)

 

And the month before:

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SOLD WITH MULTIPLE OFFERS IN 8 DAYS!

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.

 

 

 

Cinnabar winery sign (Big Basin Way, Saratoga)

Cinnabar winery sign (Big Basin Way, Saratoga)

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! Continue reading

Contact Mary NowLooking 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….

To read more, please view the entry on my popehandy.com website for details on beds, baths, pool, schools area etc.  Please contact me if you have a home that may be a fit for them!!

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

Today we’ll look at the ratio & relationship between real estate listings and sales of houses and duet homes in Silicon Valley over the last eighteen months. The goal is to get a sense of the market trends in terms of the overall absorption of homes for sale.  (We’ll give a glance at condo and townhome sales but the focus is on single family homes.) How hard is it to sell a home?  The answer has to do with supply and demand – the number of listings and the number of sales.

In the graphs below, the reddish brown line represents the number of pending sales.  The blue line indicates the number of listings or homes for sale. Put simply, the closer these two lines are together, the hotter the market – that is, the more of a seller’s market it is.  When they are far apart, it’s more cold, more of a buyer’s market.  If the lines cross, it is a wild frenzy (that does happen in one case, as you will see). Below please find the graph for the homes in Santa Clara County overall (all areas).

 

Santa Clara County listings to sales Jan 2009 to June 2010

 

You can see that these two lines pinch together in about December 2009 to January 2010.  Prices had dropped and investors were swooping in! The  market has cooled since then.

 

Santa Clara County condo & townhome listings to pending sales March 2008 to June 2010

Santa Clara County condo & townhome listings to pending sales Jan 2009 to June 2010

 

For condos and townhouses, all of Santa Clara County:Here the two lines  – or the market – were close together for about 3-4 months.  Buyers understood that condominiums in Silicon Valley were bargain priced, and they responded by buying.Now let’s look at various areas around the county.  We’ll take these in Alphabetical order, beginning with Almaden Valley.

 

Almaden Valley listings to pending sales March 2008 to June 2010

Almaden Valley listings to pending sales Jan 2009 to June 2010

 

As you can see, the market improved but never got as “hot” as in the county generally.  This is because it’s a more expensive area, and most of what was selling in winter consisted of entry level housing.

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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
Silicon Valley:
Santa Clara County,
San Mateo County, and
Santa Cruz County.
:
Special focus on:
San Jose, Los Gatos,
Saratoga, Campbell,
Almaden Valley,
Cambrian Park.
Mary’s other resources
Silicon Valley real estate report
Real estate statistics and trends for Santa Clara County, San Mateo County, and Santa Cruz County

Live in Los Gatos blog
Los Gatos neighborhoods, history, businessses, parks, restaurant reviews, and more

Valley Of Hearts Delight
Santa Clara County Real Estate,
with an interest in history

Move2SiliconValley.com
Silicon Valley relocation info

popehandy.com
Silicon Valley real estate,
focus on home selling
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