What does it cost to buy a home with really good schools in Silicon Valley? Los Gatos, Saratoga, Cupertino and Palo Alto are all areas with highly regarding public schools and high home prices. These aren’t the only areas with good schools but they are popular “west valley” areas that people may consider if working for Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook or any number of high tech employers.
Los Gatos and Saratoga both have multiple school districts, running from good to very good or excellent. The cost of housing tends to follow the popularity of the district, so for those areas I’m showing the breakdown not just for the whole town of Los Gatos but also by the high school district (Los Gatos-Saratoga or Campbell Union High School District). Same with Saratoga. (The Monte Sereno real estate market is very similar to Los Gatos, but slightly more expensive. Most of Monte Sereno has Los Gatos schools, but a small number of homes are in the Campbell area.)
Cost Comparison: 4 West Valley Communities with Good Schools
Here are the average numbers for single family homes sold in the last 60 days ranging from 1,500 – 2,500 square feet, on a lot between 5,000 and 10,000 SF, with 3-5 bedrooms and 2-3 bathrooms to give a sense of what it would cost to purchase a typical house in these areas. Please note that right now it’s a strong seller’s market, so many (if not most or all) homes are selling for more than the list price. DOM stands for days on the market.
If you are new to Santa Clara County, you may be wondering if this is correct. The cost to buy a home in these areas is what?
- Los Gatos: approximately $2,000,000 to $2,600,000 depending on the school district and size of the home and condition (more on that below)
- Saratoga: more on this below, but approximately $2,800,000 to about $3,500,000 depending on the schools, condition, etc.
- Cupertino: approx $2,600,000 – $3,200,000 (some areas will bring in higher prices and others lower)
- Palo Alto: approx $2,700,000 – $3,900,000 and any home over 2,000 SqFt (except for one fixer) sold at or over $3.7M
Remember, these prices do not mean that the houses being sold are perfect. Because it is a strong seller’s market, many properties are being sold which need new roofing, extensive pest work, remodeling, perhaps updating of electrical or plumbing systems or more. Many home buyers will need to spend 1-2% on things like termite fumigation, dry rot or roof repairs, carpets, paint, windows and more, and usually this will be done before they move in. So whatever the budget is, buffer it a little bit for both money and time to make it turnkey.
A Closer Look: Los Gatos and Saratoga
In Los Gatos, normally Los Gatos schools sell for more than Campbell Union HSD schools. But this data suggests the opposite!
With such low inventory and the current market conditions, we’re seeing a higher than usual volume of homes with defects selling. These defects might be bad location, smaller size, “fixers”, or homes with all of the above. These would go above the typical 1%-2% of value in repairs, either because work necessary would cost more, or because a fix isn’t viable for the issue, such as living too close to a busy street or a gas station.
Over the last 60 days, there were more of these sales with defects in Los Gatos-Saratoga Joint UHS district than LG with Campbell UHSD. During this time, the average Los Gatos sale with Campbell schools were much larger than the average sale with Los Gatos schools.
Want more on the Los Gatos market? Check out our monthly Los Gatos Real Estate Market Trends and Statistics post on the Live in Los Gatos Blog.
Within the last 60 days there were no sales that matched our criteria in Saratoga! These homes do exist, but the low inventory over the last few months has left our chart above empty of relevant sales. As of today, March 27th 2023, there is 1 pending sale that matched our criteria and 1 active listing.
Casting the net a little wider came back with more results. Take this data with a grain of salt since the criteria isn’t exactly equivalent to the chart above and there are still very few sales for our analysis.
If we look back farther into the past, with sales from up to 90 days ago, Saratoga has 3 sales matching our criteria. Despite minimal data, it’s clear that homes with Cupertino schools are selling for more than Campbell schools.
Alternatively, if we look at sales from the last 60 days, but open up our search to homes on larger lots (+10,000 SqFt) we get 5 matching sales. Of these larger lot homes only 1 sold below $3M.
It can also help to see some historic data. Here is the same chart as the one at the beginning of this article, but from early August 2017:
For people relocating to Silicon Valley from out of the San Jose or Peninsula area, this real estate market can be daunting. There are other areas with good schools which are a bit further from most employment areas which may be worth considering. These include the Cambrian 95124 and Almaden 95120 (especially the southern area with Bret Harte Middle School and Leland High School) areas within San Jose.
Finally, in some cases, it may be more affordable to make use of private schools, which are plentiful in the San Francisco Bay area. If you’re struggling between cost, lifestyle, and education this may be a worthwhile option to consider. Some of the private schools are religious, some secular, and some with a language focus (bilingual in French, German, Chinese, etc.).
Interested in purchasing a home in one of these fantastic communities? Please call or email me! 408 204-7673 or mary (at) popehandy.com