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The San Jose Real Estate Market Analysis

The San Jose Real Estate Market Analysis

San Jose - Valley View 2019-1-20 - for the San Jose real estate marketThe San Jose real estate market is a strong seller’s market, and it has been for months. Available inventory continues to shrink and demand remains high. This article is updated monthly with the latest market data. Here’s a sample of the latest for San Jose’s single family housing market:

  • There was a significantly hotter seller’s market in December 2020 compared to the year before.
  • San Jose homes took an average of only 16 days to sell.
  • The average sale to list price ratio was 104.1%, a small decrease month over month and 3.5% higher than the year before.

This spring the market experienced mild unseasonable cooling, a likely result of the pandemic, though it’s been in recovery since and saw increasingly hot markets through summer and into autumn. Winter has finally begun to show some mild seasonal cooling. This is visible in the San Jose housing market data below, and I’ve also seen it in my own real estate practice.

Something to note, however, is that these charts will not reflect the full effect of the pandemic on the market. We have a better view of the impact now that we have a good spread of data to look back on, but it will take a while to see the full picture. For now, you can read about Coronavirus’ impact on real estate sales on my other post.

During the shutdown so far, the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) stopped the timer on all Days on Market (DOM). Therefore these numbers will be off beginning from March 17th through around May 17th. In the data below, this will affect any numbers related to the days on market, the absorption rate, and the days of inventory. Current numbers are accurate, but disregard this data for those previous months.

First please find the Altos Research Charts, a live feed of data on the housing markets in San Jose. You will then also find the RE Report, charts with statistics comparing sales in the last month and comparing them month-over-month and year-over-year. These are both the usual tools I use to gauge a market. Directly below are links to the market analysis of specific neighborhoods in San Jose. Some of these, where I work the most, are updated monthly, and others are updated every few months.

Altos Charts for the San Jose real estate market as a Whole – automatically updated each week – single family homes

First, the market profile and then the basic charts for single family homes or houses in San Jose. FYI, Altos uses LIST prices. The RE Report further down uses SOLD prices (which is part of the reason why I utilize both).

This real time market San Jose housing market profile (updated January 12th) shows on the graph a steadily retreating inventory, lengthening days on market, and a stable market action. San Jose is in a strong seller’s market according to Altos, and holding. The Median List Price (for condos and houses combined) is usually stable around $1,250,000, though it was nearer to $1.3 mil around late summer and early autumn.

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Where are Santa Clara County’s Earthquake Faults and Flood Plains?

Earthquake faults and flood plains are of interest to home buyers throughout the Golden State and to their lenders, too. Part of the home sale and home buying process is to provide information on these risk factors so that consumers (and their lenders) can make an informed decision.

Natural Hazard Reports are included in the disclosures when homes are bought and sold here in Silicon Valley. Those reports will indicate whether or not the property is located in areas with known natural hazards, including

  • Flood Plains (100 and 500 year floods from heavy rainfall)
  • Liquefaction Zones
  • Earthquake Fault Zones
  • Unstable Soils Areas (landslide areas)
  • Flooding from dam failure zones

But wouldn’t you like to know where those places are before ever deciding where to target your next home?

You can! There are loads of tools online, including the Cal My Hazards Awareness Map, which is my go-to resource for many of the zones. This shows the state mapped fault zones, but NOT the county mapped ones. The county mapped fault zones, such as the Shannon Fault, will be listed in a Natural Hazard Disclosure link (though they may not always name the fault, only state that one is there).  You can pull the county mapped geologic sites from this page on the Santa Clara County website (the map is about 30 MB btw).That’s a bit of a pain – you must download it and then read it using Adobe Acrobat to see the “layers” of natural hazards. Sorry – it is a slow process for accessing this information.

Another excellent site from the California Department of Water Resources provides Inundation Maps to let you know where flooding may take place from dam failure.

After doing some research on areas, you may want more information on how to mitigate the danger from seismic threats. There’s a booklet for that which is free: The Homeowner’s Guide to Earthquake Safety & Environmental Hazards. This info is so important that it is required that buyers be given it in escrow or before.

For sellers, it is crucial to understand any local hazards. If your home appears to be in a liquefaction area or flood plain, you need to know that the public may be eliminating your home for that reason. If that is bad info, you need to get the word out so that buyers don’t write off your home or worry about it when there may not be a concern. Or if your home is in a flood plain or fault zone, you need to realize it so that you get your home marketed appropriately, understanding that this could be impacting your market value.

Barclay’s Locaide County Map Books

The tool I miss most for my clients is the Barclay’s Locaide, which is almost impossible to find now.

Many of us Realtors used to utilize it pre-GPS to find our way to homes and neighborhoods, but also to know which zip code it was in, which school district, which MLS area, and of course which natural hazard zones, if any.  On any given page, it shows all of the natural hazard zones except for liquefaction, which is shown on a county wife map at the front of the book. The front of the book also had county view pages showing the county and state mapped earthquake fault zones, unstable soils areas, etc. 

The Barclays Locaide, which I believe was last printed in 2006, is difficult to find now but may be available in Realtor Board stores. As of this writing, it does not appear to be available to buy online, but keep checking just in case. A while back I found a used one that had been printed in 2000 – so they do show up sometimes.

 

Barclays locaide sample of what is included - displays Earthquake faults and flood plains

 

The bottom line is that the info is all out there, but it may be piecemeal. The best solution is to have a great Natural Hazards Disclosure report for the property you want to buy. But before you locate the right house, you may want to target neighborhoods for house-hunting. That’s where it would be helpful to have those locaide maps for sale again.

 

 

 

There are still some original adobe houses in Silicon Valley!

It’s possible to live in Silicon Valley and have no idea that there are still some original adobe houses to be found right here in the San Jose area. Today, though, I hope to help some of our residents discover the past which is lurking right in front of us!

The historic Adobe Woman’s Club is just a block or two off the campus of Santa Clara University, tucked away on a side street now that The Alameda is re-routed as The El Camino.  Address: 3260 The Alameda, Santa Clara.  According to the state’s historical preservation site, this state landmark # 249 is one of the oldest in the Santa Clara Valley, was built between 1792 and 1800 and was one of many row houses built for the native Americans who worked at Mission Santa Clara.  Please note that this is private property and you may not enter without permission, but the adobe abode is very visible from the sidewalk.

Today the beautifully preserved adobe house functions as a nonprofit group with these objectives: “to promote educational, moral, social welfare, cultural, civic and community service.  Anyone who supports these objectives is welcome.”  This scenic place can also be rented out for private events.  The garden is quite lovely and the interior appears to be very modern.  You can see photos of the inside of the house at the club’s website: The Santa Clara Woman’s Club.

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Finding scenic places in which to live in Silicon Valley

View from Montevina Road in Los Gatos, Scenic Silicon ValleyIf you arrived into Silicon Valley via Highway 101, driving south from San Francisco, you might believe that the Santa Clara Valley, the San Jose area and Silicon Valley as a whole has got to seem to be the ugliest place on earth. Although heavily traveled, that is not the “scenic route”.

So, too, if you are looking for a place to live and are groping to find a place that is reasonably priced, fairly safe and not a terrible commute distance. You might not even have “is nice looking” on your wish list. You might not think it’s possible if all you ever see are the ugly concrete tilt-up buildings in north San Jose, Santa Clara, Alviso, or anywhere along the 237 corridor.  That area is an architectural wasteland.

Let me assure you: there are a lot of beautiful places in Silicon Valley where you can rent or buy a home. But how do you find them? It helps a lot to have a local give you a few pointers.  I’ll give you some tips today on finding a scenic place to live.

Hills – An easy way to find a scenic location to make your home is to settle near the hills, especially those in the west valley (the Santa Cruz Mountains or the Coastal Range) as they are green year-round. Communities at the base of the west valley foothills include, in Santa Clara County, Palo Alto, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Cupertino, Saratoga, Monte Sereno, Los Gatos, and the Almaden Valley area of San Jose. All of these areas are adjacent to the hills or mountains and offer far better than average schools (many of them qualify as great – compare costs between these areas). (more…)

Santa Clara County Parks – An Introduction

Santa Clara County Parks – Silicon Valley Area Parks

Here, please find links and a little info on the wonderful county parks in and near Silicon Valley.

Wildlife caution – A word to the wise: in the grassy, hilly areas especially, please hike or jog with friends and pay attention as you walk or run the trails. Rattlesnakes tend to sun themselves in the clearings – which means on the path! Mountain lions, also known as pumas, are not commonly seen but they are indigenous to the area, as are ferrel pigs, bobcats and coyotes. Any of these could ruin your day with a wrong encounter, so please go in groups and pay attention to your surroundings!

Almaden Quicksilver this was once the largest mercury mine in the world, named after a similar mine in Spain. The mine shafts extended all the way into what is now Los Gatos (off Hicks Road) This is a great spot for field trips. While in that area, don’t miss the split graveyard on Bertram Road- and look the grave for just Bert’s arm (nope, I’m not kidding).

Alviso Marina they stopped dredging this years ago but it is now a park. Eventually there will be a trail ringing the bay. Awesome place to bird watch and take photos.

Anderson Lake waterskiing destination in the east foothills over Morgan Hill

Calero south of Almaden toward Morgan Hill.

Chesbro Reservoir west of Morgan Hill – fishing & non-power-boating. No trails yet.

Chitactac Adams Heritage County Park now this is cool – it’s a 4 acre site just outside Gilroy and Morgan Hill which is all about the Ohlones who used to inhabit this beautiful valley of ours. Free park. Open from 8am til sunset. Self-guided tours available.
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Ratio of Listings to Sales in Silicon Valley Real Estate

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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How Big is a Realtor’s “Territory”? How Local is Necessary, How Far is Too Far?

booklet-watercolor-valley-of-hearts-delightA year ago October, I attended the National Association of Realtors convention in San Francisco and met a highly successful, very experienced and decorated (awards, designations) agent from the east coast. When I asked her which part she was from and worked in, she rattled off about 4 large counties. (I’m familiar with the area, so wondered where she was within it.) She did not want to tell me where her office was because she sold in all four or so large areas. She had what I considered to be a huge turf! Her idea of “local” was over 50 miles in diameter – maybe 70 miles or more!

Some agents claim huge territories where they work!

And then a  month or so ago, my husband, Jim Handy, and I attended a party at a lovely home in Santana Row and one of the guests asked me where I worked.  I told her that  I sell all over Silicon Valley, mostly in the “west valley communities” of Los Gatos, Saratoga, Campbell, Almaden Valley and Cambrian Park, but I have listed and sold all over. This gal wanted me to tell her that I worked only in Los Gatos, or only in Cambrian Park or Almaden Valley etc. and it was hard for her to imagine I would really work all of the San Jose area.  Just last week I got a similar question from someone who lives and works in Los Gatos – she seemed to think that agents who work in one town only work in that town.

Some home owners have the same mis-perception that agents only work a very tiny region, such as just Los Gatos or just Saratoga.
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