High Voltage Power Lines from around the West Valley.
“Location, Location, Location!” The most important element when buying or selling a home is the one thing you can’t change – it’s location. Because of that, you’ll need to know some location-specific things, naturally occurring and man-made. Like high voltage power lines.
What about this location?
If you own or are thinking of buying a home in Silicon Valley, here are a few location-specific things you want to know upfront so that you can make informed decisions:
- where are the earthquake fault lines?
- where are the geologic hazard zones, such as liquefaction areas?
- where are the flood plains?
- where are man-made things that will negatively or positively impact a home’s value? Things such as
- train lines
- electrical transmission
- school district boundaries
- zip code boundaries
- proximity to entertainment venues
When looking at maps, sometimes these items show up and sometimes they don’t. Realtors and other real estate professionals in the San Jose area often use a Barclay’s Locaide and various online resources to locate the natural hazard areas. There are other tools to help locate school districts and zoning restrictions.
Google maps can help uncover some other areas, like distance to shops and freeways, but sometimes it raises more questions than it answers. For instance, a years ago a Realtor who didn’t know the Belwood of Los Gatos area too well phoned me to ask what a large object showing up on satellite view in the hills of Belgatos Park was. It is just a covered reservoir, but since it was not identified on the map it concerned some buyers. Local knowledge is still extremely helpful.
Mapping the Grid: High Voltage Power Lines
The San Jose real estate market is a strong seller’s market, and it has been for months. Available inventory remains low and can’t keep up with the high demand. 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 distinctly hotter market in June 2021 compared to the year before.
- San Jose homes took an average of only 11 days to sell.
- The average sale to list price ratio was a red hot 110.8%.
Last spring the market experienced mild unseasonable cooling, but from the summer of 2020 on it’s been heating up in San Jose. Early winter saw a hint of seasonal cooling, but by mid-winter it was heating right back up again! This is shown in the San Jose housing market data below, and I’ve also experienced it in my own real estate practice.
These charts will not reflect the full effect of the pandemic on the market. It will take a while before we see the full picture on how it impacted realty, but for now you can read about the Coronavirus’ impact on real estate sales on my other post.
Early on in the shutdown, 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 of 2020. 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 July 9th) shows a recent bump in inventory, slowing days on market, and sky-high market action despite a recent decline. San Jose is in an extremely strong seller’s market and holding, according to Altos! The Median List Price (for condos and houses combined) is usually stable around $1,250,000, though it has been getting nearer and nearer to $1.3 mil since last year and, around the spring peak was close to $1.35!
Pan of Santa Teresa and Blossom Valley
Blossom Valley’s market is finally taking some of the heat off of the extreme spring warming as we enter summer. Inventory remains low and the best properties (homes in good shape which are priced aggressively) are selling quickly and regularly above list price in this red hot seller’s market. It can vary based on price point, schools, zip codes, etc., but the entire area is still in high demand! This article contains the latest monthly updates for the residential real estate market in San Jose’s Blossom Valley area. A few points from the single family housing market this month include:
- Sales continued to outstrip available inventory in June with significantly higher activity compared to last year.
- The average listing took only 9 days, less than a week and a half, to sell.
- The sales to list price ratio held at a feverish 113.0% of asking!
It’s a red hot market! That being said, a lot of changes have happened to the market since March of 2020. Not everything will show in the charts below, so for a better understanding of how the pandemic response is affecting the market consider reading my post: Coronavirus impact on real estate sales.
At the start of the shutdown, 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, 2020. In the data below, this will affect any numbers related to the days on market, the absorption rate, and the days of inventory of those previous months, but current numbers are accurate.
About Blossom Valley
The Blossom Valley area of San Jose is on the south end of the city and covers the 95123 and 95136 zip codes. For our MLS, it’s “area 12.” A more affordable section of Silicon Valley, Blossom Valley has much to offer in addition to more reasonable housing prices. Many areas enjoy views of the Santa Teresa Foothills or the Communications Hill knolls or even the coastal foothills in the distance, as with the photo above. One corner of it sits alongside beautiful Almaden Lake, too. Another corner is located at the crossroads of Highways 85 and 87, making it an easy commute destination for those working in downtown San Jose. And there’s an abundance of shopping and dining opportunities.
95123 real estate market trends, automatically updated weekly:
The Thousand Oaks neighborhood in San Jose’s Blossom Valley area is highly sought-after as it is a tidy area, pleasant looking, and very convenient.
Thousand Oaks is bordered to the north by Hillsdale Ave, Pearl Ave to the east, Branham Ln to the south, and Almaden Expy to the west. Most of the area is within the 95136 zip code with a tiny portion in 95118. With great accessibility, tons of amenities, and a moderate price tag, Thousand Oaks is worth a look!
Thousand Oaks Neighborhood Lifestyle
This area offers quick and easy access to major commute routes such as Almaden Expressway, CA-85, and CA-87, as well as extraordinary access to public transit. There are two bus routes, and for only a 20 min walk, 8 min bike ride, or 4 min drive residents can access either of two VTA light rail stations, the Capitol and Branham stations on the blue line. From there you need only travel 2-3 stations to Tamien to reach the CalTrain connection (or skip VTA and drive 10 minutes to the CalTrain Capitol station).
But you don’t need to go far from home to get around. Westfield Oakridge Mall is a 5 minute drive (or 40 minute walk) to the south of Thousand Oaks, and there is plenty of shopping and dining surrounding the neighborhood. The post office is within one mile, along with various neighboring grocery stores, fast food chains, popular local restaurants, and a variety of other stores and businesses.
Still, it’s not all hustle and bustle. The Guadalupe River separates the neighborhood from Almaden Expressway and some of the businesses, parts of it creating a natural tree-filled gulch. Most streets are graced with trees along the sidewalks, enjoy a view of the foothills, and the use of two neighborhood parks: Terrell Park and Thousand Oaks Park. Terrell Park has picnic benches and BBQs as well as a playground, and sits adjacent to Terrell Elementary. Thousand Oaks Park is a ~35 acre community park with ample sports facilities, picnicking and BBQs, playgrounds, a fitness trail, and a community center (there’s even a map of the park amenities). (more…)
With our 300 sunny days per year in Silicon Valley (at least most years!), golf is a sport enjoyed year round here in the San Jose area. Living near a golf course, or having a golf course view, is highly desirable as it provides scenic open space as well as convenience for avid golfers.
Silicon Valley Golf Homes, Silicon Valley Golf Properties
There are beautiful courses throughout the South Bay Area and it’s possible to find small condos with views of them at fairly affordable prices (Sunnyvale’s Sunken Gardens area is one of them). Today, though, I want to provide a list of homes for sale near golf courses in the foothill areas of Silicon Valley. Many of these will also be luxury homes. So the MLS list of these houses on the market which you can browse includes these areas:
San Jose areas including Evergreen & Silver Creek, Santa Teresa, Blossom Valley and Almaden; Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, Saratoga, Cupertino, and Los Altos.
There are golf courses to be found in other parts of Santa Clara County too (Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara and more) – let me know if you are interested in these parts and I can send you a link for searching them for similar residential real estate.
Here are a available or recently sold homes near to golf clubs:
It can be really challenging for people moving to Silicon Valley to get a sense of real estate prices, and perhaps more, comparing cost of from one town or district to another.
One question I get a lot is this: what does it cost to buy a 4 bedroom, 2 bath house of about 2000 square feet?
So to answer this question, let’s see what houses like this are selling for (4 bed, 2 bath, appx 2000 SF or 185 square meters) and see how the cost looks in one Santa Clara County / Silicon Valley area versus another.
Today I compared several areas and cities using this criteria: single family homes of 1800 – 2200 SF, 3-5 bedrooms, 2-3 bathrooms, on lot sizes of 6000 SF to 10,000 SF. Normally I would chart this over the last 2 months, or 60 days, but because of the low inventory causing the sellers market I have expanded the search to the last 3 months, or 90 days, for a better range. Because some areas have had a scarcity of inventory, I’ve added an addition to the chart titled NoS for Number of Sales within the given range.
Here’s how it shakes out in the “west valley areas” along the Highway 85 corridor, most of which are known to have good to great public schools. What areas are most affordable? One way of analyzing this is the “price per square foot” figure. Whenever I update the chart, I re-arrange the order of the cities from high to low based on the price per square foot, although there’s usually minimal movement.
Within this range, Campbell only had one sale over the last 90 days, so data for that segment may or may not be a good average. Both Los Altos and Saratoga had no sales within the last 90 days within these criteria, so their searches have been expanded to 0-180 days (or 6 months / half a year) and 0-120 days (or 4 months / a quarter year) respectively to provide data for comparison for this chart. Now that we have the data, let’s analyze it!
Yesterday on my way home from a final walk through on a property in Blossom Valley, I stopped by some open houses – following signs, just like a lot of consumers do. At one of the homes I spoke with a Realtor who’s starting to see a slowing in the real estate market. That hasn’t been my own experience, so I asked him about his take on things and he mentioned the rising inventory in areas where he’s active in Silicon Valley.
There are many ways to get a pulse on the market, but perhaps one of the easiest ways to check it is to see the sale price to list price ratio and the days on market. MLSListings, my local multiple listing service (of which I am a member), does some wonderful things with interactive graphs and charts, so I made use of that tool to see how San Jose is faring as a whole and also in some of the zip codes where I sometimes sell homes. The charts below are for single family homes (not condos, townhomes, duplexes, etc.) and are by zip code for all price ranges. Remember, stats are easily skewed one way or the other, and we might have seen different results if we teased it out by home size, lot size, school district, price point, presence of an in-ground pool, or any other factors. This is the “big picture”. First, then, San Jose as a whole.
What we see here is that homes are selling faster (shorter and shorter DOM or Days on Market) and a rising sales price to list price ratio. Both of these indicate a strong seller’s market for the city of San Jose as a whole. Next, we’ll list a sampling of zip codes in San Jose, primarily along the west side (where I tend to be more active in my sales) but not exclusively so. I’m putting these in numerical order.
In San Jose’s 95112 zip code, which is Downtown San Jose, it’s a mixed bag. The sale price to list price ratio is rising (seller’s market) but the days on market are also rising (softening market). This area would require more information – it could be that a few homes have been on the market for a very long time and skewing the stats, or homes in certain price points are just not selling. From this vantage, though, it looks like 95112 is mixed.
Next: 95117, 95118, 95120, 95123, 95125, 95126, 15129, 95136, 95148
If 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…)
Today let’s look at the Santa Clara County real estate market, the days on market (DOM) and the sale price to list price ratio for houses and duet homes (single family homes). This will primarily be graphs that I created using MLSListings.com (our local MLS, to which I am a paying member). We’ll consider the county as a whole and various cities or towns within it, plus areas of San Jose, as it has about a million residents.
First: Santa Clara County homes over the last year. Please note the decreasing days on market, the increasing sale price to list price ratio in recent months. This is exactly what an appreciating market looks like!
Santa Clara County average days on market and sale price to list price ratio
Next, let’s have a peek at how some of the hottest markets in Silicon Valley look, starting with Sunnyvale. It is odd to see any kind of a blip on the sale price to list price ratio. Are buyers giving some push-back? We keep hearing stories of homes selling 30% or more over list price with gobs of offers. So the SP – LP ratio change is a surprise.
Sunnyvale average days on market and sale price to list price ratio Sunnyvale
Palo Alto is always the hottest ticket in town. (more…)
A few years ago, I wrote an article on my Live in Los Gatos blog on the question of whether a Silicon Valley home seller should sell the home in its current condition, or improve it with the hopes of selling for more. You can find it here: Should You Repair & Update Your Home to Sell? Or Sell “As Is”?
Today I was doing a comparative (competitive) market analysis for a client in the Blossom Valley area of San Jose and was struck by two tract houses which sold at about the same time, same market conditions, on the same street, with the same floor plan, but for very different prices. We’ll refer to them as Home 1 and Home 2.
Home 1 was nicely remodeled – at least the kitchen and baths were obviously nicely upgraded. The house was furnished when the photos were taken and it looked very inviting. It was listed for about $630,000 and sold for $670,000 in under 2 weeks.
House 2 appeared to be in original condition – in other words, a “fixer” in the eyes of most Silicon Valley home buyers. A vacant home, it was not staged to sell but instead was starkly empty – and frankly, it was not at all inviting. This house was offered at around $550,000 and sold for $490,000 after almost 2 months on the market.
There was more than a 10% difference in the list prices of these two homes. Was that enough? Apparently not. One got bid up 5% more while the other one got bid down more than 10%. The difference in their ultimate sales price is a whopping $180,000, or 37% more for the home in better condition. Did the fixed up home have that much in improvements done to it? That’s unlikely! But buyers worry about having to do remodeling and repairs, and the more buyers worry, the less they pay. It’s a risk-reward ratio. If they risk more by buying a fixer, there needs to be a monetary reward. And they almost always get it.
Perhaps as a busy San Jose area home owner, you don’t have a ton of time or money to put into fixes, especially if it’s a rental or investment property which is now vacant. How can you maximize the return on investment? I hope that it is clear that it’s in your best interest to tweak the condition of appearance of your property to net more. If you’d like some insights on this, please continue reading on this subject at another article on this blog: Preparing Your Silicon Valley Home to Sell and Return on Investment. Or call me for a confidential home selling appointment today!