Cambrian Park (SJ)

Cambrian Park

Like many Cambrian neighborhoods, the Westchester Manor subdivision in the Alta Vista area includes well kept homes and yards, tree lined streets, and wonderful public schools. This neighborhood, though, is unique in that residents can amble to the elementary or middle school without crossing major streets. And the same can be said of getting to the local grocery store, Safeway, coffee shop, and more. For home buyers seeking walkability or easy access, this is a place to check out! But it’s not just walkable. From here it’s an easy jump to both Highway 85 off Union Avenue or a run to Vasona Lake County Park and downtown Los Gatos via Blossom Hill Road. Add to that the close proximity of the hills and you get the feeling that you’re not quite in the middle of a city at all.

 

Where is Westchester Manor?

Westchester Manor map - Alta Vista area of Cambrian in San Jose CA

Pins indicate homes within the Westchester Manor subdivision beside Union Middle School near Alta Vista Elementary School. The yellow line follows the power line.

Westchester Manor is within the Alta Vista neighborhood.

The Alta Vista neighborhood is part San Jose’s Cambrian district, and part Los Gatos (see a map of the neighborhood and municipal boundaries in the blog post linked). It’s bordered by Los Gatos-Almaden Road to the north, Union to the east, and Blossom Hill to the south. The Westchester Manor subdivision is entirely within San Jose on the northeast end of the neighborhood, next to Union Middle School.

This neighborhood has a very high owner occupancy rate – 87% from the numbers I pulled from Realist (a report available to members of the MLS) today. It’s a low-turnover, stable neighborhood. People move in, and they stay!

What are the homes like in Westchester Manor?

This is a predominantly “ranch style” neighborhood with mostly single story houses, but still quite a few two story ones, in an area with sidewalks, curbs, and gutters. Most houses have 3-4 bedrooms and 2-3 full bathrooms.

There are 3 tracts named within this subdivision. They don’t have exciting labels but instead are called tracts 1481, 1903, and 1997. There are 30-35 lots in each one and 106 in all.

There’s variation in age, but not much. Of the 106 homes which are part of Westchester Manor (there are smaller subdivisions on Coronet that aren’t) approximately 80% were built between 1957 and 1959 although some in tract 1997 (including and near Grey Court) were built as late as 1965 (I found one house built in 1956 also). Most of them have been at least somewhat updated and a handful were rebuilt with new construction in 1980 and 1990.

Home sizes range with the smallest homes at 1,283 SqFt, 1,293 SqFt, 1,308 SqFt, and 1,319 SqFt. The biggest houses are 3,656 SqFt, 3,607 SqFt, 3,171 SqFt, and 3,072 SqFt. The median home size is 1,738 SqFt.

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Cambrian Park Real Estate Market graphicOne of the best ways to get a pulse on the Cambrian Park real estate market is to see what’s selling fast. Sometimes a few low sales will make the market look more sluggish than it is. For the Cambrian housing market, though, most single family homes are selling well, with multiple offers, and overbids right now. But not all. So let’s separate them out by time and see how it looks.

Before we begin, it’s important to recognize how much has changed since the beginning of March, so this data is not going to be as relevant as it normally would be. This month we will have a better grasp over the pandemic’s affect on real estate, but it will take time to see the full picture. For more on the impact of the pandemic on the market, check out my post titled Coronavirus impact on real estate sales.

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 for the months involved. Current numbers are accurate.

Fast sales are stronger sales: under 14 days is best for Cambrian Park realty sales 

Just now (as of October 12th) I pulled the single family home sales for Cambrian (mls area 14) for the last 30 days (mostly September but possibly some October) and saw a huge difference between the homes that sell fast and those that do not. The turning point seems to be 14 days on the market between overbids and underbids.

Out of 70 properties sold in the last 30 days, 47 of them or about 67% sold in 14 days or less, with the average days on market (DOM) for this group a lighting speed 6 days! For these fast selling homes the average list price $1,317,575 and average sale price $1,403,030 (averaging an overbid of $85,455 or approximately 106.5% of list price). Only 2 in that group sold below list price and 2 sold at list price. The majority, 43 properties, sold over asking.

Of the 23 slower sales, roughly 33% of all sales, were on the market between 15 and 129 days. Seven sold above list price (although 2 were at the cusp of the 14 day mark), 2 sold at asking, and the remaining 14 sold below.

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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, however this spring it experienced mild unseasonable cooling, though it’s begun to recover some and we’ve seen an increasingly hot market over summer. This is visible in the San Jose housing market data, below, but 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 this month, 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 October 6th) shows on the graph a sharp decrease of inventory, rising prices, shrinking days on market, and a steady rise in market action. San Jose is in a strong seller’s market according to Altos, and is continuing to heat up. The Median List Price (for condos and houses combined) is usually stable around $1,250,000, though it’s nearer to $1.3 mil recently.

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Have you ever been to the J & P Cosentino Family Farm? If you’re a foodie who’s been in the Bay Area for a while, you might remember the incomparable quality of groceries at the Cosentino’s Markets or the insightful broadcasts on KLIV radio’s Produce Report by Mr. Produce himself, Phil Cosentino. While the famous fresh food family has stepped back from the spotlight in its members retirement years, you can still enjoy the taste of delicious Cosentino quality produce from the J & P Cosentino Family Farm!

 

J & P Cosentino Family Farm stand in Cambrian

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Cambrian Park Plaza SignThe Cambrian area of San Jose is a very “hot market” overall, but it can be confusing to know how hot it really is, just like the rest of Santa Clara County, because there are multiple school districts – and schools are probably the number one driver of home values in this highly educated valley. Also, we know that the market started off hotter than the year before but cooled down a lot in Spring due to the pandemic. As rules start to loosen again, the market has started to heat up quite noticeably! The best homes are still the ones selling quickly and often with multiple-offers.

An explanation of “months of inventory”

What does “months of inventory” mean? This figure references how long it would take to sell a property if homes continued to sell and close at the current pace with no new inventory coming on the market. A good analogy is to consider a bathtub which drains. If you add no new water to the tub, how long will it take to empty out?

The months of inventory is sometimes called the absorption rate. The question is simple: how long will it take for the current inventory of homes for sale to get absorbed by the home buyers purchasing them? It doesn’t have to be calculated by months. It could be in days, weeks, or years. But months is probably most common.

The months of inventory for any part of the real estate market can vary, depending on many factors, including age of home, house size, lot size, and school district, whether or not there’s a pool, and many other things. It can be very useful to understand this metric when selling a Silicon Valley home. I’ve done market numbers crunching tied to the specific characteristics of a property (say, small yard with pool or big yard with no pool) to find the impact of those characteristics on the probability that a home will sell – or how fast.

The Cambrian area of San Jose’s months of inventory as a whole, and in one price point

Cambrian was once an enormous zone of the Santa Clara Valley. Today we mostly think of it as within San Jose in the 95124 and 95118 zip codes. Some of it it adjacent to Campbell – a very tiny sliver is IN Campbell (we’re only dealing with the San Jose portion in our charts), and a tinier still area is in San Jose and is under the Campbell School Union District. Most of this area is in one of three elementary school districts: Cambrian, Union, or San Jose Unified.

Here’s the breakdown – first, for ALL of Cambrian (MLS area 14 for my Realtor readers) that’s within the City of San Jose and second, by elementary school district. We will look at all prices for single family homes and then within a price range of $900K – $1.2M. The area for Campbell Elementary is so small that the numbers are usually not statistically useful (no offense to the Campbell school residents). It can just jump around too much to be helpful and often gives us no usable data. Often, as in this most recent batch, there are no homes available or sold from this area at all.

Please have a look – once again, the homes in the Union School District are “red hot”, especially those in the lower price points, but this time San Jose Unified is absolutely scorching hot and holds the majority of the lower-price market!

 

2020-07-20 Cambrian MOI

 

These homes are flying off the market right now! Although the majority of sales and active inventory are coming from the Union Elementary School District, San Jose Unified is only a hair behind it for sales and is the clear lead for sales in the entry-level market. On the other hand, the Cambrian Elementary District has lower sales and active inventory and remains a much slower market, though it’s hotter than it was earlier this year. Inventory has grown, but it’s still low for the high levels of demand creating a hot seller’s market – especially in entry-level homes.

Below we have past charts for comparison. I do this analysis a few times a year, and it is good to see the long view.

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cambrian-park-plaza-signCambrian Park is a highly desirable district of San Jose. With close proximity to Los Gatos, Campbell, Willow Glen and Blossom Valley, there’s lots to do within Cambrian itself or very nearby.  Cambrian also enjoys good schools, low crime, two newer libraries, two Farmer’s Markets, and a fabulous rec center, the Camden Community Center.

Where is Cambrian Park and how big is it? The 2010 census reported Cambrian Park as having less than 4,000 people. In contemporary usage, though, Cambrian consists of much more than the area known as “Cambrian Village” (which has this small population), and now includes about 75,000 residents in all.  The area includes most of the 95124 zip code plus the 95118 zip code (and a little sliver of 95008).  (To see a very approximate map of Cambrian Park boundaries, click on this link.) The local Realtor association had something to do with this shift in perception as it mapped out boundaries for Cambrian Park, roughly known in the industry as “area 14” that expanded the original area. Historically, though, Cambrian was really a very vast area including much of Campbell and many areas now falling under different district names.  The area is alternately known as Cambrian, Cambrian Park, and Cambrian Village – the latter referring to the area near Union & Camden Avenues.

Related post on Cambrian’s history, areas and map: please also see Cambrian Park: Good Schools, Low Crime, Close to Los Gatos and Campbell

How do you decide where in Cambrian to live? Many aspects of home buying will likely come into play, from schools desired and budget available to the ambiance and practical things you desire such as RV parking, an extra large garage, family room, guest suite, commute issues (proximity to freeways),  etc.

I. School Districts of Cambrian Park

Your decision might be influenced by the school district you want; Cambrian Park has three elementary school districts. All are good – Cambrian Park truly has no bad schools – but some are exceptionally high. Some districts may have more offerings for special needs kids or gifted kids – if you have children and are looking at placing them in the local public schools, do your research before you househunt!

  1. The north side of Cambrian Park (going into Campbell and Willow Glen) has schools belonging to the Cambrian School District (see map).
  2. The east side of Cambrian Park (going toward Blossom Valley) is part of the territory of the San Jose Unified School District.  Schools for all of San Jose are beautifully mapped out by the district – you have to zoom in to see the boundaries around Cambrian but it includes all three local districts so is worth the extra steps!
  3. The southwest side of Cambrian (and east Los Gatos) is within the boundaries of the Union School District, which also has a helpful map of the borders. The map is a pdf and it is very detailed.
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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:

 

 

 

 

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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


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