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The Cambrian Park Real Estate Market Update

Cambrian Park Real Estate Market graphicThe Cambrian or Cambrian Park district is a popular residential market with good “bang for your buck.” It remains a strong seller’s market despite some seasonal cooling trends. This article provides a detailed look at the residential real estate markets of Cambrian with live and monthly updates. Here are some points of note from the latest monthly update for Cambrian Park single family homes:

  • This December the Cambrian market returned with 62 closed sales, 41 pending sales, and only 9 active listings.
  • Days on market are low with a 12 day average.
  • Average and median sales prices were approximately 14% above last year.

The Cambrian Park Real Estate Market

One 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. With summer and a good deal of autumn behind us we can clearly see some the pandemic’s affect on the real estate market, 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 January 13th) I pulled the single family home sales for Cambrian (MLS area 14) for the last 30 days (mostly December but possibly some January) 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 48 properties sold in the last 30 days, 32 of them or about 67% sold in 14 days or less, with the average days on market (DOM) for this group a lighting speed 7 days! For these fast selling homes the average list price $1,330,031 and average sale price $1,412,465 (averaging an overbid of $82,434 or approximately 106.2% of list price). In total, 4 in that group sold below list price, 1 sold at list price, and the large majority, 27 properties, sold over asking.

The 16 slower sales, roughly 33% of all sales, were on the market between 15 and 103 days. Seven sold above list price, 2 sold at asking, and the remaining 7 sold below.

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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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Del Oro neighborhood of Cambrian on the Los Gatos border

The Del Oro neighborhood is a pretty pocket of the Cambrian district in San Jose directly on the border with Los Gatos at Blossom Hill Road.  Most blocks enjoy large, mature street trees, and views of the coastal foothills are plentiful.

 

Del Oro neighborhood tree lined street

 

Where is the Del Oro neighborhood?

The Del Oro neighborhood in San Jose 95124 is bordered by Blossom Hill Road on the south, 1 house in from Leigh Avenue to the west, the utility easement behind Anne Way to the north, and the water or underground creek easement between Bobbywood Avenue and Mary Jo Way to the east. Streets included are Del Oro Drive, Del Oro Place, Del Oro Court, Tesoro Court, part of Anne Way, Anne Court, most of Copeland Lane, Copeland Place, and Copeland Court.

Students in this area attend Noddin Elementary, Union Middle, and Leigh High School – and those schools are a popular draw for this Silicon Valley  community. The Del Oro neighborhood actually backs up to the Leigh campus. The other side of Blossom Hill Road lies the Belwood of Los Gatos neighborhood and the Belgatos area.  As you can see from the map below, it is close to Belgatos Park, which includes some great trails as well as a playground, and also the Heinz Open Space Preserve and a good network of trails.

 

Del Oro neighborhood in Cambrian area of San Jose

 

What are homes like in the Del Oro neighborhood?

This part of Cambrian consists of mostly single story ranch style homes, but there are some 2 story houses. Additionally, some Del Oro neighborhood homes are Spanish style, there are some French with a Mansard roof, etc. – so a bit of variety. Most of the streets are tree lined and there are sidewalks to make it even more inviting for pedestrians. And of course, the coastal hills are not far, and they make a beautiful back drop of the neighborhood.

Some details:

  • 183 single family homes
  • 143 of them were built in 1968, 4 in 1967
  • 30 were built between 1959 and 1964
  • average square footage is 1792 SF (range is 1057 Sf to 2793 SF)
  • average lot size is 6691 SF (largest lot is 11,097 SF, but most properties have 5900 to 8000 SF)
  • average house has 3 to 4 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms
    • 2 bedrooms = 1 house
    • 3 bedrooms = 96 homes
    • 4 bedrooms = 84 properties
    • 5 bedrooms = 1 house
    • 6 bedrooms = 1 house
  • most homes have 2 car attached garages
  • as of this writing, 15 are rental homes and the rest are owner occupied (92% owner occupied)
  • 36 of them have pools (20% do have pools, 90% do not)
  • 111 (61%) are 1 story houses,  48 have 2 stories, and 20 are tri-levels.

Most of the homes seem to be well cared for and updated, and most are basically ranch style. This first image displays a house with a taller than usual roofline, which is a beautiful improvement over the more typical low profile ranch roof.

 

Single Story Del Oro Home - San Jose 95124

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Westchester Manor, a part of the Alta Vista neighborhood

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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J & P Cosentino Family Farm – Cambrian area, San Jose

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 months of inventory

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 & Cambrian Park Neighborhoods: How to Choose Where to Live?

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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Silicon Valley Homes for Sale Near Golf Courses in the Foothill Areas

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:

 

 

 

 

You cannot save as fast as the market is going up

Geyser with words Home Prices - you cannot save as fast as the market is going up right nowRight now we are in one of those periods of steep, rapid appreciation of real estate values in Silicon Valley.  It is nearly impossible for first time home buyers to save as fast as the market is going up, so what ends up happening is that affordability falls, and home buyers are priced out of the market.  I have seen this throughout my career whenever we have a steep seller’s market, multiple offers and bidding wars.  In fact, Jim and I were in that same kind of market in the late 1980s when we were trying to purchase our first house.

Awhile back I heard about some nice folks who’ve been renting for more than 15 years while they saved their 20% down payment.  In that length of years, home values have doubled or tripled throughout Los Gatos, San Jose, and Silicon Valley.

Although it would have been hard to buy a home here with a 5% down payment in 2000 or 2005 (it was an ultra hot market then, like today), there were periods when it would have been possible.   We had a couple of corrections in the market when it shifted to a buyer’s market, and at those times, sellers were not so fussy about large downs.

You cannot save as fast as the market is going up when appreciation is this steep

For most people, saving a few thousand a month is a great goal.  Unless you have stock options which will be available soon, though, most people cannot save fast enough to compensate for San Jose area home appreciation.

Today I logged on to MLS Listings and did some research.  For this study, I pulled sales of single family homes in Willow Glen with 1000 – 1500 square feet on lots of 5000 – 7500 square feet, zip code 95125, San Jose Unified Schools.  Here are the average sale prices, month over month, for that segment of the local Silicon Valley real estate market.

Please note in the graph below that the average sale price for February (so far – the month is not yet over) is higher than at any other point, even more than the peak of the market in Spring 2018. The graph provides a good “sense of the market” generally. It’s clear that average home prices are up more than $100,000 over the last month or two. 

 

2020-02-27 Average sale price SFH subset of Willow Glen

 

Many of you readers really love the data, so here are the month over month numbers, for a more precise picture of what is happening. I’ve put a red box around all of the February entries, and a blue-purple one for January and February 2020.

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Comparing cost of housing in West Valley communities from Palo Alto to Los Gatos to Blossom Valley: what will a 4 bedroom home cost?

Sketch of houseIt 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.

Comparing Costs

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.

 

Feb 2020 Sales Comparisons

 

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!

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