How’s the Cupertino real estate market?
Willow Glen is a hot market. The first half of the year prices rose rapidly, and now they are rising less steeply, but prices are up quite a lot from a year earlier.
Here are the most recent real estate statistics, via our Cupertino Real Estate Report. The market is HOT!
Cupertino Real Estate market – Closed Sales and Trends at a Glance
(If you’re viewing the chart below on a mobile device, please swipe horizontally to see all columns.)
The market cooled from white hot to red hot – prices are up monthly and annually.
|Trends At a Glance
|No. of Sales
|Sale vs. List Price
|Days on Market
|Days of Inventory
Cupertino real estate market via the Altos Research weekly charts (they use LIST prices, not sale prices):
A view from Ridge Vineyards along Montebello Road
The City of Cupertino, often considered the heart of Silicon Valley, offers shorter commutes, strong public schools, abundant parks and open space, an active community center, and more. This city is home to both small and large tech companies, both startups and Apple Inc. It attracts professionals and entrepreneurs from around the world. All of this, in turn, creates a competitive real estate landscape.
This city is vibrant and offers fabulous restaurants and shops. These are sometimes not mentioned as they are overshadowed by the fame of the schools and the job centers, but are noteworthy as they contribute to a high quality of life for everyone there.
The public schools in Cupertino are outstanding, often at the top of the list in state rankings for test scores, 4 year college admissions, and notable academic awards earned by students here. Off campus, there are private schools that teach other languages, dance, art, religion, and culture on off hours or weekends.
Within the districts, some schools are more sought after than others. Monta Vista High and Lynbrook High are often the most desired by home buyers. But not all. Some parents prefer good schools that are not as competitive as these two may be. Each family should research the offerings and see what is the best fit for them and their needs.
Students are served by these districts:
Cupertino Union School District (K – 8)
Fremont Union High School District (9 – 12)
De Anza Community College
A tiny sliver of northeastern Cupertino is served by the Santa Clara Unified School District.
The San Jose CA 95129 real estate market area, which is sometimes referred to as the “Cupertino Border” area and is generally part of West San Jose, is highly desirable for many reasons, including a short commute to tech employers such as Apple. Below we’ll review home values by school districts, both for starter homes and for homes with more than 1500 square feet.
If you love West San Jose, please also check out our post on the nearby Happy Valley neighborhood.
The 95129 zip code and school districts
The school district situation is a little confusing in San Jose CA 95129, but as schools are a major driver of real estate values, it’s imperative to consider their impact on housing prices.
- About 60% of this zip code is in the Fremont Union High School District (Lynbrook High) and in the Cupertino Union School District (several different schools)
- The rest is in the Campbell Union High School District (Prospect High), with most of that area in the Moreland School District, but a little bit in the Campbell Union School District (several schools)
- On Great Schools, the scores for these schools range from 4 or 5 on the low end to 10 on the high side.
Here’s a map that I’ve marked up. The initial map came from the MLS, which shows the approximate zip code boundaries (bright blue) and the high school district boundary (purple or berry colored). These are never 100% precise, always check with the school district to be sure about the assigned school or district.
In the upper right corner you can see a tiny little polygon, almost a square, for the part of 95129 with Campbell Union School District. Moreland schools are mainly on the southeast side of the zip code. Cupertino schools are on the far west and northern section, except for that postage stamp area with Campbell schools.
The homes with Moreland and Campbell schools sell at lower prices than those with Cupertino schools, making them more affordable and also very desirable as a close in commute location.
The homes in San Jose with Cupertino schools sell for less than those houses in the City of Cupertino with the exact same schools, making this pocket a relative bargain, too.
No matter which district you’re considering, most of this area is a good ‘bang for the buck’ part of the valley.
San Jose CA 95129 real estate stats for starter homes
Today we’ll consider the real estate market activity for houses in this area today and in relation to recent history as of today, July 18, 2023, and looking at sales data for the last 60 days.
In the last 60 days, there were 29 single family homes sold in this zip code. Of them, 15 were “starter homes”, meaning that they have 1500 SF or less. Here is the data for the starter homes in all school districts of this zip code area:
- Days on market – 13
- Average square footage – 1392 SF
- Average lot size – 6227 SF
- Average list price – $2,035,056
- Average sale price – $2,294,453
- Average age of the home – 62 years
- Average sale to list price ratio – 113% (range of 94% to 138%)
- Average price per SF – $1,652.29
For the 10 homes with Fremont Union High School District:
The Monta Vista neighborhood in Cupertino is well known for its top rated schools, close in commute, and huge percentage of well educated, high tech residents. It boasts incredibly scenic open space, parkland, and recreation opportunities. The Monta Vista neighborhood is probably the most sought after part of the Cupertino real estate market.
Monta Vista, said to be Portuguese for “Mountain View” (though the translation engines don’t agree), is well named as this community sits at the base of the coastal range, and those beautiful, green views are a wonderful plus to an already attractive area.
Many houses enjoy a view of the hills, some are in the low foothills, and others are situated close to or overlooking Stevens Creek and the golf courses or parkland that line it. Generally, the Monta Vista neighborhood is the most scenic part of Cupertino.
As with much of Silicon Valley, this part of Cupertino has agricultural roots and was once part of the Valley of Heart’s Delight with expansive orchards, vineyards, and other produce.
The mild, Mediterranean climate was great for growing fruits, vegetables, and nuts, and for growing grapes and making wine. Just south of the Monta Vista area there continue to be vineyards, wine making, and wine tasting on Montebello Road.
What are the houses like in the Monta Vista neighborhood?
Most of the Monta Vista neighborhood consists of ranch style homes in the flatlands, but there’s some variety, some Mediterranean or Spanish or contemporary homes can be found, too, particularly in the hills to the west. There is a mix of two story or split level houses to be found as well.
Looking for a view home? You will find some in the areas west of Stevens Canyon Road or Foothill Blvd (same road, different stretches of it).
A typical home in the Monta Vista neighborhood has about 1800 – 2300 square feet and sits on a lot of about 7000-9500 SF. Some single family homes are under 1000 SF and others are over 5000 SF. The typical home runs close to $3.1 million. Very few homes sell for under $2.5 mil or over $4 million. Much of it depends on the condition or exact location, though. A home right next to the highway, or near the train track, will not sell for as much as those on a quiet street.
If you are interested in buying or selling a home in this area, please reach out! The best way to have an initial contact is through email, email@example.com.
At the bottom of this post you’ll find current listings, pending sales, and recently closed homes in this area.
Monta Vista neighborhood boundaries
If you do a web search for this neighborhood’s boundaries, you are likely to come up with multiple and very conflicting answers as to where the edges are.
Is it a good time to sell a home in Silicon Valley? One of the best ways to get a pulse on the real estate market with an eye to selling or buying is with the months of inventory (MOI), also known as the absorption rate. This is the months of supply of housing for sale.
The months of inventory tells us how fast the current inventory of properties will be sold off if sales were to continue at the same rate with no new inventory were to come on the market.
The easiest analogy is with a bathtub full of water. If we added no more water to the tub, and the drain were opened, how much time would it take for the water to be depleted if it continued to empty at the same rate? That’s the question being answered with the absorption rate of inventory.
Or, simpler still, if you have an hourglass that you turn over, how long does it take for the sand to empty from the top (since you cannot add more sand to that end)?
How to calculate the months of inventory or MOI
The way to calculate the months of inventory is simple: find the current available inventory of homes for sale (not under contract or sale pending), then find the number of homes with that exact criteria which have closed escrow in the last 30 days. Divide the first by the second and you get the months of inventory. Or, I can just use the stats program on the MLS to generate that number, as I did today.
Earlier I pulled this data from MLSListings.com, our local MLS association (of which I am a member) and I ran the numbers for single family homes (houses and duet homes) in Cupertino, Los Altos, Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, Mountain View, Palo Alto, San Jose (all areas combined), Santa Clara, Saratoga, Sunnyvale. Separately, I also ran this same query for the City of San Jose by district.
The months of inventory by city or town in Santa Clara County
A balanced market for our area is 2-3 months of inventory (for most of the US it’s 4-6 months). Two months or less is a seller’s market, and one month or less is a very hot seller’s market.
Here’s a look at the months of inventory by city or town in SCC in April 2023 for single family homes. As you can see, the vast majority of the county is a strong seller’s market, with the only exception being Los Altos Hills.
Which are the hottest markets? They’re the ones with the smallest months of inventory -Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, Cupertino, Milpitas and many more are well under the 2 month market. A few are a tad higher and in the “balanced market” area, and only one is in a deep buyer’s market.
The months of inventory by area within the City of San Jose
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
High Voltage Power Lines from around the West Valley.
High voltage power lines are a “location issue” that impacts real estate values, and it sometimes elicits worry regarding safety.
High voltage power lines: how far is far enough?
Something we have spoken about recently with our clients is being far enough away so that if the tower and high voltage power lines were to fall, they’d miss your home and property. In our recent series of atmospheric rivers in January 2023, in San Jose one of these large transmission towers did fall down. It’s rare, but not impossible.
I have not seen a website that can tell us how tall any given tower is, but from what I have read online, it seems that most of them are under 200 feet tall, but some could be higher than that. In most cases, that puts the lines about 4 houses away if the lots are a typical 6,000 SF lot of 60′ across the front and 100′ deep.
We cannot speak to the concerns around potential increased risk of cancer or other problems. Each consumer should research that issue on his or her own.
Where are the high voltage power lines?
Years ago, I painstakingly mapped out the transmission lines from what I knew on the ground and what I could tell from tracing the Google satellite view. (You can find that link near the bottom of this article.)
Today, though, there’s something better than my map available online. The California Energy Commission has a map of the transmission lines that you can view using THIS LINK. Or click on the image at the left.
From the landing page you can zoom in or out. It covers the entire state of California – you might find it interesting to navigate around a little.
Also, a few years ago, PG&E published an interactive map where you can view the location of electric lines (I’ve filtered the imbedded map below to show Electric Transmission Lines in the South Bay), and another map of natural gas pipelines, searchable by address. This doesn’t cover the entire state, but it does cover all of the Bay Area / Silicon Valley.
The PG&E map:
On the map I hand-drew at the bottom of this article I did also include the location of schools. Quite a lot of schools do have transmission lines present.
What other location issues are there to factor in?
Often I have clients who are interested in purchasing a 4 bedroom, 2 bath home in a good school district in Silicon Valley, particularly in the South Bay and West Valley areas. But what does it cost to buy that “average home”? Tonight I did a study on the MLS of homes that have sold and closed escrow in the last 4 months with these characteristics:
- single family home (house)
- 4 bedrooms
- 2 full bathrooms
- 1800 to 2200 square feet of living space
- 6000 to 10,000 sf lot
Disclaimers aside, here are the numbers for select West Valley Communities in the West/South Bay area with good schools.
Cost to Buy 4 Bed 2 Bath Home in Popular Silicon Valley Communities
The first number is the number of sales during that time (more sales = more reliable averages). This one is not in the older charts, but with inventory as low as it has been lately this makes a huge difference. The second number is the average sales price per square foot, the third number is the average sales price, and the last number is the average days on market:
And now a look back to late winter, early spring of 2017…
What’s changed? A lot! The order has shifted some, showing where demand has increased or decreased. Most noticeably, the prices are mostly up significantly, which is most noticeable in the price per square foot. Cambrian has traveled a good deal up the ladder. Palo Alto and Los Altos were displaced by the sole Saratoga sale, and Blossom Valley of San Jose remains in it’s regular position at the bottom.
The home prices tend to run with school rankings. Previously this was by district API scores. You can check the 2013, three year average, API scores in Santa Clara County for both the districts and the individual schools online here, however that system is no longer used. So how to people judge? Most buyers use sites like GreatSchools.org when looking for a home with good schools which ranks schools on a scale of 1-10 in a few categories. (more…)
Today we’re looking at the real estate market for houses in some of the “west valley” communities along the base of the Santa Cruz Mountains – areas where schools are good, crime is low, residents enjoy scenic views of the hills (or of the valley from the hills, depending on the location) and overall, a highly educated population not too far from Highway 85. This will be a real estate market comparison for Los Gatos, Saratoga, Cupertino, and Los Altos.
Of the four municipalities, three are really very similar to each other in several regards. Cupertino has the largest population – about 61,000 people – but Los Altos, Los Gatos and Saratoga are all similarly sized, somewhere between 31,000 residents. The latter three also enjoy a traditional “downtown” area which is popular with pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists alike. (Monte Sereno has under 4,000 residents, which is so small that the statistics are very easily thrown from month to month, so it is omitted in this quick study.) Of the four, Cupertino, then, is the least similar due to size and lack of a central downtown area for now. This may feel different once the Vallco Mall is redeveloped.
We’ll take a quick look at these areas now in terms of the real estate market trends and statistics for each area, considering just “class 1” (houses and duet homes). The charts used below are from Altos Research, to which I have a subscription, and they will be automatically updated each week.
Please note: the Los Gatos data is probably a little artificially low as it will include all 3 zip codes, meaning also the Los Gatos Mountains, which are quite a bit more affordable than the areas “in town”.
In addition, as of this writing we are in the shelter-in-place phase 1 of the pandemic. This post is updated approximately every quarter or half-year, so we’re just starting to see the results of these changes to the market, but it will take a while to see the full picture. For now you can read more about the Coronavirus impact on real estate sales in my post on the topic.
Also, 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.
Now on with the analysis!
(1) Median List Price (per Altos Research):
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: