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Los Gatos Real Estate Market Trends

Leo or Leona - the mascot of Los Gatos

The Los Gatos real estate market has some mixed data points and it’s an odd time. Inventory has shrunk, sales have increased, but sales are coming it at lower prices. It’s a peculiar combination of a seller’s market but with falling prices. Los Gatos home prices are generally down 15-20% from the peak a few months ago. 

Realistic sellers are pricing their homes low and selling fast. Others are languishing. It’s a tale of two (or more) Los Gatos real estate markets. If a listing is overpriced, it simply won’t get offers close to list price.

As of today, September 8, some info on single family homes in LG 95030 & 95032:

    • 44  single family homes are on the market in “Active” status – last month at this time it was 48 (of those, 4 are listed as “agent only, show”, and 3 are “agent only, do not show”). The agent only listings means that they are not syndicated to other websites, meaning 7 of the homes for sale will not be seen on places like Realtor.com, Zillow, or Redfin.
    • 7 houses are under contract but there are contingencies of some kind in place (could be loan, appraisal, property inspection, buyer to sell current home, seller to find a replacement home) – so those sales may not go through. It was 4 a month ago.
    • 20  houses are sale pending, no contingencies (this is a small number compared to the active listings) – it was 23 last month at my last update for this post
    • 29 houses have closed escrow in the last month, up from 19 last month. The trend had been toward a drop in sales, so this is a reversal.
    • The average sale price to list price ratio for these 29 houses was 97% (down from 100% for my August update) – this figure has been falling consistently

 

Los Gatos real estate market trends: multi year stats

Here is some multiple year over year Los Gatos real estate market data that I pulled directly from the MLS today:

Inventory

Inventory has fallen, making it a harder market for home buyers. Inventory in August is the lowest we’ve seen in recent history.

 

Los Gatos 95030 and 95032 Inventory

 

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Mount Umunhum

Closeup of The Cube at Mount UmunhumMount Umunhum sits high on the Santa Cruz Mountain range, and from there you can enjoy spectacular views. Looking inland, there are vistas of San Jose & most of Santa Clara County, on a clear day even as far north as San Francisco from Mt. Umunhum. Turning toward the Pacific Ocean, from Mount Umunhum’s heights you can see Santa Cruz and Monterey on a fogless day.

This gorgeous peak is part of the mid-Peninsula’s open space holdings, specifically the Sierra Azul Open Space.

Visiting Mount Umunhum

The park is open from a 7 a.m. to about a half hour after sunset (but the gate closes at sunset) per the Sierra Azul Open Space website. The parking lot is not big (just 60 spaces) and it can fill up early on weekends.

It may be warm on the valley floor, but the weather can be quite different, windy and cold, at the summit. Bring layers!

Also, the road up there weaves and winds. If anyone in your party gets motion sickness, you may want that person in the front seat or driving if possible.

The main entrance to the park is at the end of Mt. Umunhum Road, approximately 5.3 miles from the intersection with Hicks Road. There are other places to access the park. You can find all of them on the park’s website under Know Before You Go.

My family and I visited Mount Umunhum on a cold and windy November day in 2017. The views were breath-taking.

2017 views from Mount Umunhum of the Santa Clara Valley

 

 

For those not able to visit in person, the video below provides information on the work that’s gone into making it available to all of us.

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The Strathmore Neighborhood of Los Gatos

The scenic Strathmore neighborhood of Los Gatos lies close to the foothills, including both Blossom Hill and the coastal range rising behind it.  Homes here in east Los Gatos enjoy that very beautiful backdrop and access to the park and trails, but many other benefits too.

Enduring qualities that make this area highly favored include:

  • scenic area with close proximity to the foothills plus tree lined streets
  • community pool & nearby park
  • strong public schools
  • good location for commuting, shopping, and easy access to downtown Los Gatos

 

Panorama Way adjacent street but to the Strathmore neighborhood of Los Gatos

 

It’s a pedestrian friendly area with sidewalks and tree lined streets, so it is not uncommon to see people out enjoying a stroll, a jog, a bike ride or otherwise taking in the peaceful region.

Additionally, Strathmore residents share a community pool (or cabana) with a neighborhood swim team. As of 2022, dues for the HOA are approximately $400 per year.

One of the biggest draws of all is that on top of these features, kids in Strathmore get to attend highly rated public schools too. The profile on this neighborhood is overwhelmingly positive!

 

 Strathmore 2 story house

 

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The Alta Vista Neighborhood in Los Gatos and Cambrian Park

Alta Vista School Sign 1

Alta Vista Elementary School 200 Blossom Valley Dr, Los Gatos, CA 95032

The Alta Vista neighborhood, which sits along the border of Los Gatos and the Cambrian Park district of San Jose, is very highly sought after and valued for many reasons. Real estate prices vary depending upon the precise location within the neighborhood as well as the size and condition of the home.

Major draws include these:

  • good schools that are in the immediate neighborhood
  • shopping nearby
  • scenic area with many tree lined streets and close proximity of the hills
  • excellent commute access (Highway 85, Blossom Hill Road)
  • quick trip to downtown Los Gatos

Scenic, convenient Alta Vista neighborhood

Prior to being developed for housing, this spot at the base of Blossom Hill was once blanketed in orchards and was scenic enough that it was part of the “blossom tours” that used to take place at the height of the flowering.  Hence, one large section of this neighborhood has street names that begin with “blossom”.

Most of the streets close to Alta Vista School are beautifully tree-lined, and from virtually everywhere in the neighborhood, you are close to Blossom Hill (that’s the name of the hill, not just the name of the road!). Homes are well kept, streets are wide enough, and except when there’s a school function, there really aren’t too many cars on the street. It is very scenic, pleasant and uncrowded feeling. Although you’re in the city or town, you feel close to the country there.

There are a few homes along Nimrick or Blossom Hill on large parcels, many of which enjoy beautiful valley views.

Additionally, many homebuyers select this area because the school scores are high and because it’s easy to get to the elementary and middle schools without crossing any major streets: that is a big plus! It is also a quick drive to highway 85, just a couple of miles to the Los Gatos shopping areas (at Los Gatos Blvd and Blossom Hill Road) or to Vasona Lake County Park. For many, it’s a way to be close to downtown Los Gatos.

Where is this neighborhood? What are the landmarks?

The neighborhood considered to be “Alta Vista” has three strong borders and one vague one. The three well defined edges are Blossom Hill Road, Union Avenue, and Los Gatos Almaden Road. The fourth boundary is approximately the edge of Ross Creek, which runs behind Westchester Drive, but perhaps some would argue that it goes a little further. The Westchester Manor area is highlighted on this website if you’d like to check it out.

Alta Vista neighborhood map - Click to see it on Google My Maps (created by Mary Pope-Handy)

Alta Vista neighborhood map

There are several landmarks in the neighborhood:
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Free concerts in Los Gatos this summer: Vasona Vibrations, Music in the Park, Jazz on the Plazz

Looking forward to those fabulous free summer concerts? So am I! This year we’ve combined the schedules of four different festivals, Los Gatos Music in the Park, The Promenade, Jazz on the Plazz, and Fiesta de Artes, in a post on my Live in Los Gatos blog. Remember to check the festival web sites for rules, schedule changes, and directions.

Follow this link to get to the schedule on the Live in Los Gatos Blog!

Summer Concerts: Los Gatos Free Music Collage 2022

 

 

 

Finding Mid-Century Modern and Eichler Homes in Silicon Valley’s West Side

Mid-century modern homes, including those designed by Joseph Eichler, dot the Silicon Valley & South Bay Area real estate landscape.  There are probably more than 5,000 Eichlers in Santa Clara County altogether, plus all the other homes of that genre with the similar modern style, which was influenced by the ranch and prarie styles as well as the dramatic work by Frank Lloyd Wright (open beam ceilings, nearly flat roofs, lots of exposed wood & glass windows stretching from the floor to the ceiling).  Eichlers, especially, put a premium on privacy from the street but open to the outdoors otherwise.

Not every community in Santa Clara County has Eichler homes, but most have the mid-century modern style homes & neighborhoods. These homes vary from tiny, modest cottages of 1100 square feet to large & elegant  houses of nearly 3,000 square feet, featuring big, central atriums or courtyards.  (There are also some co-ops in the valley too.)  The quality varies, as the homes were constructed by several different builders with different home buying budgets in mind.  Real estate prices range from “entry level” to very expensive, depending on the location (city and schools), size of the home & lot, and condition of the property. Most of them are now about 50 years old, though some are a little younger.

Some of the West Side Silicon Valley Communities which feature Eichler and Mid-Century Modern Homes

In Los Gatos there are no Eichlers but there are a small handful of single family homes which are mid-century modern on Eastridge Drive (just off Blossom Hill Road and Hillbrook). There are a couple more at the end of Magnuson Terrace (off Magnuson Loop and Los Gatos Blvd).  Additionally, there are some smaller mid-50s homes on El Gato (and adjacent portions of Escobar) off of Los Gatos-Almaden Road. Unfortunately, not all of these homes are “well kept”, though many are.

An Eichler home in Saratoga - beautiful mid-century modern houseMonte Sereno is home to 16 Eichler houses on Via Sereno beginning at the intersection of Winchester Blvd with Via Sereno.  These houses were built in the late 60s to early 70s.
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Vista del Monte neighborhood in Los Gatos

Vista del Monte MapThe Vista del Monte neighborhood is a gem within the town once known as The Gem City. It enjoys tremendous convenience as it’s close to town, but also is set back far enough that the area is quiet and tranquil. The hills are close in and the roads gently curve, are tree lined, and scenic.

Add to this the highly regarded Los Gatos schools, quick freeway access, and a nearby park and you can quickly see why this area has a big draw!

Many of the homes were built in the 1960s – 1980s. It’s not an historic neighborhood, and the architecture is mostly ranch style. There are a few others, though, such as Colonial, Mediterranean, and others.

Home prices in this corner of town have risen dramatically over the last year and generally are up about 20 – 30% from this time last year. This is all part of the COVID induced buyer frenzy to purchase larger homes with larger lots across the country (and around the world).

 

 

Are you interested in Los Gatos real estate and Los Gatos neighborhoods? Over on my Live in Los Gatos blog, I’ve been reworking articles about the various residential areas of town, digging into the county records for subdivision info, shooting video as I’m driven through various neighborhoods and adding MLS information. Today I completed a whole new article with video on the Vista del Monte neighborhood in east Los Gatos.

Please have a look!

Vista del Monte neighborhood in Los Gatos

Clair and I enjoy getting to know the many neighborhoods here in town. The majority of our posts on the neighborhoods in LG can be found on our Live In Los Gatos Blog, so if you love the town and want more info, that’s the best resource.

Homes for sale & recently sold in the Vista del Monte neighborhood

This will give a sense of pricing, but as of this writing in early 2022, many homes are selling for 10 – 20% ore more over list price.

  • List View
  • Map View
  • Grid View

See all Vista del Monte neighborhood in Los Gatos, California Real Estate.
(all data current as of 9/26/2022)

Listing information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Read full disclaimer.

 
 

 

Where are the high voltage power lines in Cupertino, Saratoga, Los Gatos, and Almaden Valley?

High Voltage Power Lines Collage

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
    • freeways
    • 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

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Loma Vista, El Gato & Rancho Padre Neighborhood in East Los Gatos

Between Los Gatos-Almaden Road and Ross Creek sits an eclectic east Los Gatos neighborhood, a county pocket, featuring a view of the hills where you can find a little bit of everything.

The homes built on Loma Vista Avenue, Linda Avenue, El Gato Lane and part of Escobar Avenue were first constructed in the 1940s, with many more filling out the neighborhood in the mid 50s.

They were three subdivisions initially:

  • El Gato Terrace
  • the Loma Vista Tract
  • Rancho Padre (Rancho Padre is the one closest to the creek).

Loma Vista Avenue, Linda Avenue, and El Gato Lane

(Please note: these are not part of Blossom Hill Manor, which begins on the adjacent Longwood Drive.)

Map with Key: Loma Vista, El Gato, and Linda

 

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Blossom Manor neighborhood in Los Gatos

Blossom Manor neighborhood Los Gatos MapThe Blossom Manor neighborhood in east Los Gatos is very popular as it is well located close to the highly regarded Los Gatos schools, great shopping and parks, such as Oak Meadow and Vasona Lake County Park. Further, Blossom Manor enjoys comfortably sized lots with room to grow if a home has not already been expanded from its original footprint.

Most of “the Manor” (originally Blossom Hill Manor, though seldom called that now) is currently unincorporated, meaning it’s not properly part of the Town of Los Gatos, but instead is a county pocket. As time goes by, the incorporated areas are likely to grow and the county areas shrink – a trend we are seeing throughout the Los Gatos area and Santa Clara County as a whole.

A couple of streets, Cherrystone Drive and part of Lilac Way, are incorporated and share features typically found in incorporated areas: sidewalks, curbs and gutters.

Part of the neighborhood can join as members of a pool club on Cherrystone Drive (the Stonehedge Swim Club).

The manor is almost exclusively single family homes (houses) but along Blossom Hill Road and also Camelia Terrace, there are a few duplexes.

What are houses like in Blossom Manor?

The vast majority of houses in the Manor began as small to medium sized ranch style homes.  Over time, though, many of them have either been improved and expanded or fully torn down and rebuilt.  The newer homes often are 2 stories, but not always.

Here’s a little slideshow to introduce you to the neighborhood. Want more info?  Please call or email me today!

 

 

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