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Fairview Plaza Historic District in Los Gatos

Fairview Plaza Historic District neighborhood in Los GatosThe Fairview Plaza Historic District is close to downtown Los Gatos but tucked away on a small knoll with only one access road plus one easy-to-miss pedestrian pathway. For newcomers, it’s a bit of a surprise to discover this little enclave.

What do you find at Fairview Plaza? Begun in the 1880s, the little neighborhood is set around a tiny park surrounded by a small ring road full of charming Victorian homes (though not all properties are houses and not all houses date from the 1800s). The most famous house, though, is unseen from the street, was completed in 1919 and designed by the very famous architect Julia Morgan.

Recently I did a video “drive through” of Fairview Avenue and Fairview Plaza, and posted that together with a bit more information on my Live in Los Gatos blog. Want to get more information on this lovely area? Please read more and check out the video at the link below. And if you want more videos of Los Gatos neighborhoods, I’m building a library of them, slowly but surely – and you can find those at YouTube.com/popehandy.

 

http://liveinlosgatosblog.com/fairview-plaza-historic-neighborhood/

Fairview Plaza home and park strip

 

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The Glenridge neighborhood in Los Gatos

Although the Glenridge neighborhood in Los Gatos doesn’t wear the “historic district” label, many of the lovely older homes on the bluff over the Almond Grove District are historic properties themselves.

Why is the Glenridge neighborhood so popular?

There are many elements of Glenridge which seem to speak to home buyers:

  • scenic beauty (views of the hills, views across Los Gatos or the valley)
  • charming, custom historic homes – not a tract neighborhood
  • a consistently well kept area
  • close proximity to downtown Los Gatos
  • beautiful neighborhood park, Bachman Park
  • highly regarded Los Gatos Schools
  • gentle hills and mildly winding roads make the area more interesting and appealing visually

Recently I did a “drive through video tour” of the Glenridge area with a special look at Bachman Park too.  I’m no professional with the video, so please pardon the shaking and in some cases less than perfect transitions. This video is just under 4 minutes and will give you a good sense of what the neighborhood is like.  Enjoy – and call or email me if you’d like to discuss Glenridge real estate, and your buying or selling there!

 

 

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Home prices in the Union School District area of San Jose and Los Gatos: how much does a zip code cost?

Alta Vista and Carlton attendance areas for Los Gatos and Cambrian area of San JoseIf you’re interested in buying a home in the Union School District, which straddles the Los Gatos and Cambrian area of San Jose border, you may be wondering what the real estate price difference is between homes in San Jose 95124 vs properties in Los Gatos 95032…

 

Please read the rest of this article on the Live in Los Gatos blog:

http://liveinlosgatosblog.com/union-school-district-pricing-how-much-more-to-live-in-los-gatos-than-san-jose/

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Historic Almond Grove Neighborhood or District in downtown Los Gatos

The historic Almond Grove neighborhood, or the Almond Grove district, is in or perhaps more properly adjacent to downtown Los Gatos. It is one of only 5 areas named by the town as a  “Los Gatos historic district.” The others are the Edelen or University Historic District, the Fairview Plaza Historic District, the Broadway area, and the Downtown Historic District. (I was surprised that the Glenridge area doesn’t enjoy the same distinction – but I’m sure that there’s a good reason for that.)

 

Town of Los Gatos Historic Districts

 

What sets this neighborhood apart, besides simply having older houses? Why make it a special historic district?

It certainly got off to a good start. The subdivision was first auctioned off in 1887. They began with approximately 40 acres of former almond orchards that was subdivided into 170 lots and by the end of the first auction day, a full 121 of them were sold!!  But that’s not it. However, part of it had to do with the background story. Below please find an excerpt from the town’s website.

(Read the entire document here: http://www.losgatosca.gov/documents/8/12/14/almondgrove.PDF )

 

Historic Almond Grove District Home: 105 Tait Ave built appx 1890

 

The town has a long discussion as to why this area is historic. It’s not just the age of the buildings, but also what happened there and who lived there and why they were important to the town.

Almond Grove Los Gatos video

 

 

I’ve written much more on my “Live in Los Gatos” blog.  To learn more, please read these articles:

The Almond Grove neighborhood in Los Gatos, a scenic & historic district (July 2014)

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Arroyo Rinconada in west Los Gatos

Arroyo Rinconada and Rinconada Hills MapArroyo Rinconada is a charming, smaller townhome community plus one historic house in west Los Gatos along the Saratoga and Campbell border. It is located at the corner of Quito Road and Pollard Road, and adjacent to the much larger Rinconada Hills development. With Spanish style architecture, tiled roofs, curving streets and gentle slopes, and set with a backdrop of trees along the creek, it is very scenic.

There are just 3 streets in this complex: Casa Grande (Big House), Rio Vista (River View), and Sierra Linda (Pretty Mountain or Scenic Hill).

The townhomes were all built in 1984. They are good sized, with 3 bedrooms, 2-3 baths, between 2150 square feet and 2350 SF, attached 2 car garages, all built in 1984. Today, they are likely to sell in the range of $1 – $1.15 million.

The approximately 2600 square foot Spanish style house was built in 1935 and sits atop a knoll on a 55,000 square foot lot. The little road ringing the lot is Casa Grande – appropriately named!

Are there any special facilities?

Arroyo Rinconada has a gate at its opening but does not appear to be in use at this time. The community enjoys the use of a private pool, spa, clubhouse and tennis courts. As of this writing, the monthly home owner dues are a little over $500.

The home owners association has a website which includes a slideshow of the homes and grounds:  http://arroyorinconada.org

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Rinconada Hills, a gated neighborhood in Los Gatos

Rinconada Hills, Los Gatos: a gated community

Rinconada Hills, Los Gatos: a gated community with houses & townhomes

Rinconada Hills is a gated community in Los Gatos which is located near the intersections of Quito Road and Pollard Road on the Saratoga and Campbell border. It was built in stages with five different sections over a 13 years  (between 1968 and 1981) by Brown & Kaufmann. I spent some time mapping out the general, non-exact boundaries of the association, which you can see on the right hand page of this article.

According to the Rinconada Hills HOA website, this west Los Gatos neighborhood enjoys 107 acres of land with 394 townhouses (see floorplans here) and 40 single family homes. The houses are mostly on the east side of the community, but there are some on the southern end (those few with very large lots).

There are approximately 1,000 residents, which is about 3% of the population of the town of Los Gatos. Living at Rinconada Hills, they have many amenities at hand, including one lake and three ponds 10 swimming pools, 1 spa, 3 tennis courts, a clubhouse for events, plus an RV lot and extra parking for additional vehicles. It is “luxury living” in many regards.

Rinconada Hills is a very beautiful community with winding roads, walking paths, lots of open space (both landscaped and natural), and scenic views in many places. Some properties sit up on a knoll and boast vistas of San Jose and the Santa Clara Valley. Others look north toward Saratoga and the Santa Cruz Mountains. Some are situated above or right on the lake or ponds, making for a rare ‘water view’ in Silicon Valley.  (more…)

The popular Cambrian – Los Gatos border area: a newer resident raves about it

Alta Vista School SignOne of my client families is coming up on their one year anniversary of home ownership locally, and I received this lovely note from them (unsolicited) a few days ago:

“About a year ago, we were in contract for our new home (in the Carlton – Alta Vista area of the Cambrian or San Jose & Los Gatos border). We love our new home and the neighborhood so much! There are lots of kids in the neighborhood, we love our walks to and from Alta Vista Elementary School, and love the community here. We often host spontaneous play dates at our house. There are kids of all ages who come and play with my kids and have them over to their houses. We and our next-door neighbors have already celebrated Christmas, Easter and birthdays together, and we have a little “walk-pool” to school each day. 

“If you ever have buyers with children looking in this neighborhood, please share with them what a wonderful, kid-friendly place it is! Thank you so much for your help in purchasing our home here. The home value has gone up since we bought, and we plan to stay here for a very long time!”

A lot of times, newcomers to the San Jose and Silicon Valley area ask where to live.  Nothing says it like an unsolicited testimonial, so I thought that my readers might enjoy this wonderful neighborhood endorsement.    I have sold many homes near Carlton and Alta Vista Elementary schools over the years, and they have been consistent “winners” since I got into the business in 1993.  Some things seem to never change, and that’s good!

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Appreciation in the Blossom Streets near Alta Vista School along the Los Gatos and Cambrian San Jose border

This last weekend I was holding open my new listing in west Los Gatos at 212 More Avenue.  A few people asked me how Los Gatos is faring in terms of appreciation now as compared to the height of the market a few years ago.  While places like Cupertino and Sunnyvale are already well past that previous peak, other west valley communities are sneaking up on equaling it.  The Alta Vista neighborhood, on the San Jose (Cambrian Park) and Los Gatos border, is precisely there (as is most of Los Gatos under $2 million).  The Alta Vista neighborhood should hit peak pricing very soon.  So far this year, there’s only one closed sale in this neighborhood due to very low inventory levels, but within a couple of months we should have more complete data, and I think by late summer we’ll see new highs.

I spent quite a bit of time on our MLS, pulling sales within a defined area of the map (between and including Blossom Valley Drive to Blossom Crest, over to Blossom Wood and across to Sycamore Ct. – basically all the  Garcia built homes, mostly in Cambrian) going back to 1999 (that’s as far as the data seems to go).  Some years had more sales than others. Most are in San Jose, a few in Los Gatos.   Some have been added onto, and some are still small 1100 SF ranch style homes.  All of those disclaimers aside, here’s how the average sold price per square foot looks, year by year, and where it appears to be headed with my red trend line (on par with the old high point).

 

Blossom Streets near Alta Vista School Appreciation

 

So for all of you home owners who longed for those 2006 prices – looks like this may be your year!  Call or email me if you’d like a no-pressure, no-hassle, no-obligation consultation on home selling here in the Alta Vista Neighborhood or anywhere in the greater San Jose area.

For more reading:

The Cambrian Real Estate Market Update

Los Gatos Real Estate Market Trends and Statistics

 

 

 

Blossom Manor neighborhood of Los Gatos – real estate market trends and statistics

An extremely popular and consistently desired Los Gatos neighborhood is Blossom Manor, sometimes called The Manor or even Blossom Hill Manor, which is highly regarded for pleasant, curving streets, close proximity to shops and stores, and the prized Los Gatos Schools.  Today I spent quite a bit of time on my multiple listing service website, MLSListings.com, to pull the numbers on this lovely area and see what the trends and appreciation look like.  I was wondering how the numbers looked at the peak and the trough of the price rollback, whether or not the area has recovered or is close to peak pricing.  For the most part, I looked at all of the houses included in the map area, but also took a secondary study of homes just between 2000 and 3000 sf, since some home buyers seek larger square footage.

Please click on the chart below for the historical statistics, by year, for the Blossom Manor neighborhood – it will open into a new window and become a little more than 50% larger.   It reflects all homes sold, by year, in the Manor from 1998-2012 (averages, medians, as well as some minimum and maximum price info for each year combined).  For this area, the peak of the market, meaning highest sales prices, was in 2007 but both 2006 and 2008 were very close generally, so it was a fairly broad peak.  However, the same is not true for the bottom of the market for this same group.  Instead, there was one very clear low year – 2009.  After that, we see a recovery underway.

 

All Blossom Manor Los Gatos Homes 1998 - 2012

All Blossom Manor Homes sold by year from 1998 – 2012 (please click to enlarge)

 

Something interesting to note is the increasing size of the houses. The first four years (1998-2001), the average square footage of homes sold was 1778.  The most recent 4 years, it’s 2105, a 327 square foot difference, or 18% more than about 11-15 years ago.  We see a lot of remodeling and additions, so this is in keeping with what locals would expect – and it’s a trend that is likely to continue.  Why does this matter? Upside potential for expansion.

What about homes that are already larger, only those between 2000 and 3000 SF?  (There are only a few bigger than 3000 SF in this neighborhood.) (more…)