The Milpitas real estate market has been one of the hottest in Santa Clara County, and even now, Altos Research calls it a strong seller’s market. Prices are up both year over year and month over month and the sale to list price ratio has risen again to over 101%, a number it’s been close to for most of two years. At the same time days on market are longer and inventory and sales are shrinking. This is in keeping with trends we are seeing thoughout the San Francisco Bay Area and Silicon Valley: well priced homes are selling close to list price, but well below peak pricing from spring 2018.
So let’s look at some data. First up, the Altos charts using list price and active listings. It is updated weekly, automatically, so check back often:
It’s possible to live in Silicon Valley and have no idea that there are still some original adobe houses to be found right here in the San Jose area. Today, though, I hope to help some of our residents discover the past which is lurking right in front of us!
The historic Adobe Woman’s Club is just a block or two off the campus of Santa Clara University, tucked away on a side street now that The Alameda is re-routed as The El Camino. Address: 3260 The Alameda, Santa Clara. According to the state’s historical preservation site, this state landmark # 249 is one of the oldest in the Santa Clara Valley, was built between 1792 and 1800 and was one of many row houses built for the native Americans who worked at Mission Santa Clara. Please note that this is private property and you may not enter without permission, but the adobe abode is very visible from the sidewalk.
Today the beautifully preserved adobe house functions as a nonprofit group with these objectives: “to promote educational, moral, social welfare, cultural, civic and community service. Anyone who supports these objectives is welcome.” This scenic place can also be rented out for private events. The garden is quite lovely and the interior appears to be very modern. You can see photos of the inside of the house at the club’s website: The Santa Clara Woman’s Club.
Please continue reading to view the real estate trend charts for the various areas & elementary school districts across Santa Clara County (San Jose, Los Gatos, Cupertino, Milpitas, Campbell, Saratoga, Santa Clara, Sunnyvale, Monte Sereno, Morgan Hill, Los Altos, etc.)
If you arrived into Silicon Valley via Highway 101, driving south from San Francisco, you might believe that the Santa Clara Valley, the San Jose area and Silicon Valley as a whole has got to seem to be the ugliest place on earth. Although heavily traveled, that is not the “scenic route”.
So, too, if you are looking for a place to live and are groping to find a place that is reasonably priced, fairly safe and not a terrible commute distance. You might not even have “is nice looking” on your wish list. You might not think it’s possible if all you ever see are the ugly concrete tilt-up buildings in north San Jose, Santa Clara, Alviso, or anywhere along the 237 corridor. That area is an architectural wasteland.
Let me assure you: there are a lot of beautiful places in Silicon Valley where you can rent or buy a home. But how do you find them? It helps a lot to have a local give you a few pointers. I’ll give you some tips today on finding a scenic place to live.
Hills – An easy way to find a scenic location to make your home is to settle near the hills, especially those in the west valley (the Santa Cruz Mountains or the Coastal Range) as they are green year-round. Communities at the base of the west valley foothills include, in Santa Clara County, Palo Alto, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Cupertino, Saratoga, Monte Sereno, Los Gatos, and the Almaden Valley area of San Jose. All of these areas are adjacent to the hills or mountains and offer far better than average schools (many of them qualify as great – compare costs between these areas). Continue reading
It’s a sizzling hot seller’s market in Silicon Valley, meaning the San Jose area, Santa Clara County and San Mateo County generally have critically low housing inventory and extremly strong buyer demand. But it’s not equally hot in every city, area, school district or price point. Some home buyers may be interested in more than one area. For instance, often I have clients looking at both Almaden and Cupertino, or Cambrian (San Jose) and Campbell, or Los Gatos and Monte Sereno…. So if you are looking for a less crazed area in which to buy, it might be useful to compare the months of inventory* to see where it might be more possible to buy a home, especially if you’ve been beat out on multiple offers a few times.
Today we’ll just consider where these houses are located, but know that it is also possible to run the data by school district, pricing tier, sale type (regular vs short sale vs bank owned) whether or not there’s a pool or garage, etc. I pulled the info from MLSListings.com and then ranked them from hottest to coolest. (Not all areas are represented.)
What can we learn from this information? The first question might be “why are some areas selling so much faster than others?” Although sometimes we can say that only inexpensive, moderate or expensive areas are moving fast, that doesn’t seem to be the case here. Palo Alto is one of the priciest points nearby, and yet it has less than 3 weeks of inventory. At other times we say “it’s all about the schools” but Santa Clara, which aside for a sliver served by Cupertino schools, is the #1 hottest segment of the market – and it is not highly prized for academics. (Same with Blossom Valley.) Cupertino is usually at the top of the pile for desirability, but it’s behind several other communities. What I’m seeing from this one angle is that there aren’t any easy answers, much as I’d like to present some clear cut trend with a big Ah Ha.
Although the underlying “why” may remain a mystery for right now, it’s still helpful for home buyers who are looking for relief. Been beat out 5 or 10 times? Your odds will be improved in the areas listed at the bottom of the sheet: Monte Sereno, Los Gatos, Saratoga, Almaden Valley are all just a bit easier places in which to buy. They are all great communities with strong schools. This kind of info could help you to move from frustrated shopper to happy home owner. Continue reading
The annual market report is out at popehandy.REReport.com and we can now learn how 2011 compared to 2010. The median sales price for houses in Santa Clara County was off 5.3% overall. But from one part of the valley to the next it varied wildly with 6 cities or areas finding themselves in positive territory while others were off by double digits.
What is it that makes Gilroy, Los Altos Hills, Los Gatos, Mountain View and Palo Alto “in the black”?
Most of these cities/towns are upscale, west valley communities. But so are Saratoga, Cupertino, and Monte Sereno.
Gilroy was especially hard-hit with the housing downturn so perhaps in that case, it’s just coming back into more of a balance. (Then again, so was Morgan Hill and it’s still off by 12%.)
The LinkedIn IPO and others in the Palo Alto area drove prices up for some parts of the housing market nearby and it’s likely that this explains the positive growth for Palo Alto, Mountain View, and Los Altos Hills. That said, it would seem that Los Altos, and perhaps even Sunnyvale would have seen stronger numbers on the same account. Perhaps school scores are the key driver here.
Los Gatos, Saratoga and Monte Sereno often behave somewhat similarly as they are adjacent to one another and often attract similar home buyers who want good schools, a nice downtown area nearby and scenic beauty with the hills. The annual numbers show Monte Sereno down 6.7%, Saratoga down 2% but Los Gatos up 6.4%. With Monte Sereno, there are very few sales each month and each year (only about 4,000 residents), so there can be a wider swing without it necessarily being accurate. Saratoga and Los Gatos each have about 30,000 people who call these areas home, though, so the data is much more helpful. Saratoga and Los Gatos both have multiple school districts, views, homes with better proximity to “downtown” and more variables – I think we’d have to dig a lot deeper to learn why these two neighboring markets are so diverse. We might also have to look at multiple years of data to see if Saratoga spiked while LG slumped to explain the difference. Continue reading
Spanish style houses evoke a kind of nostalgia for “old California”, and when we think of local history, homes with a Spanish type of architecture seem most appropriate, especially if the landscaping reinforces it – things like bougainvillea, hibiscus, ferns, palms, roses and citrus trees.
California features different types of Spanish style homes
There are a number of Spanish styles found locally and throughout California: Spanish Colonial Revival, Spanish Mission, Spanish Eclectic, Mediterranean, and Monterey, which is the only archietectural style hailing from California (and admittedly is a hybrid).
Where to find classic, older Spanish style homes in Silicon Valley
Some neighborhoods, like downtown San Jose’s Japantown and many of the older areas in Willow Glen, are filled with beautiful Spanish Revival bungalows which were mainly built in the 1920s and 1930s. The largest collection is probably there, close to Lincoln Avenue and near Bird & Minnesota Avenues, and especially in the “Palm Haven” neighborhood of Willow Glen.
More can be found in the older parts of San Jose’s Alum Rock Park (up by the country club), in Santa Clara’s oldest neighborhood (by the university), in downtown Los Gatos and downtown Palo Alto, more in south county, especially Gilroy, and scattered throughout the Santa Clara Valley.
What about newer Spanish style homes in Silicon Valley?
There are some newer houses and homes with a Spanish flair, but for the most part it’s limited to the exterior (or “elevation”). The interiors of most Spanish style homes built since 1950 are not at all Spanish style. There were a number of Spanish style tract homes built in the 70s and 80s, but they are essentially ranch style homes with a Mediterranean elevation only.
Too often, the very newest homes don’t seem to know what style they’re trying to reflect at all, but tile and stucco and a few arches are thrown in to attempt something generically Mediterranean. In the last 20 years, many builders have created neighborhoods with varying home styles – the same floor plans but varying styles on the exterior such that one is pseudo Spanish, another is pseudo Craftsman, another is pseudo English cottage or Tudor. Home buyers may get to choose which “style” they want if they get in before it’s built.
Resources for Spanish style homes in the San Jose area
Fabulous books can be found to help restore and remodel these homes. Older houses need remodeling for practical reasons, and the younger ones can benefit from it to make them more authentically Spanish styled.
Meanwhile, if you love Spanish style homes of all ages, you’ll find plenty of classic older ones around here (all pre-1950). Unfortunately this search tool does not allow me to constrain results to the style of home, so there will be some Victorians and Arts and Crafts homes in the mix below.
For more reading:
Spanish Revival Style Home in Japantown Features Classic Tile Bathroom