Monte Sereno, CA
How is the Monte Sereno real estate market? Because the city is small, with just about 4,000 residents, there usually are few homes listed for sale or selling, and with small numbers we can get seeming volatility.
That combined with all that’s happened this March, the data from the last month might not be as good a predictor for the market as it normally would be. Though we’ve begun to see changes to the market over the last few months, we won’t know the full impact for a while. For now you can read more about the Coronavirus impact on real estate sales in my post on the topic.
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. So while current data is accurate, please disregard any DOM data for the months mentioned above.
There are no condominiums or townhomes in Monte Sereno at present (we are watching closely the proposed development at La Rinconada, which is unincorporated as of this writing). One of the major challenges for this city is to ensure that at least some housing units are deemed “affordable.” You can find the city’s housing plan here (a pdf online): http://www.montesereno.org/DocumentCenter/Home/View/674
Below is a quick market profile for Monte Sereno. This is updated automatically weekly, so please check back often.
As of the latest update, October 13th, Monte Sereno is in a strong seller’s market with steady activity. Unlike other areas, this market doesn’t seem to have faced the same spring cooling as the rest of the valley and it had been heating up for a long while now, though it appears it’s starting to level off. Still, Monte Sereno has very few active listings, so the data for this chart can have large swings in data due to one or two outstanding properties.
Altos Research does weekly reports, to which I subscribe. You can see the full weekly report for Monte Sereno HERE and you can click the subscribe button there if you’d like to get it weekly (or navigate to another zip code or city and subscribe to that). Here’s the data on home descriptions per price quartile in the report, updated automatically throughout the month:
It looks like prices have experienced some noticeable increases in all but the lowest price tier this year. The top tier peaked earlier this year well above where it last peaked around late 2017 and early 2018. In the middle, the upper and lower price tiers also rose close to, if not a little above the 2017-2018 peak. Even the bottom tier is reaching prices it hasn’t seen since 2018, though not at it’s peak. Remember, low inventory and fewer sales mean greater swings in data.
Stats for recently closed home sales in Monte Sereno
Here are the quick statistics for the closed sales in the last complete month to give a sense of how things are going with the Monte Sereno real estate market. Sales data comes from my Monte Sereno Real Estate Report. Given that the supply of homes to study is tiny, what can we tell from this data?
It’s true that an average Monte Sereno house is about $2.5-3.5 million, and often higher in the current market – closer to $4 million – a little steep for most folks!
Monte Sereno Real Estate Market Trends at a Glance:
There have been some big swings in the data this September compared to the month before. Small pools of data can shift drastically very quickly, so it’s important to take this data with a grain of salt. Prices fell, the sale vs list price ratio skyrocketted, and days on market were going twice as fast as last month! Sales fell while pending sales grew and active listings held stable. Looking back further, sales and pendings are well above 2019, while active inventory continues to fall short. The market remains hot and it’s an active seller’s market.
|Trends At a Glance||Sep 2020||Previous Month||Year-over-Year|
|Median Price||$3,000,000 (-29.3%)||$4,245,000||$4,143,750 (-27.6%)|
|Average Price||$3,171,800 (-25.2%)||$4,242,500||$3,684,580 (-13.9%)|
|No. of Sales||5 (-37.5%)||8||3 (+66.7%)|
|Pending||9 (+80.0%)||5||6 (+50.0%)|
|Active||8 (0.0%)||8||13 (-38.5%)|
|Sale vs. List Price||105.2% (+7.9%)||97.6%||97.9% (+7.5%)|
|Days on Market||17 (-52.6%)||35||52 (-68.1%)|
|Days of Inventory||46 (+54.7%)||30||126 (-63.1%)|
And the month before:
|Trends At a Glance||Aug 2020||Previous Month||Year-over-Year|
|Median Price||$4,245,000 (+10.3%)||$3,850,000||$3,000,000 (+41.5%)|
|Average Price||$4,242,500 (+6.1%)||$3,997,140||$2,673,000 (+58.7%)|
|No. of Sales||8 (+14.3%)||7||5 (+60.0%)|
|Pending||5 (-37.5%)||8||5 (0.0%)|
|Active||8 (-11.1%)||9||12 (-33.3%)|
|Sale vs. List Price||97.6% (+1.6%)||96.1%||98.6% (-1.0%)|
|Days on Market||35 (+99.2%)||18||48 (-27.7%)|
|Days of Inventory||30 (-22.2%)||39||72 (-58.3%)|
Because so few houses sell per month, pricing appears to jump around when that’s not actually the case. The Monte Sereno home prices tend to be a little higher but generally follow the Los Gatos trends, so it’s worth while to view this info also to get a more balanced sense of how things are for real estate in Monte Sereno. Also, for those considering buying or selling, it’s important to look at the actual listings for each and every sale with similar features, size, amenities to get a sense of your home’s particular subset of the market.
Next, let’s look at the live charts from Altos to see how active listings reflect the market as seen from viewing sold listings.
Sitting at the base of El Sereno, part of the Santa Cruz Mountains, Monte Sereno is an upscale residential community snuggled between Los Gatos and Saratoga, California. The population is very tiny with about 4000 folks living in Monte Sereno any given time. It is composed of about one and a half square miles. This small city shares many services with the town of Los Gatos (such as schools and police). There are no businesses in Monte Sereno, only homes, the city’s offices, and the post office.
Real estate prices are high in this low-crime city, and while there are some modest homes, there are also some palatial estates featuring extreme amenities.
The geography is mostly flat to gentle hills, with much of it wooded. Redwood trees, oak trees, madrone and many others cluster together in the nooks and crannies of Monte Sereno. There are open places too, of course, with grassy fields. Along Daves Avenue, there are several streets that tie in together with a common horse stable, and it has meandering equestrian trails. Most of those homes are on half acre, level lots, with generous ranch style homes that back to the trails. This is a great neighborhood for horse lovers!
If you have a chance to visit Austin Way behind La Hacienda Restaurant and Inn, you’ll be delighted to find an old brick road, part of the heritage of Monte Sereno. And on the other side of Highway 9 along Austin Way, you’ll see a historic building recounting the city’s agricultural past in Austin Corners.
John Steinbeck once called this area home – but later decided the rural hamlet was too crowded, so moved into the Santa Cruz Mountains to regain his serenity! It is said that he wrote Of Mice and Men while living here.
|Official town website
The Town of Monte Sereno
|History, population, and more on this tiny town which is nestled between Saratoga and Los Gatos.
Wikipedia on Monte Sereno
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:
Have you always dreamed of buying a hillside home, one close to, or in, the western foothills in Santa Clara County, such as Almaden, Los Gatos, Monte Sereno and Saratoga? Some of the prettiest parts of Silicon Valley are snuggled into the base of the Santa Cruz Mountains. With views of downtown San Jose and the southern San Francisco Bay Area on one side, and rolling, grassy and redwood & oak filled hills on the other, its certainly scenic. Additionally, these areas all tend to have lower crime and good schools.
Hillside homes may be subject to insurance difficulties if they are deemed to be in a high fire risk zone, and property owners need to plan for how to escape in case of emergency. Trees may fall and block ingress or egress, so many mountain residents carry chainsaws. There can be wildlife living nearby, munching on carefully installed landscaping, or threatening household pets or small children in some cases (mountain lions – never leave your children unattended in hillside areas!). In terms of the structure of the hillside home, or the home near the base of the foothills, water is perhaps the risk that is least appreciated but impacts many more homes than most people realize.
Hillside home and water challenges
As a savvy foothill-area buyer, you will want to understand some of the unique issues that this geography may present. The most important of these hillside issues may well be that of water control and drainage.
The Santa Clara Valley, and most of the neighboring Silicon Valley areas, is composed of mostly expansive clay soil. This is an extremely strong substance – so much so that settlers used it, mixed only with a little straw and water, to form adobe bricks for building.
The caveat with clay soil is that when it becomes wet, it expands, and when dry, it contracts. (Hence “expansive clay soil”.) The amazing thing is that the clay is more powerful than concrete. And that is the problem for houses and other buildings if the ground is expanding, contracting, or alternating between the two.
What can a homeowner do? Its imperative to try to control the amount of water near (or under) the home as much as possible.
Today we’ll check in with the Los Gatos real estate market, the Monte Sereno real estate market and the Los Gatos Mountains real estate market using Altos Research graphs with a view to the Median List Price of houses for sale. These charts are updated weekly.
An overview of the Real Estate Market in the Los Gatos area by viewing the Median List Price of houses for sale
In the graph below, please find the median list price for four areas: Monte Sereno, Los Gatos 95033 (the mountains), Los Gatos 95032 and Los Gatos 95030 (“in town”).
Monte Sereno is the most expensive of these four areas and it’s having some trouble overall. How’s it faring by price quartile? Let’s view that next, then the mountains and “in town” areas of Los Gatos.
Luxury home sales are going like crazy in the west valley areas of Santa Clara County. Right now in Almaden Valley, Los Gatos, Monte Sereno and Saratoga, there are 115 houses for sale listed at or more than two million dollars (just checked MLSListings.com), and in the last 30 days 52 have sold and closed escrow in those same areas and price ranges. For the Almaden – Saratoga region generally, then, there are 2.212 months of inventory in the over two million dollar price range (115/52). That makes it a strong seller’s market. Things have certainly stayed lively since last year. (In the same region, there are 39 pending sales.)
Next we’ll look at these four Silicon Valley communities separately to see how the luxury market in each one is faring overall.
Almaden Valley (San Jose, 95120)
Currently in Almaden there are 12 houses for sale which are listed at or over $2,000,000. In the last 30 days, 3 sold in that price range (with 2 sales pending). That makes for 4 “months of inventory,” which can be considered a balanced market in many areas though is leaning towards being a seller’s market. That would mean this luxury market has good turnover but is not as strong a market as elsewhere. It’s a close to balanced market in Almaden Valley among the most expensive real estate offerings for sale. Five to six months is balanced and over six is a buyer’s market. Continue reading
What makes an expensive house in the San Jose area more than just a pricey bit of real estate, but instead a Silicon Valley luxury home? How is high end real estate different from the rest of the market? When is a property not just a home with land, but an estate?
In other parts of the U.S., spending $1,200,000 may fetch a 4000 square foot home, new construction, in an upscale gated community with country club amenities such as a golf course, tennis courts, and more. Here, that same $1,200,000 will procure an entry to mid-level single family home in many parts of Santa Clara County. It won’t necessarily be a Silicon Valley luxury home.
Luxury connotes a combination of qualities, features, and amenities. And it includes pricing (relative to the nearby market), condition, land, design.
Pricing Luxury Homes in Silicon Valley: What Do They Cost?
Expensive Silicon Valley homes are not necessarily luxury homes. Depending on the city or town, the price tag could be higher or lower. For instance, a fabulous house on a large lot in Gilroy’s Eagle Ridge might sell for 1/3 as much as the identical type of home, land and neighborhood found in Saratoga, Monte Sereno, or Los Gatos, or Los Altos, if a similar home happened to be available. Generally, though, luxury homes could cost as little as $1,000,000 or so in some parts of Silicon Valley or in neighboring counties, but in most parts of Silicon Valley, a true estate type property will be valued at $2,000,000 or $3,000,000 or more. In some areas, such as Palo Alto, that $2 million doesn’t go too far and the home you can purchase at that price tag may need major updating – or it could be “land value”. For our purposes today, we’ll use $2 million as the bottom number for estate properties, but it may or may not be the case in some areas.