Saratoga, CA real estate remains in a strong seller’s market with a high volume of sales fighting for a small winter inventory. Detailed data and analysis on the current market is available below and updated monthly. Here is the latest snapshot for what’s happening with single family homes in this city:
- The sales to list price ratio remains hot at 104.5% of list price.
- Inventory continues to shrink into winter, remaining well below 2020 levels despite a greater number of sales.
- Active inventory is moving quickly in an average of only 17 days on market.
How’s the Saratoga California real estate market?
This year has been unlike any other, yet the market remains in the seller’s favor for the Saratoga, CA real estate market. Much of the market strength depends on the price point, school district, and condition – today’s buyers generally prefer recently remodeled homes. (Not long ago, I showed a home that was remodeled in 2010 and my buyers found it to be dated.) In response to this strong preference, many sellers have begun moving out and getting their homes updated prior to going on the market.
That being said, the real estate market today is not the same as it was as of March 2020. While the complete impact of the pandemic won’t be seen for a long time, we can see some of the results in the data and analysis below. To learn more about how Covid-19 is affecting the real estate market, please check my post: Coronavirus Impact on Real Estate Sales.
At the start of the shutdown, 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 2020. In the data below, this will affect any numbers related to the days on market, the absorption rate, and the days of inventory for those months. Current numbers are accurate.
Orchard and Hills in Saratoga, California
First, a quick glance at the Altos Research market profile for a quick summary of the market conditions. Altos uses LIST prices, not sold prices, for this chart and the others, below.
In the latest update, February 8th, Altos shows a strong seller’s market despite inventory shrinking and longer days on market.
Next, let’s turn to the closed sales from last month. This time we’re using data from a subscription service of mine to the RE Report.
Here are the real estate sales statistics for closed sales last month among houses and duet homes (if there are any) in the 95070 zip code (click on link to read the full Saratoga Real Estate Report for houses). Bottom line is that most livable homes in Saratoga will run between $2.5 and $3.5 million if they are mid sized (2000-3000 SF) and in the best schools area (Saratoga or Cupertino). Homes in the Campbell schools area, which have very strong elementary and middle schools, are very rare and generally more affordable, closer to $2 million (and occasionally lower), but depending on size, condition, and location they can be significantly higher (the ones selling between December 2020 – January 2021 averaged selling at $2.4, for instance).
Trends at a Glance for the Saratoga CA Real Estate Market
Saratoga remains fairly stable. The median prices have declined month over month and looking up year over year. Sales dipped but remain nearly double last year’s sold, and pending sales grew from December. Active inventory dropped a hair and is persistently low compared to 2019. The sales to list price ratio dropped to a still hot 104.5%. Properties are selling fast with an average of only 17 days on market! Limited supply with ample demand is creating a sustained strong seller’s market in Saratoga, CA.
|Trends At a Glance
|No. of Sales
|Sale vs. List Price
|Days on Market
|Days of Inventory
Home to some interesting history, the city of Saratoga, California can boast notable people, inclluding Senator James Phelan, Painless Parker, Olivia de Haviland, and Joan Fontaine, as past residents. But this city against the base of the coastal range also has interesting historical places, such as the well known Hakone Gardens, Villa Montalvo, and the Mountain Winery. Less famous but still interesting are the very old Saratoga Springs and the Madronia Cemetery, as well as the downtown area around Big Basin Way.
Some Historic Areas in Saratoga, CA
Saratoga appreciates its history, from the well known to the almost forgotten. All of Silicon Valley should be happy that the city of Saratoga has an orchard which is being preserved as a part of its “living history,” the Heritage Orchard. That park can be found at the corner of Saratoga Avenue and Fruitvale Avenue (appropriate intersection), near the Saratoga Public Library and West Valley College.
An easy to visit but sometimes less well known piece of history involves stretches of streets in Saratoga. One is this patch of Austin Way off Saratoga-Los Gatos Road, and the other is a section of Saratoga Avenue between Sacred Heart Church and the Saratoga Village area.
Austin Way, near the old La Hacienda Inn (now being converted into the new and highly contested Montalvo Oaks subdivision of Monte Sereno) at the border of Los Gatos, Saratoga, and Monte Sereno, features a beautiful, bumpy brick road. It’s a piece of Saratoga’s history that is making its mark on the present. Bricks have been the paving along this stretch of Austin Way for approximately a century and will continue to remain a path to Saratoga of the past for years (maybe centuries) to come.
If you are interested in the history of Saratoga, California, visit the Saratoga Historical Foundation’s museum (located at 20450 Saratoga-Los Gatos Road in downtown Saratoga) to learn more, get involved, or attending some of their events. (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):
The exquisite Saratoga Oaks neighborhood is nestled between downtown Saratoga and the beautiful coastal foothills, close to the famed Hakone Gardens. With both pools and tennis courts and a location just a block or so from tony Saratoga Village (click to see slide show), it is resort living in Silicon Valley at its finest. But this is not just a place for retirees who want to downsize, though they are also drawn here – families with kids also move to Saratoga Oaks to make use of the top rated schools.
Which public schools serve this neighborhood?
Saratoga Oaks is within the very highly regarded Saratoga Union School District. Although many other school districts in Santa Clara County assign children in homes to particular schools, Saratoga does not – it is an “open” school district. If there’s space and if the home is within the district, you may be able to chose which of the excellent Saratoga schools you wish for your student to attend. The nearest public school is Saratoga Elementary on Oak Street, but you may find enrollment instead at Foothill Elementary or Argonaut. The higher level schools are Redwood Middle School and Saratoga High School. California has transitioned to new school assessment, away from the old 2010 API scores, but you can check the new Saratoga Union School District “Report Cards” here. Additionally, there are two excellent private elementary schools nearby: Sacred Heart (Catholic) and St. Andrew’s (Episcopalian).
Where is Saratoga Oaks?
The Saratoga Oaks community is within the city of Saratoga, California, and is a part of Silicon Valley and what’s locally referred to as “the south bay” area. It can be reached either via Springer Avenue, off of 4th Street in Saratoga or from Springer off of Big Basin Way (aka Hwy 9 or Congress Springs Road). This townhouse complex is literally where the town meets the hills – so it is not at all uncommon to find deer in the open spaces! Click on the map image to go to the live, interactive Google map. (more…)
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:
It can be really challenging for people moving to Silicon Valley to get a sense of real estate prices, and perhaps more, comparing cost of from one town or district to another.
One question I get a lot is this: what does it cost to buy a 4 bedroom, 2 bath house of about 2000 square feet?
So to answer this question, let’s see what houses like this are selling for (4 bed, 2 bath, appx 2000 SF or 185 square meters) and see how the cost looks in one Santa Clara County / Silicon Valley area versus another.
Today I compared several areas and cities using this criteria: single family homes of 1800 – 2200 SF, 3-5 bedrooms, 2-3 bathrooms, on lot sizes of 6000 SF to 10,000 SF. Normally I would chart this over the last 2 months, or 60 days, but because of the low inventory causing the sellers market I have expanded the search to the last 3 months, or 90 days, for a better range. Because some areas have had a scarcity of inventory, I’ve added an addition to the chart titled NoS for Number of Sales within the given range.
Here’s how it shakes out in the “west valley areas” along the Highway 85 corridor, most of which are known to have good to great public schools. What areas are most affordable? One way of analyzing this is the “price per square foot” figure. Whenever I update the chart, I re-arrange the order of the cities from high to low based on the price per square foot, although there’s usually minimal movement.
Within this range, Campbell only had one sale over the last 90 days, so data for that segment may or may not be a good average. Both Los Altos and Saratoga had no sales within the last 90 days within these criteria, so their searches have been expanded to 0-180 days (or 6 months / half a year) and 0-120 days (or 4 months / a quarter year) respectively to provide data for comparison for this chart. Now that we have the data, let’s analyze it!
Locals to the San Jose area (Silicon Valley, Santa Clara County) know, and newcomers often do not, that we have micro-climates here. Our weather is mild everywhere, of course – we enjoy a “sub tropical climate” where citrus grows and palm trees thrive – but it varies a lot nonetheless.
What kind of variation exists in Santa Clara County’s weather?
Consider that our terrain is shaped somewhat like a funnel with the San Francisco Bay on the wide end, and the two mountain ranges making up the sides of the funnel, narrowing at its base (near Morgan Hill).
View Larger Map
Together with our funnel shaped valley, the Pacific Ocean and the San Francisco Bay are the major influences on our climate. The Santa Cruz Mountains are warmer and wetter than the eastern foothills. The Pacific Ocean brings in the rain, fog and winds pulling storms in from the ocean to the valley. Much of the weather stops at or near the coastal mountains, though, and the influence lessens as you go east such that the east foothills are very, very different from the Santa Cruz Mountains. The areas close to the bay get more breezes than those sheltered by smaller valleys or nooks.
So what are Silicon Valley’s Micro-Climates?
Here are a few basic notes for newcomers:
As of this writing, the Saratoga real estate market is a mild seller’s market for both single family homes and for condominiums and townhouses (condos and townhomes comprise a small part of the overall market in Saratoga). November’s closed sales, quick facts:
- Single family homes are selling at an average of 99% of list price, and have 38 days on market.
- For condos and townhomes, the sale to list price ratio is a cooler 95.2%, and the days on market is 53
- Single family home prices, median and average, are off slightly (less than 1%) from last year, and are also off from October (-3.8% from the median and 7.3 % for the average)
- Condo and TH prices have been rising, both month over month and year over year, both average and median sale prices
The Saratoga real estate market is comprised of several “micro markets”, as the city itself has several school districts, homes that are close to downtown and homes that are in suburban neighborhoods and others which are in remote mountain locations, and of course a wide variety of home prices up into the luxury tier. Each of these will be a little different. Please take the general numbers with a big grain of salt!
In terms of pricing, the lowest price points have been fairly flat while the most expensive properties have seen an increase in list prices. You can view that in the weekly Altos Research Report for Saratoga CA 95070.
Overall, though, as of this writing it is a slight seller’s market in Saratoga. Below, please find an Altos Research profile for Saratoga, CA 95070, using list prices (not sold data). This is automatically updated each week.
Saratoga trails map
A few years back, while touring homes for sale in Saratoga, I saw a sign for a hiking trail in a residential area that I did not know had trails. After a bit of research, I found a list of trails on the city’s website and thought my readers might enjoy some of this info, too.
The city’s website includes a page with links to ALL available Saratoga trail maps which are all pdf files (so be prepared for loading). It offers both a map with all of the trails (shown above) and more.
Love hiking? Here are some other resources and info on nearby trails in Santa Clara County:
Los Gatos parks and trails – see especially the Los Gatos Creek Trail and Belgatos Park (which connects to the Santa Rosa open space, Heinz open space and more), and the Novitiate Park, which connects to a huge long trail that goes to or near Lexington Reservoir
Link to the Heinz Open Space and Santa Rosa Open Space trail maps
Mt Umunhum (often called Mount Um)
Santa Clara County Parks
Saratoga Parkside is a tidy community of 77 townhome style units adjacent to El Quito Park. These homes are held in condo ownership and the private road, Sara Park Circle, is directly off of Saratoga Avenue. Homes in the back, shown below, are a little smaller and have garages behind them. Closer to Saratoga Avenue, the design is different, and properties feature a 2 car garage in front.
Here’s the greenbelt and building opposite these homes:
At the center of the complex is a good sized pool and spa. At the back end of the campus, there is a large greenbelt area between two of the buildings. Beyond that, accessed by a locked gate, is beautiful El Quito Park. It’s close to a number or shops and stores on nearby Cox Avenue. Overall, it’s a fantastic location. All homes have an address along Sara Park Circle.
Saratoga Parkside history
Saratoga Parkside was built in the 1980s by Jerry Lohr of J Lohr Winery fame. From MLS comments of sales 20+ years ago, it seems that this pretty community was begun as a senior housing tract, which converted to use for residents of all ages use sometime before 1998, at which point some Realtors added in their MLS notes “no age restrictions”.