How’s the Saratoga California real estate market?
It’s a slight seller’s advantage in the Saratoga CA real estate market right now, per Altos Research (see below). Much of it 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 are moving out and getting their homes updated prior to going on the market.
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.
As of writing this, March 5th, Altos shows a slight seller’s advantage in the market. Inventory on the rise, as is the price per square foot. Demand is high, but not as crazy as it was in spring or summer so houses are taking longer to sell.
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 and $3 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 $1.5, but depending on size, condition, and location they can be significantly higher (the ones selling in October 2019 were closer to $2.5, for instance).
Trends at a Glance for the Saratoga CA Real Estate Market
As with much of the county, it’s fairly flat right now in Saratoga. Though prices have tended to lag behind 2018, which was the peak of the market, February of 2020 looked a little hotter month over month.
|Trends At a Glance||Feb 2020||Previous Month||Year-over-Year|
|Median Price||$2,900,000 (+24.1%)||$2,337,500||$2,877,500 (+0.8%)|
|Average Price||$2,899,240 (+8.6%)||$2,669,810||$3,023,100 (-4.1%)|
|No. of Sales||15 (+15.4%)||13||10 (+50.0%)|
|Pending||16 (+14.3%)||14||15 (+6.7%)|
|Active||36 (+71.4%)||21||52 (-30.8%)|
|Sale vs. List Price||100.6% (+3.9%)||96.8%||101.9% (-1.2%)|
|Days on Market||42 (-23.5%)||54||52 (-20.2%)|
|Days of Inventory||67 (+38.7%)||48||140 (-52.1%)|
And the month before:
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!
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”.
(1) Median List Price (per Altos Research):
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).
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.
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
- Almaden Quicksilver Park
- Saratoga – hiking at the Montalvo Arts Center
- Map of ALL of the 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”.