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”.
Thanksgiving is just a few days away, and there are interfaith services in Los Gatos and Saratoga going on and welcome all. In both of these places, the venue rotates from one house of worship to another each year.
In Los Gatos, the interfaith prayer event is Tuesday, November 20th at 7 pm, and it takes place at the Presbyterian Church of Los Gatos, 16575 Shannon Road.
In Saratoga, the Community Interfaith Thanksgiving Service will take place on Thanksgiving morning, from 10-11 a.m. (November 22nd) at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 13716 Saratoga Ave, Saratoga. This is the 53rd year for this gathering!
Wishing everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving! Hope to see you at one of these events!
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. (more…)
Please stop by a Sereno Group office listed below to take part in a FREE e-waste, e-recycling
collection event on Sunday April 21, 2018 9:00AM- 1:00- PM.
A FREE e-waste collection event is being held in 3 area Sereno Group offices on Sunday, April 21, 2013 from 9:30am to 1:30pm:
Where to go to drop off the approved items?
Corner of Emerson and Lytton Avenue
LOS ALTOS * SHREDDING AVAILABLE AT THIS LOCATION *
369 S. San Antonio Road (Sereno Office Parking Lot)
LOS GATOS * SHREDDING AVAILABLE AT THIS LOCATION *
214 Los Gatos – Saratoga Road (Sereno Office Parking Lot)
1425 Lincoln Avenue (WG Elem. School Parking Lot)
2407 Porter Street (Sereno Office Parking Lot)
What to Bring, what’s accepted:
- Computers / Laptops / Servers
- Televisions / Monitors
- DVD / CD Players
- Fax Machines / Printers
- Copy Machines
- Toner Cartridges
- Speakers / Stereo Equipment
- Rechargeable Batteries
- Telecome Equipment / Telephones / Cell Phones
- Wire / Cabling / Printed Circuit Boards
- Aluminum / Scrap Metal
- Microwave Ovens
Items NOT Accepted:
- Alkaline Batteries
- All Lightbulbs
- DLP TV’s
GreenMouse Recycling shreds and Grey Bears reconfigures all hard drives so no one can access your personal information!
Additional details: https://www.serenogroup.com/Earth-Day-E-Waste-Event
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.
What does it cost to buy a home with really good schools in Silicon Valley? Los Gatos, Saratoga, Cupertino and Palo Alto are all areas with highly regarding public schools. These aren’t the only areas with good schools but they are popular “west valley” areas that people may consider if working for Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook or any number of high tech employers.
Los Gatos and Saratoga both have multiple school districts, running from good to very good or excellent. The cost of housing tends to follow the popularity of the district, so for those areas I’m showing the breakdown not just for the whole town of Los Gatos but also by the high school district (Los Gatos-Saratoga or Campbell Union High School District). Same with Saratoga. (The Monte Sereno real estate market is very similar to Los Gatos, but slightly more expensive. Most of Monte Sereno has Los Gatos schools, but a small number of homes are in the Campbell area.)
Here are the average numbers for single family homes sold in the last 60 days ranging from 1500 – 2500 square feet, on a lot between 5000 and 10,000 SF, with 3-5 bedrooms and 2-3 bathrooms to give a sense of what it would cost to purchase a typical house in these areas. Please note that right now it’s a strong seller’s market, so many (if not most or all) homes are selling for more than the list price. DOM stands for days on the market.
If you are new to Santa Clara County, you may be wondering if this is correct. The cost to buy a home in these areas is what?
- Los Gatos: approximately $1,500,000 to $2,150,000 depending on the school district
- Saratoga: approximately $1,700,000 to about $2,500,000 depending on the schools
- Cupertino: approx $2,000,000 (some high schools will bring in higher prices and others lower)
- Palo Alto: approx $2,700,000 – $3,000,000
Remember, these prices do not mean that the houses being sold are perfect. Because it is a strong seller’s market, many properties are being sold which need new roofing, extensive pest work, remodeling, perhaps updating of electrical or plumbing systems or more. Many home buyers will need to spend 1-2% on things like termite fumigation, dry rot or roof repairs, carpets, paint, windows and more, and usually this will be done before they move in. So whatever the budget is, buffer it a little bit for both money and time to make it turnkey.
For people relocating to Silicon Valley from out of the San Jose or Peninsula area, this real estate market can be daunting. There are other areas with good schools which are a bit further from most employment areas which can be an alternative, too. They include the Cambrian 95124 and Almaden 95120 (especially the southern area with Bret Harte Middle School and Leland High School) areas within San Jose.
Finally, in some cases, it may be more affordable to make use of private schools, which are plentiful in the San Francisco Bay area. In some situations it can be financially more affordable to buy outside of the highly competitive areas with the best schools and utilize the private school system. Some of the private schools are religious, some secular, and some with a language focus (bilingual in French, German, Chinese, etc.).
Interested in purchasing a home in one of these fantastic communities? Please call or email me! 408 204-7673 or mary (at) popehandy.com