The Willow Glen real estate market in San Jose is a strong seller’s market, but doesn’t show many signs that it’s slowing down in late summer.
- Average home prices are up month over month by about 3.3% and up year over year by about 2.1%.
- Homes are selling in 16 days on average, a hot market that appears to have picked up after recent months slight slowing trend.
- The sale to list price rose to 104.5% from 104.2% in July. This is following a dip from 104.1% in May to 102.9% in June. The last time it was this high was March 2023, during a clear spring market.
The best priced homes with no location or condition issues continue to sell quickly and with multiple offers and overbids.
Willow Glen Real Estate Market Trends: Single Family Homes
Willow Glen listings have gone sale pending faster than they are coming on the market. Right now, home prices are up year over year with higher overbids than either last month or last year, significantly more sales than a month ago, and far fewer available listings compared to this time last year.
Click for the complete Willow Glen real estate report:
|Trends At a Glance
|No. of Sales
|Sale vs. List Price
|Days on Market
|Days of Inventory
Below please find a market profile and then a couple of charts for the real estate market for houses and duet homes (attached single family homes – not duplexes), care of Altos Research, to which I have a subscription. Altos uses list prices, not sold prices. The data is automatically updated each week, so please bookmark this post and come back often!
Data from Altos Research for Willow Glen Real Estate Trends – San Jose 95125
In the latest update, Altos says single family homes are in a strong seller’s market with rising market action, and a decrease in much needed, perpetually low inventory. As of today, 35% have taken price reductions.
The San Jose real estate market remains red hot. While it is a clear seller’s market, remaining active into late summer, it’s a very different market compared to last year’s spring peak. Demand may have shrunk, but inventory has plunged to extreme lows so it’s still far from balanced!
First, some quick data from my RE Report via the bullets and chart below. There appears to be a small amount of undercounting or overcounting between the RE Report and MLS Listings, but the information is still good for tracking trends.
- The August 2023 sale price to list price ratio for San Jose single family homes slipped to 105.8% of asking, that’s -1.3% from last month per the RE Report and +5.9% from this time last year when the market was falling. For the MLS stats we pulled today, however, it shows 105.2% average in August, down from 106.9% (-1.7%) in July. Either way, the average home is selling consistently over list price in San Jose with consistent overbidding through summer.
- Home prices are up from last year by approximately 12%-15% after being behind for much of this year (RE Report), and month-over-month closed sales values remained mostly stable.
- The time on market sped up a hair month-over-month to a 15 day average (RE Report). When I pulled them directly, it was 17 in August and 16 in July (not shown below). Either way, it’s quick turnover averaging well below a month, making it a clear seller’s market.
Market Data: What Numbers Make a Difference
While prices and overbids have fallen significantly since last year, in some ways this year has been even more challenging for buyers. For most buyers, their ability to purchase has been severely impacted by higher rates on home loans. But the biggest hurdle for many buyers is the extreme lack of available homes.
Since March 2023 San Jose has had record breaking low inventory, continually breaking records as the lowest available listings by month in over a decade, according to the MLS data pulled today in the chart below. And it doesn’t look like inventory will be picking up any time soon, either.
Why such low inventory?
While in a more typical market we might have a number of sellers looking to “move up” or downsize, most homeowners today couldn’t afford to move or don’t want to take on a higher-rate mortgage. Now it seems like a higher percentage of the listings we are seeing comes from investors, people leaving the area, and sales by family after a death – cases where there is no pressure to repurchase or where selling is the only option. That limits significantly what is available to buyers!
Although inventory remains at record-breaking lows with higher demand than availability, sale prices and overbids are not breaking records like last year’s peak. Many buyers are experiencing significantly more pressure from higher interest rates, fluctuating stocks, and other factors limiting purchase power and lowering confidence. That said, not every home will face the same challenges – there are loads of micro markets that influence how well any given home does, so take this city-wide data with a grain of salt.
Inventory remains severely low – if you’re an active home buyer, it is slim pickings!
The data below in the “trends” chart is from our Real Estate Report for the City of San Jose.
San Jose Real Estate Market Trends at a Glance (RE Report)
|Trends At a Glance
|No. of Sales
|Sale vs. List Price
|Days on Market
|Days of Inventory
Available inventory is about a third of what it was this time last year, while pending sales are not quite down by half, and closed sales have barely budged by comparison. Please keep reading below for more data and market analysis.
Is it a good time to sell a home in Silicon Valley? One of the best ways to get a pulse on the real estate market with an eye to selling or buying is with the months of inventory (MOI), also known as the absorption rate. This is the months of supply of housing for sale.
The months of inventory tells us how fast the current inventory of properties will be sold off if sales were to continue at the same rate with no new inventory were to come on the market.
The easiest analogy is with a bathtub full of water. If we added no more water to the tub, and the drain were opened, how much time would it take for the water to be depleted if it continued to empty at the same rate? That’s the question being answered with the absorption rate of inventory.
Or, simpler still, if you have an hourglass that you turn over, how long does it take for the sand to empty from the top (since you cannot add more sand to that end)?
How to calculate the months of inventory or MOI
The way to calculate the months of inventory is simple: find the current available inventory of homes for sale (not under contract or sale pending), then find the number of homes with that exact criteria which have closed escrow in the last 30 days. Divide the first by the second and you get the months of inventory. Or, I can just use the stats program on the MLS to generate that number, as I did today.
Earlier I pulled this data from MLSListings.com, our local MLS association (of which I am a member) and I ran the numbers for single family homes (houses and duet homes) in Cupertino, Los Altos, Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, Mountain View, Palo Alto, San Jose (all areas combined), Santa Clara, Saratoga, Sunnyvale. Separately, I also ran this same query for the City of San Jose by district.
The months of inventory by city or town in Santa Clara County
A balanced market for our area is 2-3 months of inventory (for most of the US it’s 4-6 months). Two months or less is a seller’s market, and one month or less is a very hot seller’s market.
Here’s a look at the months of inventory by city or town in SCC in April 2023 for single family homes. As you can see, the vast majority of the county is a strong seller’s market, with the only exception being Los Altos Hills.
Which are the hottest markets? They’re the ones with the smallest months of inventory -Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, Cupertino, Milpitas and many more are well under the 2 month market. A few are a tad higher and in the “balanced market” area, and only one is in a deep buyer’s market.
The months of inventory by area within the City of San Jose
Mid-century modern homes, including those designed by Joseph Eichler, dot the Silicon Valley & South Bay Area real estate landscape. There are probably more than 5,000 Eichlers in Santa Clara County altogether, plus all the other homes of that genre with the similar modern style, which was influenced by the ranch and prarie styles as well as the dramatic work by Frank Lloyd Wright (open beam ceilings, nearly flat roofs, lots of exposed wood & glass windows stretching from the floor to the ceiling). Eichlers, especially, put a premium on privacy from the street but open to the outdoors otherwise.
Not every community in Santa Clara County has Eichler homes, but most have the mid-century modern style homes & neighborhoods. These homes vary from tiny, modest cottages of 1100 square feet to large & elegant houses of nearly 3,000 square feet, featuring big, central atriums or courtyards. (There are also some co-ops in the valley too.) The quality varies, as the homes were constructed by several different builders with different home buying budgets in mind. Real estate prices range from “entry level” to very expensive, depending on the location (city and schools), size of the home & lot, and condition of the property. Most of them are now about 50 years old, though some are a little younger.
Some of the West Side Silicon Valley Communities which feature Eichler and Mid-Century Modern Homes
In Los Gatos there are no Eichlers but there are a small handful of single family homes which are mid-century modern on Eastridge Drive (just off Blossom Hill Road and Hillbrook). There are a couple more at the end of Magnuson Terrace (off Magnuson Loop and Los Gatos Blvd). Additionally, there are some smaller mid-50s homes on El Gato (and adjacent portions of Escobar) off of Los Gatos-Almaden Road. Unfortunately, not all of these homes are “well kept”, though many are.
Monte Sereno is home to 16 Eichler houses on Via Sereno beginning at the intersection of Winchester Blvd with Via Sereno. These houses were built in the late 60s to early 70s.
Willow Glen is one of the most charming areas of San Jose, consisting of many older homes which feature lovely, classic architecture. Most Silicon Valley home buyers treasure the Willow Glen charm and ambiance, but many are seeking newer homes. A fabulous option is “The Willows“.
KB Homes built “The Willows” in 1999 to 2000. It is tucked away at the southernmost tip of Willow Glen, off of Foxworthy Avenue & close to Almaden Expressway, but only about 2.5 to 3 miles from all the action on Lincoln Avenue.
The tree-lined streets are built in something of a loop shape with Rubino Circle being the main access or loop road. Situated on the inner part of the loop are homes with smaller lots that are a little more affordable. The outer part of the circle is built with slightly larger homes on larger lots (but none of the lots are “big”). Sidewalks with soft curbs at the corners accompany the streets and make for a pedestrian-friendly, bike, wheelchair or stroller friendly area. Visit in the early evenings and you will see children and adults walking, strolling, taking dogs for a walk etc. – always a good sign! Because the neighborhood is a bit like an oversized cul-de-sac (no through traffic), it is very quiet in terms of traffic. The area has large street lights, too, making for a safe feeling community.
When locals think of Willow Glen, most will picture the charming historic homes and bustling downtown strip, but this attractive community extends beyond the historic blocks. The Willow Glen Neighborhood Association defines the Central and Historic Willow Glen area apart from the Greater Willow Glen Neighborhood and Planning Area, roughly 10.4 square miles with approximately 82,000 residents. One of the scenic communities of the greater Willow Glen area is Doerr Park.
Doerr Park, sometimes called Doerr-Steindorf or simply Doerr, is within the 95124 zip code of San Jose, not far from the Cambrian border. The boundaries of this community are Curtner Ave, Meridian Ave, Foxworthy Ave, and Leigh Ave (See it on this Google Map). It is marked by tidy homes and yards with neat green lawns and airy street trees. Towards the center of this highly walkable neighborhood sits a nearly 12 acre city park. Doerr Park is a sunny community park with expansive lawns, open tree groves, picnic benches with barbeque stations, two magnificent playgrounds for different age groups (one of them has 3-tiered climbing towers and long slides for the older children!), a basketball court, softball field, four tennis courts, and restrooms. The park is very popular!
This neighborhood is accessible, too! There’s shopping and an office complex at the corner of Foxworthy Ave and Meridian, with a Grocery Outlet, gas station, and bank. It’s very close to more shopping including restaurants, Target, Home Depot, and more. For commuters, it’s only a 6 minute drive to 85, 17, and Almaden Expy, and there are bus lines which run along Curtner and Leigh.
There are a few possible negatives to consider, however. Some areas are beside easements for high voltage power lines, though a large portion of the easement connecting to the park has recently been transformed into a community trail. Not all phone lines are under ground, which might be considered an eyesore by some.
Willow Glen is a very charming, older part of San Jose that seems to beckon to a more gracious time. It is perhaps best known for its historic homes and quaint streets, but it is also highly regarded as a tight knit community with its own, vibrant downtown.
Where is Willow Glen?
Willow Glen is close to downtown San Jose, bordered by Highway 87 to the east, Highway 280 to the north, Southwest Expy, Leigh Avenue, and Bascom Avenue to the west, and Foxworthy Avenue to the south. To the west is Campbell and to the south is Cambrian.
This area is mostly the 95125 zip code, but includes a little of 95124 on the south end.
The public schools are mostly within the San Jose Unified School District, but on the south west side, I believe all within 95124, some are in the Cambrian School District.
The district’s centerpiece is Lincoln Avenue, a street bustling with cars and pedestrians alike. It’s filled to the brim with restaurants and shops and seems to attract a never-ending strea of visitors, especially in summer and during the holidays. Additionally, there are a number of businesses and shops along Meridian Avenue.
The boundaries are not always agreed upon. Google Maps shows a much broader area, extending west all the way to Highway 17 and all the way south to Hillsdale, including parts of Campbell and Cambrian. The Wikipedia page on WG only includes the 95125 zip code.
A little Willow Glen history
Willow Glen began as an unincorporated community at about the time of the Gold Rush, at about the same time as when San Jose was the capitol of California. In 1863 the first school was built to meet the needs of the children there. It became incorporated in 1927 to fend off being annexed into the larger City of San Jose, but had a change of heart and voted to be annexed in 1936 so that the area could be on the city’s sewer system rather than to continue with septic tanks and cesspools.
Willow Glen architecture
Much of Willow Glen was built early in the 1900s and so the homes in the “downtown” area are older and feature classical styles of housing on tree lined streets – Spanish, Craftsman, and some even more venerable and Victorian. That is surely a large part of its charm. On the edges of Willow Glen, the homes are newer and tract. One area, known as Palm Haven, has a myriad of palm trees (both Royal Palm and Fan Palm) and older, diverse architecture surrounding a community park. The original access to Palm Haven from Bird Avenue and the rest of Willow Glen has been blocked off, but the grand old road can still be found easily enough via Clintonia off Riverside. (more…)
“Red flags” are clues that something is wrong or potentially wrong. They’re the hints that we need to investigate something further, the sign that we should be on alert.
Some parts of San Jose, and Silicon Valley generally, enjoy beautiful older homes with classic styling and beautiful finishing work. These properties and neighborhoods are prized because they are not cookie cutter, not ranch, not too new. They may be Victorian, Craftsman, Spanish, or any number of other interesting architectural styles.
One area of Santa Clara County that is well known for both charming historic homes and unfortunately also some structural issues among those older houses is the Willow Glen district of San Jose.
Back in 2015 I showed some clients about a half dozen homes, all in Willow Glen, and we saw a lot of “red flags” which hinted of foundation problems, among others. I thought I’d share a few pics I snapped at one of them with my old treo camera here. All of these were taken on the front porch of this house – all visible structural “red flags” before we ever set foot into the house.
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!
The Hacienda Gardens subdivision in San Jose straddles the Willow Glen and Cambrian districts, and it enjoys the highly regarded Cambrian schools. Homes and lots tend to be a little on the small side, so prices are relatively affordable as Willow Glen or Cambrian neighborhoods go, especially for such a strong school district. As San Jose real estate goes, this is a good value area due to great schools, more modest prices and lots of great amenities in the immediate area.
What are homes like in the Hacienda Gardens neighborhood?
There are around 550 houses in this San Jose subdivision. They were built originally in 1953 and 1954, though some may be newer or rebuilt since then. Ranch style homes, they were constructed with 3-4 bedrooms and 1 or 2 bathrooms and came with an attached one or two car garage. The builder used slab foundations and wall heaters, but many home owners have since added forced air heat (and central air conditioning).
Square footage of these houses runs from 1060 SF to 1400 SF in 82% of the homes (I crunched the numbers using county real estate records via the Realist Report), but 78 are larger than this (18%) and one is a hair over 3,000 SF.
Most of the neighborhood has parcels of around 5500 square feet, as a ballpark. I ran the data on this too and found 486 of the 550 or so homes had lot sizes of 6000 SF or less (88% of the homes). But just like with the house sizes, there are a few that are bigger – 64 or 12% are larger than this, and the largest parcels are 1/4 acre or more.
There’s some new construction close to the shopping center too – it was built in very recent years. When I get more info on those homes, I will update this article.
Where is the Hacienda Gardens area?
This corner of San Jose is entirely in the 95124 zip code, but about one third is north of Foxworthy (and just south of beautiful Doerr Park), which our MLS refers to as the Willow Glen area, and the other two thirds is between Foxworthy and Hillsdale, just west of Meridian Avenue, in the Cambrian area.
Adjacent to this neighborhood is the Hacienda Gardens Shopping Center, which runs between Hillsdale, Meridian, and Foxworthy Avenues. In recent years that shopping center changed hands and has been given a gorgeous facelift, making it a place neighbors will appreciate having in close proximity. It is home to a good-sized Rite Aid store, the long-term tenant Hometown Buffett, and a number of other restaurants offering pizza, Chinese food, and BBQ as well as other shops, institutions, and stores, such as Wells Fargo. (more…)