Willow Glen (SJ)
Willow Glen of San Jose, CA
The San Jose real estate market is a strong seller’s market, however this spring it experienced mild unseasonable cooling, though it’s begun to recover some and we’re seeing an increasingly hot market this summer. We see this in the San Jose housing market data, below, but I’ve also seen it in my own real estate practice.
Something to note, however, is that these charts will not reflect the full effect of the pandemic on the market. We have a better view of the impact this month, but it will take a while to see the full picture. For now, you can read about Coronavirus’ impact on real estate sales on my other post.
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. Current numbers are accurate, but disregard this data for those previous months.
First please find the Altos Research Charts, a live feed of data on the housing markets in San Jose. You will then also find the RE Report, charts with statistics comparing sales in the last month and comparing them month-over-month and year-over-year. These are both the usual tools I use to gauge a market. Directly below are links to the market analysis of specific neighborhoods in San Jose. Some of these, where I work the most, are updated monthly, and others are updated every few months.
Altos Charts for the San Jose real estate market as a Whole – automatically updated each week – single family homes
First, the market profile and then the basic charts for single family homes or houses in San Jose. FYI, Altos uses LIST prices. The RE Report further down uses SOLD prices (which is part of the reason why I utilize both).
This real time market San Jose housing market profile (updated September 12th) shows on the graph a sharp increase of inventory and steady rise in market action. San Jose is still in a strong seller’s market according to Altos, and is continuing to heat up. The Median List Price (for condos and houses combined) is usually stable around $1,250,000, though it jumped up to $1.28 recently.
Willow Glen is perhaps the most charming residential area of the city of San Jose with its old style architecture, tree lined streets and quaint downtown area on Lincoln Avenue and nearby. For folks working in downtown San Jose, the Willow Glen area (roughly the same as 95125 zip code, though a bit of 95124 is included also) is extremely convenient.
The Willow Glen real estate market for single family homes remains in a long-term seller’s market despite recent cooling.
But things have certainly changed since the start of March. We should have a better view of the affect those changes are having on the Willow Glen real estate market this month, though not the complete picture. For an understanding of how Covid-19 is affecting the local real estate market, please check my post titled Coronavirus Impact on Real Estate Sales.
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 for those previous months, though current numbers should be accurate.
1. Willow Glen Market Trends: Single Family Homes
Prices rose in August along with sales, sales pending, and active inventory – indicators of an active market! Homes have sold close to list price for a long time now and are selling higher now with August sales averaging 101.8% of list price, up from last month and last year. The days on market dropped a little and remain below a month. Overall the market is a little warmer than the month before and Willow Glen remain in a strong seller’s market!
Here are the most recent housing sales statistics from the RE Report.
|Trends At a Glance||Aug 2020||Previous Month||Year-over-Year|
|Median Price||$1,530,000 (+3.4%)||$1,479,000||$1,440,000 (+6.3%)|
|Average Price||$1,611,830 (+0.4%)||$1,605,210||$1,532,710 (+5.2%)|
|No. of Sales||63 (+3.3%)||61||57 (+10.5%)|
|Pending||67 (+3.1%)||65||46 (+45.7%)|
|Active||61 (+7.0%)||57||83 (-26.5%)|
|Sale vs. List Price||101.8% (+0.3%)||101.5%||100.9% (+1.0%)|
|Days on Market||20 (-11.8%)||23||26 (-22.2%)|
|Days of Inventory||29 (+3.6%)||28||44 (-33.5%)|
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. Continue reading
“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.
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!
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.