The real estate market in San Jose’s Blossom Valley area

Pan of Santa Teresa and Blossom Valley

Pan of Santa Teresa and Blossom Valley

The Blossom Valley real estate market heated up through the first quarter of 2024 and doesn’t show signs of cooling off. It continues to be a strong seller’s market! Homes in good shape which are priced appropriately regularly sell quickly and well above list price, despite new hurdles for buyers to overcome over the last two years. While trends can vary based on price point, schools, zip codes, etc., the entire area is still in high demand.

Here are some bullet points from the latest statistics:

  • Closed sales tally well above this time last year, as do pending sales and active inventory
  • The average sale to list price ratio also grew month-over-mont and soared above last year!
  • Days on market only slowed a hair with a red hot turnover at a 9 day average with double the time for market absorption (days of inventory) at just 18 days

Often we see month-over-month softening into the end of the year with lower inventory and demand over the busy holiday season, followed by an increase in activity (and rising prices) as the market moves towards spring which tends to level off around summer. That said, the market remained strong through winter and began experiencing rapidly increasing activity earlier than usual. March and April are often the peak months for pricing, though May 2024 shows it’s definitely still a red hot market in Blossom Valley!

About Blossom Valley

The Blossom Valley area of San Jose is on the south end of the city and covers the 95123 and 95136 zip codes. For our MLS, it’s “area 12.” A more affordable section of Silicon Valley, it has much to offer in addition to more reasonable housing prices. Many areas enjoy views of the Santa Teresa Foothills or the Communications Hill knolls or even the coastal foothills in the distance and Mt Umunhum. One corner of it sits alongside beautiful Almaden Lake, too. Another corner is located at the crossroads of Highways 85 and 87, making it an easy commute destination for those working in downtown San Jose. And there’s an abundance of shopping and dining opportunities.

Now for some market data.

Live Altos Reports

We’ll start with the Altos Reports, which gague the market based on active listings, not sales, and is updated about once per week.

95123 real estate market trends, automatically updated weekly:

Blossom Valley Real-Time Market Profile by Altos Research

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Where are the high voltage power lines?

High Voltage Power Lines Collage

High Voltage Power Lines from around the West Valley.

High voltage power lines are a “location issue” that impacts real estate values, and it sometimes elicits worry regarding safety.

High voltage power lines: how far is far enough?

Something we have spoken about recently with our clients is being far enough away so that if the tower and high voltage power lines were to fall, they’d miss your home and property. In our recent series of atmospheric rivers in January 2023, in San Jose one of these large transmission towers did fall down. It’s rare, but not impossible.

I have not seen a website that can tell us how tall any given tower is, but from what I have read online, it seems that most of them are under 200 feet tall, but some could be higher than that. In most cases, that puts the lines about 4 houses away if the lots are a typical 6,000 SF lot of 60′ across the front and 100′ deep.

We cannot speak to the concerns around potential increased risk of cancer or other problems. Each consumer should research that issue on his or her own.

Where are the high voltage power lines?

High Voltage Power lines - map - CaliforniaYears ago, I painstakingly mapped out the transmission lines from what I knew on the ground and what I could tell from tracing the Google satellite view. (You can find that link near the bottom of this article.)

Today, though, there’s something better than my map available online. The California Energy Commission has a map of the transmission lines that you can view using THIS LINK. Or click on the image at the left.

From the landing page you can zoom in or out. It covers the entire state of California – you might find it interesting to navigate around a little.

Also, a few years ago, PG&E published an interactive map where you can view the location of electric lines (I’ve filtered the imbedded map below to show Electric Transmission Lines in the South Bay), and another map of natural gas pipelines, searchable by address. This doesn’t cover the entire state, but it does cover all of the Bay Area / Silicon Valley.

The PG&E map:

On the map I hand-drew at the bottom of this article I did also include the location of schools. Quite a lot of schools do have transmission lines present.

What other location issues are there to factor in?
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Thousand Oaks Neighborhood

Thousand Oaks neighborhood - corner view

The Thousand Oaks neighborhood in San Jose’s Blossom Valley area is highly sought-after as it is a tidy area, pleasant looking, and very convenient.

Thousand Oaks is bordered to the north by Hillsdale Ave, Pearl Ave to the east, Branham Ln to the south, and Almaden Expy to the west. Most of the area is within the 95136 zip code with a tiny portion in 95118. With great accessibility, tons of amenities, and a moderate price tag, Thousand Oaks is worth a look!

Thousand Oaks Neighborhood Lifestyle

This area offers quick and easy access to major commute routes such as Almaden Expressway, CA-85, and CA-87, as well as extraordinary access to public transit. There are two bus routes, and for only a 20 min walk, 8 min bike ride, or 4 min drive residents can access either of two VTA light rail stations, the Capitol and Branham stations on the blue line. From there you need only travel 2-3 stations to Tamien to reach the CalTrain connection (or skip VTA and drive 10 minutes to the CalTrain Capitol station).

But you don’t need to go far from home to get around. Westfield Oakridge Mall is a 5 minute drive (or 40 minute walk) to the south of Thousand Oaks, and there is plenty of shopping and dining surrounding the neighborhood. The post office is within one mile, along with various neighboring grocery stores, fast food chains, popular local restaurants, and a variety of other stores and businesses.

Still, it’s not all hustle and bustle. The Guadalupe River separates the neighborhood from Almaden Expressway and some of the businesses, parts of it creating a natural tree-filled gulch. Most streets are graced with trees along the sidewalks, enjoy a view of the foothills, and the use of two neighborhood parks: Terrell Park and Thousand Oaks Park. Terrell Park has picnic benches and BBQs as well as a playground, and sits adjacent to Terrell Elementary. Thousand Oaks Park is a ~35 acre community park with ample sports facilities, picnicking and BBQs, playgrounds, a fitness trail, and a community center (there’s even a map of the park amenities). (more…)

Silicon Valley Homes for Sale Near Golf Courses in the Foothill Areas

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:

 

 

 

 

Comparing cost of housing in West Valley communities from Palo Alto to Los Gatos to Blossom Valley: what will a 4 bedroom home cost?

Sketch of houseIt 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.

Comparing Costs

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.

 

Feb 2020 Sales Comparisons

 

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!

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Condominium inventory rising in San Jose, causing prices to soften

June 20 2014 San Jose Condo Inventory

June 20 2014 San Jose Condo Inventory

Home prices, like anything else which is bought and sold, are subject to the pressures of supply and demand.   In recent weeks, we have seen an increase in the number of condominiums and townhomes for sale in San Jose, but a slight lessening in buyer interest.  More supply with less demand equals lower prices.  This will be a bit of a shock to most home sellers, who’d read about the madness of the market in February, March and April.  But spring is nearly always stronger than summer – and we are seeing a fairly typical calming down in the Silicon Valley real estate market as we move into that milder summer market.

Since I mostly sell in the “west valley” areas of the Santa Clara Valley, I had a look at a few of them just to see what the trends look like. In this chart, please see the inventory of condominiums and townhomes for sale in 95120 (Almaden Valley), 95123 (Blossom Valley), 95124 (Cambrian) and 95125 (Willow Glen). Almaden seldom has many listings of townhouses or condos at all – over the last year, it looks as though it’s usually close to 5 at any given time. A slight uptick means 6 are available. The trend is much more dramatic in other parts of San Jose.

Home sellers: where the inventory rise is the steepest, you will probably see the most impact on the odds of selling and the price for which you can sell your home.   Home buyers:  if you see that inventory is largely unchanging, as it is in the tony Almaden Valley, the odds are good that it’s still pretty competitive for home buying and you will likely need to bring your best game forward to secure your future home.

Interested in other areas?  I work all of Santa Clara County and would be happy to help you buy or sell your condo, townhouse or single family home here.

 

June 20 2014 condo inventory 95120 95123 95124 95125

June 20 2014 condo inventory 95120 95123 95124 95125

 

 

 

Should you sell “As Is” or make repairs and upgrades prior to selling?

Opportunity vs Risk - Higher Risk = Much Lower Prices!

A few years ago, I wrote an article on my Live in Los Gatos blog on the question of whether a Silicon Valley home seller should sell the home in its current condition, or improve it with the hopes of selling for more.  You can find it here: Should You Repair & Update Your Home to Sell? Or Sell “As Is”?

Today I was doing a comparative (competitive) market analysis for a client in the Blossom Valley area of San Jose and was struck by two tract houses which sold at about the same time, same market conditions, on the same street, with the same floor plan, but for very different prices.   We’ll refer to them as Home 1 and Home 2.

Home 1 was nicely remodeled – at least the kitchen and baths were obviously nicely upgraded.  The house was furnished when the photos were taken and it looked very inviting. It was listed for about $630,000 and sold for $670,000 in under 2 weeks.

House 2 appeared to be in original condition – in other words, a “fixer” in the eyes of most Silicon Valley home buyers. A vacant home, it was not staged to sell but instead was starkly empty – and frankly, it was not at all inviting.  This house was offered at around $550,000 and sold for $490,000 after almost 2 months on the market.

There was more than a 10% difference in the list prices of these two homes.  Was that enough? Apparently not.  One got bid up 5% more while the other one got bid down more than 10%.  The difference in their ultimate sales price is a whopping $180,000, or 37% more for the home in better condition.   Did the fixed up home have that much in improvements done to it?  That’s unlikely!  But buyers worry about having to do remodeling and repairs, and the more buyers worry, the less they pay.  It’s a risk-reward ratio.  If they risk more by buying a fixer, there needs to be a monetary reward.  And they almost always get it.

Perhaps as a busy San Jose area home owner, you don’t have a ton of time or money to put into fixes, especially if it’s a rental or investment property which is now vacant.  How can you maximize the return on investment?   I hope that it is clear that it’s in your best interest to tweak the condition of appearance of your property to net more.  If you’d like some insights on this, please continue reading on this subject at another article on this blog: Preparing Your Silicon Valley Home to Sell and Return on Investment. Or call me for a confidential home selling appointment today!

 

 

 

How is the Blossom Valley Real Estate Market? Months of inventory by sale type

How’s the Blossom Valley real estate market?  How hard is it to sell a house there now?  (Check the Almaden Valley real estate market here.)

About half the active listings of single family homes for sale in the Blossom Valley district of San Jose are either short sales or REOs.  For all of area 12 (our MLS name for this part of San Jose), as of right now there are 124 houses listed and 61 of them are either short sales or bank owned homes (REOs). (Blossom Valley is 2/3 95123 and 1/3 95136.)

Today we’ll look at the market generally and also see how the high end is faring there – most expensive homes being those listed at or over $550,000.

Months of inventory reflects the ratio between available homes (not under contract) with those which have sold/closed in the last month.  That’s the absorption rate, or how fast homes that go on the market are being absorbed by buyers.

 

 

How “hot” is the market in Blossom Valley? It depends. Bank owned homes are flying off the market – particularly the most expensive ones. (more…)

View from Valley Christian High School: Santa Teresa Foothills & Coastal Range

Pan of Santa Teresa and Blossom Valley Sml

 

On Tuesday of this week I was showing some nice folks around the San Jose area. As part of our tour, we stopped in at Valley Christian High School (south San Jose – Santa Teresa area). The sky was clear and the views spectacular!  (Sadly, the camera washed out the beautiful blue sky and made it appear white.)

From here we were looking at the Santa Teresa Foothills ((lowest, closest hills).  In front of them are the Santa Teresa & Blossom Valley areas of San Jose.  Behind them is Almaden Valley.

Along the coastal range in back, the peak on the far right (with a flat area) is Mt. Umunhum.  To the far left, the higher peaks are where you’ll find Loma Prieta.

 

 

 

What is the percentage of regular sales in Almaden, Willow Glen, Los Gatos, Cambrian Park and Blossom Valley?

A key ingredient in understanding how the Silicon Valley real estate market is faring is the ratio of regular sales to distressed properties on the market (Bank owned or REO listings and short sale listings). Today we’ll study Los Gatos and four areas or districts of San Jose: Almaden Valley, Willow Glen, Cambrian Park, and Blossom Valley.

First, let’s look at the county numbers as a general overview.  In all of Santa Clara County, there are 3537 houses, duet homes, condominiums & townhouses for sale and available (“status 1” for my Realtor readers) on our multiple listing service. Of those, merely 1964 are “regular sales” (56%), 1105 are short sales (31%) and 375 are bank owned homes or REOs (11%).

Now let’s drill down to a few areas: Los Gatos, Almaden Valley, Willow Glen, Cambrian Park and Blossom Valley.  We’ll check out the ratio of regular sales of houses and condos in each of these areas.  How do these compare to the county average of 56%? Have a look:

 

 

This is helpful information for both home buyers & home sellers.  Home sellers need to understand the challenges that come with selling in an area with more short sales or REOs, if they are in one of those parts of the valley.  Or vice versa: if there are few distressed properties on the market, this makes it easier to sell (with less downward pressure on pricing).  Buyers need to appreciate that they will have better luck negotiating in areas where many homes are being sold under some pressure.

A quick disclaimer – if we narrowed this study by school district and even neighborhood school, we might find that these “general numbers” are actually quite different at the hyper-local level.  For example, if you visit a post of mine about the Los Gatos real estate market on my Live in Los Gatos blog, you’d find that when we separated out the various school districts, and even price points, the ratio of distressed properties and their absorption rates change very dramatically.  To see those, scroll down until you see the blue and yellow boxes.

The condo market in San Jose and nearby areas has taken a beating throughout our downturn.  Even so, condos in Los Gatos, Almaden and Willow Glen are faring pretty decently.

Now let’s hone in on each of these five areas and the two main housing types to see the ratio in each of regular sales, short sales, and REOs.
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