Saratoga CA Real Estate Market Update

Orchard and Hills in Saratoga, California - photo for article on the Saratoga CA real estate market

Orchard and Hills in Saratoga, California

The Saratoga CA real estate market is a strengthening sellers’ market for single family homes :

  • the average sale price rose both monthly and annually
  • inventory of Saratoga houses for sale is up both month over month and year over year
  • the sale to list price ratio slipped from 106.8% in March to 106.3% in April, still a strong seller’s market

How’s the Saratoga CA real estate market?

Saratoga has a diverse real estate market due to a wide range of home prices, square footage, lot sizes, school districts, and more. The luxury tier, generally $4 million and up (but in Saratoga, that’s really still just a house in an expensive part of town) normally moves slower than other price points. Saratoga’s entry level housing is usually the strongest. If the numbers swing wildly at any given month, it could be that more or fewer homes in a particular school district and pricing tier.

To really understand the Saratoga CA real estate market, you’ll need to get hyper local data for that home’s pricing tier, school district, and any other impactful data points.

 

Trends at a Glance for the Saratoga CA Real Estate Market

Here’s a quick overview from the RE Report details below or please view the full data here.

Trends At a GlanceApr 2024Previous MonthYear-over-Year
Median Price$4,215,000 (+0.4%)$4,200,000$3,780,000 (+11.5%)
Average Price$4,533,660 (+5.4%)$4,299,500$4,008,360 (+13.1%)
No. of Sales18 (-14.3%)2122 (-18.2%)
Pending22 (+69.2%)1319 (+15.8%)
Active35 (+66.7%)2125 (+40.0%)
Sale vs. List Price106.3% (-0.5%)106.8%98.7% (+7.6%)
Days on Market29 (+24.8%)2351 (-43.5%)
Days of Inventory56 (+88.0%)3033 (+71.1%)

 

Altos Research real estate market data for Saratoga, CA single family homes

Next, a quick glance at the Altos Research market profile for a quick summary of the Saratoga CA real estate market conditions. Altos uses LIST prices, not sold prices, for this chart and the others, below.

Market profile for Saratoga CA 95070

 

Real-Time Market Profile Saratoga, CA 95070

 

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The Monte Sereno Real Estate Market

The Monte Sereno real estate market is similar to Los Gatos, but distinct - Monte Sereno shares many features with Los Gatos but is a distinct cityHow is the Monte Sereno real estate market? Because the city is small, with just about 3,500 residents, there usually are few homes listed for sale or selling, and with small numbers we can get seeming volatility. This article is updated monthly with new data and analysis, so scroll down to read the latest and check back regularly. Here are a few details from the latest market update:

  • With so few sales and listings, Monte Sereno real estate data can swing quite wildly in the charts below so take it with a grain of salt.
  • This city appears to be in a seller’s market with severely low inventory, just 3 available homes at the end of April. That’s slim pickings!
  • There were just 4 closed and 3 pending sales last month.
  • The sale to list price ratio remained over 100% with the average Monte Sereno property selling over asking price and quickly, in under 2 weeks

There are ALMOST no condominiums or townhomes in Monte Sereno. As of Febuary 2024, the MLS showed just 6 sales in these two categories in total – and that’s going back to 1998! And one of those, at least, appears to actually be in Los Gatos. One of the major challenges for this city is to ensure that at least some housing units are deemed “affordable.” You can find the city’s housing plan here (an online pdf):  http://www.montesereno.org/DocumentCenter/Home/View/674

Because this is such a small city and there’s a tiny pool of data, please also have a look at the Los Gatos real estate market post on this site.

Below is a quick market profile for the Monte Sereno real estate market. This is updated automatically weekly, so please check back often.

 

Monte Sereno Altos Real-Time Market Profile

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Multiple offers are common right now in Silicon Valley

Multiple offers are common - sellers and listing agent discussing the open house and biddingMultiple offers are common right now in the Silicon Valley real estate market. With them typically come overbids and sky high sales prices. Clair and I have shown several homes that our buyers did not bid on but which got many offer contracts and which sold for 15 – 20% over list price just over the last 30 days or so.

The hottest part of the market seems to be properties under $2 or $3 million, depending on the area.

When there are tons of buyers lining up to purchase a home, the sellers have usually put a substantial amount of time, energy, and money into making their property look fantastic, and they also take a risk in pricing it low to attract a large number of home buyers.

Multiple offers are common when property sells fast – but it doesn’t always!

When there aren’t multiple offers, it could be location issues, condition of the property (or neighborhood), overpricing (the most common culprit), difficulty in viewing the home, or other missteps on the selling side.  Buyers today want a turnkey home in a superior location that’s in great shape – not remodeled 20 years ago or more – and they will pay a premium price for it.

When homes have been on the market for 3 weeks or more, this may be a great opportunity for buyers to be the lone bidder on it. Does it have the right things wrong? Can what is off be fixed? Is it only overpriced? I would suggest buyers focusing on all of the inventory and not just the hot new inventory.

Why is it that multiple offers are common now?

There are a couple of reasons why homes that are in great shape, priced low, and given good exposure to the market are selling so strongly now.

  • First, there is a dire shortage of inventory, or lack of supply.  This is a chronic problem, but it’s acutely so now due to the higher interest rates and home owners not wanting to sell. It’s unlikely for this to change anytime soon, unfortunately.
  • Second, because Silicon Valley residential real estate has a long track record with good appreciation, those who can buy want to do so. Many are empowered by the rising stock market. If they are here for the long haul, buying makes more sense than renting.
    • Many are purchasing with more than 20% down, and they will watch for an opportunity to refinance.
    • Others are buying all cash. Those buyers may be anywhere from 15% to 35 % of the successful home buyers.

The inventory crisis will likely improve a little as the year goes on because inventory normally rises with the peak being somewhere in the summer most years.  No guarantee – sometimes it doesn’t behave “as usual”.

How can you tell if a home is going to get multiple offers or what the selling price will be?

These are really two different, but related, questions.
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Cambrian Park: Good Schools, Low Crime, Close to Los Gatos and Campbell

Cambrian Park, or more broadly, Cambrian, is a west San Jose neighborhood or district and is one of the high-value areas in Silicon Valley. The schools are good, the crime is low, and the commute is not too bad.

Cambrian Park Plaza signFor people relocating to Santa Clara County, this is a place to know about since quality education and affordability are often high priorities! Most Silicon Valley home buyers would say that Cambrian Park real estate offers a very good value.

What’s the compromise for the more reasonable prices of homes for sale? Well, Cambrian doesn’t have an interesting, upscale downtown area like Campbell, Los Gatos, Saratoga, or Willow Glen. (It may, when the Cambrian Park Plaza redevelopment takes place.)

But it does have tons of shopping & restaurants and even a Farmer’s Market. It also enjoys a top notch hospital (Good Samaritan) and plenty of parks as well as a fantastic rec center with a large park adjacent to it, the Camden Community Center, which has loads of programs (including an after school program for youth), classes, and a fabulous pool.

Altogether, there are about 75,000 to 80,000 residents in Cambrian, spread throughout part of two zip codes, part of 95124 and some of 95118.

If there is a “central Cambrian Park”, it would have to be near the original Cambrian Park Shopping Center, which was the first actual mall in San Jose! That area is sometimes known as Cambrian Village.  People sometimes use the three names interchangeably: Cambrian, Cambrian Park, Cambrian Village.

 

Where is Cambrian Park? Map of approximate Cambrian Boundaries:

 


View Cambrian Area of San Jose in a larger map

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Campbell’s most affordable homes for sale

Campbell's most affordable homes - image of a house with the words Home Sweet HomeHunting for more Campbell’s most affordable homes for sale? It can be argued that nothing is either inexpensive or affordable, however we want to consider the Campbell real estate options relative to other Silicon Valley communities and their prices. There are always higher and lower priced properties.

Campbell’s most affordable homes: beware the price mirage

Sometimes the lowest listing price of a home on the market is not actually going to be the lowest selling price. It could just be bait. Some sellers and their listing agents vastly underprice  houses, townhouses, and condos on the market in order to get an avalanche of offers. I refer to that as a price mirage – it looks good but isn’t real.

Don’t be fooled be an artificially low list price. Often a quick check of the property on Realtor.com can provide some decent pricing input. The pages for listings usually include a RealEstimate section that features up to 3 auto comp values. These automatic valuations aren’t foolproof, but if a house is listed for $900,000 and the Realtor.com page suggests a value of $1.6 to $1.8, you are put on notice that it may be grossly underpriced.  You can check the other large portals, too, as a reality check on values.

Elements that create opportunity to get more home for your money

Every city, town, and community has more and less affordable pockets and properties. Campbell’s most affordable homes for sale may have one of these elements at play.

The pricing variation often has to do with a few major areas:
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San Jose CA 95129 Real Estate Market

The San Jose CA 95129 real estate market area, which is sometimes referred to as the “Cupertino Border” area and is generally part of West San  Jose, is highly desirable for many reasons, including a short commute to tech employers such as Apple. Below we’ll review home values by school districts, both for starter homes and for homes with more than 1500 square feet.

If you love West San Jose, please also check out our post on the nearby Happy Valley neighborhood.

The 95129 zip code and school districts

The school district situation is a little confusing in San Jose CA 95129, but as schools are a major driver of real estate values, it’s imperative to consider their impact on housing prices.

  • About 60% of this zip code is in the Fremont Union High School District (Lynbrook High) and in the Cupertino Union School District (several different schools)
  • The rest is in the Campbell Union High School District (Prospect High), with most of that area in the Moreland School District, but a little bit in the Campbell Union School District (several schools)
  • On Great Schools, the scores for these schools range from 4 or 5 on the low end to 10 on the high side.

Here’s a map that I’ve marked up. The initial map came from the MLS, which shows the approximate zip code boundaries (bright blue) and the high school district boundary (purple or berry colored). These are never 100% precise, always check with the school district to be sure about the assigned school or district.

 

San Jose CA 95129 with school districts - real estate info for West San Jose

 

In the upper right corner you can see a tiny little polygon, almost a square, for the part of 95129 with Campbell Union School District. Moreland schools are mainly on the southeast side of the zip code. Cupertino schools are on the far west and northern section, except for that postage stamp area with Campbell schools.

The homes with Moreland and Campbell schools sell at lower prices than those with Cupertino schools, making them more affordable and also very desirable as a close in commute location.

The homes in San Jose with Cupertino schools sell for less than those houses in the City of Cupertino with the exact same schools, making this pocket a relative bargain, too.

No matter which district  you’re considering, most of this area is a good ‘bang for the buck’ part of the valley.

San Jose CA 95129 real estate stats for starter homes

Today we’ll consider the real estate market activity for houses in this area today and in relation to recent history as of today, July 18, 2023, and looking at sales data for the last 60 days.

In the last 60 days, there were 29 single family homes sold in this zip code. Of them, 15 were “starter homes”, meaning that they have 1500 SF or less. Here is the data for the starter homes in all school districts of this zip code area:

  • Days on market – 13
  • Average square footage – 1392 SF
  • Average lot size – 6227 SF
  • Average list price – $2,035,056
  • Average sale price – $2,294,453
  • Average age of the home – 62 years
  • Average sale to list price ratio – 113% (range of 94% to 138%)
  • Average price per SF – $1,652.29

For the 10 homes with Fremont Union High School District:

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Check the months of inventory to see if it’s a good time to sell your home!

Months of Inventory explained with an hourglassIs 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.

 

Santa Clara County months of inventory by city in Santa Clara County - single family homes for April 2023

 

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

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Doesn’t the listing agent have to show it to me?

Telephone Photo with dialogue between a caller and listing agent - Doesn't the listing agent have to show it to meIf a buyer wants to view a property, does the listing agent have to show it to him or her outside of regular open houses? The answer might surprise you!  Here’s a quick overview:

  • The listing agent and seller decide about showings that the listing agent is expected to do. Does the listing agent have to show it privately, or during open houses, or only on one weekend before offers are reviewed?
  • The listing agent will make showings possible for buyer’s agents with instructions on scheduling in the comments that members of the MLS can read.
  • In many cases, the real estate licensee working with the home seller will hold the property open for the public on the weekend and sometimes mid-week as well. It may or may not be the listing agent holding it open.
    • For safety reasons, many listing agents will not have private showings with buyers whom they don’t know and who aren’t clients of theirs. Realtors are harmed every year in the line of duty.
    • For agency reasons, a listing agent who plans to only represent the seller may not want to have an appointment with a buyer who plans to write the offer with someone else.
    • There are many other reasons why the listing agent will not personally show the home for sale outside of open house times, but may be able to arrange for the buyers to see it with another agent.

When does the listing agent have to show it?

The most important thing for buyers to understand is that the accessibility of the home for viewings depends upon the agreement, verbally or in writing, between the owner of the property and the agent/brokerage hired to market, negotiate, and sell the real estate as to whether or not the seller’s agent is obligated to show it privately.

It’s not an “on demand” situation where an interested buyer can insist on seeing the property as desired. To make an absurd point, no one would say “doesn’t the listing agent have to show it to me at 10 p.m.?” Without any thought, we know that’s unreasonable.
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Exercise caution when viewing or showing homes for sale

Potential Danger sticker with house and keys - exercise caution when showing homesReal estate professionals are becoming increasingly aware of the need to exercise caution in their line of work. This is true for both buyer’s agents and seller’s agents. It is good for our Silicon Valley buyers and sellers to be aware of some of these issues, since they could also be at risk.

Quick tips on how to exercise caution:

  1. Meet people you know, or for whom you are able to validate. (With real estate licensees, you can usually find their phone number and email on their company website.)
  2. Don’t presume that because a house is for sale, it’s empty (don’t peer into the windows or walk into the backyard). View the home through the proper channels, either by appointment or during an open house.
  3. Buyers should not be allowed to enter the home without their agent, who is to follow the instructions on the MLS. Some buyers may knock on the door and ask to see it. The answer should be no. It is not safe to let them in.
  4. When hunting for the home you’re trying to see, please be careful, particularly out in the country or in the mountains, where homes are not always well marked. I had two scary episodes in those types of areas, both involving my being on the wrong driveway.
  5. It’s wise to exercise caution when entering a home, even if you have an appointment and your agent is with you.  Sometimes communication isn’t great between residents, and it’s possible to surprise someone who’s not expecting you.

 

Agent colleagues: don’t have your first meeting with a stranger at a home for sale, especially if it’s vacant. (This doesn’t apply to referrals from your past clients, friends, etc., where that person is already vetted.) It is best for consumers and Realtors to initially meet in a public place, such as the realty office or a coffee house, and for others to know where you are during that meeting. Even better, get a pre-approval letter and speak with the lender to make sure the person is legit.

Buyers – exercise caution for your own sake, and for the residents of the home

For buyers who see signs on properties: do not presume that the house is empty and that you can peer into windows or walk around into the back yard of the house. (I have seen people do this and it is creepy at best.)  You don’t know the situation – the house could be for sale but not viewable, it could be occupied.  Some homes are offered with the instructions that the home can only be seen once an offer is accepted (“write offer subject to inspection”).

The home could be tenant occupied.  A resident could be ill.  Children could be in the house and if they look up and see a stranger at the window it will scare them badly. Don’t do it.  (Most buyers won’t do this, but I have seen it often enough that it warrants saying.)

If you need more information, call your own agent to pull it up on the MLS and give you the info you seek.  If you aren’t working with a Realtor, call the listing agent. In all cases, don’t go onto the property except to grab a flier from the box on the sign post. It’s imperative to exercise caution for not just your sake, but everyone’s.

Sellers – be careful for your own safety

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The Strathmore Neighborhood of Los Gatos

The scenic Strathmore neighborhood of Los Gatos lies close to the foothills, including both Blossom Hill and the coastal range rising behind it.  Homes here in east Los Gatos enjoy that very beautiful backdrop and access to the park and trails, but many other benefits too.

Enduring qualities that make this area highly favored include:

  • scenic area with close proximity to the foothills plus tree lined streets
  • community pool & nearby park
  • strong public schools
  • good location for commuting, shopping, and easy access to downtown Los Gatos

 

Panorama Way adjacent street but to the Strathmore neighborhood of Los Gatos

 

It’s a pedestrian friendly area with sidewalks and tree lined streets, so it is not uncommon to see people out enjoying a stroll, a jog, a bike ride or otherwise taking in the peaceful region.

Additionally, Strathmore residents share a community pool (or cabana) with a neighborhood swim team. As of 2022, dues for the HOA are approximately $400 per year.

One of the biggest draws of all is that on top of these features, kids in Strathmore get to attend highly rated public schools too. The profile on this neighborhood is overwhelmingly positive!

 

 Strathmore 2 story house

 

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