Los Gatos and Saratoga Condominium and Townhouse Market

Saratoga and Los Gatos are neighbors, but their real estate markets are not the same! Today we’ll consider the condo and townhouse market in these two upscale Silicon Valley areas and view some elements “side by side”. See what you think!

First, let’s have a peek at how fast things are selling. Saratoga & Los Gatos both are at under 3 week for the “days to sell over time”.  Saratoga tends to sell a little better than Los Gatos for condominiums and townhomes, and that’s the case now as well – at least months months, and recently. (Reasons, not sure – perhaps because the location is a little closer to Cupertino and Sunnyvale and the many high tech jobs there.  Or it could be related to the school scores or any number of factors.)


Saratoga days to sell over time 2014 - condos

Saratoga days to sell over time 2014 – condos

Los Gatos days to sell over time 2014 - condos

Los Gatos days to sell over time 2014 – condos














Let’s check some other criteria and see how they stack up there. Let’s look at the new listings as opposed to the solds.  How far apart are they? (The closer they are, the “hotter” the market. If the solds are going faster than the new listings are coming on, it’s a red hot seller’s market.)   For most of the last year, Saratoga condominiums have been selling and closing faster than new ones have entered the market, or have tied it, except for March and April.  In Los Gatos, same pattern recently of new listings outpacing sales, and in January the closed sales outpaced new inventory.  But overall, it’s close to a tie or there’s a slight leaning toward new listings rather than sales unless you look back to last fall.  So a little bit cooler of a market in Los Gatos by this standard.


Sometimes the List Price Isn’t the Expected Sales Price, So Run Comps!

pinpoint-the-pricingSometimes the list price on a Silicon Valley home for sale isn’t at all what the listing agent or the seller is expecting in terms of a sales price.

Sometimes it’s closer to a lost leader – that is, it’s really only intended to get home buyers into the door. Lots of them. The idea is to create excitement, and hopefully a feeding frenzy with multiple offers.

Other times, of course, a house or condo in the San Jose area may be an overpriced listing. In those cases, it’s more like a “fishing expedition”. More like, “let’s see if anyone bites”. There are always a percentage of these on the market. When you see homes listed for 60, 90 or more days on the valley floor, most often the culprit is an inappropriately high price – and most buyers aren’t biting at that bait.

Right now, it’s a mixed market in Santa Clara County real estate. If you find a home you like, the next question is this: what’s it worth? And finally, what’s it worth to you? Many times, the best advice is to ignore the list price, if it’s a new home, and just do your homework on what the current competition is and what’s been selling.

You may find that the home you love is priced high, on the mark, a little low, or crazy low.

While it’s helpful to know what the average ratio is between list prices and sales price, that information can never substitute for market knowledge.  The most powerful figure to understand is the absorption rate or months of inventory (or days or weeks of inventory).  Six months of inventory is considered a balanced market.  The smaller the months of inventory is, the quicker the pace of the market, and the bigger a frenzy there is over good inventory.

How’s the Campbell Real Estate Market?

Today we’ll have a look at the Campbell real estate market. Sitting on the western side of Silicon Valley between downtown San Jose and Los Gatos, Campbell has small town charm with big city ammenities.  The schools are good, the crime is fairly low, and there’s a nice sense of community identity & participation. The downtown area is vital, but so are the shopping hubs outside of the historic zone.  The local parks are a big draw too.

Homes range from modest condos to historic properties and large, estate-like homes on big lots. Just about every type of residential architecture can be found here, with of course a preponderance of ranch style homes but also Eichler homes, Victorian houses, Craftsman style homes, Spanish or Mediterranean design, and Contemporary homes.

“How’s the market?” will elicit different answers by neighborhood, home type, school district, and price point.  We’ll separate out the “markets” by pricing quartile in this post.

First, an overview of listing activity among single family homes in Campbell (data from Altos Research, used by permission/subscription):


Campbell, CA, real estate statistics for June 22 2009


And now the same but for condominiums and townhomes:


Campbell CA condominium and townhouse real estate stats


Generally speaking, inventory is somewhere between flat and barely declining. List prices appear to be falling slightly among single family homes and rising slightly among condos (which are more likely to qualify for FHA loans and benefit from some of the first time homebuyer credits).  Nothing dramatic here, but the condo market may have already hit bottom while the market among single family homes is coasting there … almost there….

Visually, the median list price “looks” like this when viewed over the course of the last year and both the conglomerates of single family homes and condos are shown (rather than broken down by price quartile):


Campbell single family homes and condos


These kinds of graphs and charts can be a little deceiving, though. The perception has a lot to do with which data you’re looking at. Below is JUST the combined “curve” for the median price of single family homes over the last 1 year.