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 is finally cooling off, though 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:

  • Inventory and sales are all well above this time last year, though since the month before sales are slowing down and inventory is climbing
  • The average sale to list price ratio also shrank month-over-mont and remains above last year!
  • Days on market slowed with a quick 12 day average and nearly double the time for market absorption (days of inventory) at just 23 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 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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The Cambrian Park Real Estate Market Update

Cambrian Park Real Estate Market graphicThe Cambrian Park real estate market remains a strong seller’s market with prices continuing to rise as compared to the same month a year ago.

For those new to the area, Cambrian is most of the 95124 zip code (south of Foxworthy) and most of 95118 (west of Almaden Expressway). It borders Los Gatos, Campbell, Willow Glen, and Blossom Valley.

The Cambrian Park Real Estate Market Trends at a Glance

The chart below is from our subscription to the RE Report.  The market has soften a little, but it’s no relief for buyers with properties selling 8% over list price on average and selling in 17 days on average, too.

The month over month prices are down a little, which is seasonally fairly normal, but prices remain up compared to a year ago.

Trends At a GlanceJun 2024Previous MonthYear-over-Year
Median Price$1,800,000 (-7.1%)$1,938,000$1,725,000 (+4.3%)
Average Price$1,948,770 (-3.5%)$2,019,380$1,929,600 (+1.0%)
No. of Sales38 (-37.7%)6157 (-33.3%)
Pending38 (+11.8%)3436 (+5.6%)
Active31 (-3.1%)3223 (+34.8%)
Sale vs. List Price108.0% (-3.4%)111.8%109.1% (-1.1%)
Days on Market17 (+106.6%)810 (+63.1%)
Days of Inventory24 (+50.3%)1612 (+102.2%)

 

 

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Santa Clara County Real Estate Market

The Santa Clara County real estate market conditions were a little cooler in June with slightly longer days on market and slightly lower sales to list price ratio, but home prices rose annually  just the same, with the highest June prices ever.

  • Home prices eased back in June from May 2024 for Santa Clara County for both the average and median sale prices. Prices were WELL above the same month for 2023, though.
  • Inventory is rising, but buyers lament the lack of good inventory. A lot of properties on the market have location issues or need a lot of work (or both, in some cases).
  • Days on market are up a hair monthly, but lower than a year ago.
  • The sale to list price cooled a little from May 2024, but is hotter than June 2023.
  • Interest rates are remaining up and are  a major hurdle for home buyers.
  • Seasonality is at play: the market usually flattens or cools in June (graduations, weddings, travel, etc.), but we are hearing that the market generally is a little cooler than normal for this time of year. This could be from the interest rates, high temps, high home prices, or the upcoming election – there are lots of possible causes. For buyers, this is an opportunity!

Numbers vary slightly between the RE Report and hand-pulled data from the MLS, but the trends are still clearly visible – it’s a hot market heading towards summer.

 

June 2024 sales stats in Santa Clara County

Here’s the RE Report summary table or TRENDS AT A GLANCE. It’s an excellent summary of our Silicon Valley housing market.

 

Santa Clara County stats at a glance - SFH and condos and townhouses

Real estate market statistics

 

Multi year real estate data charts for Santa Clara County real estate market (single family homes)

PLEASE NOTE: to view any of the data tables / images below in a larger version, just click on them and you will be taken to our blog post, where the images are larger (except for the first one). Still too small? Click on them in the article and a larger still version will pop up. 

 

Inventory

The inventory is up quite a bit both month over month and year over year.

 

 

Santa Clara County inventory - Single family homes

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How to get a great buyer’s agent – and keep them

You and your great buyer's agent teamwork graphic - puzzle pieces and 2 peopleA great buyer’s agent can be hard to find and keep. Here’s what to do to enlist the help of one and how to make sure you stick together as a team and get you into your new home.

Summary:

Only a fraction of all interested home buyers actually buy in the year they say that they plan to do so.  For various reasons they decide to keep renting, or move away, or give up, or simply don’t write offers that are selected (they may chronically low-ball)

  • Some home buyers are very serious but also very time consuming, and if it takes them a long time to buy, it can be draining for their real estate agent, and if prices are rising, it can shrink the odds of success.
  • Many Realtors prefer to work with sellers when the market is hot – which it nearly always is in Silicon Valley, since most homes do sell (while far fewer buyers buy).
  • Buyers who want to enlist a strong Realtor will need to be serious about home buying, able and ready (have the money and a pre-approval in place), and loyal as the starting point.  Your real estate licensee may ask you to sign a buyer representation agreement, just as home sellers sign a listing contract. This will be required by law by mid-July 2024.
  • To be taken seriously, when you first contact your agent, DO:
    • share your full name
    • share your real contact info (including an email address that you actually check)
    • specifically what you are targeting
    • how you got their name
    • your timing and anything else important
  • Understand that we agents get many scammers approaching us. Do your best to look authentic. Scammers say “I want to buy a house in your area. Contact me on WhatsApp”.  If you sound like a scammer, your initial approach may backfire so badly that your message gets you blocked in the future. (I get several scammers texting me each week.)
  • If for any reason you haven’t done all of the above upfront, please correct it if needed over time. For instance, if you provided a “junk” email account and never check it, your agent may find your perfect home but not be able to inform you of it if you never look at those emails.
  • To keep your great buyer’s agent on your team, it’s imperative that you allow that Realtor to guide you, whether it’s getting preapproved with a strong lender, deciding on priorities (must have versus nice-to-have list), or moving quickly to view houses, or taking the paperwork seriously – or any other major step. You need to be as motivated as your agent!
    And communicate openly if there’s an issue. I’ve had clients tell me that the pre-approval needs to wait until they’ve been at their new job until a certain date. Whatever it is, ignoring requests given to help you without explaining the backstory won’t be good for your teamwork and could get you fired as a client. (Yes, Realtors sometimes fire their clients.)

    • If you fail to do these things, your agent may not feel like your odds of buying a house are good, or that the stress associated with doing so will be higher than necessary if you stall on taking the proper steps.
    • Put another way, if you hire an agent because of her or his knowledge and track record, but then don’t heed that agent’s professional advice, the relationship may not do well over the long run.  Think of it like a sack race: both people have to be going in the same direction, carefully working together, or it’s not possible to move well (if at all).

Below, we will go over in more detail how to get and keep a great buyer’s agent in a seller’s market or in any market, for that matter.

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When are property taxes due in Santa Clara County?

When are property taxes due? The tax bill will have the dates, and the postcard has the assessed value of the property.When are property taxes due in Santa Clara County?  The schedule for when property taxes are due in Santa Clara County is not intuitive and confuses most people, at least initially.  The tax calendar is as follows:

  • Beginning of fiscal year: July 1st
  • First installment of taxes due covers July 1 – December 31st
  • Second installment of taxes due covers Jan 1 – June 30

Although you might expect the two bills to be due & payable 6 months apart, that’s not how it works!

Installment # 1 is due November 1 and is delinquent December 10th

Installment # 2 is due February 1 and is delinquent April 10th

Don’t confuse the income tax deadline with the property taxes due date

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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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Gilroy and the South County’s Fruit Stands and Farmland

Fruit stands are ubiquitous in rural Santa Clara County, particularly in the South County communities of Morgan Hill, San Martin, and Gilroy. If you’re driving to Los Angeles, you may not be able to miss the largest of them all, Casa de Fruta, which is just barely inside of Santa Clara County.

Fruit stands and where to find them

Along 152

f you’re driving to Los Angeles from Santa Clara County using Highway 5, you will turn off of Highway 101 and take Hwy 152 in Gilroy to cut across the Pacheco Pass to get to 5. Almost immediately on 152 you’ll encounter produce stands selling fruit, nuts, artichokes, and all sorts of vegetables, and, of course, garlic!

One of these fruit stands along Highway 152 near Gilroy is the Merry Cherry Fruit Stand.  There we have purchased some cherries (naturally!) and pistachios at various times. Here are a couple of photos from there,  taken in a May evening, around 6:15 or 6:30, so there are long shadows – but it was fabulous spring weather and very pleasant out. It’s a pretty typical roadside stand and there are many of them in this region.

Please note: some of the produce stands may take cash only, though I suspect it’s changed as technology has improved.

 

Merry Cherry fruit stand near Gilroy CA along Highway 152 - of of many produce and fruit stands in the South County area of Santa Clara County

 

This next photo was taken from the parking area of the Merry Cherry stand. I loved how the shadows looked in the groves of the ploughed field, waiting for the next planting, or perhaps for sprouts to soon appear.

 

farm field near Gilroy CA along highway 152 (photo taken at Merry Cherry fruit stand)

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The percentage of all cash sales in Santa Clara County

The percentage of all cash sales (all cash, no loans) rose in July, but the actual number of sales, shown immediately below, shrank a little. I pulled this data from the MLS today and it’s reflective of whatever the listing agent entered into the fields for financing.

Number of Cash Sales of Single Family Homes in Santa Clara County

 

Percentage of All cash sales, month by month, in Santa Clara County (single family homes)

Next, the actual percentage of all cash sales in the county for houses and duet homes.

Percentage of All Cash Sales in Santa Clara County for Jan 2013 - July 2023

 

The average for the 11 Julys shown is 13.9%, so July 2023 with 15.7% is interesting to see. Interest rates have skyrocketed over the last 14 months, forcing home prices down in the 2nd half of 2022. It’s a little surprising that we did not see a surge of cash buyers then, but their numbers stayed in the typical range from what I’m seeing.

Now, in mid 2023, we have seen both interest rates and home prices rising – at least for the first 6 months of the year – in most of the valley.

Cash buyers are usually investors, but not always. Sometimes they are homeowners who sold their long held family home and are now downsizing and buying with the proceeds of the larger home that they just sold. We don’t get that piece of data from the MLS, but anecdotally, that’s what I’m seeing with the cash offers I’m seeing and hearing about.

 

What does it mean that cash buyers are an increasing percentage of the closed sales?

  • Rising interest rates not only don’t harm the all cash, no loans buyers, it actually helps them as it weakens their competition
  • These buyers may be feeling more confident with the softened market and easier buying conditions generally
  • My thinking when we saw interest rates rising is that it would help the mortgage free buyer more than anyone else – that seems to be the case.

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Hot Times, Home Selling in the Summer!

Selling in SummerSelling your Silicon Valley home this summer? Don’t make the two most common mistakes which cost sellers money when marketing their home in the hottest months of the year!

Common Home Selling Mistakes in Summer

The “Closed Up” House

Many people try to beat the heat by closing up the house, turning off all the lights, and shutting blinds and curtains.  I see this all the time in summer, particularly if the San Jose area is enduring a horrendous heat wave. While it’s good practice for homeowners, it can cost home sellers!

Walking into a darkened house, condo or townhouse is a huge turn-off for home buyers. It’s depressing, unflattering, can make a space feel smaller and less inviting. Yes, we can turn on lights and open blinds, but the initial impression is terrible, and that feeling is often the one that sticks with buyers!

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