University Square neighborhood in Santa Clara

Quiet residential zone sign in the University Square neighborhood near SCUThe University Square neighborhood in Santa Clara is walking distance to Santa Clara University. I grew up there, riding my bike in the forbidden college walkways, and recall my Realtor mother referring to the area as “Little Professorville.” That was a reference to a lovely Palo Alto neighborhood in the shadow of Stanford University. She wasn’t wrong – we knew some professors who walked to SCU each day from that neighborhood, including my grandfather.

Where is the University Square neighborhood?

The neighborhood may not have exact boundaries, but appears to be bordered by Park Avenue on the east, Washington Street on the west, the University to the north, and Newhall Avenue to the south.

The area closest to the campus is fairly congested, both with density of housing and the amount of cars parked everywhere. This is where you’ll see the reminder that it’s a quiet, residential zone.

 

University Square neighborhood in Santa Clara

 

A drive through the area will make it clear where there are tons of cars – and where it’s less congested.

 

Alviso Street in University Square close to Santa Clara University

 

Get past Poplar, though, and suddenly it’s a completely different feel, with almost no cars on the street and homes being spread further apart.

 

Ranch style house in University Square with large picture window facing front

 

The homes found between Washington and Park, and along Alviso Street, are mixed architecturally. Some streets, like Circle Drive and College Avenue, are primarily ranch style houses built from 1955 – 1950 (some of the county records say 1900 – that just means they lost the records and don’t know!). Some of these have been expanded tremendously. The house I grew up in as a child was 1400 square feet, but it’s been added onto a couple or more times and is now more than 3000 SF.

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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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Meet the Oak Canyon Neighborhood of Almaden Valley in San Jose

Almaden Valley in San Jose is comprised of many neighborhoods and subdivisions. One of them, close to the border with Los Gatos and Cambrian Park, is particularly popular: the Oak Canyon neighborhood.

There are many reasons for its draw among Silicon Valley home buyers: the houses were well built by Shea Homes in about 1980, so they are relatively newer by Silicon Valley standards. They’re larger homes on comfortable lots, often 8000 sf or so but some as small as 6500 sf and others larger than a quarter acre in the Oak Canyon corner of Almaden.

Most of the homes boast a 3 car garage, which is a big help with storage of stuff, if not storage of cars. The roads gently turn, which makes a more pleasing look. It’s a very “conforming” neighborhood where everyone keeps up the homes and yards. Much of Almaden is viewed by consumers as somewhat remote, but this section, near the mouth of Almaden, is not too deep into the valley and is a better commute location for most. One of the largest pulls for the area, though, is the nearby elementary school, Guadalupe School, which has an excellent reputation for quality education and ranks exceedingly well on testing.

 

Where is the Oak Canyon neighborhood in Almaden Valley, San Jose?

Oak Canyon is found near the intersection of Camden Avenue and Coleman Road in San Jose but is bordered by Coleman on one side and the Guadalue Creek on the other sides. (The far side of the Guadalupe Creek at this point is Cambrian Park.)  Just the other side of Coleman Road is the Montevideo neighborhood, and next to that is the Almaden Meadows neighborhood.

 

Oak Canyon Neighborhood Map

 

And to provide some bearings, here’s a map of the Almaden Valley district of San Jose generally:

 

Almaden Valley Map

 

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Why are those Silicon Valley HOA dues so high?

Homeowner Association DuesWhy are some HOA dues so high in certain Silicon Valley townhouse or condo communities?

If you are shopping for a Silicon Valley condominium, townhouse, loft or other property that’s part of a home owners association or “HOA”, you may find yourself flabbergasted at some of the dues being charged in San Jose, Los Gatos, Saratoga, and all over Santa Clara Valley. Today we’ll go over what may be happening in them to cause this problem.

HOA dues may cover a number of things, and if it’s a luxury complex with luxury amenities, those dues will be high:

  • common areas, such as driveways, parking, pool, fitness center, rec room, elevators, landscaping, golf course membership, etc.
  • insurance: regular homeowners or blanket insurance but perhaps also earthquake or flood insurance
  • reserve account funds for planned improvements may have run too low and need bolstering (repainting, termite work, reroofing, repaving, pool plastering etc.)
  • covering the defaults from units where the owners are in or about to be in foreclosure

What is the range of pricing for HOA dues in Santa Clara County and Silicon Valley?

Depending on the age of the property and the amenities, the dues may run between $300 and $350 on the low end (newer, no amenities) to close to a thousand on the high end (The Villages retirement community has extraordinarily high dues but they may include membership in the golf course too). I’ve seen some in Menlo Park closer to $2,000 per month!

“Normal” is anywhere from $400 to $500 per month for a typical condo or townhome community.

Dues over $600 per month will deter investment buyers.  Dues over $700 per month will deter almost everyone! (more…)

Neighborhoods and homes of Silicon Valley

Whether you call it the San Jose area, Santa Clara County, Silicon Valley, The South Bay, or even the old moniker of “The Valley of Heart’s Delight”, there is a lot to love about living here. I’ve put together a gallery with a taste of the residential communities in and near San Jose, including Almaden, Willow Glen, Cambrian, Evergreen, Los Gatos, Saratoga, Monte Sereno, Campbell, Cupertino, Santa Clara and more. Sit back and enjoy the photos!

 

 

There are still some original adobe houses in Silicon Valley!

It’s possible to live in Silicon Valley and have no idea that there are still some original adobe houses to be found right here in the San Jose area. Today, though, I hope to help some of our residents discover the past which is lurking right in front of us!

The historic Adobe Woman’s Club is just a block or two off the campus of Santa Clara University, tucked away on a side street now that The Alameda is re-routed as The El Camino.  Address: 3260 The Alameda, Santa Clara.  According to the state’s historical preservation site, this state landmark # 249 is one of the oldest in the Santa Clara Valley, was built between 1792 and 1800 and was one of many row houses built for the native Americans who worked at Mission Santa Clara.  Please note that this is private property and you may not enter without permission, but the adobe abode is very visible from the sidewalk.

Today the beautifully preserved adobe house functions as a nonprofit group with these objectives: “to promote educational, moral, social welfare, cultural, civic and community service.  Anyone who supports these objectives is welcome.”  This scenic place can also be rented out for private events.  The garden is quite lovely and the interior appears to be very modern.  You can see photos of the inside of the house at the club’s website: The Santa Clara Woman’s Club.

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Santa Clara County Market Update By School District Q1 2014

Today I’m sharing with you Silicon Valley real estate statistics which were presented to me by my company, Sereno Group. These are “by school district” and I think you will find them immensely insightful! First, though, a brief commentary on the overall findings, then statistics for single family homes (mostly houses but a few “duet homes”) in Santa Clara County, and lastly, the same info but for condominiums and townhouses.

 

Sereno Market Report Intro May 10 2014

 

Please find the real estate market statistics by school district in the Santa Clara County area next.  Please note that the San Jose Unified School District is extremely large and varied, and the numbers would be very different if you were narrowing it to Almaden Valley with Leland High School as opposed to some areas which are not performing nearly as well.

 

Market Report By School District Quarter 1 2004 Single Family Homes

 

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San Francisco and San Jose – Sunnyvale – Santa Clara areas named as among the most dynamic in the world

San Francisco and the San Jose – Sunnyvale – Santa Clara metro areas were named named as among the most dynamic in the world in a study from Jones Lang LaSalle, a commercial real estate firm, as reported in MSN real estate news recently.  Silicon Valley is a bit of an amorphous thing, with loose boundaries which seem to be as much a state of mind as a geographical location.  Even so, The Valley has been inching northward through the Peninsula into San Francisco in recent years, so it is no surprise that with our current tech boom, both areas made the list.  I think it would be a mistake to think that the San Francisco Peninsula isn’t included generally since it’s book-ended by these areas.

Where else is named?

  1. San Francisco
  2. London
  3. Dubai
  4. Shanghai
  5. Wuhan (China)
  6. New York
  7. Austin
  8. Hong Kong
  9. San Jose (metro area: includes Santa Clara and Sunnyvale, and presumably nearby)
  10. Singapore

Get the whole story here:

http://realestate.msn.com/blogs/post–the-most-dynamic-cities-of-2014

 

 

 

One of the happiest places in the U.S.: the San Jose, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara metro area – Silicon Valley!

State of American Well Being - San Jose - Sunnyvale - Santa Clara ranks 5th in U.S.MSN real estate tends to feature real estate news in bite-sized slide shares with images (and links for home buyers to search properties listed for sale on Realtor.com). A new study, more complicated and comprehensive than would normally be published for consumers to digest,was summarized there from Gallup and Healthways Well-Being Index, known as The American State of Well Being study, a poll of 178,000 people in 2013 across the country.  The distilled info is broken down by state, metro area or city and also by congressional district.  San Jose – Sunnyvale – Santa Clara (the metro area in Santa Clara County, what we would call Silicon Valley) came in quite strong!   MSN picked it up, condensed the info and provided a list displaying a sample of homes for sale in the  10 happiest cities in the U.S., which you can read online here.

Not surprisingly for residents of The Golden State, California landed three of the ten spots.  Cites or areas named as where people are the happiest ones in the United States are:

  1. Provo, Utah
  2. Boulder, Colorado
  3. Fort Collins, Colorado
  4. Honolulu, Hawaii
  5. San Jose, California
  6. Ann Arbor, Michigan
  7. Naples, Florida
  8. San Luis Obispo, California
  9. San Francisco, California
  10. Lincoln, Nebraska

Silicon Valley, Santa Clara County and the San Jose area still are “The Valley of Heart’s Delight“, at least that’s how it seems when the locals are polled!

Because the San Jose – Sunnyvale – Santa Clara area is a “metro” area, it would seem to include these nearby towns and cities:  Los Altos, Palo Alto, Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, Saratoga, Cupertino, Mountain View, Campbell, Los Altos Hills and other parts of Santa Clara County.  Congrats to the whole South Bay region!

To learn more about this study and its results, please click on the Gallup-Healthways link above.

 

 

 

With scarce competition, now is an ideal time to sell Silicon Valley real estate with location issues

The Silicon Valley real estate market is always good for someone – buyers, sellers, investor, move up or move down home owners.  Right now, it’s good for sellers because there is far more demand than supply in most of the region.

Some properties are usually hard to sell in normal markets unless they are deeply discounted.  These are the homes or lots where there are location problems or issues, such as being on a busy road or adjacent to something less desirable (high voltage power lines, railroad tracks, freeway, etc.).  This current real estate climate provides an easier selling opportunity for those home owners who would like to be home sellers.   The tighter the inventory, the better the odds are of being able to sell real estate with issues (assuming that it’s priced in line with the market).  Today I did a quick study of the months of inventory (MOI) on our multiple listing service, MLSListings.com, for a few places around the county.  The image below is my handiwork, with the areas enjoying the best market for selling (lowest MOI) at the top.

 

Santa Clara County Months of Inventory Jan 28 2014

 

It should be noted that this is an overview only, and that each area has lots of micro-markets, which can be investigated themselves (refining the search by school district, price point, age of home, with or without pool, and so on).   The general trend seems to be that it’s very difficult for the more expensive markets such as Monte Sereno, Los Altos Hills, Los Gatos, and Saratoga.  But if you were to break it down and view many of these in their lowest pricing tier, you’d likely find that in most of these places, the least expensive homes are moving fairly swiftly.  I pointed this out in two examples only above – for Palo Alto and Los Gatos.

How does this information assist a home owner with a location challenge?  If you are thinking of selling and your home is in an area with a very low “months of inventory”, that’s a good indicator that right now may be an ideal time for your home to be on the market.   The real estate market is red hot in Santa Clara, Milpitas, Sunnyvale, the Cambrian area of San Jose, and several other parts of Santa Clara County – particularly in the under $1 million price range.  Interested in investigating this more?  Please call or email me and we’ll set up a confidential, no obligation appointment.