The Santa Clara County real estate market is very similar to last month: inventory remains tight, home prices continue rising year over year, interest rates came down a little more last week, and most listings are “have to sell” situations (more sales after a death than usual).
Here’s the RE Report summary table for the Santa Clara County real estate market. It’s an excellent summary of our Silicon Valley housing market.
Santa Clara County real estate market statistics: multi year real estate data charts for (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.
Months of Inventory
First, the months of inventory. This is a great summary statistic for the Santa Clara County real estate market. At 1.3 months of inventory it’s a pretty clear seller’s market. It’s also not atypical for this time of year.
Next, inventory – how much is there for buyers to choose from? Almost nothing. And what is for sale is often not stunning since the majority seem to be “must sell” situations.
Orchard and Hills in Saratoga, California
The Saratoga CA real estate market is a strengthening sellers’ market.
- the average and median home prices are up year over year – by double digits (it’s down monthly) – just like the month prior
- inventory of Saratoga houses for sale is rising, but still far lower than normal – just like September
- the sale to list price ratio is 101.3%, indicating a good seller’s market, but not as hot as September
Here’s a quick overview from the RE Report details below or please view the full data here.
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 zip code) 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
Data below for the Saratoga CA real estate market is from the ReReport.
Prices are up annually but down monthly – however, that is with just 13 sales, which may be too few to really indicate what’s happening. The sale to list price ratio and the short days on market tell us that it is a hot market.
|Trends At a Glance
|No. of Sales
|Sale vs. List Price
|Days on Market
|Days of Inventory
And the month before:
Saratoga is a highly desirable place in which to live, a great retreat from the hustle and bustle of Silicon Valley. Nestled into the base of the Santa Cruz Mountains, it is just a few miles to the north of Los Gatos. You can’t miss the scenic beauty!
What is Saratoga known for?
Today, this foothill community is best known as an upscale Silicon Valley suburban city with a quaint downtown, excellent restaurants, top notch public schools, low crime, beautiful hillsides, wonderful shops, and some first class entertainment venues – plus, of course, stunning estate properties.
Exceptional entertainment is abundanthere. Take in concerts at The Mountain Winery (formerly called Paul Masson Mountain Winery) and at Villa Montalvo, two lovely outdoor venues for music, or go wine tasting or horseback riding at Cooper-Garrod off Pierce Road. The younger Saratoga Library is a wonderful place to spend a rainy winter day too.
Saratoga’s history, in brief
This city began as a logging town with two communities – one where The Village is today, and one further into the hills where the loggers lived and worked.
The community had several names: Toll Gate, McCartysville, and Bank Mills before it became Saratoga. The last iteration was due to the hot springs up the hill from the village.
When logging died down, farming emerged as a major factor in the local economy. Vineyards and wineries were big business in the Santa Clara Valley prior to Prohibition. Some remained after, but not so many.
Fruit and nut orchards were also hugely important locally. In fact, the largest prune orchard in the world was once Hume Ranch, which had 680 acres of prune trees! Today, this area is referred to as the Platinum Triangle.
After World War II, things changed throughout the county. Shifts were seen with Food Machinery Corp becoming FMC, pushing out farming equipment in favor of tanks over time. And the changes were just beginning.
The highly regarded schools are a big draw for newcomers to this west valley community.
What’s not so well known is that there are a few school districts which serve the 95070 area:
Like most of the cities and towns nearby, the school district lines do not follow the city boundaries (the school boundaries were set first, when most of the area was unincorporated), so there are several districts within the city of Saratoga, and this can be confusing when people relocate here!
The population of the valley grew, land became more expensive from one set of hills to the other, and open space became housing, particularly from the 60s on. Builders developed small and large tracts that had previously been orchards into suburban neighborhoods.
The Portos-Harleigh neighborhood is a highly sought after community in Saratoga. Suburban yet centrally located, walkable, and easy access for commuters. Keep reading to learn more about this neighborhood, its homes, the local amenities, possible concerns, and home costs.
Neighborhood Profile: Boundaries and Property Descriptions
This community encompasses a number of streets north of West Valley College, and is named by its most prominent streets: Portos Drive and Harleigh Drive. It’s major borders are Saratoga Ave to the north west, Fruitvale Ave to the west, and Allendale Ave to the south between Fruitdale and Via Alto Ct.
This community lies within the greater Gardiner Park neighborhood (according to NextDoor), which also includes the Saratoga Gardens subdivision, Aspesi / Casa Blanca, and Riverdale communities to the north, and Peremont tract to the east.
It includes multiple tracts and was primarily built up in the 1960s and 1970s, but there are younger homes as well. Kerwin Ranch Ct and the end of Ronnie Wy are two smaller tracts built up between 1987 – 1995. Throughout the neighborhood there have been individual rebuilds over the years.
Most homes are on large, standard lots, but there are a smattering of flag lots as well.
The Average Portos-Harleigh Home
If I pull the data on homes in this mapped area. Here’s what the “average home” would look like:
The Parker Ranch neighborhood is found in the low western foothills of Saratoga along the Cupertino border, making it a fantastic commute location for many high tech workers. With larger homes and lots, it’s easy to stretch out! The rolling hills make a pleasant vista, or, if you’re in a higher elevation provide beautiful valley views. The Parker Ranch subdivision boasts highly acclaimed Cupertino schools. There are many reasons why this is a much beloved area of Saratoga.
There are just shy of 80 houses and luxury homes in Parker Ranch, so it’s not a hugely populous area, but it is fairly large. Here are a few quick facts on this scenic subdivision:
- Range of home size: 2,797-7,500 SF
- Average SF: 4,517 SF
- Range of lot size: 22,000-146,361 SF
- Average Lot: 70,786 SF
- Years Built: 1900-2013, lots of development in the 1980s
Side note for history buffs: this land was once owned by “Painless Parker“, the famous – or infamous – dentist. Click on the link to learn more!
What do homes cost in the Parker Ranch area?
Because there’s an incredible variety in home and lot size, as well as age and condition, it’s not easy to pinpoint the likely price of the neighborhood. However, as a very broad rule, most homes will currently sell north of $3.5 million.
What are the subdivision’s boundaries?
Map Boundaries: Streets include Vista Arroyo Ct, Star Ridge Ct, Prospect Rd (pasture only), Picea Ct, Pheasant Ridge Rd, Parker Ranch Rd (major road), Parker Ranch Ct, Farr Ranch Rd (2nd major road), Farr Ranch Ct, Diamond Oaks Ct, Continental Cir, Comer Dr, and Chiquita Ct. To the W and N, the border is Prospect rd. A SW portion borders the Saratoga Country Club. To the S is Mt Eden.
Any special issues with Parker Ranch homes?
As with all homes in or near the coastal foothills, there are special challenges that go with the scenic views and abundant open spaces. Water and drainage will be very important to manage here, controlling the flow of the water away from the home and away from crawl spaces takes more work when there are slopes.
There are high voltage power lines running through part of the community, with some homes built very close to both the lines and the towers.
Part of Parker Ranch may hear train sounds. Some of the area may be in unstable soils zone (landslide areas, common west of Saratoga Sunnyvale Road). Most or perhaps all of it is in the Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone, which is a higher risk area for fire, but also means the insurance premiums will be much more expensive.
Homes for sale in Parker Ranch
Saratoga, CA – on the popehandy.com site
The Bellgrove neighborhood in Saratoga, California, is an attractive, newer subdivision in a convenient location with Saratoga schools. It is highly sought after for all of those reasons.
Bellgrove neighborhood houses
Most homes and yards are very well tended, even pristine. Only a couple looked like they could use a little paint or get their front yards tidied up a little. This community is really quite beautiful. Often when communities look this good it’s because of the HOA’s enforcement and the HOA dues. There’s no Homeowner’s Association (HOA) enforcing aesthetics, it’s just the pride of ownership at work.
What will you find at Bellgrove? Here are some key features in this luxury neighborhood.
- There are 94 homes in this subdivision
- The homes were build by Greenbrier in 1996 (date per county records)
- All of the houses provide 5 bedrooms
- All of them have 3 full bathrooms
- All enjoy 3 car garages
- All are 2 stories – no single story homes available
- There are 3 floorplans, with the smallest offering 2900 SF and the largest 3139 SF
- Lots run from 5803 SF to 11,154 SF (the older house, not part of the tract, has just over 18,000 SF)
- The neighborhood includes a large greenbelt area, a playground, and a par course up against the freeway
- The Bellgrove neighborhood is within the boundaries of highly desired school districts: the Saratoga Union School District (K-8) and the Los Gatos Saratoga Union High School District
Most homes do not have pools – just 11 of the 94 do.
Most homes are owner occupied – only 7 are rented out.
Is 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.
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
The Cameo Park West neighborhood is located close to where Los Gatos, Campbell, and Saratoga meet. It’s actually in the City of Campbell but has a Los Gatos mailing address. This is a tidy community bordered by Pollard Road, San Tomas Aquino Creek, the Highway 85 freeway, and Rolling Hills Middle School.
The 122 or so homes here were built in 1966 and 1967 by one of the better tract builders in the area, Leep Homes. Houses range from 1380 square feet to 2620 SF, and lot sizes run between 6000 SF and about 12,600 SF. A typical home might have around 1800 SF and be situated on an 8000 SF lot. The houses have thoughtful floor plans and the bedrooms and living areas are usually a good size.
Leep homes tend to have a fairly consistent layout – here are the 1 story home traits
- most are single story homes
- front porch with two bedrooms facing the front (sometimes one goes further into the front yard than the other)
- formal entryway, often with double doors
- step down living room straight ahead from the foyer (the rest of the house is all the same level)
- fireplace located on side of living room closest to kitchen – it’s often a two way fireplace
- kitchen (and sometimes also a family room) just behind the garage
- laundry in the attached 2 car garage but close to the kitchen, usually immediately next to the door from the garage to the kitchen
- bedrooms are all down a hall in the opposite direction from the kitchen. Just before the master bedroom suite there will be the hall bath (then inside the master suite, the owner’s bathroom and then bedroom)
- the master bedroom faces the back yard, often leading to a patio shared between the kitchen (family room) and living room
- central, forced air heat
- hardwood floors
- copper plumbing
- no formal dining room (but plenty of space in the kitchen for eating)
- sliding glass doors from the master bedroom, the living room and kitchen / family room
Below is a pan of one of the streets in Cameo Park West, taken in 2011.
Strengths and weaknesses of the Cameo Park West neighborhood
It’s very easy to list the strengths of this neighborhood: it’s very clean, well kept, had a good builder, convenient location (close to two schools and only a block or two or three to Safeway and nearby shops). Major shopping is within easy reach at Westgate, El Paseo and nearby (appx 7 minute drive). For those wishing to take Lawrence Expressway, it’s a breeze – just hop onto Quito and it becomes Lawrence, making a lot of commutes simpler, easier and faster. For Los Gatos, this location is closer to places like Apple, Google, and other high tech centers (as compared to downtown Los Gatos or east LG).
The elementary school is Marshall Lane, the middle is Rolling Hills and the high is Westmont. Both the elementary and middle enjoy high scores on the major school assessment websites.
The negatives do not impact everyone, but that said, they do exist. At one end of the neighborhood, there’s super close proximity to Highway 85, to the train tracks and to the high voltage power lines and towers. Those are never a plus.
Many homes along Elwood back up to Rolling Hills Middle School. Is that a negative or a positive? That really depends on your point of view, and some would prefer to back to a school yard than to another house. But most buyers would prefer another location for their home.
What do homes cost in the Cameo Park West area?
Like most of the 95032 zip code, it’s unlikely to find a house for under $1.5 million there today (if you do, it is likely in “fixer” condition). To be able to purchase one of these homes, be prepared to pay between $1.7 million and $1.8 million in most cases. Of course, it could always be less or more depending on exact location, size and condition of home, plus the marketing situation (is it easy to see, is it clean and without bad odors, has it been fairly updated etc.).
Sorry, but we couldn't find any results in the MLS that match
the specified search criteria.
What does it cost to buy a home with really good schools in Silicon Valley? Los Gatos, Saratoga, Cupertino and Palo Alto are all areas with highly regarding public schools and high home prices. These aren’t the only areas with good schools but they are popular “west valley” areas that people may consider if working for Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook or any number of high tech employers.
Los Gatos and Saratoga both have multiple school districts, running from good to very good or excellent. The cost of housing tends to follow the popularity of the district, so for those areas I’m showing the breakdown not just for the whole town of Los Gatos but also by the high school district (Los Gatos-Saratoga or Campbell Union High School District). Same with Saratoga. (The Monte Sereno real estate market is very similar to Los Gatos, but slightly more expensive. Most of Monte Sereno has Los Gatos schools, but a small number of homes are in the Campbell area.)
Cost Comparison: 4 West Valley Communities with Good Schools
Here are the average numbers for single family homes sold in the last 60 days ranging from 1,500 – 2,500 square feet, on a lot between 5,000 and 10,000 SF, with 3-5 bedrooms and 2-3 bathrooms to give a sense of what it would cost to purchase a typical house in these areas. Please note that right now it’s a strong seller’s market, so many (if not most or all) homes are selling for more than the list price. DOM stands for days on the market.
If you are new to Santa Clara County, you may be wondering if this is correct. The cost to buy a home in these areas is what?
- Los Gatos: approximately $2,000,000 to $2,600,000 depending on the school district and size of the home and condition (more on that below)
- Saratoga: more on this below, but approximately $2,800,000 to about $3,500,000 depending on the schools, condition, etc.
- Cupertino: approx $2,600,000 – $3,200,000 (some areas will bring in higher prices and others lower)
- Palo Alto: approx $2,700,000 – $3,900,000 and any home over 2,000 SqFt (except for one fixer) sold at or over $3.7M
Remember, these prices do not mean that the houses being sold are perfect. Because it is a strong seller’s market, many properties are being sold which need new roofing, extensive pest work, remodeling, perhaps updating of electrical or plumbing systems or more. Many home buyers will need to spend 1-2% on things like termite fumigation, dry rot or roof repairs, carpets, paint, windows and more, and usually this will be done before they move in. So whatever the budget is, buffer it a little bit for both money and time to make it turnkey.
A Closer Look: Los Gatos and Saratoga
You keep reading that it’s still a “seller’s market” in Silicon Valley real estate. You hear about homes recieving multiple offers and prices getting pushed up. Yet with interest rates still threatening to rise and more layoffs, not everyone is ready to take the plunge to sell.
Should you jump in as a San Jose area seller now?
Maybe, but if you do it, do it right! The dirty little secret that no one talks about is that not all Santa Clara County homes for sale are selling like it’s a hot market. They sit on the market, popping up on MLS searches for month after month, lower their prices, and might eventually accept an offer below asking price.
Dangerous Seller Myths
There are quite a few common myths that home owners believe about selling their property. Believe these, and act accordingly, and your chances of selling are dramatically damaged:
- my price is high, but buyers can always “make an offer”
- it’s a seller’s market, my home does not have to be perfect
- if I fix up the home to sell, the buyer may not like the changes (this one is especially common)
- it was like this when I bought it, so I don’t have to improve it now
- I have lived with (fill in the blank) forever, there’s nothing wrong with it
Getting the home prepped and pricing right matter tremendously. Today let’s focus on preparing and staging.