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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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 annually by a hair, and was down month over month
  • inventory in May of Saratoga houses for sale is up compared to the year before, but the same as in April 2024
  • the sale to list price ratio rose to 109.1% in May from 106.8% in April (and 101.2% in May 2023) – 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 GlanceMay 2024Previous MonthYear-over-Year
Median Price$4,037,500 (-4.2%)$4,215,000$3,790,000 (+6.5%)
Average Price$4,235,720 (-6.6%)$4,533,660$4,227,960 (+0.2%)
No. of Sales32 (+77.8%)1828 (+14.3%)
Pending22 (0.0%)2213 (+69.2%)
Active35 (0.0%)3520 (+75.0%)
Sale vs. List Price109.1% (+2.7%)106.3%101.2% (+7.8%)
Days on Market11 (-62.9%)2917 (-35.7%)
Days of Inventory33 (-41.8%)5621 (+53.1%)

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 Bellgrove neighborhood in Saratoga

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 view - tree lined street with sidewalks.

 

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.

Quick facts:

  • There are 94 homes in this subdivision
  • The homes were built 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.

 

House on Bellgrove Circle in the Bellgrove neighborhood of Saratoga, CA, 95070.

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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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Why do you keep losing out on multiple offers?

A crowd running to an open house - many of these losing out on multiple offers

Multiple Offers

Are you losing out on multiple offers? If it’s happened repeatedly, you may be hoping for a lucky break. But luck usually has nothing to do with success.

The real estate market in Silicon Valley is a hot seller’s market, and that means that often there are multiple offers, overbids, and sales with no contingencies. This is often the case with homes that sell in 2 weeks or less. Some buyers may get it on the first attempt, but many are bidding over and over – why do they keep losing out on multiple offers?

Over the course of my career, I have noticed that often there is a consistent “spread” of offers.  Most of the time, there’s a pack or band of offers at about the same level, sometimes 10% or more over list price, then a couple higher that that, and maybe one or two (once in awhile 3) at the top of the heap in terms of both price and terms which are attractive to the seller.

(There’s a video with my commentary on this below.)

Not everyone is losing out on multiple offers: what are the winners doing?

  1. The top offer frequently has the highest price and best terms. They aren’t losing out on multiple offers because no one else was willing or able to write such a high, strong contract.
    • It is 10-20% over list price or more, 25-30% down at least, and has no contingencies for inspection, loan, and most of all, appraisal (the percentage over has to do with whether the home was priced spot on the value or strategically under). Please see the video below for more on these items.
    • The winning offer’s buyers and agent followed directions. Normally that means that they come with all disclosures signed, and the buyer’s agent has even done her or his Agent Visual Inspection Disclosure. They include the proof of funds (all needed) which prove that the buyer can absorb any appraisal shortfall and is prepared to do so.  Sometimes the listing agent asks for a particular contract to be used or a particular summary sheet to be filled out. The best agents do all of that. The 2nd tier offers often are incomplete – the listing agents may or may not circle back and ask about missing items, so it’s important to remember that you only get one chance to make a first impression.
  2. The best offer is also someone who’s been SURE that he or she or they wanted the home from the very beginning and looks ROCK SOLID. NO WAVERING, not a “last minute” offer. Any hesitation on your side will cause the seller to not feel good about your odds of closing the sale. Be consistently interested if you want the sale. A shaky looking buyer may not include their proof of funds. They don’t come across as certain about buying this property and need a few days to see the property again, or show it to their parents, or otherwise confirm the decision to buy. Their agent is not so thorough. If the TDS is not fully signed off, is the buyers’ agent trying to sneak a 3 day right of cancellation into the contract? The best buyer’s offer doesn’t look shaky – it looks dead set on buying the home and has done everything possible to convince the seller of their conviction and competence.
  3. The second best or next runner up is usually strong on terms (at least 25% down, few or no contingencies) but perhaps made an offer price a little under the top value.  Sometimes the next runner up has a good price and mostly good terms, but something is not quite as solid – they didn’t offer to put the deposit into the escrow account the next day, they didn’t check all the needed boxes in the offer, they have a contingency when all the competing bids have none..  If the offers are tied but one buyer has no contingencies and the other has any, that will be the tie-breaker.
  4. Middle of the pack is usually a combination of a price where the home should appraise, a solid down payment, and few or no contingencies. It may be a price that seems “reasonable”. Buyers may feel that it is “a fair offer” or a win-win. Often the fair offers aren’t good enough to take the prize in multiple offers. If you can project what most buyers think a home will be worth, maybe you might want to consider getting ahead of that pack and seeing where the pricing trajectory will take you. The folks in the middle of the pack are usually the ones, together at the bottom, who keep losing out on multiple offers. (They will say things like “we are cautious…)
  5. Bottom offers are under, at, or barely over list price, and include an appraisal contingency as well as others (one for loan or one for property condition). If there’s a rent back, they want their PITI covered.

If you  repeatedly find yourself losing out on multiple offers, try to see your own pattern in this spread.  Is there one thing, or perhaps are there two or more things, you’re just not ready to do?

 

 

What do multiple offers look like to the sellers when receiving an offer? Click to view our post on popehandy.com and take a look at a side by side offer comparison sample.

Why it is so hard

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Saratoga: A Secluded, Classy Corner of Silicon Valley

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

Toll Gate in Saratoga 1850This 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.

Public schools

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!

Saratoga neighborhoods

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.

 

Saratoga neighborhoods map by Mary Pope-Handy and Clair Handy, Realtors

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Saratoga’s Portos-Harleigh Neighborhood

Portos-Harleigh NeighborhoodThe 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:

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Parker Ranch neighborhood

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.

Parker Ranch neighborhood home - Beautiful hillside estates, many with views

 

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!

 

Parker Ranch neighborhood home - 2 - August 2021

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.

 

Parker Ranch subdivision map - Saratoga, CA

 

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.

 

Parker Ranch in the Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone - Saratoga hazard zone

 

 

Homes for sale in Parker Ranch

 

 

Related Reading:

Saratoga, CA – on the popehandy.com site

 

 

 

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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Cameo Park West: Campbell neighborhood with Los Gatos mailing address

Cameo Park West - Leep Homes in Campbell with LG mailing addressThe 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.

 

Cameo Park West street in Campbell

 

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.