While most of Santa Clara County (and Silicon Valley too) is filled with ranch style homes, there’s more to the South Bay than the typical rambler. Some areas, such as Los Gatos, Willow Glen, and Palo Alto, seem to be a magnet for diverse types of architecture. Our local multiple listing service, MLSListings.com, includes the following categories for these varied types of homes. It’s not a perfect list, of course, as several of them have a few sub types (think Spanish and Victorian especially). Perhaps rather than Eichler, which is a prominently known mid-century modern home, the category should have been the broader mid-century modern, since there are many which are similar but cannot be attributed to Eichler in particular. In any event, here’s the list:
Today I was wondering which of these types is “in style”, making them sell faster? Fashion comes and goes, and can be local, or related to price point or other elements, so looking at the architectural style by itself may or may not be helpful – but it is something to consider. There’s also the subjective element. My husband and I own a house with a ranch floor plan but a Spanish elevation (or exterior style), built in the late 70s. Personally, I love all kinds of Spanish style homes, but especially those from the 1920s, the Spanish Revival or Santa Barbara Spanish homes. If my home were to go on the market, would it be a ranch, a Spanish, or perhaps creatively, a Mediterranean? You see the problem here! (Our mls does allow identifying either no types, one type, or several! So a house could be called a Cabin, a Country English and Traditional – or nothing at all.)
That said, I spent some time on the multiple listing and considered single family homes in Santa Clara County: all price ranges, sizes, cities, school districts, etc., and worked out the months of inventory for these properties based on the identified style of the home.
Overall, homes are selling at a good rate with about 1.17 – 1.25 months of inventory (see bottom of this chart), so about 5 weeks of inventory. What can we glean from the breakdown by style of the months of inventory in the San Jose area? It’s clear that some styles do sell faster than others. The fastest selling home types are in bold: Cape Cod, Cottage/Bungalow, Craftsman, Eichler, Ranch and Traditional – whatever that might be – are all selling at faster than average. Back to my disclaimers: some of these are also found in either the hottest market areas (loads of Eichlers in Palo Alto & nearby) and others seem to be more affordable (Cottage/Bungalow implies small, and that in turn points to more affordable if all things are even)
Some home types do not appear to be selling well as compared to the rest of the list, though: the Old World French and Tudor appear to be the least popular, and Georgian would seem to be non-existent here (I confess, I’d have to look that one up to know what it is). Modern/High Tech is also apparently a challenge to move. Oddly, Mediterranean is over 2 months while Spanish is very close to typical. Perhaps home buyers are rebelling against the cookie cutter tract houses labeled as Mediterranean but in fact looking nothing at all like a house you’d find in Nice or Genoa. (My pet peeve: “Tuscan homes” that look exactly nothing like what you would find in Tuscany, either in town or out in the rolling hills amidst the vineyards.)
Do take this all with a grain of salt. The main point is this: if you have a house with a strong architectural style, that may or may not be one which is popular at the moment. It may be popular in the town you love and in your price point, or it may not! What is most important is to factor this in if remodeling or building new. If home buyers today all crave Craftsman, as they seem to do in Los Gatos today, perhaps building a Tudor or another stuccoed Mediterranean isn’t your best idea.
As for me, I love Spanish, whether it’s in style or not, and my hope is to make my home more like those lovely homes in Santa Barbara over time, right down to the landscaping – just not in a drought year.