Live in Los Gatos

A resource for folks living in or moving to Los Gatos, by Mary Pope-Handy

End of Summer Night Ride

Billy Jones Wildcat Railroad - End of Summer Night Ride happens here in Los GatosEach August, the Billy Jones Wildcat Railroad and W.E. “Bill” Mason Carousel host their End of Summer Night Ride, a pasta dinner fundraiser! This year, the event will be held on Saturday, August 18th from 5:30pm – 8:30pm.

The carousel and train keep up an active summer season by participating in parades and holiday events (the train always draws a major crowd during the Independence Day celebrations in Oak Meadow) and with more open hours through the long, dry days. Even during the chilly rains of autumn and winter, they celebrate with the Holiday Train run during the Festival of Lights and are open on weekends. But what keeps the carousels running and the trains on track? Volunteers and donations! And they always appreciate more of both.

Billy Jones end of summer

These popular Los Gatos legacies rely on donations to survive, and there are multiple opportunities throughout the year to spend a little extra time with your favorite local attractions and help them keep doing what we love.

At the very end of the summer season, the railroad and carousel hold their second major fundraiser of the year – the End of Summer Night Ride and Pasta Dinner. Evening activities begin at 5:30pm, and the last train departs at 8:30pm. You can either purchase one combo train and carousel ticket, for one ride on each, at $6, or get the unlimited pass (sold per person) and ride as many times as you want all evening for $18. Remember that children 2 and under ride free with paying adult. Dinner is served from 6-8pm, and a $10 donation will get you a plate piled high with spaghetti and meat sauce, a garden salad or caprese, and garlic bread. Vegetarian options are available, and beverages are an extra fee (beer and wine will be available for purchase). Additional donations are always welcome.

Check out more event details, other events, and regular ticket pricing and open hours on the BJWRR website: https://bjwrr.org/events/

Share your interest in attending or invite your friends on the Night Ride and Pasta Dinner Facebook event page.

 

Fiesta de Artes in Los Gatos

Los Gatos Fiesta de Artes 2018Saturday August 11th and Sunday August 12th mark the return of the Fiesta de Artes Los Gatos, Art & Wine Festival, the only Art & Wine Festival in town all year!  It will be located at the Civic Center lawn, and the hours are 10 am to 6 pm both days.

What happens at the Fiesta de Artes?

Think food & drink, art & shopping, dancing & socializing! Once again, there will be more than 150 vendors with a huge variety of artists and vendors displaying and selling their artwork, plus booths with food and wine and of course loads of music throughout both days. The hours are 10am to 7pm Saturday and 10am to 5pm Sunday, but music plays a little longer ending at 9pm on Saturday and starting an hour before Sunday events open.

Where is the Fiesta de Artes held?

In previous years, the festival reserved the Civic Center lawn across the street from Los Gatos High School. Last year it was a block party on N Santa Cruz, but it has been moved back to the Civic Center lawn again for 2018.

For more information, please visit http://www.lgfiesta.org/

Screen on the Green in Los Gatos

Every September, the Town of Los Gatos hosts a free movie at Oak Meadow Park in the month of September for kids and kids-at-heart. This is the annual “Screen on the Green“.

In 2018, the movie will be Hotel Transylvania, and it will be September 28th,  2018. We’ll fill you in on the details when the date gets closer.

 

 

~~~~~~~~~~~ Info for the 2017 Screen on the Green is below ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Moana - Los Gatos CA Screen on the GreenSeptember 15th’s the night for the 2017 Screen on the Green! Fun activities for children begin at 6:00pm, with train rides, carousel rides, face painting, games and more. The film, Disney’s Moana, will begin at 7:30pm and will be projected onto a 25′ inflatable screen on the meadow. A snack bar will be open from 6:30-8:30pm, so have dinner before or bring a picnic. Bring a picnic and some blankets, then come early to grab a good seat!

Attendees, it is important to bring layers and something low to sit on – blankets, cushions, or low backed lawn chairs, are alright. I always bring a flashlight for after the show. The gopher holes in the lawn are easy to find by accident with your foot.

For additional details, please see the Los Gatos town website page for Screen on the Green:

http://www.losgatosca.gov/342/Screen-on-the-Green

 

 

NEW Altos Research Reports for Los Gatos & Monte Sereno

Altos Research has come out with a new format for its weekly market reports.

This week’s reports can be seen here:

You can use the “search bar” on any of these reports to find the market update on any zip code in Santa Clara County, too.  Like what you see? Sign up to get it each week in your inbox by clicking the “subscribe” button and providing your info.  If you subscribe, I’ll probably jot you a note to thank you and see if you want any other info. This is not a robo service, it’s me writing you personally. If you don’t hear from me but want to, please send me an email and I’ll respond asap.

95032 real estate market by quartile

 

Cameo Park West neighborhood

Cameo Park West neighborhood in Campbell / Los GatosLos Gatos, Campbell, and Saratoga meet near the intersection of Quito Road and Pollard Road in the far northwest end of LG. People driving through for the first time are often confused about what city is where. To complicate matters, some areas belong to one municipality but have the mailing address, or postal label, of another.

Such is the case with Cameo Park West, a lovely residential pocket of Campbell which is a bit of an outpost for that city and hence has a Los Gatos mailing address to make it simpler for letter carriers. The schools, of course, are not impacted either way since they have nothing to do with the city or town boundaries.

This popular neighborhood, which has claims of some sort to both areas is well built and well kept. For Los Gatans commuting to Cupertino or Sunnyvale, homes in west Los Gatos and nearby offer a shorter commute than from downtown LG or east Los Gatos.

What are homes like in Cameo Park West?

Cameo Park West HomeThe houses found along Elwood Drive, Hyde Drive, Hyde Court, Bearden Drive, and Pollard Court were built mostly in 1966 and 1967 by a well respected, San Francisco Bay Area builder of houses, Leep Homes. There were many extras that went into homes built by Leep, among them copper plumbing (well before that was typical), two way fireplaces, front porches, formal entry halls, step down living rooms, central forced air heat, wood shake roofs (originally, now most are composition shingle) and beautiful hardwood floors. This builder was active in Santa Clara County and we see Leep subdivisions throughout San Jose, Los Gatos, Campbell and many other places within Silicon Valley.

Cameo Park West homes range in size from 1380 square feet to 2620 square feet and sit on lots as small as 6000 SF to as big as 12,600 SF. Most lots are around 8000 SF and a typical house might be about 1800 SF with 3-4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. Most of the homes in this area are single story but a few are two stories.

Most houses are “interior” to the neighborhood, but some are close to or face Pollard Road, others are next to the freeway (and with it, the high voltage power lines & towers and also the train tracks) or the school or the creek. Many would prefer a creekside setting or a school as a back neighbor, but not everyone shares that feeling.

How expensive is Cameo Park West real estate?

As of this writing, late July 2018, in the current market homes have sold between about $1,500,000 and $2,000,000. Homes may still sell as low as $1.5 million or less if they’re small, have location issues and / or fixer uppers, but within the last year one sold as high as $1,805,000. Continue reading

The Catamount restaurant in Old Town

Recently, my husband and I enjoyed a wedding anniversary dinner at The Catamount restaurant in Old Town. We had been wanting to go for a few months, and it was a good occasion to give it a try. I’ll start by saying that I would go again in a heartbeat, and suggest that if you haven’t been pampered with a meal there, to put it on your “must do” list right away.

The Catamount Restaurant in Old Town Los Gatos

Our reservations were for a Friday night at 7pm. Downtown Los Gatos has a reputation for having unbearable traffic in summer, but that was not at all the case in our experience. The parking lot was nearly full, but we snagged a spot just steps from the door of the Catamount.  Daytime traffic may well be problematical, but on our warm summer evening it was just fine. Don’t let that keep you away.

View of El Sombroso from the Catamount restaurant in Old TownI had been inside The Catamount one other time, for a Sereno Group company party, which was at night. That event was packed, and I hadn’t really gotten a feel for the eatery that time, though I do recall that the food was quite tasty.  This time, though, it was still daylight, and we got a good view of the restaurant and bar as well as the coastal range outside.

The layout is bright and open, with large windows facing the hills. A wall of glass doors separates one section from the next without losing the view of the tall mountain peak on the east side of town, El Sombroso.

We were surprised that the restaurant was not busy when we arrived. Only a few tables were in use initially. It did fill up a little more during our stay, but it made no sense that it wasn’t packed, given the excellent experience that we had there.  I have to wonder if it wasn’t fear of Los Gatos traffic in summer that kept some people away.

Our server and our bus person were both very attentive, and the service could not have been better.  A carafe of water was placed on the table, but the server was there to refill our glasses before we needed to reach for it ourselves. The menu items included a number of things I hadn’t seen elsewhere, and our server did a good job of answering our questions.

Jim Handy with small prime rib and fries with truffle oil at the Catamount

Jim had an appetizer of Stuffed Mushrooms and a main course of a Prime Rib (a small serving, 2 sizes were available) and french fries with truffle oil. He loved all of it. The mushrooms were small, and sitting in a bowl with beef broth, so were not finger food. (There was no bread on the table. Had there been, it would have been used to sop up the broth that the mushrooms were in.) I took a taste of his prime rib and it was very tender and delicious. I’m not a fan of truffle oil, but he is, and assured me that the fries were wonderful.

I had a Little Gem Cesar Salad followed by the Oven Roasted Scottish Salmon. The salad was not little – it was larger than I could manage. There are many variations on Cesar salad, but I hadn’t had them with whole capers before, and it hit me as too salty. The croutons were not really tasty. I avoided the capers and croutons and did enjoy it otherwise.

The Salmon was incredibly delicious. It was cooked to perfection and had a nice glaze over it. It was sitting in a bed of small vegetables. There were pickled, thinly sliced radishes and cucumbers. Normally I am not a huge radish fan, but I could have eaten those all night. There were also some very sweet, small, and tender corn niblets sprinkled all over, as well as tomatoes, parsley and capers – again. I do like capers, but it was funny to have them in both courses. I would not change a thing with the salmon dish. It was so good that I may be tempted to order it again next time, rather than venture out on the menu. (I don’t know salmon well enough to know one kind from the next, so could not say if it was so good in part because it was Scottish. I was curious about that.)

 

Scottish Salmon with misc veggies, some pickled at The Catamount



We each had a glass of wine and both of us enjoyed our selections.

After supper,  Jim had a cappuccino and I had a decaf. He could not eat another bite, but I managed, and had soft serve vanilla ice cream with candied pineapple and coconut. Usually I don’t indulge in desserts, but it was worth it.

The bill came in a timely manner, but we were not rushed. From start to finish, it was a great experience at The Catamount, and I look forward to going back again. (Below, a view at twilight as we left the restaurant. The tall peak there is El Sereno.)

Twilight at Old Town Los Gatos CA
The Catamount
Old Town shopping center (formerly the site of the California Cafe)
50 University Ave.
Los Gatos, CA 95030
(408) 442-5533
info@thecatamount.com

Los Gatos real estate statistics and market trends

Each month, we update the Los Gatos real estate statistics and market trends with the latest information on closed sales for the prior month. We’ll review the Los Gatos inventory of homes for sale, the number of homes sold and under contract, and of course the median sale price and average sale price of sold properties. There’s one report for single family homes, meaning houses and duet homes (duet meaning attached single family), and another for condominiums and townhomes. This article covers the 95030 and 95032 areas of town, but not the Los Gatos Mountains, which is zip code 95033 and consists of unincorporated areas in Santa Clara County and also Santa Cruz County. To make this comprehensive, I have two subscriptions that are utilized here: REReport and Altos Research. The first one uses sold / closed figures, and the latter one uses current listings (and is updated automatically each week).

Los Gatos real estate statistics and trends from the RE Report

How’s the Los Gatos market? Real estate inventory and sales often slip in winter, during the holiday season, and rise in the summer. We saw some of that throughout Silicon Valley, including in the town of Los Gatos. Though inventory is down from a year ago for houses, it’s up for condos. Homes are selling at more than list price in most segments of the market, and both condos and houses are flying off the market with an average of just 18 days on the market (for all pricing tiers).

The real estate numbers below reflect realty data gathered the first week of the month for the past month in Los Gatos 95030 & 95032, or MLS “area 16”. See the full REReport here.

Continue reading

Ending the Alberto Way Condo Confusion

Alberto Way MapOne of the more confusing areas in Los Gatos may the Alberto Way. Most of the condominiums along that street in Los Gatos are part of The Los Gatos Commons, a senior complex that’s fairly large. (To read more about senior housing in the area, please see my post on it here.)

As with most senior housing, the units at The Commons are more affordable than the majority of  Los Gatos condos. The Commons was built in 1978 and requires that at least one resident be 55 years of age or more. As of 2018, you may be able to purchase a tiny 1 bedroom in the Commons for under $700,000.

A smaller condo community just a little closer to Los Gatos-Saratoga Road, and on the opposite side of Alberto Way, is Pueblo de Los Gatos.  These homes are a little further away from Highway 17, are a little quieter, and are not senior housing.  They tend to sell for a little more than the homes across the way. There seems to be about a 5% to 10%  difference in price, most of which may be attributable to freeway noise, but part of it to the “senior community” status. This property was developed in 1970, so is actually a little older than the Commons.

Pueblo de Los Gatos consists of 53 units. Of these 53 condo units, 1 of them is a 3 bedroom (unit # 1, which also has a large 2 car garage), 44 are 2 bedroom units, and 8 are 1 bedroom units.  Except for unit # 1, the rest of the homes in this community have carports.  For many home buyers, these properties offer a more affordable way to get into the Los Gatos Union School District than might otherwise be possible.

Additionally, there is a small townhouse complex on the same side of the street as the Los Gatos Commons. These are also not senior communities.

What is the fastest way to tell them apart? The easiest way, without even clicking on a link, is to spot the address.  If there’s a letter as part of the unit number (as in A100 or B202), it’s part of The Commons. If there’s no letter, as in #7, it’s part of the Pueblo de Los Gatos. Of course, there are other townhomes in the immediate area, too – but these are the largest communities.

Both of these are in close-to-downtown Los Gatos locations. If you’re in the market for Los Gatos real estate and would like to live close in, this is a great street to check out.

Los Gatos Commons homes for sale (55+)

Condos in the Los Gatos Commons (a senior community) which are for sale or pending sale right now. (If nothing shows, then nothing is on the market there at the moment.)

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All Alberto Way area homes for sale

This includes properties on Alberto Way as well as Maggi Court

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Los Gatos real estate market trends by price point and high school district

There are many factors impacting the Los Gatos real estate market, including the price point and the elementary or high school district. This post is updated every month or two. Today we’ll look at the Los Gatos realty market by pricing tiers and high school district using the months of inventory as a data point. The months of inventory, or MOI, is the currently active (for sale, no contract or pending sale) homes for sale divided by the number of homes using the same criteria which have closed escrow in the last 30 days.

These numbers were run today using MLSListings.com and it’s possible that a few more homes will be recorded as closed sales or new homes added to the market after we ran these numbers. One other disclaimer: sometimes the number of closed sales is very low or is at 0. This can be for many reasons. In some cases, there are a few which are sale pending and simply haven’t closed recently. In other cases, the market might actually be empty in those tiers, indicating a possible lack of demand or inventory. That being said, what do the numbers say?

Los Gatos real estate months of inventory in 95030 and 95032 combined

The overall MOI for the town as a whole with 95030 and 95032 zip codes still shows a strong sellers market, despite inventory continuing to increase since February (see the 3 charts below), likely in what is a typical seasonal pattern. While there is rapid turnover in the entry-level and mid-range price points, the high-end to luxury markets show significantly slower movement, although they are still very fast and much hotter than average. Homes listed at under $1.5 million, if you can find them, are flying off the market in about 3 weeks’ time.

Los Gatos 95030 95032 months of inventory June 20 2018

 

And from about two months ago, back in April:

 

2a - Los Gatos real estate market trends by price point and high school district

Here is the chart from February for comparison:

2A - Los Gatos real estate market trends by price point and high school district

 

All of Los Gatos 95030 and 95032, both high school districts overall, it’s a clear seller’s market.

The real estate market for homes with the Los Gatos – Saratoga Joint Union High School District only

Now let’s view just the homes which are in the Los Gatos – Saratoga Joint Union High School District (or homes “in the schools” as locals say). Continue reading

Happening Saturday at Oak Meadow: Flapjacks & Railroad Tracks

BJWRR-Flapjacks-Breakfast_W300H237-cThis Saturday, June 9, 2018,  the Billy Jones Wildcat Railroad (which runs from Oak Meadow Park through part of Vasona Lake County Park in Los Gatos) is hosting a fun, affordable pancake breakfast from 8:00 a.m. to 10:15 a.m., involving a hearty meal of flapjacks, sausage & a beverage plus the train and carousel will be open early. It’s a great fundraiser to support the small gauge railroad, and kick off the summer schedule for both attractions.

The email notice read:

No reservations required! Come on down and enjoy a great breakfast and rides on the train and carousel.

Breakfast will be served from 8:00am to 10:15am

We will be serving two options for breakfast:
Regular Breakfast is $8.00 and includes 3 large pancakes & 2 sausage links.
Small Breakfast $6.00 includes 1 large pancake & 2 sausage links.
A la cart items will also be available.

In addition, the train and carousel will be open bright and early. Rides will begin at 8:00am and run until 4:30pm. Standard ticket pricing applies.

For more information and details, please have a look at the Billy Jones Wildcat Railroad website.

If you’re on Facebook, find and “like” the Facebook page for the BJWRR.

 

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Mary Pope-Handy

Realtor
ABR, CIPS, CRS, SRES
Sereno Group Real Estate
214 Los Gatos-Saratoga Rd
Los Gatos, CA 95030
408 204-7673
Mary (at) PopeHandy.com
License# 01153805

Selling homes in
Silicon Valley, with
special focus on
Los Gatos

and nearby areas,
including
Monte Sereno,
Saratoga,
Campbell,
and the San Jose areas of
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