Homes & Housing Market
Los Gatos is well known for having beautifully maintained historic properties and neighborhoods. Not every older house is historic, and not every structure that looks like a Victorian hails from that era. So – how old are homes in Los Gatos?
One of my tools a a member of the National Association of Realtors is the Realtor Property Resource, or RPR, report generator. This last week I’ve been seeing what it can do. One interesting angle is the “heat map” function, which can be used in a few ways , including to shed some light on the age of houses or properties in town.
Unfortunately, I could not see if there was a way to eliminate the homes for sale, so they are scattered throughout the image. You can also see the unincorporated pockets within town as islands within the town’s boundaries.
Viewing this heat map, which displays the ages of homes and neighborhoods in Los Gatos, we can get a sense of where and when the town expanded.
Have a look – the whitest patches are the oldest homes, and the closer you get to a deep red, the newer they are:
For most of Santa Clara County, or Silicon Valley, a 20 year old home is “young”. On the map above, you can see that the Heritage Grove subdivision in east Los Gatos (just off Blossom Hill Road) shows up as a warm red. It was built in 2000 – almost brand new by local standards!
Conversely, there are a great many white spots near downtown, as well as off Los Gatos Boulevard. There would have been many more, particularly east of the Los Gatos Creek, were it not for the fires that devastated downtown in the late 1800s and early 1900s. (See also “Los Gatos Fires and the Los Gatos Fire Department“, also on this site.)
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 report 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).
This first chart reveals that while the number of homes sold dropped in December, which is normal, homes are still steadily selling with minimal impact to sales price or demand on the market.
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 December, during the holiday season, and rise in the summer. We saw some of that throughout Silicon Valley, including in the town of Los Gatos. Sales are down, though pending sales are up, and inventory is up from last month. Properties are selling above list price once again at 105.4%. Days on market show that while this area might be slower than elsewhere, it’s still a stable seller’s market.
The real estate numbers below reflect realty data gathered the first week of the month for the past month in Los Gatos 95030 & 95032. See the full REReport here.
|Trends At a Glance||Jan 2018||Previous Month||Year-over-Year|
|Median Price||$1,930,000 (-19.3%)||$2,392,500||$2,000,000 (-3.5%)|
|Average Price||$2,335,350 (-8.2%)||$2,543,170||$2,253,800 (+3.6%)|
|No. of Sales||11 (-54.2%)||24||15 (-26.7%)|
|Pending||28 (+100.0%)||14||19 (+47.4%)|
|Active||33 (+50.0%)||22||45 (-26.7%)|
|Sale vs. List Price||105.4% (+5.5%)||99.9%||97.4% (+8.3%)|
|Days on Market||47 (+60.6%)||30||32 (+45.9%)|
|Days of Inventory||90 (+227.3%)||28||90 (0.0%)|
And the chart from last month for reference:
|Trends At a Glance||Dec 2017||Previous Month||Year-over-Year|
|Median Price||$1,925,000 (+3.8%)||$1,855,000||$1,310,000 (+46.9%)|
|Average Price||$2,071,910 (-2.8%)||$2,131,650||$1,693,500 (+22.3%)|
|No. of Sales||36 (-16.3%)||43||39 (-7.7%)|
|Pending||22 (-50.0%)||44||27 (-18.5%)|
|Active||43 (-20.4%)||54||69 (-37.7%)|
|Sale vs. List Price||99.0% (-2.9%)||102.0%||97.5% (+1.6%)|
|Days on Market||46 (+3.6%)||44||69 (-33.6%)|
|Days of Inventory||36 (-1.6%)||36||53 (-32.5%)|
The City of Monte Sereno is quite small, with just about 4,000 residents, so the number of houses sold in any given month will always be extremely small. This last month only had one listing and two pending sales. For that reason, the data may appear to jump around wildly compared to Los Gatos or Saratoga, which each have about 30,000 people living there. Please take all the stats with a tablespoon of salt, and be sure to view the Los Gatos housing market data to get a more accurate picture of what’s happening with Monte Sereno homes (just add a little to the price tag as homes there tend to sell for a bit more than LG properties).
Something else to be aware of is that most houses are in the Los Gatos Union School District, but a small pocket of properties lies within the Campbell School District. Those with Campbell schools usually sell for a little less. Additionally, most of this city is within the 95030 zip code, but again, there’s a small pocket which is in the 95032 area.
Finally, there are only houses in this cities – condos, townhomes, or any other type of housing – and there are no businesses, either. Being 100% residential and single family homes most likely has a large impact on the home values here, though in many areas of Silicon Valley, being in “walking distance” to a coffee shop or grocery store can be a huge plus.
Disclaimers aside, here’s the most recent info:
|Trends At a Glance||Jan 2018||Previous Month||Year-over-Year|
|Median Price||$0 (-100.0%)||$3,950,000||$2,222,500 (-100.0%)|
|Average Price||$0 (-100.0%)||$3,950,000||$2,222,500 (-100.0%)|
|No. of Sales||0 (-100.0%)||1||2 (-100.0%)|
|Pending||2 (+100.0%)||1||2 (0.0%)|
|Active||1 (N/A)||0||10 (-90.0%)|
|Sale vs. List Price||0.0% (-100.0%)||88.1%||94.8% (-100.0%)|
|Days on Market||0 (-100.0%)||20||10 (-100.0%)|
|Days of Inventory||0 (N/A)||0||150 (-100.0%)|
And the chart from last month for comparison:
|Trends At a Glance||Dec 2017||Previous Month||Year-over-Year|
|Median Price||$3,950,000 (+15.5%)||$3,420,000||$2,500,000 (+58.0%)|
|Average Price||$3,950,000 (+5.2%)||$3,753,750||$2,500,000 (+58.0%)|
|No. of Sales||1 (-75.0%)||4||1 (0.0%)|
|Pending||1 (-50.0%)||2||1 (0.0%)|
|Active||0 (-100.0%)||1||9 (-100.0%)|
|Sale vs. List Price||88.1% (-9.3%)||97.1%||109.2% (-19.4%)|
|Days on Market||20 (-63.8%)||55||21 (-4.8%)|
|Days of Inventory||0 (-100.0%)||7||270 (-100.0%)|
Another great source of realty trends is Altos Research, to which I also have a subscription. Altos uses list prices, though, whereas the RE Report uses sold. What I really love about these reports, though, is that market can be viewed by price quartiles, as sometimes the luxury market in an area may be behaving very differently from the entry level market. The charts below are dynamic and will be updated weekly.
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 monthly, usually around the second week (We’re early this month). 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 opposite could be true, 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 still shows a strong sellers market, but with low inventory, possibly affected by the season on top of the continuous low-inventory trend. While there is rapid turnover in the mid-range price points, the high-end to luxury markets show slow to no movement. Demand is active up to the $3 million marker!
So what does it all mean? That Los Gatos remains in a sellers market, that demand is proving to be steady.
Here is the chart from last month for comparison:
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
The August real estate market in Los Gatos is usually a bit slow. Inventory, even in a normal year, tends to shrink in August, and with it, a lot of sales activity. Many home buyers and home sellers take the month off, sneak in one last vacation, get kids ready to school, or perhaps deliver older ones to college. Real estate often takes a back seat for a few weeks in August (and sometimes early September, too).
August and the Los Gatos Housing Market: it’s all about inventory levels
This year is worse than most in terms of buyers having any selection with record low levels of inventory throughout Silicon Valley. Have a look at the chart from January 2011 to today for Los Gatos single family homes – zip codes 95030 & 95032 (pulled from MLSListings this afternoon):
Buying and selling homes in Los Gatos and Monte Sereno right now
For home sellers, this August has been a great month to market your home and to get it sold, despite vacations and student issues, because demand is so high for the minuscule amount of housing for sale. For home buyers, it feels like a crazy real estate game of inventory limbo: how low can it go? How many offers can get thrown at a single listing?
One way of looking at it is to consider the ratio of available houses for sale vs those under contract. Right now in Los Gatos 95030 and 95032, there are 55 single family homes on the market, and there are 50 in some stage of “sale pending” (with or without contingencies). That’s pretty close to 100%. (Monte Sereno is such a small market area that the numbers are too wonky to be useful – we need a larger sample for reliability.)
The number sold and closed in the last 30 days is 31. The months of inventory is the actives divided by the closed in the last 30 days, so 55 / 31 = 1.77 months of inventory for ALL houses, all schools, all price points, all conditions, all locations – good and bad alike. That is a red hot sellers’ market! (Every month or two I update this article here on Live in Los Gatos: “Los Gatos real estate market trends by price point and high school district” – please check back for an update on those numbers soon.)
What has been true for most of 2017 still holds true in August: the nicely updated and remodeled homes in the lower prices to move-up prices in Los Gatos continue to sell well (quickly, often with multiple offers) if they are priced right. Specifically, these are homes under $3 million with no special challenges (location issues, lot issues, strangely configured layout, too many stairs, too much deferred maintenance, a combination of a large pool and small back yard, and so on).
What does it take to be a successful home buyer in Los Gatos or Monte Sereno right now? How to maximize buying or selling in the current market conditions
Buyers: For the lower priced homes, you will need to be quick as they usually won’t last more than 8 to 10 days before the offer date and multiple offers pour in. If you can get out to see the property soon after it hits the market, you’ll have enough time to study the disclosures and get guidance from your buyer’s agent on those and the comps. If you wait to see something on a Sunday afternoon and offers are due Tuesday, you will have a very unpleasant couple of days as you rush to be ready and prepared. With the more expensive properties, they may take longer to sell, but at any given moment things could change and suddenly there are 2 offers rather than just your one.
Sellers: Being super well prepared so that you hit the ground running is absolutely key to selling your home quickly and for top dollar. That means doing the presale inspections, ordering HOA docs (if applicable), and having your disclosures completed before a buyer ever sees the home. It also means taking your Realtor’s guidance to heart in regard to staging / decluttering and easy access for buyers. If it’s too hard to see, or it does not show well, you may not sell it for as much. Price carefully! The number 1 problem with homes that do not sell is price. Aim too high and you won’t get the traffic or the offers. If you aim a little low, you may draw multiple offers and push the price higher than you could have imagined.
The market can be a little funny sometimes. I’ll attend an office meeting and hear discussions about multiple offers and once in awhile there’s a particular property that seems to have trouble. When that happens, it’s very important to try to get feedback from the buyer’s agents. While often the problem is a too-high price, sometimes it’s something easier to adjust to effect a sale. Communication between Realtors can be invaluable so that you don’t reduce the price when perhaps a less expensive fix will do.
September is just around the corner, and it promises to be a busy one as a slight influx of inventory should bring a strong flurry of activity.
If you are thinking of buying or selling a home, please contact me for a confidential consultation on what it takes to get the best deal possible in the current market.
As of yesterday, May 1st 2017, the MLS shows just 67 houses for sale in Los Gatos, 95030 and 95032. (Today it’s lower still at a mere 54 houses.) The chart below is based on the number of active listings in Los Gatos 95030 & 95032 (MLS Area 16) on the first of each month going back to January 2007. Take a look at the history of homes for sale (not pending or in contract) month over month – I’ve circled all of the rows for May in each year to see the contrast.
What can someone buy in town right now? Of the 54 houses, 30 are priced at $3 million or less, with many homes available to purchase around $1.5 to $3 million. The least expensive home available right now is an 1100 SF house in original condition for $1.3 million.
For people thinking of selling, this is an excellent opportunity, generally, since few homes available creates the scarcity that lends itself toward homes selling faster and for more (if there are multiple offers especially). Homes under $3 million are selling briskly.
See more information about the Los Gatos real estate market via my online Real Estate Report. Also available, download the 4 page printable report here:
|90-day stats for Single Family properties in|
LOS GATOS, CA 95030 as of February 16, 2018
|Median List Price:||$4,100,846||Average List Price:||$4,745,731|
|Total Inventory:||22||Price per Square Foot:||$989|
|Average Home Size:||4,014||Median Lot Size:||44,438|
|Average # Beds:||4.24||Average # Baths:||4.20|
|Homes Absorbed:||2||Newly Listed:||2|
|Days on Market:||157||Average Age:||41|
|90-day stats for Single Family properties in|
LOS GATOS, CA 95032 as of February 16, 2018
|Median List Price:||$3,177,615||Average List Price:||$3,293,114|
|Total Inventory:||12||Price per Square Foot:||$805|
|Average Home Size:||4,212||Median Lot Size:||41,219|
|Average # Beds:||4.36||Average # Baths:||3.94|
|Homes Absorbed:||3||Newly Listed:||3|
|Days on Market:||58||Average Age:||33|
Coming on the market this week – a beautiful “view home” close to the Los Gatos border at 18632 Woodbank Way, Saratoga CA 95070. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to purchase prime Saratoga real estate, either to live in and enjoy as is, or to expand, remodel, or rebuild.
The location cannot be beat: situated on a quiet cul-de-sac and at the top of a small knoll, the 3 bedroom, 2 bath house with 2346 square feet of living space enjoys a vast, panoramic view of the coastal range. From the family room, kitchen, and master bedrooms plus the deck and patio, you’ll take in sweeping vistas – the peaks of El Sombroso over east Los Gatos and El Sereno over west Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, and Saratoga. The land is 1.37 acres of very very gently sloping orchards, mostly with prune trees but other types as well.
Recently updated for the sale, the house offers newly refinished hardwood floors throughout most of the house and fresh interior paint among other improvements.
On MLS by Tuesday April 4th at noon. Price $2,400,000. Offer due date April 18th at noon. (No pre-emptive offers, please.)
To see open house schedule and to learn more, please click on the link below:
18632 Woodbank Wy., Saratoga – just off Quito Road.
How’s the market in Los Gatos? Houses well priced and in good shape with no major issues that are listed at or under $2 million are selling very nicely. Many of the houses in the 95030 and 95032 zip code areas are more expensive, though, and that segment of the market – especially over $ 3 million – is not doing so well.
Here’s a quick look at how things look for the two zip codes (the “big picture” within Los Gatos.
Are you tempted to look at online, auto valuation websites to check Los Gatos real estate values? Those online home valuation sites (including mine) can be very tempting. After all, who wouldn’t want a real-time update on home sale prices?
A few times, I’ve had clients or potential clients who relied very heavily on a well known real estate portal for information on “what that home is really worth“. The trouble, of course, is that the folks running the algorithms haven’t been to that street or to that house. They don’t know if it’s exquisitely updated or if it’s in a state of ruin. They don’t know if it seems well loved or if it has terrible odors.
Usually the portals have a very wide target. One of them claims that they want to be within 20% of the market value 80% of the time. Let that soak in. For a million dollar home, that’s a range of $800,000 to $1,200,000 not all the time but 80% of the time!
More convincing than my saying, “hey, that site is usually way off”, I like to just demonstrate what happens when I plunk a property’s address into a number of these auto valuation sites. I find the range of estimated pricing to be very compelling. Please have a look at the wide range of projected values – all for the same home & land!
How would you like to own a home worth $2.6 million and hear that it’s worth $1.6 million from online home valuation sites? Or what if you put your condo on the market based on this kind of pricing, only to find that it was 20% off?
No, the better approach is to have a relationship with a local Realtor who can help you determine the probable buyer’s value for your home. It’s never going to be one exact price, because each buyer will have different terms, motivation, ability, and so on. If you get a lot of offers all at one, it will shoot the price high. If it takes more than 3 weeks to sell and you get just one buyer, it will be lower.
Online home valuation sites can be fun, but please remember that most of the time, they aren’t very accurate. Want help knowing if you have enough equity to sell? Please call or email me and we can meet and go over market conditions, the comparable sales, improvements that will give a good return on value, and the marketing needed to obtain your best price so that you can make an informed decision.
With average and median home prices between $1.5 and $2 million, it can be hard to find Los Gatos homes for sale under $1,000,000. Look hard enough, though, and there’s often an opportunity – usually a condo, sometimes a townhouse, and once in awhile, a house on a lot. Ok, to be fair, if it’s a single family home on a piece of land, it may well be a tear down – what my daughter used to call a “dozer”, as in “bull dozer”. But it’s a starting point!
What are the best odds for finding Los Gatos homes for sale under $1,000,000?
There will be some strategy involved to find a lower priced home in Los Gatos 95030 or 95032. First, it’s important to understand the impact of the proximity to downtown and the role of schools. Find a home with Los Gatos High that’s in one of the official historic districts and you are likely to pay a premium for it! Go further out, and away from pristine Victorian homes from 100 years ago. and the prices will soften. Things will also improve if you consider smaller homes on smaller lots.
A townhouse with Westmont or Leigh High may be in budget if it needs remodeling and updating. There are some really nice communities in town, such as Los Gatos Woods, where if you’re willing to do a little work you might be able to squeak by at under one million dollars.
To improve the odds of success, you may want to concentrate on either condominiums or on properties in the 95032 zip code with Campbell Union High School District (Westmont or Leigh High). Or improve the odds better and go beyond the town’s boundaries and consider the Los Gatos Mountains (zip code 95033). With the latter, you’ll get much more home for your money. The downside, of course, is that your commute will be longer and you may have issues from living in the mountains.
If you are over age 55 or if you aren’t planning on living there yourself – if it’s an investment property – you may want to think about buying a home in one of the seniors condo complexes. The Los Gatos Commons is nicely situated in the central or downtown Los Gatos area and as of this writing, in 2016, units can be purchased for under $700,000.
Another tactic to employ is to watch for homes that have been on the market a long time and are hovering at 10% or so above your target price point. In every real estate market, no matter how hot, there are some houses, townhouses, and condominiums which are simply over-priced. I don’t suggest targeting more than about 10% over budget because “low-ball”offers usually serve to offend sellers and backfire on buyer’s good negotiating intentions.
Browse Los Gatos homes for sale under $1,000,000
$659,000 : 449 Alberto WAY C140, LOS GATOS2 beds, 2 baths
See all Los Gatos Homes $1 mil and under.
(all data current as of 2/23/2018)
Listing information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Read full disclaimer.