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

Los Gatos Neighborhoods

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

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 Commons

The Los Gatos Commons is a popular senior condominium community off of Alberto Way in Los Gatos, very close to the downtown shopping and dining district (see map, below). This complex was developed in 1978, so is 40 years old as of this writing in 2018. There are 110 condo units, ranging from 1 to 3 bedrooms. Most units have carports, but there are a few with 1 car garages available. A plus for many residents is that it is gated – a rarely found amenity in Silicon Valley.

Like other senior communities, of which there are very few in Santa Clara County, properties are more affordable here than what you might find in non age-restricted condominiums nearby.

Homes share a clubhouse, pool, spa, and fitness room, as well as beautifully maintained landscaping. Units have covered parking.

Nearby amenities include easy access to highways 9 and 17, a close proximity to downtown shopping, dining, and entertainment, such as the public library and parks. The location is hard to beat!

Los Gatos Commons Map

What do HOA Dues cost at The Commons?

The Los Gatos Commons home owner association dues start at about $450 and are more for larger units. Two bedroom homes have HOA dues of $532 at the moment.

What senior services are included?

This is an independent living community, not assisted living, which means that there are no additional senior services, such as shuttle, cleaning, or meal plans, available to residents outside of the normal HOA features such as landscaping and exterior maintenance.

Positives and Negatives

Well known positives for The Los Gatos Commons are the wonderful location, beautifully kept grounds, security features, easy lifestyle and low maintenance, the use of the pool and spa, and being among other seniors.  While not inexpensive, the cost of buying a condo at the Commons is less than it might be for a comparable condominium that would not be in a seniors community – and that is a significant plus, too.

Potential negatives may be the relatively expensive HOA cost, road noise from Highway 17, not having an attached garage (for the majority of units), having 40 + year old construction, and and upcoming construction at Alberto Way and Los Gatos-Saratoga Road.

 

More information on the Los Gatos Commons:

Ending the Alberto Way Confusion (article on this site)

Los Gatos Commons, Association
445 Alberto Way
Los Gatos, CA 95032
(408) 378-1730

http://www.losgatosca.gov/1105/Senior-Housing

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Creekside Village neighborhood

Creekside Village Plat Map - click to view larger imageCreekside Village is one of the youngest subdivisions in Los Gatos, and it’s located in a prime “walk to town” neighborhood with the highly prized Los Gatos schools, too. As the name implies, this community of houses sits alongside the scenic Los Gatos Creek (the Los Gatos Creek Trail is on the far side of the water from these properties).  All of these factors make the Creekside Village neighborhood a very attractive option for house hunters.

This subdivision was built by Barry Swenson with prefab or manufactured housing between 2005 and 2006 on the former site of a mobile home park.  There are 60 homes, ranging in size from 1251 square feet to 1747 SF (average home size is 1503 SF). Lots are mostly smaller, ranging from 1845 to 8909 SF, with the average parcel being 2846. Garages are either single car or 2 car tandem. While the houses are not big, the interiors are beautifully appointed and there’s nothing modest feeling about them in that regard.

All homes are on Creekside Village Drive and are assigned the 95032 zip code. It’s a very tidy community and includes a home owner’s association for the shared amenities such as the clubhouse, pool, workout room, private road, and parking.

There are pros and cons to every neighborhood. In the case of Creekside Village neighborhood, the negatives are that it’s situated very close to Highway 17 and also Highway 9 (Los Gatos-Saratoga Road). Some home buyers may not like that the lots are narrow, mostly forcing single car garages, with houses quite close together.

What do homes in Creekside Village cost?

Those sold over the last year (as of the writing of this article, October 2016) have sold at $1,199,000 and $1,429,000. That’s right, only two sold in the last year, so it’s clear that inventory doesn’t come up often in this area. For downtown Los Gatos, this is bargain real estate pricing!

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Creekside Village HOA Info

http://creeksidevillage-lg.com/creeksidevillage/outside_home.asp

Old Adobe Road neighborhood

Map of the Old Adobe Road area in west Los Gatos - also indicating proximity of the Oakwood and English Oaks subdivisions, plus the cities of Saratoga and Monte Sereno are shown on the map

Old Adobe Road area in west Los Gatos, just off Quito Road

At the northwest corner of Los Gatos you’ll find a really beautiful neighborhood that consists of Old Adobe Road and nearby streets. It’s just off of Quito Road on the border with Saratoga one one side and Monte Sereno on another.

This lovely area doesn’t have tightly defined boundaries (at least not as far as I know), but runs roughly between Old Adobe and Quito at the north end to Bicknell at the south and fanning out to beyond Montclair to about More Avenue. It clings to Rinconada Hills along one stretch, too.

What are homes like in the Old Adobe area?

Today I mapped out the approximate neighborhood using the county records and it appears to have about 250 houses or so. Nearly all were built in the 1960s and 1970s.   Most of the homes are between about 2,000 and 3,000 square feet, but about 1/3 of them are larger, a couple even larger than 4,000 SF, but that is sure not typical. Most lots are around a quarter to a half acre, but some are bigger and some smaller. So they are comfortable houses on uncrowded lots in a mature neighborhood.

There are some areas within this part of west Los Gatos with no subdivision name, but some parts are identified as within subdivisions: Adobe Manor, Verona Manor, Montclair Oaks, Rinconada Acres, Rinconada Terrace, Rinconada Oaks. (A nearby neighborhood is English Oaks, and next to that is Oakwood. Yes, there are  plenty of oaks in the region!)

A photo of Old Adobe Road in West Los Gatos , a tree lined street

Old Adobe Road in Los Gatos near the Saratoga border – no shortage of trees!

Enduring popularity of the Old Adobe area

Year in and year out, this part of Los Gatos has an ongoing appeal. What’s the draw? Part of it is certainly the trees, the gently winding streets, the rolling hills (and some homes get lovely views), the well kept homes, the good public schools (elemenary and middle school API scores are well past 900), the easy proximity of shopping and the closer in commute to places in Cupertino, Mountain View, Sunnyvale, etc. Compared to east Los Gatos, this is an easier drive since you don’t have to take Hwy 85 past Hwy 17 – where it does really tend to clog. It probably shaves about 20 minutes off the commute compared to the far east end of town.

Ranch style house on Old Adobe Road

Ranch style house on Old Adobe Road

What are the assigned schools for the Old Adobe area?

This area is part of the Campbell School District (elementary and middle) and the Campbell Union High School District. Assigned public schools are Marshall Lane Elementary, Rolling Hills Middle, and Westmont High.

Long ranch style house on Old Adobe Road Los Gatos CA 95032

Long ranch style house on Old Adobe Road Los Gatos CA 95032

What about real estate prices? What do homes cost in this part of west Los Gatos?

Nothing in the town of Los Gatos is inexpensive. With good schools, nice environment, and a closer in location, you won’t be too surprised that this is a pricey area, albeit less than downtown Los Gatos or areas with “Los Gatos Schools” meaning  properties in the Los Gatos Union School District.

There are many factors which can influence home values and what a buyer will be willing to pay for a property: home size, lot size, remodeling, being up on a hill with a view vs down in a gulch with little sunlight, and many other things. Over the last year, as of October 2016, homes have been selling in this area for between about $1,499,000 on the low side to about $2,400,000 on the high side.

Remodeled ranch style house on Old Adobe Road LG

Remodeled ranch style house on Old Adobe Road LG

Any other relevant issues?

Anywhere in Los Gatos, there will be issues relating to hillside homes and water damage to homes and foundations. Be careful to direct the water away from the house, even if you are in a relatively flat area! For ALL of Los Gatos, Saratoga, Monte Sereno, and Almaden, this is a huge issue. Please also read this article: What To Consider When Buying a Hillside Home in Silicon Valley.

Homes for sale, pending, or sold in the last 12 months in the Old Adobe area

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Arroyo Grande – Garden Hill neighborhood

One of the easiest Silicon Valley commute locations in Los Gatos lies just off Lark Avenue, between Winchester and Los Gatos Boulevard, at the base of the scenic Vasona Lake dam. To the best of my knowledge, this area doesn’t have a name, so let’s call it the Arroyo Grande and Garden Hill neighborhood, after the major roads that run through it.

Lark Avenue Las Astas Garden Hill neighborhood

Here there are about 200 houses, most of them built in the late 1950s and originally selling for $20,000 to $30,000. The majority have been remodeled and a few rebuilt, and some just weren’t constructed until much later, so the average year built is 1963. Today you’ll find that these houses are mostly selling a little over $1 million, depending on house size, lot size, remodeling, view, proximity to the high voltage power lines, proximity to busy roads, etc. it goes up from there. This is a “good value area” for the high quality of schools and for many home buyers, that’s the # 1 priority – get into the best schools you can afford.

Arroyo Grande - Garden Hill area homeMost of these properties began modestly – typically about 1200 SF of living space. Today there are a handful of homes at 900 SF and one at over 3,000 SF, but the average home size is 1483 – still quite small by Los Gatos standards. Maybe 25-30% have been added onto. The lot size  also varies with the tiniest at 5,000 SF and the largest at 21,000 SF, but typically about 7900 SF for most parcels.

In addition to a faster, less complicated commute (due to the close proximity of both Hwy 17 and Hwy 85), this area has lots more to offer. First and foremost, this neighborhood is served by the Los Gatos Union School District. It’s probably the most affordable, entry level area of houses to get into “the schools”, making it a very popular target of home buyers’ attention.

It’s bordered on one side by the beautiful Los Gatos Creek Trail, which makes a nice path to either downtown Los Gatos in one direction, or Netflix in the other.  Virtually every street is graced by trees in the strip between the sidewalk and the road, providing a very pleasant and welcoming feel to the area.

Garden Hill - Arroyo Grande neighborhood street pan

This little community boasts a neighborhood park, easy access to shopping, bus lines, and more, but perhaps most especially to Vasona Lake itself.  Here’s a view from the dam – just off of Garden Hill Road. It’s an easy stroll to Trader Joe’s from most of the neighborhood, for instance.

Vasona Lake County Park off Garden Hill Road in Los Gatos

High voltage power lines in north Los GatosNo neighborhood is perfect or without compromises, and this one is no different. There are reasons why some people may pass on this part of town. Most likely, there are two or three main issues: first and hard to miss are the high voltage power lines that run through the middle of this neighborhood. Secondly, the majority of this area sits below the dam…and the dam may be sitting on or right next to an old earthquake fault, the Shannon Fault. That’s really not ideal. And finally, part of the neighborhood is adjacent to highway 17 – that will be noisy at best.

If you are looking for a good bang-for-your-buck with schools, a shorter commute, walk-ability, and close access to Vasona Lake and the Los Gatos Creek Trail, I want to encourage you to check out this tree-lined neighborhood. Many of the lots are big enough to add onto later – as many of the  neighbors already have done. You’ll appreciate the convenience and the scenic beauty!

España Oaks townhouse community

España Oaks townhome community in Los Gatos España Oaks is a very charming, Spanish style townhome community in Los Gatos. With lovely green lawns, plenty of parking, and a pool at the heart of the complex, it is very uncrowded and inviting.

Where is España Oaks?

You’ll find this group of townhouses where Carlton Avenue and Los Gatos-Almaden Road meet in northeast Los Gatos.  Although it’s very close to the border of Cambrian / San Jose, this neighborhood is part of the very highly acclaimed Los Gatos School District.   The location is a breeze for shopping and commuting, too: it’s within a mile of both Hwy 17 and Hwy 85, and less than that to Trader Joes and several shops & restaurants.

What are homes like at España Oaks?

All 54 units feature a 2 story design with 3 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, 1604 SF of living space and lot sizes of about 1600 SF.  Each home includes a 2 car garage, a fireplace, and a balcony.  These tasteful units were built beginning in 1969 and finished in 1970, but many have been remodeled extensively since then.

Other pertinent details: 

  • There is an HOA fee; it is currently $375 per month and is used to cover the roofs, private roads and parking, and the pool and cabaña,
  • Some townhomes are PUDs and some are condominiums.  The properties at España Oaks are condos.

España Oaks townhomes

Cost of purchasing in España Oaks

Most properties are listed for just under a million dollars and selling for $1,100,000 or more.   In the last year from the date of this article, just 4 townhouses sold, and the average list price was about $976,000 and the average sale price was $1,074,000 (with the highest price commanding $1,150,000). For those of you who truly love data, the median sale price was $1,084,750 .  The price will depend on the condition of the property and its exact location, among other things.

Espana Oaks intersection Carlton LG Almaden and sidewalkEspana Oaks sidewalk view (Small) Drop

España Oaks TH in Los Gatos

Townhomes for sale in Los Gatos (all school districts)

  1. 3 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,156 sq ft
    Lot size: 1,981 sqft
  2. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 1,747 sq ft
    Lot size: 3,306 sqft
  3. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 1,831 sq ft
    Lot size: 1,799 sqft
  4. 3 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 1,630 sq ft
    Lot size: 1,685 sqft
  5. 1 bed, 1 bath
    Home size: 816 sq ft
    Lot size: 810 sqft

See all Real estate in the city of Los Gatos.
(all data current as of 8/20/2018)

Listing information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Read full disclaimer.

 

 

 

Bluebird Lane neighborhood

Bluebird Lane neighborhood of LGLooking for a neighborhood full of spacious, younger homes in a close-in Los Gatos location? Bluebird Lane should be on your list of areas to check out: if you’re lucky, one of the traditionally styled homes may even be for sale.

Built by Robson Homes between 2010 and 2012, the Bluebird Lane neighborhood is situated just off Los Gatos Boulevard near Los Gatos-Saratoga Road. It’s under a mile to the highly regarded Los Gatos schools, and only a tad more to get to downtown – an easy bike ride or stroll by foot.

Most of the homes are on Templeton Lane, but a few are on Caldwell Avenue or Los Gatos Boulevard.  (This is a point of confusion: why is it called Bluebird Lane when the main street is Templeton?)

What are the homes like at Bluebird?

Think two story, traditional style with Colonial, Cape Cod, Craftsman and similar architectural themes.

Caldwell and Templeton in Los Gatos - newer subdivision close to downtown

There are 19 homes in the tract. One was the original, grand estate house (more on that below).  Two are small with 1300-1400 SF and attached (“duet homes”), and these were designed to be more affordable.  The rest are detached and much larger, with 2,960 to 3,935 square feet. The 17 larger homes feature 4-5 bedrooms, up to 5.5 baths, and some include basements and finished attics. Most of the homes are on fairly small lots of between 4500 SF and about 6000 SF.  Even the main road, Templeton Lane, is narrow. This is probably the only negative: the backyards are small and the homes feel awfully close together for the size of the buildings.

Inside, the homes feature open floor plans in the living areas, spacious and well appointed kitchen, quality fixtures and touches throughout.  If you appreciate elegance, you’ll love these well designed, quality homes.

"Bluebird Lane" on Templeton Lane , Los Gatos

Of the 19 properties in this subdivsion, only one has a tenant in it.  That’s an extraordinarily high owner-occupied ratio! Continue reading

Alta Vista neighborhood

Hills proximity to the Alta Vista neighborhoodAlta Vista is a scenic neighborhood which includes homes in both the Cambrian Park neighborhood and the Town of Los Gatos. For many reasons, this area is highly valued and sought after. For this article, we’ll focus on the neighborhood immediately adjacent to the school, not the entire “area of school attendance.”

What makes Alta Vista so attractive? First, it’s convenient. The high performing schools are easy to walk or bike to without crossing any major roads. Almost as close is a good-sized Safeway, a coffee shop, and other stores and eateries at the nearby Downing Center. It’s easy to get to Highway 85 from Union Avenue, too.  As a bonus, the location is popular because of it’s vicinity to Los Gatos with the lower price point of San Jose (for most of the neighborhood).

Second, it’s scenic. Alta Vista has its fair share of visual appeal as well, with many streets lined with beautiful and mature trees, Ross Creek running along one border, and views of the nearby Blossom Hill and coastal range behind it. South of Blossom Hill on the Los Gatos side, it’s not far to the foothills with their trails and parks. Yards and homes are well kept and tidy, as are the streets. Parking near the schools only becomes a problem during school functions a few times a year (and of course at drop off and pickup times).

Simply put, Alta Vista is a scenic neighborhood with great schools and a convenient location. That’s a winning combination.

Blossom Valley Drive home

Above and below: a couple of homes along Blossom Valley Drive.

Another Blossom Valley Drive house

 

To see some images of the neighborhood, feel free to check out the video slideshow just below – please note that this was made in 2009 for the first Alta Vista post on my other blog and that, while the neighborhood as a whole has not changed, things may look a little different. For instance, the new home construction shown in the slide looks much more attractive and lived in now that it has been a few years, and the shopping center has undergone some significant remodeling.

 

Please continue reading for a map of the Alta Vista neighborhood, major landmarks, info on the Alta Vista real estate market, homes for sale in Alta Vista, and more.
Continue reading

Foothills of Los Gatos, a duplex community near El Camino Hospital of Los Gatos

Foothills of Los Gatos signIf you’ve ever driven Knowles Drive near El Camino Hospital of Los Gatos, you’ve likely passed a small sign announcing a nearly hidden neighborhood named Foothills of Los Gatos. What’s not evident from the busier road is that this is a tidy duplex community along Dardanelli Lane and Vasona Court, offering more affordable housing than most parts of town, yet close to major traffic routes, making for an easier commute.

Great Los Gatos Location

As is always the case, location is the most important factor in this area’s allure. Foothills of Los Gatos is an easy stroll or bike ride to Netflix and also El Camino Hospital of Los Gatos and the many medical offices which are adjacent to it. Equally close is Aldo’s Restaurant (delicious, Italian food) and several other shops and restaurants in the same shopping center, Vasona Station, including the Purple Onion. Wouldn’t it be nice to not need your car? But if you don’t mind, downtown Los Gatos is a straight shot down Winchester Blvd, which becomes North Santa Cruz Avenue.

For commuters, this is a great location too. It’s easy to go north on highway 85, and to return at the same spot along Winchester (unfortunately it is not a “full interchange”). Need 17 / 880? Easy, you can either go south about 1 mile to Lark Avenue to pick it up or you can go north about 2 miles to Camden / San Tomas to enter.

Foothills of Los Gatos

What are the homes like in Foothills of Los Gatos

Continue reading

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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
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special focus on
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