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

Los Gatos Real Estate

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. We’re late this month, but 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 ferociously strong sellers market, which is opposed to the usual seasonal cooling. While there is rapid turnover in the  lower to mid-range price points, the luxury market is at a standstill. Demand is exceedingly high up to the $3 million marker!

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

So what does it all mean? That Los Gatos remains in a sellers market, that demand is proving to be steady, and that while the luxury market is showing a seasonal chill, the rest of the market is facing heat wave.

Here is the chart from last month 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

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 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 is very interesting, as it reveals that the number of homes sold has dropped while average days on market have also fallen.

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. Year over year, the median and average home prices have seen increases. Inventory shows fewer active and more pending. The sales to list price percentage has remained fairly stable and average days on market are low. This suggest 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.

Continue reading

What do you need to know before buying a house in Los Gatos?

 

What do you need to know before buying a house in Los Gatos? Particularly for people relocating to Los Gatos (or generally to Silicon Valley) from other areas, or from parts of Santa Clara County not close to the hills, there are a few home buying tips you’ll want to know before purchasing a home in our fair town.  (For locals, these may seem obvious!)

1. Los Gatos & Schools

Whether you have school aged kids or not, you’ll want to know that there are several school districts covering the Los Gatos area. School district lines do not follow the town’s boundaries. (Not too long ago I met someone with a home to sell in the Belgatos area and he had no idea that his home did not belong to the Los Gatos Union School District. This caused him to misunderstand the likely market value of his property.)

Santa Clara County Office of Education School District Boundary Map – Sadly the map no longer exists
Town of Los Gatos: List of Schools Serving Los Gatos Students

2. Historic downtown Los Gatos areas

Areas closest to “downtown Los Gatos,” especially the historic neighborhoods (including Almond Grove, Edelen, Broadway, Fairview Plaza) tend to be much more expensive than those further out. The “walk to town” or “close to town” proximity makes them highly desireable, but also these regions of town are very scenic and have some fabulous Victorian and other beautiful architectural styles. Many are tree-lined, too.

Related to both #1 and #2, the public schools are not all that close to downtown Los Gatos. (St. Mary’s Catholic Elementary School is in the downtown area, as is the adjacent Los Gatos Parent Nursery School.)

 

3. Hillside locales

If you buy a house close to a hill, among some hills or on a hill, you will need to pay close attention to issues which are less common in flatter areas further from slopes. Among them are foundation, water and drainage concerns. Some flat areas near the hills may have a high water table, may springs that come seasonally or in very wet years as well as runoff problems.

Water is often far more damaging than termites but it is not really uncommon to find water in a crawl space during the rainy season. Learn about it and pay heed to property inspectors’ suggestions regarding remediation if it’s a condition in a house you want to purchase.

I wrote about this on my Valley of Hearts Delight blog (covering all of Santa Clara County, but mostly the west valley) and suggest these two articles:

What To Consider When Buying a Hillside Home in Silicon Valley

Cracked Foundations, Adobe Clay Soils and Water in Silicon Valley

 4. Los Gatos address

Some homes with a “Los Gatos address” may not actually be in the town of Los Gatos. Many are in a county pocket or area (and may not have all the services of the town). A very few are actually part of either Campbell or San Jose but were assigned the Los Gatos mailing address for ease of the US Post Office.

How can you tell if a residence is part of the town of Los Gatos, is unincorporated or part of another city? The website for the county of Santa Clara has a lookup service. First you must accept the terms of service (see link above), then you will be allowed to input an address. If you type in a location’s address and it says “not found”, either you’ve got a typo in the building number or a mistake in the actual city, so perhaps it’s unincorporated or belonging to another adjacent municipality.

What difference does it make? The actual address (not mailing address) will impact a variety of things such as services (sherriff vs Los Gatos Monte Sereno police, free access to Oak Meadow Park), planning (any additions, remodels etc. will need to be approved by your actual city), voting in Los Gatos elections, etc.

5.  Los Gatos is a town, not a city

Los Gatos is a town. (Monte Sereno, with whom we share some services, is much smaller but is a city, not a town.) This means our government is run a little differently. For instance, we don’t vote for mayor.  Instead, we vote for town council members. They, in turn, vote for mayor. (Usually it’s a rotation.)

According to Wikipedia: “There are 481 incorporated municipalities in California, of which 459 are called cities and 22 are called towns.” [Edit: this quote was accurate as of Feb 28, 2011, but has been edited since. On Oct 24, 2017, the page lists 482 municipalities, 22 of which call themselves Towns.] I was surprised that there are so many towns – had thought it was only a handful!

Los Gatos is an interesting, fun, welcoming town. If you’re moving to the area, it’s a vibrant place you should check out. Please call or email me if you’d like more assistance.

 

 

East Los Gatos view home

SALE PENDING – 12 DAYS ON THE MARKET!

East Los Gatos view home for sale! Rare opportunity to purchase a beautifully updated and remodeled home with enticing valley views in a close in location adjacent to Belgatos Park!  4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and offered at $2,288,000. Stunning vistas, stunning home – check out a few details here, then head to the virtual tour to get the whole story.

East Los Gatos view home - 211 Westhill Drive, Los Gatos CA

This stunning single story house features valley views from all of the main rooms: living room, dining room, kitchen, and family room. Additionally, there’s a large and comfortable deck leading to the front door from which the views can be enjoyed as well.

Brazilian cherry hardwood runs throughout the house, part of the extensive updating and remodeling done by the sellers in recent years. The kitchen and all 3 baths have been remodeled as well.   The remodeled kitchen offers stainless, granite, vaulted ceilings, recessed lights, a pantry, nook, and views to both the valley and the back yard.  It’s also open to the kitchen. The dining room and living room are both just off the entry, and makes for a nice “open floor plan” feeling.

The house features 2856 SF of living space plus a home office with approximately 256 SF just off the 2 car garage, for a total of 3112 square feet. Both the office and garage have been improved with drywall, heating, and air conditioning.  The garage is currently being used as a gym, but it has a beautiful 2 car carriage style garage door, electronic door opener, and regular slab floor under the gym mats – so can use used as a garage within minutes.

The lot is 13, 939 SF and provides a lovely flat area in the back yard for entertaining. A large pool and spa make a fantastic centerpiece with a backdrop of nature. Along the side yard there’s more space with another patio area and planting beds.

So many extras – plantation shutters, dual pane windows, air conditioning, fan lights, superior access to the back yard to name just a few.

With 4 bedrooms and 3 full baths, this lovely East Los Gatos view home will steal your heart. Please check out the virtual tour of 211 Westhill Drive, Los Gatos to see all of the details and photos, or enjoy a sample from the slider, below, of this striking east Los Gatos view home!

 

SLIDESHOW OF 211 WESTHILL DRIVE, LOS GATOS :

  • Aerial view of 211 Westhill Drive, Los Gatos CA 95032
    Aerial view of 211 Westhill Drive, Los Gatos CA 95032

 

Please also see info on this lovely East Los Gatos view home at 211 Westhill Dr., Los Gatos,  at the Valley of Heart’s Delight blog.

 

126 Charter Oaks Circle, Los Gatos

126 Charter Oaks Circle sunny living & dining roomsIf you’ve been house hunting for a turnkey property with highly regarded Los Gatos schools, you’ll be happy to hear about my newest listing at 126 Charter Oaks Circle.

This is a sunny, updated & remodeled 3 bed, 2.5 bath townhouse with approximately 1574 SF in the beautiful Charter Oaks townhome community!   It is offered at $1,125,000.  A turnkey property, 126 Charter Oaks Circle includes many amenities:

  • dual pane windows
  • engineered hardwood floors (less than 2 years old)
  • newly remodeled hall bath (in 2017)
  • newly remodeled master bath  (in 2017)
  • vaulted ceilings
  • air conditioning
  • recessed lights
  • ceiling fans in bedrooms
  • kitchen updated in late 2016 with quartz counters, tile back splash, and stainless appliances and sink.
  • open concept floor plan
  • private front courtyard with slate patio and double door entry
  • master suite includes a deck with greenbelt view
  • large powder room also accommodates laundry
  • washer, dryer and fridge all stay
  • 2 car garage

Easy commute location with quick access to both Highway 85 and Highway 17. Enjoy the Los Gatos Creek Trail, which is steps away, or relax at the Charter Oaks community pool.

Fantastic, highly rated Los Gatos Schools: Blossom Hill Elementary, Fisher Middle, Los Gatos High.

Open house schedule for 126 Charter Oaks Circle:

 

126 Charter Oaks Circle Garage & Front126 Charter Oaks Circle Front Courtyard126 Charter Oaks Circle Entry126 Charter Oaks Circle Foyer126 Charter Oaks Circle Living126 Charter Oaks Circle Living & dining Room126 Charter Oaks Circle Living126 Charter Oaks Circle Dining126 Charter Oaks Circle Family126 Charter Oaks Circle Family126 Charter Oaks Circle Kitchen126 Charter Oaks Circle Powder Room Laundry126 Charter Oaks Circle Back Patio126 Charter Oaks Circle Back Patio26 Charter Oaks Circle Greenbelt126 Charter Oaks Circle Master126 Charter Oaks Circle Master Bathroom126 Charter Oaks Circle Master Deck 126 Charter Oaks Circle Master Deck126 Charter Oaks Circle Bedroom 2126 Charter Oaks Circle Remodeled_Hall Bath126 Charter Oaks Circle Bedroom 3Charter Oaks Pool in Los Gatos - Photo by Realtor Mary Pope-HandyLos Gatos Creek Trail Bridge - Photo by Mary Pope-HandyCharter Oaks Sign - Photo by Mary Pope-Handy

 

Directions: 
From Lark Avenue, turn north onto Charter Oaks Drive, then left onto Charter Oaks Circle. You will see the Sereno Group “for sale” sign near the garage.  Please use the guest parking spaces and do not block any driveways when viewing the home.

We're sorry, but we couldn't find MLS # 81643002 in our database. This property may be a new listing or possibly taken off the market. Please check back again.

Ending the Alberto Way Condo Confusion

Alberto Way MapMost of the condominiums along Alberto Way 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 2016, 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% 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.

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.

Sorry, but we couldn't find any results in the MLS that match the specified search criteria.

 

All Alberto Way area homes for sale

This includes properties on Alberto Way as well as Maggi Court

Sorry, but we couldn't find any results in the MLS that match the specified search criteria.

Los Gatos real estate market

The Los Gatos real estate market is really a collection of smaller markets rather than one market that behaves uniformly across home sizes, zip code, price point, school district, proximity to downtown, walk-ability, and much more.  An entry level condo will be a different “market” than a $5 million estate. But so do will a perfectly preserved Victorian in one of the historic districts be a different “market” than a ranch style tract home in a tract neighborhood. Today we’ll discuss the major drivers of value and pricing in the Los Gatos real estate market – or markets. (To learn how the market is doing, please use the links at the bottom of this article.)

Why Los Gatos zip codes really aren’t ideal for understanding the local market

Los Gatos zip code mapsMany of the large, national websites use zip codes as a way of keeping a pulse on the housing market.  Zip codes in our fair town are kind of wonky, though, and often not the best way to track changes in inventory, absorption, sales price to list price, or other data points.

  • 95030 is mostly Los Gatos and Los Gatos schools, but part has Campbell schools.
  • 95030 is also the main zip code for Monte Sereno, and most of that has Los Gatos schools, but not all!  Some are in the area served by Campbell schools.
  • 95032 is mostly Los Gatos with either Campbell Elementary (west side of town) or Union Elementary (east side of LG), but some is in the Los Gatos Union School District
  • 95032 has a sliver of Monte Sereno and 100% of it (maybe 150 homes) is within the Campbell Elementary area.

If you are using something like Altos Research, though, just remember that only most of 95030 is “in the schools” and most of 95032 isn’t. If your house is in 95032 but has Los Gatos Union School District, pay better attention to the 95030 info.

Want more info on the LG zips? See http://liveinlosgatosblog.com/los-gatos-zip-code-maps/

Major housing price drivers are the schools and proximity to downtown Los Gatos

Folks living in any of the downtown Los Gatos areas, or close in Monte Sereno neighborhoods, enjoy a double bonus of both the highly prized Los Gatos Union School District and also being close to downtown, often with very charming historic districts as part of the package.   These areas are often the most expensive, if comparing homes of similar size, age, lot size, remodeling, etc., as compared to properties further north or even more, at the far eastern or western ends of town.

Measuring Los Gatos home prices by school district

Los Gatos price per SF exampleI ran the numbers for the school district, using a hypothetical 1750 SF – 2250 SF house on a lot of 7000-9000 square feet in Los Gatos 95030 and 95032. So think of it as a 2000 SF home on an 8000 SF lot.

In the last 120 days (as of July 27 2016), 11 such houses have sold throughout these 2 zip codes in Los Gatos and the average price per square foot was $802. (The number would likely be higher in Monte Sereno.)

Of the 11, five have been in the area served by the Los Gatos Union School District, and the average price per SF in that area was substantially more at $933 per SF.

The remaining 6 are in the areas of the far west or far east of town, within the areas for Campbell Elementary or Union School District. Average price per SF for this area is $752. (All but one are in the Leigh area, so cannot break it down further.)

 

Measuring Los Gatos real estate costs by proximity to downtown

Harder is defining “close to town”, but again we’ll try, using similar criteria as much as possible Continue reading

Planning Commission: deny North 40

Los Gatos North 40 proposed development as seen from Hwy 17

Los Gatos North 40 proposed development as seen from Hwy 17 -orange netting on story poles

Earlier this week, the Los Gatos Town Planning Commission recommended that the proposed Grosvenor development in the “North 40” be denied by the Los Gatos Town Council.  Reasons cited are that it does not appear to be in conformity with the town’s plan for that large parcel.

The Mercury News reports that:

In advising against approval, the commission’s majority found that the project — being led by Grosvenor in partnership with SummerHilland Eden Housing — was “not consistent” with the town’s land-use guidelines in four ways: It doesn’t address unmet housing needs in the town for seniors; it doesn’t adequately incorporate hillside views in the layout in conformance with town open-space guidelines; it relied on a flawed economic study of its impact on downtown Los Gatos; and its density is too high on a portion of the site.

The first phase of the project would include 320 housing units (including 50 affordable units for seniors) and 66,000 square feet of retail.

Read the whole article here:
http://www.bizjournals.com/sanjose/news/2016/07/14/los-gatos-planning-commission-recommends-denying.html

Find a home near Los Gatos High School

Los Gatos High School, facing Main StreetLooking to buy a home near Los Gatos High School? Below please find a map search displaying available residences from the MLS of houses, townhomes, and condos which are within 1 mile of LGHS, which is located at 20 High School Ct, Los Gatos, CA 95030. Properties close to this iconic landmark enjoy not just easy school access, but also everything that the downtown has to offer: restaurants, shops, the civic center and new library, and of course the many events that take place there each year. Some of these properties will be historic homes.

Want to see more listings? Please use the search fields in the sidebar to get wider results of Los Gatos homes for sale.

Available inventory in Los Gatos and Monte Sereno 95030 & 95032

Last week (on April 6th) I pulled the statistics for available houses or single family homes for sale in Los Gatos and Monte Sereno (95030 and 95032, not the Los Gatos Mountains 95033). We have been experiencing a very palpable shortage of inventory. Below please find a graph to visually demonstrate where we are, and then the data in numbers so you can see each month compared to the years prior.

Los Gatos Monte Sereno inventory of SFH by month 2002 to March 2016

 

And next, the numbers themselves. I particularly like this way to view info as it provides a way of seeing what inventory has been like for the same month in prior years very easily and it also enables the viewer to get a sense of the normal patterns that the local real estate market tends to follow (albeit with some fluctuation).   It’s easy to see that the lowest months for inventory tend to be in winter and the peak months are usually in the middle of the summer.

For our current year, this view offers a way of validating that inventory really is low.  In March we had 68 houses for sale, but in March 2015 it was 70, March 2014 it was 84 and the numbers rise for each year going back until we see the largest inventory in 2009 at 260 – a very deep seller’s market here.

Is inventory low?  Yes, it is – there have been very few months since January 2002 in which home buyers have had so little choice and home sellers such a good opportunity to sell.

 

Los Gatos and Monte Sereno inventory of available houses to buy

(Please note small error on this image – the data was pulled April 6th, not April 10th, but the data should be unchanged.)

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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