Alta 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.
Above and below: a couple of homes along Blossom Valley Drive.
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.
Recently I have noticed a couple of very high sales prices for properties in east Los Gatos with Union Schools, especially Alta Vista, Carlton, and Noddin schools. It should be noted that ALL of the elementary and middle schools throughout Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, and the Los Gatos Mountains are very strong and can boast excellent school test scores, notably good parental involvement, and pleasant campuses. Even so, homes closest to downtown Los Gatos and with the Los Gatos Union School District have always sold for a noticeable amount more than those outside of that area. Often the delta is 10-20%, but it can very a lot. On a couple of occasions recently, though, it seemed like at least some homes selling in the Union or Campbell schools are were gleaning prices more typically seen closer to downtown.
So I started to wonder – Is the gap between the two major areas (in the schools / not in the schools) shrinking? Let’s see by running the numbers in the MLS for one or two segments of the market.
Multiple Listing Service study criteria:
The search I created was for houses in Los Gatos (not Monte Sereno or San Jose on the border), zip codes 95030, 95032 (sorry, Los Gatos Mountains not included in this study); home age 20-60 years, lot size 6,000 to 10,000 SF. These are “normal homes” and not luxury or estate properties, of course.
Los Gatos 95030 and 95032 with Los Gatos Union School District
# of Listings: 9 AVG VALUES: age: 34 years days on market: 28 size of home: 1,798 SF size of lot: 6,342 price per SF: $901.94
average list price: $1,472,872 average sale price: $1,480,000
Los Gatos 95030 and 95032 with Union School District or Campbell Union School District
# of Listings: 15 AVG VALUES: age: 49 years days on market: 22 size of home: 1,912 SF size of lot: 8,416 SF price per SF: $712.23
average list price: $1,245,033 average sale price: $1,297,700
As you can see, it’s not really wise to use just “price per square foot” to compare these areas, because the age of the property and the lot size are significantly different. I approached it also by trying to target just the sale price at about $1.5 million, but the data was so limited that I could not exclude newer homes or smaller parcels. So let’s see what you can get in these two areas for that amount, or close to it. Continue reading
If you’re interested in buying a home in the Union School District, which straddles the Los Gatos and Cambrian area of San Jose border, you may be wondering what the real estate price difference is between homes in San Jose 95124 vs properties in Los Gatos 95032.
The Carlton Elementary School area of attendance, and even more the Alta Vista Elementary School area, offers the opportunity to own a home in either zip code, so seeing the pricing delta isn’t that hard. What is harder is ascertaining what ratio or range of ratios you might find when house hunting in these neighborhoods.
For single family homes sold in the last 30 days in either the Carlton or Alta Vista areas, here’s the breakdown (disclaimer, 17 homes sold & closed total for both LG and SJ in that time):
In Los Gatos:
- average list price$1,690,429
- average sale price $1,733,555
- average square footage of the home 2530
- average lot size 19,486
- average days on market 42
In San Jose (same schools area):
- average list price $926,990
- average sale price $992,100
- average home SF 1575
- average lot size 7815
- average days on market 21
Here the gap in pricing looks huge. But is it? Homes and land are both bigger in Los Gatos. Biggest takeaway to me is this: in general, if you want a bigger home on a larger lot, Los Gatos is probably going to be your town. Buying “just the schools” and fine with a smaller house? San Jose provides a more affordable means to get into the schools.
Are there SIMILAR houses and lots to compare the true price differential between San Jose and Los Gatos with the same schools?
Everyone wants to make it a simple, easily measurable “cost” for living in Los Gatos, and I get asked about “apples to apples” between San Jose and Los Gatos? That is something that’s tricky for a number of reasons. But let’s try anyway. Continue reading
Appreciation in the Blossom Streets near Alta Vista School (along the Los Gatos and San Jose borders)
March 25, 2013
This last weekend I was holding open my new listing in west Los Gatos at 212 More Avenue. A few people asked me how Los Gatos is faring in terms of appreciation now as compared to the height of the market a few years ago. While places like Cupertino and Sunnyvale are already well past that previous peak, other west valley communities are sneaking up on equaling it. The Alta Vista neighborhood, on the San Jose (Cambrian Park) and Los Gatos border, is precisely there (as is most of Los Gatos under $2 million). The Alta Vista neighborhood should hit peak pricing very soon. So far this year, there’s only one closed sale in this neighborhood due to very low inventory levels, but within a couple of months we should have more complete data, and I think by late summer we’ll see new highs.
I spent quite a bit of time on our MLS, pulling sales within a defined area of the map (between and including Blossom Valley Drive to Blossom Crest, over to Blossom Wood and across to Sycamore Ct. – basically all the Garcia built homes, mostly in Cambrian) going back to 1999 (that’s as far as the data seems to go). Some years had more sales than others. Most are in San Jose, a few in Los Gatos. Some have been added onto, and some are still small 1100 SF ranch style homes. All of those disclaimers aside, here’s how the average sold price per square foot looks, year by year, and where it appears to be headed with my red trend line (on par with the old high point).
So for all of you home owners who longed for those 2006 prices – looks like this may be your year! Call or email me if you’d like a no-pressure, no-hassle, no-obligation consultation on home selling here in the Alta Vista Neighborhood or anywhere in the greater San Jose area.
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