Once you have visited Los Gatos – the charming architecture, the backdrop of the hills, the vibrant downtown, the great schools, and all the trees and parks – you may want to call it home. I sure did. But the town is expensive and for some it may be out of range. What if you love Los Gatos, but it’s not affordable? There are nearby areas that may work, so I’ll mention them here. They are all discussed in depth at my Valley of Heart’s Delight blog and mentioned in my Move2SiliconValley or popehandy blogs too – the links will be to any of my own sites. For people relocating to Silicon Valley especially, where “sticker shock” is a normal part of the welcome package, these other areas which are a little less pricey might be helpful.
A little further southeast than Los Gatos, the Almaden Valley is a very scenic suburb with the Santa Cruz Mountains on one side and the Santa Teresa Foothills on the other. There’s no “downtown”, however you’ll find a large shopping center with a remodeled Safeway, banks, Starbucks, etc., along Almaden Expressway. This area features the New Almaden neighborhood, which is where the area began with mercury mining operations long ago. Almaden real estate market post
On the north and northeast side of Los Gatos sits the Cambrian area of San Jose (which has 2 zip codes, but the part adjacent to LG is 95124). The Union School District serves both part of Cambrian and part of east Los Gatos. There’s a noticeable price drop going into Cambrian, but the hills and the town of LG are still close. Very good schools and a good “bang for your buck” in terms of what you get in education for the price of the home. Cambrian real estate market statistics
Willow Glen is closer to downtown San Jose than to Los Gatos, but it has much of the charm that LG is known for, includes a lovely downtown area with its own identity, and boasts some of the most scenic streets in all of Silicon Valley. The public schools are generally not a drawing factor. Willow Glen real estate market article
Campbell is probably the most happening city in Santa Clara County right now in terms of home buyer popularity. Campbell provides a lovely downtown, light rail access to downtown San Jose and beyond, a great parks system (especially along the Los Gatos Creek Trail), unusually good shopping, and in some areas really excellent schools. This is a “closer in” location than Los Gatos or Almaden, so it’s an easier commute for that lower price, too. Campbell housing market trends and stats
The 95033 zip code covers a lot of land in Santa Clara County and Santa Cruz County too. Part of it is just beyond the Los Gatos town border, but the majority of it is quite a bit further. School scores are high, air is clean, trees are everywhere and valley views (or in the next county over, Monterey Bay views) are not uncommon. The prices are much better than in town, but the tradeoff is that you have to deal with Highway 17 every day, plus some issues that are particular to the mountains, beach traffic, etc. Please also see this article on the Los Gatos Mountains or Santa Cruz Mountains And on the market – Altos Live RE Market Charts for the LG or Santa Cruz Mountains area