December 05, 2017
Downtown Los Gatos has much to offer, particularly during the holidays, but now we can add one more thing for which to be grateful – downtown Los Gatos is working to bring the holiday joy into your shopping experience!
This Sunday, December 10, from 11am – 4pm Los Gatos encourages you to shop local for the holidays at the 2nd Annual Holiday Stroll. In addition to the seasonal decor, there will be carolers, hot chocolate sales, a visit from ol’ Saint Nick, and plenty of kids activities for revelers and shoppers alike. Additionally, there’s free valet parking!
More details on the Stroll at the event page.
For valet parking, check out the flier.
Lots is happening in and around our quaint corner of Silicon Valley, and keeping up is half the battle. To make your holidays a little less stressful and a little more jolly, I have organized a list of events and activities going on in Los Gatos this holiday season. Below you will two lists – one with unique holiday events by date and a separate list of ongoing events. These lists do not include religious services, so please check your preferred place of prayer for those schedules.
Here’s the rundown on carriage rides, the Fantasy of Lights, the tree lighting ceremony, the Los Gatos holiday parade, and more:
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.
|Trends At a Glance||Oct 2017||Previous Month||Year-over-Year|
|Median Price||$2,096,000 (-12.1%)||$2,384,000||$2,090,000 (+0.3%)|
|Average Price||$2,234,310 (-13.0%)||$2,567,270||$2,347,350 (-4.8%)|
|No. of Sales||31 (-29.5%)||44||31 (0.0%)|
|Pending||40 (+2.6%)||39||24 (+66.7%)|
|Active||38 (-19.1%)||47||84 (-54.8%)|
|Sale vs. List Price||101.8% (+0.7%)||101.1%||100.4% (+1.4%)|
|Days on Market||23 (-43.9%)||42||49 (-52.4%)|
|Days of Inventory||37 (+18.7%)||31||81 (-54.8%)|
And the chart from last month for reference:
|Trends At a Glance||Sep 2017||Previous Month||Year-over-Year|
|Median Price||$2,384,000 (+3.8%)||$2,297,500||$1,635,000 (+45.8%)|
|Average Price||$2,567,270 (-6.4%)||$2,742,170||$2,012,780 (+27.5%)|
|No. of Sales||44 (+37.5%)||32||32 (+37.5%)|
|Pending||39 (-17.0%)||47||31 (+25.8%)|
|Active||47 (-9.6%)||52||82 (-42.7%)|
|Sale vs. List Price||101.1% (0.0%)||101.1%||98.9% (+2.3%)|
|Days on Market||42 (-2.7%)||43||42 (+0.6%)|
|Days of Inventory||31 (-36.5%)||49||74 (-58.3%)|
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:
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.
It’s time to decorate some pumpkins! Sereno Group is hosting its 8th annual pumpkin decorating contest and invites kids to transform a small pumpkin into a work of art! This is not a carving contest and there should be no punctures of any kind as these works of art will need to last, and any cuts will cause rotting.
Every child who enters will get a small gift. Voting on the best work of art will take place during office meetings for each of three age groups, with the winner of each getting a prize.
Small pumpkins are being given away at the Sereno Group office locations in Los Gatos, Saratoga, Willow Glen, Aptos / Santa Cruz, Los Altos and Palo Alto – please see flier for office hours. O[tionally, entrants may bring their own small pumpkin.
The deadline is Friday, October 20th, 2017. Have fun – we cannot wait to see the decorated pumpkins!
St. Mary’s Country Fair in Los Gatos is a fun, annual community event that always occurs the second weekend of October. This year, it’s October Oct 6th – 8th, 2017.
Open to everyone, and with no admission fee, the three day fundraiser is a great place to enjoy so many cool things, including:
- carnival rides
- bouncy house (several)
- country store shopping
- arts & crafts (such as pumpkin decorating)
- martial arts displays
- dining (good and affordable!) – several food booths to choose from
- pancake breakfast on Sunday morning
- play games
- giant slide
- spaghetti dinner
- full service coffee shop
- talent show
- live bands
- bingo (of course!)
This is a fabulous place to walk through and simply bump into friends & neighbors from all over Los Gatos and the nearby communities. It’s also a fun place to take photos. Each day is a little different, some return again and again!
St. Mary’s Church and School are located in downtown Los Gatos on Bean Avenue near Tait (and near North Santa Cruz Avenue) in the historic Almond Grove neighborhood. You can also reach the party by coming from Main Street and Lyndon Avenue.
Like a bargain? There’s an easy way to save money. Visit the parish or school office before Friday at 2pm and buy your Butler ride tickets at a substantial discount – and avoid the lines! (Tickets are sold in the 2 weeks leading up to the fair most years.)
Also, much of the Almond Grove District of Los Gatos has permit parking only in the evenings. So don’t park in the neighborhood! There are lots of public parking spaces between North Santa Cruz and University Avenues in Los Gatos, and they are no cost, so park there instead. I usually like to park between North Santa Cruz Avenue and University Avenue in the public lot. If you’re in biking distance, consider cycling in – just remember lights are required when biking in the dark, and remember road safety!
Hello fabulous Live in Los Gatos Blog readers! Here’s a quick update on a few Los Gatos, Saratoga events coming up in early fall:
- Sat, Sept 23 Eat Drink Los Gatos (expands upon the Fall Wine Walk)
- Sept 30 – Oct 1st Russian Festival – St. Nicholas Orthodox Church of Saratoga
- Oct 1st 1-4pm Saratoga History Mid-Autumn Festival Celebration
- Oct 1st 1pm Saratoga History Free Lecture on the Transcontinental Railroad and Chinese Exclusion Act
- Oct 5-8 Los Gatos Irish Writers’ Festival
- Oct 6 – 8 St. Mary’s Country Fair
- Oct 8 1-4pm Saratoga History Come Celebrate the India Showcase
- Oct 12 7:30pm Saratoga History Free Film on John Philip Sousa
- Oct 15th noon – 4pm The Club at Los Gatos – Pickleball Tournament
- Oct 28 Saratoga Village Witchy Walk-A-Bout 2pm-4pm – Saratoga’s city site only has old info, but I believe it’s 2-4 on Saturday Oct 28th this year (we’ll update if we can find current info)
Hope to see you at some of these soon!
Every September, the Town of Los Gatos hosts a free movie at Oak Meadow Park in the month of September for kids and kids-at-heart. This is the annual “Screen on the Green“.
September 15th’s the night for the 2017 Screen on the Green! Fun activities for children begin at 6:00pm, with train rides, carousel rides, face painting, games and more. The film, Disney’s Moana, will begin at 7:30pm and will be projected onto a 25′ inflatable screen on the meadow. A snack bar will be open from 6:30-8:30pm, so have dinner before or bring a picnic. Bring a picnic and some blankets, then come early to grab a good seat!
Attendees, it is important to bring layers and something low to sit on – blankets, cushions, or low backed lawn chairs, are alright. I always bring a flashlight for after the show. The gopher holes in the lawn are easy to find by accident with your foot.
For additional details, please see the Los Gatos town website page for Screen on the Green:
Need something to do on Labor Day weekend? The Los Gatos Park Dance is back during the holiday weekend – the 5th annual at Oak Meadow Park. The first year over 2000 people attended and it’s been growing ever since!
Los Gatos Park Dance Details
Cost: FREE – courtesy of the Los Gatos Community Foundation
Date & Time: Saturday, September 2nd, 5:00 – 7:15pm
Location: Lyndon Bandstand, Oak Meadow Park, Los Gatos
Same musical lineup as the last couple of years: The Johnny Neri Band opens for The Houserockers (a Los Gatos band).
What else: to get a good spot, arrive early! Bring a picnic supper. Beer and wine are allowed with meals (no other alcohol). Bring layers, as it cools down once the sun sets. Prepare to dance on the lawn, so wear comfortable shoes and watch out for gopher holes as you leave – they can be hard to spot in the dark.
Parking at Oak Meadow Park is free to town residents, but if you’re a local, you know that it fills up fast. You can park on nearby public streets if that happens, or try Vasona’s parking, which will cost a little.
Learn more about Music in the Park and the Dance through the link: http://lgmip.com/
Each year, in early to mid-Septemeber, the Los Gatos Morning Rotary Club, together with CB Hannegan’s Irish Pub in downtown Los Gatos sponsors a fun end of summer bash: Claws for a Cause. The annual lobster block party features good food, live music, and dancing. It is often a sell-out event! Three thousand Maine lobsters will be delivered the morning of the feast.
Proceeds going to the Los Gatos Morning Rotary Charitable Foundation (supporting music, art and youth scholarships).
This year it’s Saturday, Sept 9, 2017, from 5:30 pm to 10pm.
Last year, tickets sold out! Learn more and buy your tickets here:
And see last years Mercury News article with more details, also: