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

Monte Sereno

The Monte Sereno real estate market

Elm Park in Monte Sereno, sold by Mary Pope-Handy

Ranch style home on Elm Park in Monte Sereno, sold by Mary Pope-Handy

The City of Monte Sereno is quite small, with just about 4,000 residents, so the number of houses sold in any given month will always be extremely small. For that reason, the data may appear to jump around wildly compared to Los Gatos or Saratoga, which each have about 30,000 people living there. Please take all the stats with a tablespoon of salt, and be sure to view the Los Gatos housing market data to get a more accurate picture of what’s happening with Monte Sereno homes (just add a little to the price tag as homes there tend to sell for a bit more than LG properties).

Something else to be aware of is that most houses are in the Los Gatos Union School District, but a small pocket of properties lies within the Campbell School District. Those with Campbell schools usually sell for a little less. Additionally, most of this city is within the 95030 zip code, but again, there’s a small pocket which is in the 95032 area.

Finally, there are only houses in this cities – condos, townhomes, or any other type of housing – and there are no businesses, either. Being 100% residential and single family homes most likely has a large impact on the home values here, though in many areas of Silicon Valley, being in “walking distance” to a coffee shop or grocery store can be a huge plus.

Disclaimers aside, here’s the most recent info:

Monte Sereno Stats At A Glance (click to view the Real Estate Report)

Year-Over-Year

  • Median home prices increased by 8.6% year-over-year to $2,500,000 from $2,301,500.
  • The average home sales price rose by 0.8% year-over-year to $2,500,000 from $2,479,830.
  • Home sales fell by 83.3% year-over-year to 1 from 6.
  • Active listings rose 100.0% year-over-year to 8 from 4.
  • Sales price vs. list price ratio rose by 5.8% year-over-year to 109.2% from 103.2%.
  • The average days on market fell by 9.2% year-over-year to 21 from 23.

Compared To Last Month

  • Median home prices improved by 4.1% to $2,500,000 from $2,401,000.
  • The average home sales price rose by 3.5% to $2,500,000 from $2,415,330.
  • Home sales down by 66.7% to 1 from 3.
  • Active listings dropped 38.5% to 8 from 13.
  • Sales price vs. list price ratio increased by 22.2% to 109.2% from 89.4%.
  • The average days on market dropped by 38.1% to 21 from 34.

 

Another great source of realty trends is Altos Research, to which I also have a subscription. Altos uses list prices, though, whereas the RE Report uses sold. What I really love about these reports, though, is that market can be viewed by price quartiles, as sometimes the luxury market in an area may be behaving very differently from the entry level market. The charts below are dynamic and will be updated weekly.

Continue reading

Silicon Valley Open Studios: Los Gatos Artists Share Their Work

svos_logoThe Silicon Valley Open Studios will take place May 7 & 8 from 11am to 5pm in Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, Saratoga and San Jose.  This is the 30th annual “open studios” event in Silicon Valley (and more areas are covered the 2 weekends after this one too). It is a free event and a wonderful opportunity to meet the artists in their studios, see a diversity of art types and purchase some pieces too.

Directories for the event are found at a variety of places, the closest to Los Gatos being University Art, 456 Meridian Ave., San Jose and Triton Museum, 1505 Warburton, Santa Clara, although the website suggests that directories may be found at many libraries as well, so check the Los Gatos and Saratoga public libraries.

For more information, please see the Open Studios website:   http://www.svos.org/

Twin Creeks neighborhood in Monte Sereno

Twin Creeks Road near the creekThe Twin Creeks neighborhood in Monte Sereno enjoys an ideal setting away from busy commercial roads, with gently curving streets  graced by creeks, an abundance of trees, and the coastal foothills as its backdrop. It’s a more rural community in that you won’t find sidealks, curbs, gutters, or many street lamps – if any. Property in this area is impeccably presented, with nicely maintained or updated homes and often gorgeous landscaping. Both homes and land tend to be large, though not in every case.

The neighborhood does not come across as pretentious at all, although of course it is a very costly place in which to buy a home. I think it comes across as more low key because the homes seem proportionate to the land, and many are ranch style rather than something trendy. These lovely houses are in sync with the space around them, so you don’t end up with the McMansion effect. The houses are nice but do not crowd the land.

As with most of Monte Sereno, this charming neighborhood is served by the Los Gatos Union School District and the Los Gatos-Saratoga Joint Union High School District.

What are properties like in the Twin Creeks area?

As mentioned above, a large percentage of the houses are ranch style, but not all.  Here you’ll also find a mix of Cape Cod, Spanish, and perhaps what’s best described as just traditional. There’s no sense that this is a tract neighborhood.

Houses in the Twin Creeks neighborhood are younger than those you’d find in downtown Los Gatos. The average year built is 1978, and the vast majority of the homes were constructed in the 1970s (7 in the 1960s, 34 in the 1970s, 6 in the 1980s, 1 in the 1990s and the rest since 2000). There’s a large spread in the size of home, with the smallest being 2535 SF and the largest an immense 11,000 SF (that behemeth is hidden from view, so don’t drive through and expect to find it). The average home size is 3871 SF, and most homes are between 3000 and 5000 SF.

Twin Creeks Road Monte Sereno

These homes sit on graciously large lots – the smallest is about 1/3 of an acre, the largest more than 1 acre (about 4 acres), and the average is about 35,000 SF. Most homes can be seen from the street, but a few are hidden, as they have the privacy of flag lots.

Twin Creeks neighborhood ranch style house

 

Home values range tremendously due to the variation in the square footage of the structure and the parcel. Most likely, home prices at the bottom of the pricing tier would be around $3,000,000 to $3.5 million for a more modest home in the area, and of course go up from there. Within the last two years (as of October 2016) there was a sale as low as $2,199,000, but that’s a clear exception. Over the last year two homes sold, one at $3,799,000, the other at $3,838,888, which seem to be the current norm.

Where is the Twin Creeks neighborhood?

The neighborhood begins at Quito Road and Twin Creeks Road and stretches east from there. Other streets include Chadbourne Lane, Banyan Lane, Alma Jo Court, Tamson Court, Janor Court. There are 59 homes in this part of Monte Sereno, and there are two subdivisions here: Twin Creeks (35 homes) and Twin Creeks Estates (23 homes).

Twin Creeks neighborhood

Want to learn more about Monte Sereno real estate, or check out the homes for sale?

Info on the Monte Sereno Real Estate market (on my Valley of Hearts Delight blog):
http://sanjoserealestatelosgatoshomes.com/the-monte-sereno-real-estate-market/

and the RE Report for Monte Sereno, on this Live in Los Gatos blog:
http://liveinlosgatosblog.com/hows-the-market/monte-sereno-real-estate-report-houses/

Please view homes on the market below.

Homes for sale in Monte Sereno

  1. 6 beds, 5 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 5,871 sq ft
    Lot size: 1.16 ac
  2. 4 beds, 3 full, 2 half baths
    Home size: 5,035 sq ft
    Lot size: 1.92 ac
  3. 5 beds, 3 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 3,009 sq ft
    Lot size: 22,912 sqft
  4. 4 beds, 3 full baths
    Home size: 3,089 sq ft
    Lot size: 41,382 sqft
  5. 4 beds, 3 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 5,010 sq ft
    Lot size: 26,397 sqft

See all Real estate in the city of Monte Sereno.
(all data current as of 3/30/2017)

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

Creffield Heights and San Benito Avenue area

From from San Benito Ave next to Ashler

From from San Benito Ave next to Ashler

A charming Los Gatos neighborhood with diverse architecture in the central part of town, if not quite downtown, is the San Benito Avenue area. This neighborhood sits on a gentle hill, a bit of a ridge, and many of the homes in this section of town enjoy lovely views due to the mild elevation. Here, a small road named Creffield Heights starts at San Benito Avenue and slides back into the hill, where the far point of the road stetches into Monte Sereno before looping back into Los Gatos.

The pluses for this neighborhood are huge: proximity to downtown Los Gatos, proximity to Oak Meadow Park and Vasona Lake County Park, the scenic vistas of the hills, the diverse architecture, the well-maintained homes, the highly regarded Los Gatos schools, and much more.

The negatives are few and far between. In some areas, especially some of the streets running between San Benito and North Santa Cruz Avenue, roads are narrow and overcrowded with cars. In some areas, residents may only park on one side of the street. Another issue is the hill itself. Often with hillside properties and neighborhoods, water running off the hill, or under it until it finds level ground, can cause home owners tremendous headaches. See “What To Consider When Buying a Hillside Home in Silicon Valley

Creffield Heights

I’ve been curious about the inviting little pocket of homes for over 20 years – who could resist the signs on stucco which announce the street and neighborhood name with so much dignity? When I checked the county records, I found just 11 parcels on this street (and some are flag lots). Of those, 2 are vacant but one looks so small as to be close to unbuildable – is it used as an easement for one of the flag lots? Things like that do happen. Three of the parcels are in the city of Monte Sereno. So it’s kind of a funny pocket! Even so, that area has a little more altitude, so I bet the views are delightful

Terrain for the San Benito Avenue area

Below please find a terrain map with the very approximate neighborhood boundaries marked. The bright green marker is for the appx middle of Creffield Heights, and the pale green one is where the impressive “Creffield Heights” signs may be seen (photos below in slideshow).

San Benito Avenue and Creffield Heights

Photographs of the Creffield Heights and San Benito Avenue neighborhood

Please enjoy some photos I took recently, mostly on San Benito Avenue in Los Gatos

Creffield Heights on San Benito in Los Gatos Creffield Heights on San Benito in Los Gatos Creffield Heights on San Benito in Los Gatos Ashler San Benito sign Ashler and San Benito Ashler with view of hills Ashler Way homes San Benito at Fancher San Benito Way ranchette San Benito Way house Craftsman on San Benito near Mariposa Craftsman on San Benito near Mariposa

Real estate prices & homes for sale in the San Benito area

This area has so much diversity that it would be very difficult to give an estimate of what it would take to buy a home in this area. Houses vary in age (from historic to only 30 or so years old), size, grandeur, condition, view, and lot size. Many smaller homes on smaller lots will sell for between $1.4 and $2 million. Large homes on large lots, perhaps will views, will sell for considerably more. This month (October 2016) a younger home on a large lot sold for nearly $3 million. That said, this is a “low turnover” area! Only a eight houses have sold in this area so far in 2016.

Below please find homes for sale by map for this area, and a list of available homes through the link. Continue reading

Los Gatos and Monte Sereno Community Garage Sale

Los Gatos and Monte Sereno Community Garage Sale“Reuse and recycle” is a battle cry for Californians, particularly here in the San Francisco Bay Area, and San Jose is said to be the best large city in the U.S. for recycling.

Here in Los Gatos and Monte Sereno, we can get in the act by participating in the community garage sale, which takes place on Saturday October 3rd.

Want to learn more? Find all the details on the Town of Los Gatos website:

http://losgatosca.gov/330/Community-Garage-Sale

 

Home prices in Los Gatos & Monte Sereno: how much home can your money buy?

money blockHow far will your home buying dollar stretch if your goal is to buy Los Gatos real estate or Monte Sereno real estate? Housing prices in these areas are steep, but it’s interesting how different the market is from one price point, zip code, and school district to the next.

Today I spent some time doing the very mundane task of pulling and crunching the data from MLSListings.com to give my readers and clients a sense of the housing market in Los Gatos and Monte Sereno.  I teased it out by zip code and high school district (476 is Los Gatos-Saratoga Joint Union High School District and 473 is Campell Union High School District).  The 95032 zip code stretches to the far east and far west corners of this area  and if there were more sales I’d want to pull out the west vs east parts of the zip code – but with scant inventory and sales, that just wouldn’t work well right now.

The following statistics reflect Los Gatos and Monte Sereno single family home sales in the last 90 days in the 95030 zip code:

There are very very few homes in 95030 with the Campbell Union HSD, but there are a few and in the last 90 days there were two such sales / closings.  Obviously I cannot break 2 sales into 4 pricing quartiles too well, so left them lumped together – but you can see from the price per square foot that this area is selling incredibly well!

For those who insist on 95030 “in the schools”, the good news is that the real estate market is much softer here than in much of the valley – homes are generally selling at or under list price, rather than over, and they are not selling, on average, with just 10 days on the market or less.  Some do, of course – but most do not.  That makes it a great buying opportunity!

95030

 

Los Gatos and Monte Sereno single family home sales in the last 90 days in the 95032 zip code:

Next let’s look at Los Gatos and Monte Sereno 95032.  MOST of Monte Sereno is in the 95030 zip code, but a portion is not and has 95032 and/or Campbell Union HSD.

For the part of 95032 with CUHSD, the market is actually quite hot with most sales at 105-106% of list price.  Please note that in this grouping, there’s a very big jump in what you get for your money between the under $1 million quartile and the next quartile up – the house size about doubles, actually, but the price does not likewise double.  The next tier up has a far smaller jump, but when I was exporting the date from the MLS I saw that there was a very large clustering of homes sold between about 1.3 and 1.9 million and almost just combined them since an awful lot were sitting right around 1.5 – 1.7 million.  In any event, if you want to live in Los Gatos with about 2500 Square Feet with Leigh or Westmont High, the homes are running about $1.5 to $2 million.  Often they are a little higher on the west side of town as opposed to the east – my best guess is that it’s because that end is closer to pricy Saratoga and is a closer commute to many of the high teck work places.

The 95032 area “in the schools” is popular – you get a more affordable zip code with the famed Los Gatos schools. Interesting that again, this area is not as hot a market as the part of LG and MS with the Campbell Union HSD.  Perhaps that is because the elementary and middle schools are now very comparable, and only the high schools have a gap?  Many buyers are not willing to pay a giant premium for Los Gatos High – though some, of course, are.  (And they will also be happy to be in a location closer to downtown.)

95032

 

So where are the opportunities in this market?

Buyers:  If you want to buy in Los Gatos and get a home with Los Gatos Schoools, the market is not as competitive as the areas further from downtown with Union or Campbell schools. It is not cheaper, but it’s not quite so competitive, and you may not need to give away all your rights just to buy a home. Also, many Silicon Valley home buyers will push themselves to get into a home or school or zip code.  If you are able to get out of the bottom tier and into the 2nd from the bottom tier of pricing, you will find less competition and a whole lot more house for the money in most cases (just check the price per SF).

Sellers: Ovviously it’s a great time to sell a home in Los Gatos and Monte Sereno, and some segments are a whole lot hotter than others.  With the right pricing, staging, pre-sale prep and marketing, a solid home in this area can sell in under a month and often in under 2 weeks.  Home buyers are clamoring to live in Los Gatos and are often frightened by biting off more than they can chew, especially after the last mega recession, so having a good plan to ease buyers’ fears is truly imperative for selling fast and at top dollar (those two usually go together).

Interested in buying or selling a house in Los Gatos or Monte Sereno? Please give me a call or shoot me an email and we can set up a time to talk and see if we might work well together.  I’m a Los Gatos resident and a Los Gatos Realtor, a valley native and I appreciate the nuances of our area and market.

Los Gatos Luxury Home Market

The Luxury Home Real Estate Market in Los Gatos & Monte Sereno: today I crunched the numbers from MLS Listings to get the absorption rate or months of inventory for estate properties over $2,000,000 in Los Gatos 95030, Los Gatos 95032, Monte Sereno (both 95030 & 95032), and the Los Gatos Mountains 95033.   Monte Sereno is a red hot market for estate properties, while the Los Gatos Mountain areas are not moving a lot of super expensive properties.  Have a look below.

Los Gatos area luxury market

Next we’ll look at live charts from Altos Research (to which I have a subscription)

List prices of homes for sale in the topmost price quartile in Los Gatos, Monte Sereno and the Los Gatos Mountains

Real Estate Market Chart by Altos Research www.altosresearch.com Continue reading

Should Los Gatos outsource its police services?

The Los Gatos-Monte Sereno Police Department has a bit of a struggle over a $200,000 or more “bill” that Los Gatos handed to the city of Monte Sereno for overtime and other expenses relating to the  murder investigation of Ravi Kumra.  Monte Sereno feels that the contract it has with the town of Los Gatos covers those inevitable overruns so has refused to pay. As a result of this financial burden, it’s being suggested that Los Gatos outsource its police services to the county sheriff’s office.

Is that a good idea?

Many locals don’t seem to think so, and state that if outsourced, the quality of policing in town will fall.  “The police won’t really know the areas or the community”, said one neighbor of mine.   Other objections include the lack of ties to the community, slower response times projected, and potentially higher costs, too.

What do you think?

The issue will be addressed at the April 21st 2015 Town Council meeting, located at the Los Gatos Civic Center Council Chambers. 110 E. Main Street Los Gatos, CA 95030.  I’d bet that it will be the most packed meeting Los Gatans have ever seen.

 

 

Additional information

The Los Gatos Town Council meets the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays of each month at 7pm in the council chambers. http://www.losgatosca.gov/16/Town-Council

Link to the town’s Police Dept page: http://www.losgatosca.gov/43/Police-Services

San Jose Mercury News Article:    Los Gatos: Police outsourcing issue delayed

More information can be found under the Los Gatos Town Council’s agenda’s on the town’s site.  May take some time to find and read all of them – the site isn’t entirely intuitive.

 

About the city of Monte Sereno

West Valley hillsAn Introduction to Monte Sereno, California

Nestled against the base of the Santa Cruz Mountains on the west side of Santa Clara County (about an hour south of San Francisco and a few minutes from San Jose), adjacent to the town of Los Gatos, Monte Sereno is a scenic, small city which is semi-rural  with neither sidewalks nor street lights. It has, in fact, the tiniest population of the 15 cities within the County, having just about 4000 residents in about 1.6 square miles.  There are no businesses in town, just residences, the city office and post office, and Daves Avenue School. It is one of the most highly regarded and upscale communities in Silicon Valley.

Monte Sereno enjoys many rolling hills and green views of the coastal range, particularly El Sereno, the peak of which rises over the the city and has an elevation of 2249 feet.  There is an open space preserve there now, with 1415 acres and 7.4 miles of trails.  Please see the El Sereno Open Space Preserve website for information on parking, trail maps, equestrian trails, and more. As you might imagine, the city is named for this mountain: monte – mountain, sereno – serene, calm or pleasant.  And it is a pretty calm place to be.

Monte Sereno shares schools, police, parks and the library with the town of Los Gatos, so they have much in common.

Monte Sereno Zip Codes

Almost 100% of Monte Sereno falls into the 95030 zip code, with a very tiny sliver belonging to the 95032 zip code. Both of these zip codes are also utilized by neighboring Los Gatos.

Monte Sereno Public Schools

Of the approximately 1250 households in Monte Sereno, all but about 60 of them fall within the boundaries of the highly regarded Los Gatos School District. The other small minority is in Campbell Schools.  (You can check the assigned schools on this website: SchoolAndHousing.com)

Continue reading

Several school districts provide education to students in Los Gatos and Monte Sereno: how are the scores?

The Academic Performance Index (API) scoring system is leaving California, but right now it’s still the most commonly used way of comparing the testing results of students in public schools. (Private schools are not rated in this way.) Many home buyers prefer to buy “in the schools”, meaning in the Los Gatos Union School District. However, on the elementary and middle school level, the scores are just as high – if not higher – in the other two Los Gatos and Monte Sereno school districts: the Union School District and the Campbell Union School District. Have a look: Los Gatos and Monte Sereno public schools and scores
For more info and longer discussion on this topic, please see the related article on my Valley of Heart’s Delight blog:

http://sanjoserealestatelosgatoshomes.com/schools-serving-los-gatos-and-monte-sereno-students-how-do-they-compare/

To see the real estate market trends by school district, please check out this article:

http://sanjoserealestatelosgatoshomes.com/silicon-valleys-real-estate-market-by-school-district-santa-clara-county/

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
Silicon Valley, with
special focus on
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and nearby areas,
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