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

real estate

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 more active and fewer sold and pending. The sales to list price percentage has remained very stable and average days on market remain 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

Selling a Los Gatos home: how long will it take?

Shannon Valley Ranch house 2015How long will it take to sell your Los Gatos home?  If you own a house in Los Gatos, 95030 or 95032, the answer is “it depends”. Naturally part of the formula will be the condition of the property and how aggressively it’s priced.  The pace also will be a function of schools and price point.  Generally speaking, the lower priced single family homes tend to sell the fastest (assuming that it’s priced and marketed well and doesn’t have any “issues”).  That’s true in all neighborhoods and subdivisions. (The Los Gatos Mountains area, or 95033, is a different market.)

Today, let’s take a look at the Los Gatos real estate market for home sellers by pricing tier and high school district with a view toward the number of days on the market. (You can read about the ratio of actives to solds and the absorption rate at the article linked below under Related Reading.)

We’ll begin with a look at the town as a whole.  For homes actively listed and not yet sold or sale pending in town, have a look at the number of properties for sale and the days on market (“DOM”) for each price point:

Los Gatos 95030 95032 Active DOM by price point

The average “days on market” for all homes is 70, so you might think that this is how long it will take to get your home into contract.  That’s not the case, though, as some homes never sell (even in a red hot economy like ours). Others sell really fast.

What we can see, though, is that the homes in the lowest price point haven’t been on the market long – a hint that this is the market segment that is moving.

Next, let’s have a look at the part of LG 95030 & 95032 with Los Gatos High School.

Los Gatos Active Listings Days on Market with Los Gatos Schools

Notice that the average days on market for this group is 47, not 70.   Most groups have double digit days on the market.  So perhaps not flying off the market, but not bad by national standards, and certainly faster than the town as a whole.  It looks like the answer to “how long will it take to sell” may be improved by being “in the schools”.

How long will it take in the areas with either Westmont  High or Leigh High? Overall, a much longer “days on market” are present for the active listings with 124. But the lower prices, up to $2 million, are extremely fast with the few homes in that band only being available for about a week or less.

Los Gatos Available homes Days on Market with Westmont or Leigh High School

The actively listed properties are everything available – the good as well as the not so good.  If we look at pending sales, though, we’ll get an idea on how fast buyers take the best homes out of the market.  Let’s check on the homes under contract now. Continue reading

What does it cost to buy a Los Gatos townhouse? What are typical HOA dues for townhomes in Los Gatos?

Los Gatos catLos Gatos is the “gateway to the Pacific” from Silicon Valley – and vice versa.  Snuggled into the base of the Los Gatos Mountains, this scenic area offers a charming downtown, architecturally interesting homes and commercial areas, a beautiful natural setting and great public and private schools to boot.  Housing costs are high here, so many wanting to make the town their home may investigate buying a townhouse or townhome rather than a single family home.

What does it cost to buy a Los Gatos townhouse?

Housing prices for townhomes varies with the school district, walkability, and proximity to downtown or other features such as having a view.  And, of course, the size of home, number of beds and baths, the outside space,  and its condition will all impact the home prices.

Most of the townhouses are 2 or 3 bedrooms.  There are some 4 bedroom homes and once in a blue moon, you may stumble upon a 1 bedroom.

On the low end, it may be possible to purchase a small Los Gatos townhouse for about $500,000 for a 1 bedroom, if you can find it.  At the high end, they can soar past $2 million.   For the 48 townhomes in sold in the last 180 days, anywhere in Los Gatos 95030 or Los Gatos 95032, here are the average numbers (list price, sale price, square footage, days on market, HOA fee, price per square foot) all together, for the Campbell Union High School District area of town and for the Los Gatos-Saratoga Joint Union High School District part of town:

Los Gatos townhome stats on cost to purchase

What I found most surprising is that buying a townhouse “in the schools” is not so much more expensive than one with Campbell or Union Schools.

What are typical HOA dues for townhomes in Los Gatos?

The Home Owner Association or HOA dues are often a shock to home buyers.  As you see in the chart above, an average HOA fee paid for the homes sold in the last 6 months was $530.  But they are not all so expensive – or so inexpensive. Continue reading

Los Gatos Village townhome community

Los Gatos Village townhomes in Los Gatos, CA (Silicon Valley)

Approximate boundaries of Los Gatos Village

Where can you find a 1 story townhouse which is only connected to its neighbor at the garage? This description fits many of the homes at Los Gatos Village, a tidy townhome community in east Los Gatos set alongside Los Gatos-Almaden Road.

Built in 1972, these comfortable homes are well designed both inside and out.   There are 163 units and of them, 57 have 2 stories and the rest are single story homes.

How big are the interiors and lots of town houses at Los Gatos Village?

These homes are modest in size, ranging from 1015 to 1494 square feet, generally (one home has 1648 SF – I would love to hear how that happened!). They have 2 or 3 bedrooms and 2 baths (there may be a few with 2.5 or 3 bathrooms, but most have 2). The lots likewise have a range between about 1563 SF and 4520 SF. I believe that every one of them has a 2 car garage.

Los Gatos Village is a Los Gatos real estate bargain

Homes in Los Gatos Village represent a bit of a bargain for Los Gatos housing prices as they are available for under $1 million (as of this writing in August 2015). Three sales in the last six months, from the update here in October 2016, have been in the mid $700s to the mid $900s. Dues are in the high $300s but includes quite a lot – painting, roof, beautiful lawn areas, and a pool. The incredibly good pricing might be why turnover is so low. In the last 365 days, there have been just 5 sales, representing a 3% annual turnover. If you see it and like it, buy it fast.
Los Gatos Village townhome community in Los Gatos CA
If you want to watch for these properties in your home search, these are the streets in which Los Gatos Village homes are located:  Milmar Way, Los Gatos-Almaden Road, Escobar Court, Escobar Avenue, and Camino del Cerro.

The good and the bad

Los Gatos Village SignVery very good:  Every home and every location has good and bad elements to factor in.  Here there’s a whole lot of good – the price point (esp. for the schools), very private townhomes, many barely attached at all and more like “patio homes” than town houses. The floorplans are smartly designed with good use of space and flow.  Many enjoy vaulted ceilings. Outside patios are also fairly spacious as townhome living goes.  It’s very hard to find a single story townhome, but there are more than 100 of them here! The complex is very scenic with lots of lawn area and graceful sidewalks inviting a good stroll into the neighborhoods nearby.

What newcomers may miss is the very convenient foot bridge where Camino del Cerro would seem to go through but is stopped by Ross Creek with two points of the road which do not actually connect for cars. But people on bike, skateboard, foot, or otherwise motor vehicle free can get across on the pedestrian bridge. This is very convenient if your goal is to get to Alta Vista Elementary School, which is just 1115 feet or so from the other side of the creek.

And in case you didn’t know, Alta Vista Elementary and Union Middle School are both very highly scoring with API scores well into the 900s.  This alone is a major draw for homes in this price point!

But wait, there’s more!  From this community it’s less than a mile’s walk to nearby Safeway, a coffee shop and all kinds of little stores at The Downing Center at Los Gatos-Amaden Road and Union. I measured about 6/10 of a mile from the front of LG Village to the shopping center. For those who cannot or do not want to drive, this is a pretty sweet location for taking care of the essentials!

Good schools, walkable area, more accessible homes (single story) set in a quiet, campus like setting – Los Gatos Village does have something for everyone and appeals to home buyers of all ages.

Los Gatos Village Greenbelt and power lines

Los Gatos Village with power linesThe not so good: The pricing and location is so good that you just know there had to be something making this so affordable, and so there is. High voltage power lines cut pretty much through the middle of this pretty community, far closer to the homes than many home buyers would like. And there’s nothing that can be done about it.

One corner of the community is “kitty corner” from the cemetery, the Los Gatos Memorial Park. For some home buyers, that may be a deal killer, but many will not take issue with the quiet neighbors.

These townhomes are older and some have “popcorn” or acoustic ceilings that today’s buyers do not want. If you otherwise like the home, I would suggest not eliminating it from your wish list because of the ceiling. You can hire someone to do it before you move in and it’s not nearly as costly as most Silicon Valley home buyers would think.

 

Los Gatos real estate, homes for sale and housing prices

Below please find a list of condos and townhouses which are for sale – as of the date of this article being written, none were for sale in Los Gatos Village.

  1. 3 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,494 sq ft
    Lot size: 1,398 sqft
    Year built: 1972
  2. 2 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,050 sq ft
    Lot size: 2,243 sqft
    Year built: 1963
  3. 2 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,440 sq ft
    Lot size: 2,500 sqft
    Year built: 1974

See all Real estate in the city of Los Gatos.
(all data current as of 8/20/2017)

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

 

 

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

Heritage Grove in Los Gatos

Heritage Grove is a younger east Los Gatos neighborhood which was developed by Summerhill Homes, a very highly regarded builder in Silicon Valley, in about the year 2000. It sits between the beautiful Heintz Open Space Preserve (with trails to nearby Belgatos Park and other open space) and a mini orchard along Blossom Hill Road between Union and Leigh Avenues. Recently I videotaped the community and think it’s a pretty good introduction to the neighborhood.

A few years back, I wrote about this area extensively, and included a map and slideshow, on another of my blogs (SanJoseRealEstateLosGatosHomes.com).  If you’d like more real estate information on the homes there, or the open space trails, please continue to learn more here:

The Heritage Grove Neighborhood in Los Gatos and the Heintz Open Space Preserve

Los Gatos historic home tour

Los Gatos historic home tour 2015

The annual Los Gatos historic home tour returns to town the weekend of April 11th and 12th, 2015, and you can purchase tickets now or sign up to volunteer.  Sponsored by the Museums of Los Gatos, now called NUMU, the annual event showcases beautiful houses in town, and this time around will include gardens, too.

The NUMU site offers this teaser: “The 2015 tour features four houses including a 1910 bungalow, 1905 craftsman, 1885 folk Victorian, 1904 Richardson Victorian and an acre-sized outdoor collection of household items, classic cars and farm tools that illustrate the architectural roots of Los Gatos.”  Please visit the link below or click on the image at the right to get all of the details and to purchase your advance tickets (more costly if you wait to the day of the event).

http://www.museumsoflosgatos.org/site/historic-homes-gardens-tour/

Strategies for improving your home’s sale price

Ranch style home - this one on the west side in Monte Sereno, which shares parks, schools, library & police with Los Gatos

Real estate professionals do a lot to try to get home sellers the maximum net from the sale of a home.  That doesn’t usually mean that listing agents tell you to spend as little as possible to prepare and market your home, because sometimes spending less is “penny wise and pound foolish”.

For some reason, though, many home owners really fixate on what is easily measurable, such as the cost to paint or re-carpet a home, provide staging in a vacant or badly furnished property, or the amount to pay to a buyer’s agent in the commission.   Sometimes saving money in those marketing areas will hurt you in the ultimate sale price and how much you take away when it’s all done.  Best is focusing on your ultimate net proceeds.

Pay a lot of attention to what is visible

For instance, often the best return on investment is in the most visible areas – things like paint, carpet, sprucing up the front landscape, or just simply de-cluttering and deep cleaning.  Home sellers who do not de-clutter, clean, and do a little sprucing may “save” on sale prep, but easily lose far more than that on the sale price.  Many will argue that “the buyer may not like my color choice”.  While that’s true, we’re not trying to guess the buyer’s color schemes.  What we want to do is to make the property appealing so that the buyer can envision himself or herself there.  Neutralizing your personalization of the home will often provide a good boost in the ultimate price.

Another reason to focus on what is visible is because today’s home buyers will pre-screen your home by viewing photos on line.  Even the best photographer cannot mitigate an unattractive condition by adding HD to the quality of the photos shot.   An overstuffed home will give a sense of crowding, and that’s exactly what home buyers do not want. Continue reading

What to sell your Los Gatos home this spring? A few tips….

Los Gatos CollageIt’s a deep seller’s market in most of Silicon Valley, and that’s good news for you if you want to sell your Los Gatos home this year.  However, don’t base your major decisions on the major headlines!  Real estate is always local, even “hyper local”, so get the data related to your home’s market and go from there.

What are some of the major concepts you need to know before putting your home on the market?

(1) Selling As Is does not meeting doing nothing and expecting the highest sale price.  The most successful sellers don’t just throw their property on the market without any thought or effort.  Those who sell fast and for top dollar actually do a fair amount of prep work!  They may not remodel and move out, furnish their house with rental furniture,and put all their belongings in storage,  but they do clean, decutter, provide pre-sale inspections and price appropriately.

(2) Selling As Is means that you don’t have to provide a Section 1 pest clearance or fix every little thing that’s not perfect with the house or yard.  However, you do want to find out what needs fixing and disclose it upfront so that there are no surprises later.  (Later surprises often equal a renegotiation later.) As Holiday Inn used to say, “The best surprise is no surprise.”

(3) Many homes listed at one price sell for a higher price.  So it can be tempting to look at the most recently closed sale and offer your house for sale at the closed price – or something really close to it.  However, the way that sale got to that price is often by providing an attractively low list price.  If a condo or townhouse just closed at $950,000 but was listed for $885,000, you don’t want to then list your similar condo at $950,000.  Why not? First, one comp does not make market value!  But second, if homes are often selling for $65,000 over list and you come in at the most recent value, many home buyers will be envisioning the ‘true sale price’ as $50,000 or more higher. In other words, suddenly your property appears unattractive and overpriced.  if you want to be competitive and attractive, don’t focus on the sale price as much as on the LIST price – and know that if your home is in good shape, you will collect the multiple offers that will push the value up.

(4) To repeat with what we stated upfront, it’s important to understand your market within the bigger market. If you are in the 95032 zip code, it does matter also which school district your home is in and what pricing tier you’re in.   It’s going to be very different, most of the time, if you’re in 95032 at the lowest price point (condo / townhouse or house that’s a tear down) as opposed to one worth $2 million or more.  Further, some 95032 homes are in the Los Gatos Union School District, while others are in the Union School District or Campbell Union School District.  IGNORE all the “zip code only” data – most likely, it’s not all that relevant to YOUR home.

Just like it takes work to sell your home for top dollar, it also takes work to do the pricing analysis well.  That’s one area where it’s too important to just shoot from the hip.  Everyone likes easy answers, but sometimes pricing analysis is not all that easy.  Lately we have low inventory and low numbers of sales – so the pricing work can be a little harder to work out. Be sure to find an agent who will give this the appropriate effort and skill.

Want my assistance? Please call or email me for a confidential, no obligation appointment.

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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
Los Gatos

and nearby areas,
including
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Campbell,
and the San Jose areas of
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