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

Schools

Los Gatos real estate market trends by price point and high school district

There are many factors impacting the Los Gatos real estate market, including the price point and the elementary or high school district. Today we’ll look at the Los Gatos realty market by pricing tiers and high school district using the months of inventory as a data point. The months of inventory, or MOI, is the currently active (for sale, no contract or pending sale) homes for sale divided by the number of homes using the same criteria which have closed escrow in the last 30 days.

These numbers were run today using MLSListings.com and it’s possible that a few more homes will be recorded as closed sales or new homes added to the market after we ran these numbers. One other disclaimer: sometimes the number of closed sales is very low or is at 0. This can be for many reasons. In some cases, there are a few which are sale pending and simply haven’t closed recently. In other cases, the opposite could be true, indicating a possible lack of demand or inventory. That being said, what do the numbers say?

Los Gatos real estate months of inventory in 95030 and 95032 combined

The overall MOI still shows a clear, stable sellers market. While the best movement is usually in the lower to mid price points, there is currently good turnover all the way from the $1 – $4 million range. Every market is selling exceedingly well except for in the highest luxury sector where there is inventory but no demand.

2a - Los Gatos real estate market trends by price point and high school district

So what does it all mean? That Los Gatos remains in a sellers market, that demand is proving to be steady, especially throughout the middle ranges with slower movement in the mid-range markets where there is the most inventory.

Here is the chart from last month for comparison:

2A - Los Gatos real estate market trends by price point and high school district

 

All of Los Gatos 95030 and 95032, both high school districts overall, it’s a clear seller’s market.

The real estate market for homes with the Los Gatos – Saratoga Joint Union High School District only

Now let’s view just the homes which are in the Los Gatos – Saratoga Joint Union High School District (or homes “in the schools” as locals say). Continue reading

Los Gatos Estates townhome community

Los Gatos Estates - map of appx boundariesThe Los Gatos Estates townhome community sits just off Pollard Road and More Avenue on the west end of town.  Although this area on the north side of Pollard is actually in Campbell, it has a Los Gatos mailing address, which may confuse folks with a gps device.  Our MLS also treats it as Campbell, so good to know about this area quirk since if you search for “Los Gatos homes for sale” there it won’t show up! (Same thing for the nearby Cameo Park West neighborhood of Leep homes a little closer to Quito Road.)

Basic facts: appx 57 homes, HOA dues as of this writing are in the high 300s (includes roof, painting, private roads, grounds, pool, spa and tennis court), homes are selling from the mid $800s to the upper $900s, depending on many factors. Townhouses in Silicon Valley are usually either held in condominium ownership or as PUDs. These are condo. (For more info on the difference between PUD and condo ownership for common interest developments, please read this article on another of my sites.)

What are the Los Gatos Estates homes like?

They were built in 1979. Individual units range in size between 1739-2063 SF, with the average being 1921.  Parcels are not big, running from 1739-2063 SF, but there’s a lot of open common space, so it does not feel small or crowded.

Why people love Los Gatos Estates

If you value a convenient location, Los Gatos Estates has it!  Directly across the street from the entry to the community you’ll find a large, remodeled Safeway and a number of other helpful shops. El Camino Hospital of Los Gatos is only about a mile away. More shopping is found within 2 miles at Westgate and El Paseo de Saratoga. For workers commuting to Cupertino, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara and similar areas, a trip north on Pollard turns into Lawrence Expressway, making the journey pretty straight forward.

The highly regarded public schools are very nearby: Rolling Hills Middle School (API 919) is pretty much “next door” but on the other side of More, and Marshall Lane Elementary (API 945)  is about a half mile away. Westmont High School (API 796) is within a mile also.

The townhomes at Los Gatos Estates enjoy tremendous convenience, but there’s much more to the complex than that. The townhomes are well laid out, with good floor plans, spacious rooms, and often high ceilings. Each one includes an attached 2 car garage and of course a laundry room or closet.  In many ways, these townhomes feel more like houses than attached homes. Not only that, but residents get to enjoy a pool, spa, and tennis court, too.

Los Gatos Estates sign

Above is one of two gateway signs along Pollard Road, a nice welcome to the community!

Below, a typical two story townhome with both a back patio and balcony. One end of this complex is adjacent to highway 85, the train tracks, and the high voltage power lines, which you see in the image, too. Homes closest to the freeway, train and electrical wires will be somewhat price impacted by them, of course, but this creates an opportunity for more affordable housing than you might otherwise find in this neighborhood. If you are looking for good real estate pricing, this may be a great opportunity – lots of home for the money.

Los Gatos Estates townhome

Continue reading

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.

Aerial views of west Los Gatos

Last Friday, my husband, Jim, enjoyed a flight over much of the south bay area with his brother, John, and our niece, Christine.  I’m the lucky winner who gets loads of fantastic photos to share (with abundant gratitude to John Handy!)! Today I’ll begin with a shot over west Los Gatos.

Here’s a view from the plane that my wonderful brother-in-law shared with me.  Can you tell what you are seeing?

West Los Gatos aerial view

 

The biggest hint I can offer is to point out that the major road running along the right side is Highway 85, and what is off to the upper right hand side is north.

Can you tell where you’d see these things:

  1. Downtown Los Gatos?
  2. La Rinconada Country Club (golf course)?
  3. Rinconada Water Treatment Plant?
  4. Any of these schools:   Rolling Hills Middle, Marshall Lane Elementary, West Valley College?
  5. Downtown Saratoga?
  6. Vasona Lake?
  7. How about Quito Road?
  8. Pollard Road?

The first 6 I’ve put onto the same image but mapped.  Have a look….
Continue reading

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

Best public high schools in Silicon Valley

Best High SchoolsEarlier today on my Valley of Hearts Delight blog, I wrote about the K12Niche.com report on the best public high schools in our area, with a smaller study on private ones as well.  How did the high schools serving Los Gatos fare?

First, let’s just touch on what the Niche Report was looking for in the studied schools.  Their criteria for grading or judging the school’s success included a variety of factors, including academics, athletics, safety, facilities, teachers, etc. – so very broad.

Los Gatos is served by three regular public high schools which were included in this study:

  1. Los Gatos High School, which covers most of the town, ranked # 81 of the 41 schools included
  2. Leigh High School ranked # 16 of 41
  3. Westmont High School ranked #19 of 41

How about our nearest neighbors?

Saratoga was #1, Lynbrook #3.  Leland in Almaden was #11. Pioneer came in at #14.

 

Check out the whole list on the K12Niche site:

https://k12.niche.com/rankings/public-high-schools/best-overall/m/san-jose-metro-area/

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/

What does it cost to buy a home with Los Gatos schools?

September 24, 2013

Buying a home in the schools...in the Los Gatos Union School DistrictWhat does it cost to buy a home in Los Gatos “with the schools” (as opposed to the Union School District or the Campbell School District areas)? In the last 90 days, 68 houses have sold in Los Gatos within the Los Gatos Union School District.  The averages will give you some idea of pricing, but remember that the range is very broad because Los Gatos includes quite a few luxury or estate properties!  Those disclaimers aside…

Houses sold in the last 90 days in the Los Gatos Union School District

  • Average home size appx 2700 SF
  • Average lot size a little over an acre, about 1.1 acre
  • Average sales price appx $1,850,000

That’s not to say that you cannot purchase a house in town for quite a bit less!  The least expensive home was an 1150 SF house on Las Astas Drive that sold for $882,000.  There were three  in the $900s. And four between 1 and $1.1 million. In all, there were 16 homes that sold for no more than $1,250,000.

Of these more affordable properties, the averages are:

  • Average home size appx 1500 SF
  • Average lot size appx 7500
  • Average sales price appx $1,092,000

Condominium and townhouse sales

Condos and townhouses are more affordable still.  There were 17 of them which closed escrow in the last 90 days.  Averages here:

  • Average home size appx 1350 SF
  • Average HOA fee (monthly) $445
  • Average sales price $640,000

 The most affordable condo sold in the last 3 months was a small one bedroom unit for $300,000 with about 750 square feet of living space.  

There’s quite a big range of home prices in Los Gatos.  If you’re interested in buying residential real estate in Los Gatos (any school district) or nearby, please give me a call or write me an email and we can discuss finding the best home that works for you and your budget.

Los Gatos Lions Date Night

Los Gatos Lions Date NightMay 14, 2013

Guest post by Mike Moresco

The third annual Los Gatos Lions Club Presents: Date Night is on Saturday, May 18th and tickets are currently available for purchase at $65 via our website,http://www.lglions.org/events.html#Datenight or by simply giving me a call or reply. Our 2012 Date Night sold out with 350 guests and this year we expect to sell out as well so please purchase your tickets today.

The Cause:

The Los Gatos Lions Club created Date Night to raise funds for supporting our commitment to making life better for all of our school-age children, especially those who need a little extra support in their mental and emotional lives. Proceeds from Date Night events are used to identify and reduce bullying, provide funding for counseling and mental health support at CT English Middle School, sponsor suicide prevention clinics and to support CASSY in providing licensed therapeutic counseling at Los Gatos High School and RJ Fisher Middle School.

The Event:

Date Night is an evening event held outdoors and under a large special event tent at Moore Buick GMC in Los Gatos. Ten of Los Gatos

b

Photos from Arbor Day at Daves Avenue School

April 26, 2008

Los Gatos is “Tree City USA” for 29 years in a row! A celebration at Daves Avenue School yesterday included talks by local officials and by students and, of course, the planting of some new trees. (Photos courtesy of Jim Handy.)

Shovels are ready for work on Arbor Day

Shovels ready for work.

Ready to plant

The site was prepared ahead of time

Tractor brings in the trees

A tractor does the heavy lifting with two young trees to be planted at Daves Avenue School.
Three trees were planted in all.

School crowd at Daves Avenue on Arbor Day

An assembly of students gathered to hear talks by officials and classmates.

Los Gatos Mayor Barbara Spector talks to the students on Arbor Day 2008

Los Gatos Mayor Barbara Spector addressed the crowd.

Planting trees at Daves Avenue School

Adults do the initial lifting

Adults did the first round of planting

Students assist with planting trees on Arbor Day 2008 at Daves Avenue School

And most importantly, the students helped to plant too.

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
Monte Sereno,
Saratoga,
Campbell,
and the San Jose areas of
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