A couple of days ago, my husband, Jim, and I enjoyed outside dining at North Restaurant, a downtown Los Gatos eatery offering seasonal Vietnamese food. It was our first visit there. The meals and service could not have been better, so I wanted to give them a shout out here on the Live in Los Gatos blog.
We arrived at North a little before 12 noon and wanted a table away from other diners and the sidewalk. It wasn’t too crowded and we were seated in a corner by ourselves. A nice surprise was noting plexiglass between our table and one nearby. The parklet was also covered, which was helpful with the summer sun.
Superb service at North Restaurant
Our server was masked, which we appreciated, and came quickly to take our order. We didn’t have to wait long for the food after ordering. Throughout our meal, he would look in our direction to see if we might need anything, and did step over to ask directly if all was ok and if he could get us anything. We never felt rushed, but he was around. When we paid our bill it was the same – he didn’t waste any time, but never made us feel like we needed to hurry. Kudos on the service, it was an 11 on a scale of 1 to 10. (He probably told us his name, and we forget it, unfortunately!)
North Restaurant menu offerings
The offerings were diverse and tempting! One item that I’ll return to have next time is the crab spring rolls, which was advertised as including “Rice Paper, Dungeness Crab, Avocado, Mango, Rice Vermicelli, Green Leaf Lettuce, Mint, Soy Vinaigrette”. So often, restaurants offer crab dishes but actually serve fake crab – but this is Dungeness!
The Kenwood Acres subdivision on the east side of Los Gatos was begun in 1947 and 1948 with smaller, ranch style homes on good sized lots.
This was a sleepier time, but the 1940 installation of Highway 17 through downtown Los Gatos had made Kenwood Acres a little less remote for those working in San Jose. Nearby Surry Farm was still a horse ranch at that time, with the stables up against Kennedy Road. The valley was still full of orchards then, too.
Even then, it was convenient, with schools only about a mile away and downtown Los Gatos only a mile or two away, depending on your destination.
Where is Kenwood Acres?
The Kenwood Acres runs along Marchmont between Kennedy and Hilow and includes all of Topping, most of Littlefield, and parts of Hilow, Kennedy, and Englewood.
“Mountain Charley” was one of the first non-native settlers to this area and he made his home in the summit area of the Santa Cruz Mountains beginning in 1851. (In some places, he’s referred to as Mountain Charlie.)
Charles Henry McKiernan was an Irishman whose main claim to fame is that he was attacked by a thousand pound, angry mama grizzly bear and managed to live despite losing a chunk of his skull to her.
Mountain Charley married a nurse who made sure he survived and she also bore him 7 children.
Additionally, he was responsible for accosting some stage robbers.
His colorful story lives on as part of the town of Los Gatos’ more interesting history – and folklore.
Creekside Village is one of the youngest subdivisions in Los Gatos, and it’s located in a prime “walk to town” neighborhood with the highly prized Los Gatos schools. As the name implies, this community of houses sits alongside the scenic Los Gatos Creek (the Los Gatos Creek Trail is on the far side of the water from these properties). All of these factors make the Creekside Village neighborhood a very attractive option for house hunters.
This subdivision was built by Barry Swenson with prefab or manufactured housing between 2005 and 2006 on the former site of a mobile home park.
There are 60 single family homes, ranging in size from 1251 square feet to 1747 SF (average home size is 1503 SF). Lots are mostly smaller, ranging from 1845 to 8909 SF, with the average parcel being 2846.
The garages are either single car or 2 car tandem. While the Creekside Village houses are not big, the interiors are beautifully appointed and there’s nothing modest feeling about them in that regard.
All homes are on Creekside Village Drive and are assigned the 95032 zip code. It’s a very tidy community and includes a home owner’s association for the shared amenities such as the clubhouse, pool, workout room, private road, and parking. While there is an HOA, it is not a condominium community. The preliminary title reports for these homes states that ownership is “in fee”. So not held in condo ownership.
Here’s a street view close to the clubhouse and entrance to the neighborhood. Note that there are narrow, private roads, and no parking allowed on the street. There are also no sidewalks. (There are guest parking spots.)
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 these statistics 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).
Also, there are only single family, detached houses in Monte Sereno: no apartments, multi unit housing (2 – 4 plex), no duet homes (attached single family homes). That will be changing soon, however, as the old La Hacienda property (formerly an estate, then a hotel and restaurant) at Hwy 9 and Austin Way (aka Austin Corners) is under development and incorporation into Monte Sereno with plans to include 7 townhomes and 8 duet homes in addition to single family dwellings. Some of those designs are now for sale, and 3 of the single family designs are currently (as of June 9, 2021) listed on the MLS.
This month’s data will reflect some of the effects of the pandemic on the real estate market, but not the whole picture – plenty has changed since March 2020! To learn more about how Covid-19 is affecting the local real estate market, please check Coronavirus Impact on Real Estate Sales on my other blog.
During the shutdown so far, the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) stopped the timer on all Days on Market (DOM) for a time. Therefore these numbers will be off beginning from March 17th through around May 17th, 2020. In the data below, this will affect any numbers related to the days on market, the absorption rate, and the days of inventory from those months, but current numbers should be accurate.
First up for the market analysis is the Altos Research weekly profile for Monte Sereno (uses list prices, not sales):
This chart shows a strong seller’s market with increasing market action. Inventory is low but growing, days on market are low and steady, and most indicators suggest this continues to be a hot market!
Low inventory has been the headline story in the Los Gatos real estate market since last spring. Here’s a multiple year view of single family homes for sale in Los Gatos 95030 and 95032 since January 2015 – I find this to be enlightening since any one year can be an anomaly. The chart below shows us that the average inventory for Los Gatos in May can vary, but not by a large margin and usually sits somewhere between the high 70s to upper 80s. This June fell well below that range with only 42 active listings, the lowest across all visible years and less than half the inventory in 2018 and 2019!
Seasonal trends for 2020 were thrown completely off shortly after the lockdown order. Inventory never grew to the expected level last spring with available listings consistently shrinking from May through January and hardly any growth in spring 2021!
The ultra low number of listings is due to many factors, one of them being the current coronavirus pandemic and health and safety concerns. For a look at how Covid-19 is affecting the local real estate market today, please check Coronavirus Impact on Real Estate Sales on my other blog.
Covid restrictions have mostly been lifted, but some homeowners are still be hesitant to list their home so soon after reopening. Seller’s willing to list now are benefitting from a very hot seller’s market with limited inventory. If you’re interested in selling your home this year, check out my article on how to Sell Your Home in 2021. When you’re ready to talk to an agent I would love to hear from you!
What is selling best in LG right now?
In general, single family homes listed at or under $2.5 million are selling well, with their sales averaging around 12.9% over list price in June. Those listed upwards of $2.5 millions are also frequently selling above asking with an average of roughly 5.3% above list price in June. Even so, there are exceptions in both groups.
Certain things can skew the data. For instance, a home in Los Gatos listed just under $2.2 million took 57 days to sell and sold at list price, while another listed over $3.9 million sold over 19.4% above asking in 0 days! When planning to buy or sell, it’s best to look at the data within a mile of your home (or the one you want to buy), and across similar properties, excluding the odd sales which aren’t comparable.
By the numbers: Of the 59 single family home sales in Los Gatos (not including the mountain market) in June on the MLS, none sold under $1.5 million, 8 closed at or below $2 million, 21 sold above $2 and below $3 million, 21 between $3 and $4 million, 5 sold from $4 million to $5 million, 3 sold between $5 million and $6 million, 1 sold above $6 million.
The high end price point tends to be around $3,000,000 and up for this part of Santa Clara County. The vast majority of what sold would not be considered luxury properties, even though in most areas of the U.S. these would be luxury price tags.
Los Gatos real estate statistics at a glance for 95030 & 95032
Next, data from the RE Report for Los Gatos (“in town”), in the Los Gatos Mountains, and for Los Gatos condos (only in town, none in the mountain communities) – the entire Los Gatos real estate market combined. Below that are the live Altos Research charts, updated automatically each week. Altos uses list prices, not sold prices.
The numbers below analyze data gathered during the first week of each month and cover real estate statistics from the month prior in Los Gatos 95030 & 95032 (all areas / school districts), or MLS “area 16”. See the full RE Report here.
Trends At a Glance
No. of Sales
Sale vs. List Price
Days on Market
Days of Inventory
Prices for Los Gatos real estate jumped up in May, but that’s likely caused by the exceptional +$14 mil sale. The number of sales and sales pending continue to rise well above last year showing heightened buyer activity. Available inventory, on the other hand, continues to fall short year-over-year. Compared to last month, closed sales up and both active inventory and pending sales have taken a dip. The sales vs list price ratio rose to a red hot 108.3%, rising almost 10% above last year.
Overall it’s an increasingly busy seller’s market in Los Gatos, likely impacted by pent up demand from last year.