We Got This LG!

The Los Gatos Chamber of Commerce is working hard to keep local industry strong!

We Got This LG!You may have seen signs in lawns or someone wearing a shirt which reads “We got this LG!” in bold letters. This is a campaign run by the Los Gatos Chamber of Commerce, which is working non-stop to support the many local businesses that are affected by the pandemic.

The upbeat message of this campaign is to stay positive and to strengthen community spirit! If you love strolling through downtown Los Gatos, or you’re missing your favorite shop, you can still support many of these businesses from a safe social distance so that when you’re able to come back, they’ll be there, too. But it’s not just lawn signs and t-shirts. We Got This LG! is introducing events like the Shop Local Raffle and a Mother’s Day Virtual Gift Shoppe to incentive’s shopping and introduce locals to more Los Gatos businesses.

Of course, to join the campaign you’ll want to know what’s open. The Chamber is keeping track of that, too, and has provided information on which shops, restaurants, and even services that are providing socially distant experiences.

The restaurant list is your one-stop-shop, which offers hours of operation, delivery vs curbside pickup information, links, and phone numbers. (Their list is much more extensive than my Takeout Food for Shelter in Place from March!) Check out the merchants page for information on pickup or mail delivery on practically everything: wine, clothes, toys, fresh flowers, gallery artworks, and craft supplies! Under “Other Services” are a collection of service-providing local businesses that are providing remote or curbside options, such as online fitness classes, curbside or delivery repairs, and tele-consultations. On the essential services page you can find out what’s open for your essential needs in Los Gatos.

Beyond the campaign, the Los Gatos Chamber continues to be an essential resource to businesses as well as for customers and clients. Take a look at their calendar and you can see there are Digital Marketing Webinars, virtual mixers, and classes to help members manage the changing market. The Chamber is also supporting FeedtheNeed (aka #FEEDtheNEEDBAYAREA) to help bring free hot meals where they are needed most: seniors, displaced employees, and medical workers. You can find out where meals have already been distributed in Los Gatos and donate to the cause though the link.

Most importantly, remember this won’t last forever and…

We Got This LG!

Music in the Park Skipped in 2020

Yesterday the Town of Los Gatos provided an update on the status of Music in the Park during this coronavirus pandemic. Sadly, the Sunday afternoon music events must be skipped in 2020 due to health and safety reasons. Here’s the town’s statement about Music in the Park skipped in 2020:

UPDATE: Due to the unprecedented events of the COVID-19 pandemic, the anticipated continuation of restrictions on large gatherings, and to maintain the health and safety of our community, the Town of Los Gatos has made the decision to postpone the 2020 Music in the Park Summer Concert Series. We look forward to continuing this beloved family friendly tradition in 2021. 

The notice regarding Music in the Park’s postponement can be seen at this link to the town’s website.

 

Music in the Park skipped in 2020 - hope to see you back in 2020 - musical notes

Los Gatos and the 1918-1920 Influenza Pandemic: Part 2

The Oaks Sanitarium Los Gatos, CA
An ad for the Oaks Sanitarium near Los Gatos placed in the California State Journal of Medicine’s 1918 edition.

Today we think of Los Gatos as being a town with plenty of medical services and we’re very proud of the healing and life saving work that is done there, especially now. But at the start of the 1900s this was just a pretty, agricultural town.

Only after a 1905 British medical publication professed that Los Gatos, CA had one of the most healthful climates in the world did thing start to change, and eventually a hospital for tuberculosis, the Oaks Sanitarium, was built and advertised to meet growing needs.

There were very few doctors in town, so locals who fought severe cases of influenza during the pandemic likely went to the clinics in more populated areas like nearby San Jose. State documents show that additional nursing and medical services were supplied to San Jose and other Bay Area cities.

There were many brave individuals who generously gave their time and efforts to help those in need both during the war and the influenza pandemic which immediately followed. We have details on some of them because their stories had tragic endings and made the news.

The Santa Cruz Evening News on November 2, 1918 remembers Miss Helen C Houghton: “one of the best known and accomplished trained nurses around San Francisco bay, passed away in Berkeley yesterday, having given her life in the performance of her humanitarian duties at the bedside of an influenza sufferer. She contracted the disease and quickly died.” She was survived by multiple siblings including a brother in Los Gatos. Other stories have happier endings. San Jose State Normal School (now San Jose State University) closed twice during the pandemic but students and teachers didn’t get a moment’s rest as many went to work for the cause, whichever one it was at the moment.

“The demands of the past few years for money and time and effort have been so heavy that [in place of social activities] has been unusual activity along the line of war work,—Red Cross, Belgian and Armenian and Serbian relief, and other social service work of any description that beckoned. During the epidemic of influenza last fall, the women of the faculty took entire charge of the diet kitchen in connection with the emergency hospital, and practically the entire personnel of the club was engaged either in this part of the work or in the actual nursing. Later, individual members of the club worked to the verge of exhaustion in the hospital operated by the Normal faculty.” (1919 La Torre, 83).

The Normal Hospital during the Pandemic
The Normal Hospital as it was operating during the winter of 1918-1919, published in La Torre 1919.

The Normal Hospital

The Normal Hospital, as they christened it, was a furnished house on 12th Street in San Jose rented for the care and isolation of boarding house residents who contracted flu. It was used from December 10th to February 28th and “During this time twenty-one influenza patients were cared for, all making a rapid and complete recovery.” (1919 La Torre, 86). The author remarks that the emergency hospital stopped the spread of the disease through the school and helped to prevent more school closures. She insists there is a need for “a permanent instead of an emergency hospital.” (87). In March of 2015, San Jose State completed the construction of a new 3 story on-campus health center to serve the health and wellness needs of students, staff, and faculty.

Influenza Pandemic Revisited

The 1918-1920 influenza hasn’t been completely locked in the annals of history. Scientists have studied the virus and others over the last century to better understand and better prepare us for the current (and future) viral dangers. One intrepid pathologist, a Dr. Johan V Hultin, had a lifelong interest in tracking the 1918 virus, but it was late in his career and only after retiring from his practice at Los Gatos Community Hospital (now El Camino Hospital of Los Gatos) that he made strides against that virus. In 1997 at the age of 72, Dr. Hultin repeated an expedition he had made early in his career to Brevig Mission, Alaska. There he successfully excavated samples so well preserved in the cold tundra that they still contained 1918 virus genes. This groundbreaking discovery helped scientists piece together the full sequence of the hemagglutinin “HA” gene for the 1918 virus, and provided more insight as to how the virus originated and evolved.

 

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 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 will likely become incorporated into Monte Sereno and condos or townhomes built there.

Also, this month’s data will likely begin to show the effects of the pandemic on the real estate market more distinctly than what we saw from March. 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). Therefore these numbers will be off beginning from March 17th through around May 17th. In the data below, this will affect any numbers related to the days on market, the absorption rate, and the days of inventory.

First up for the market analysis is the Altos Research weekly profile for Monte Sereno (uses list prices, not sales):

 

 

This chart shows a slight seller’s advantage in the market, despite a steep drop beginning in the market action. This is consistent with nearby Los Gatos statistics.

Below is the Monte Sereno Real Estate Report (click to view the complete Real Estate Report).

Read moreThe Monte Sereno real estate market

Los Gatos real estate market trends and statistics

Los Gatos real estate market graphic with home near downtown

Recent Los Gatos real estate market’s statistics had been pointing to an early spring in terms of the home buying market in the early part of March. Colleagues were reporting busy open houses with serious buyers – and not much inventory to show them.

That being said, a lot has changed since the beginning of March. Many of the Los Gatos real estate market statistics below reflect sales that closed in March but much of the activity for those sales occurred before the shelter-in-place ordinances, the result of which we will likely see better in next month’s analysis. For a better understanding of 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). Therefore these numbers will be off beginning from March 17th through around May 17th. In the data below, this will affect any numbers related to the days on market, the absorption rate, and the days of inventory.

What is selling best in LG right now?

Of the 21 single family home sales in Los Gatos in April on the MLS, 9 closed under $2 million (the lowest was $1.365 mil), 5 were between $2 and $3 million, 6 between $3 and $4 mil, and 1 between $4 and $5 mil. The high end price point tends to be at 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.

For the 14 houses under $3 mil, the average days on market was longer (above 2 weeks), the average list price was $1,926,571 and the average sale price a little higher at $1,975,429. For those transactions, the average living space square footage was 1,881 SF and average lot size 12,612 SF. For this segment of the Los Gatos real estate market overall, it’s a warm seller’s market, though the numbers aren’t as hot as the month before.

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). 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 Apr 2020 Previous Month Year-over-Year
Median Price $2,675,000 (+4.3%) $2,565,000 $2,507,500 (+6.7%)
Average Price $2,653,940 (-5.5%) $2,807,500 $2,831,540 (-6.3%)
No. of Sales 25 (+4.2%) 24 26 (-3.8%)
Pending 28 (-12.5%) 32 32 (-12.5%)
Active 51 (+6.3%) 48 85 (-40.0%)
Sale vs. List Price 102.3% (-0.5%) 102.8% 99.7% (+2.6%)
Days on Market (-38.6%) 14 35 (-74.5%)
Days of Inventory 59 (-1.4%) 60 95 (-37.6%)

 

Prices are reasonably stable year over year and month over month with some ups and downs. The number of sales and active listings are up a hair from last month, but inventory is much smaller than a year ago. So the market has definitely stayed hot this spring despite the shelter-in-place ordinance. One area that’s fallen slightly month over month is the sales vs list price which dipped slightly to 102.3%, though it’s still hotter than the 99.7% last year.

Read moreLos Gatos real estate market trends and statistics

Los Gatos and the 1918-1920 Influenza Pandemic: Part 1

Coughs and Sneezes Spread Diseases October 1918 regarding the flu pandemic
“Coughs and Sneezes Spread Diseases,” states the graphic used in an informational article published across various newspapers in October 1918

Los Gatos Pandemic Then and Now

Today, Los Gatos is a bustling town of approximately 30,000 people with booming industry including high tech and an ever-expanding medical industry. We face a crisis locally and nationally, and do our part to help halt the progress of the COVID-19 pandemic by sheltering in place, working (or studying) from home, and supporting our essential workers.

The current pandemic has often been compared to the influenza of 1918 – 1920, but a lot has changed over the last 100 years. In 1920, Los Gatos’ total population was 2,317 (less than 10% of the current population) and it had only grown in size by about 85 people over the decade since the prior census! However small, this town has its own tales to tell, so I’ve dug up some history to present to you a retrospective on Los Gatos and the 1918-1920 Influenza pandemic.

Rolling back the clock, historic documents point to issues with masks and non compliance during the Spanish flu pandemic. Looking through 100+ year old Bay Area newspapers, you can review official city and county documents with numerous paragraphs lamenting the lack of progress on the “Joint Highway District”.  In particular, there are gripes regarding the completion of a state highway between Santa Cruz and Los Gatos which some locals were banking their hopes on during the “disappointing experiences which this country passed through at the time” (Santa Cruz Evening News V 24 #113 Sept 13, 1919). Apparently, getting to the beach was a mood lifter then, too!

Read moreLos Gatos and the 1918-1920 Influenza Pandemic: Part 1

Virtual visit with sister town, Listowel, Ireland

Map indicating the location of Listowel, IrelandIn 1994 Los Gatos and Listowel, Ireland, became sister towns. (Listowel is in County Kerry on the very pretty southwestern side of Ireland.) On Monday May 4th  2020, the Los Gatos Chamber of Commerce will be having a virtual visit with the mayor of Listowel starting at 11:30 am.n Also on the video chat will be Rob Rennie, who visited there not too long ago.

This is a Zoom call, so you must be registered to attend the virtual visit. It is a no cost event. Check out all of the details here:
https://www.losgatoschamber.com/events/details/sister-town-virtual-visit-listowel-ireland-14754