Twin Creeks neighborhood in Monte Sereno

Twin Creeks Road near the creekThe Twin Creeks neighborhood in Monte Sereno (and a small number in Saratoga) 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 sidewalks, 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 (or the Saratoga Union School District for the handful in Saratoga) and the Los Gatos-Saratoga Joint Union High School District.

What are properties like in the Twin Creeks area?

Read moreTwin Creeks neighborhood in Monte Sereno

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

Looking in this area and wondering what other neighborhoods are in this area? You might be interested in my article on this blog titled The confusion over the location of Surmont and Heritage Grove, Belwood and Belgatos subdivisions or you may want to browse the List of Los Gatos neighborhoods which is occasionally updated as I publish more posts about Los Gatos neighborhoods and subdivisions.

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 show some of the effects of the pandemic on the real estate market, but not all of it, and plenty has changed since 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) for a time. 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 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 – so the median sale price here is much higher than the median sale price on the solds):

 

 

This chart shows a strong seller’s market with declining market action. Prices have been holding steady, inventory is extremely low and shrinking, and days on market are up a hair.

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

Read moreThe Monte Sereno real estate market

List of Los Gatos neighborhoods

The Town of Los Gatos is about 11 square miles and is comprised of dozens of neighborhoods in various parts of town, with different schools, zip codes, price points, plusses and minuses.  Here on the Live in Los Gatos blog there have been many, many real estate articles devoted Los Gatos neighborhoods.  Below please find links to neighborhood posts with descriptions and photos, primarily on “Live in Los Gatos” but in some cases on one of my other sites.
West Los Gatos neighborhoods
(More neighborhoods to come as time permits – I have about 25 on my list.  Want your subdivision included? Please email me and I will put it on the To Do list!)

Read moreList of Los Gatos neighborhoods

Virtual WineFest: Tasting Fundraiser by the Los Gatos Rotary!

Los Gatos Rotary Virtual WineFest & Auction 2021The annual CrabFest is postponed until next year, but the Rotary Club of Los Gatos has some new plans for 2021. Save the date for Saturday, January 30th at 5pm!

“Don’t be crabby come ‘wine’ with us.”

That’s the slogan for this year’s fundraiser, also called the Virtual Crab WineFest & Auction! This year’s main event centers around a local wine tasting guided via Zoom by professional winemaker and Los Gatan, Left Bend Wine‘s Gary Robinson. A Wine Tasting Kit for two is provided via curbside pickup 1-2 days prior to the event, which will contain 5 tastings, 1 full size bottle, and gourmet snacks. Live streamed entertainment, including a performance by the San Jose Youth Symphony, 2 door prizes, and a silent auction are served beside this deluxe wine tasting experience. And as always, proceeds benefit the Rotary Charities foundations.

Virtual WineFest & Auction

Registration is now open through the Los Gatos Rotary website. Check the Virtual WineFest & Auction event page for ticket sales, event details and updates, to view the silent auction catalogue, contact the event team, or donate directly to the fundraiser. Each ticket is for a two-person tasting experience at a cost of $150.

The event is also posted on the Los Gatos Chamber of Commerce event calendar with easy links to save the date on your virtual calendar and view a video promotion for the event.

Los Gatos real estate market trends and statistics

Low inventory is the main story in the Los Gatos real estate market for 2020. Here’s a multiple year view of single family homes for sale in Los Gatos 95030 and 95032 since January 2014 – 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 December can vary, but usually sits somewhere between 30 to 40 and occasionally higher. Seasonal trends for 2020 have been thrown completely off. Inventory has been unusually consistent since March with little fluctuation, the result of which is a higher than average inventory in December. This is a shift from the preceding months when, in fact, most of the year Los Gatos inventory has been extremely low.

 

Los Gatos Active Inventory SFH through Dec 2020

 

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.

What is selling best in LG right now?

In general, single family homes listed at or under roughly $2.5 million are selling well, averaging around 8% over list price. For those listed in the high $2 millions and upward, on average they are selling a bit under asking. Even so, there are exceptions in both groups. Certain things can skew the data. A home in east Los Gatos listed under $2 million took over 50 days to sell and sold below asking, causing the days on market for that set to look longer than is actually the case for most homes. 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 don’t apply.

By the numbers:  Of the 22 single family home sales in Los Gatos (not including the mountain market) in December on the MLS, none sold under $1 million, 7 closed under $2 million (only 1 went below $1.5 million), 9 sold above $2 and below $3 million, 5 from $3 million to $4 million, 1 sold above $7 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). 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 Dec 2020 Previous Month Year-over-Year
Median Price $2,776,500 (+18.1%) $2,350,000 $2,075,000 (+33.8%)
Average Price $2,882,500 (+9.3%) $2,638,150 $2,545,930 (+13.2%)
No. of Sales 26 (-33.3%) 39 28 (-7.1%)
Pending 30 (-3.2%) 31 16 (+87.5%)
Active 39 (-22.0%) 50 29 (+34.5%)
Sale vs. List Price 101.5% (-0.4%) 101.9% 99.1% (+2.5%)
Days on Market 35 (+53.9%) 23 43 (-18.2%)
Days of Inventory 45 (+21.0%) 37 31 (+44.8%)

 

Prices rose since last month and last year (although that is likely skewed due to the $7.1 mil sale). The number of sales, on the other hand, is a little below last year and significantly cooler than the month prior. Active listings have also fallen since November, which is normal seasonal cooling, but are higher than 2019 inventory. Pending sales are holding steady and are nearly double the year prior, and the sales vs list price ratio cooled to 101.5%, remaining well above last year. Overall it remains a seller’s market in Los Gatos with some seasonal cooling, possibly impacted by delayed activity from earlier this year.

Read moreLos Gatos real estate market trends and statistics

Los Gatos Carriage Rides

Los Gatos carriage ride graphic with night sky - making memoriesThe annual Los Gatos carriage rides are back this month, to the delight of many in and near town looking for a safe way to celebrate the holiday season.  To me there are few things so festive as seeing and hearing the horses clippity-clop down Main Street and North Santa Cruz Avenue each December.

It’s 2020 and nothing is really normal and that goes for these horse drawn carriage rides as well. For the safety of the driver and all, masks must be worn and riders must be all from the same household. The rides go on rain or shine unless the operator feels it would be unsafe for the horse. The dates run from Dec 4 to Dec 23, but not every single night, so please check the calendar via the link below.

What do the Los Gatos Carriage Rides cost?

This year, the horse drawn carriage ride will set you back $110 for a regularly sized carriage (4 adults, 2 kids max) or $130 for a larger one that accommodate up to 6 adults.

Where to book a reservation & pay for the Los Gatos Carriage Ride

This fun experience is sponsored by the Los Gatos Chamber of Commerce, and you can purchase your tickets and read all the requirements and rules on this page.

Downtown Los Gatos is adorned with holiday lights and decor, and I’d encourage everyone to enjoy some time there, even if it’s just a socially distanced drive through the business district and nearby historic residential districts. If you can manage the horse drawn carriage rides, so much the better, but all visitors are in for a visual treat no matter how they see the area.