Thanksgiving Interfaith Service in Los Gatos

Cornucopia - Thanksgiving Interfaith ServiceThe annual Thanksgiving Interfaith Service is a longstanding holiday tradition here in Los Gatos, and this year it’s going virtual. Join in on Zoom by registering online to attend the celebration on Tuesday, November 24th from 7pm – 9pm. The organization under which this happens is the Los Gatos Interfaith Clergy Association. All are welcome!

Each year, an ecumenical service is held at a different house of worship with the theme of Thanksgiving. This year, it’s being held at all of them! The first ever Los Gatos Virtual Interfaith Thanksgiving will be hosted on Zoom and streaming directly from the many sanctuaries of our community.

A big highlight of the event, which often draws about 350 attendees, is the joint choir, which is also going virtual for this event. This year’s event also features a sermon from Rabbi Aron of Congregation Shir Hadash.

Attendance is free and attendees must register online to receive the Zoom link to join this virtual celebration. No in-person celebration or reception will be held this year.

Thanksgiving Interfaith Service sponsors from recent years have included:

Congregation Shir Hadash
Faith Lutheran Church (ELCA)
Los Gatos United Methodist Church
St. Luke’s Ediviscopal Church
St. Mary’s Catholic Church
The Baha’i Faith of Los Gatos
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Los Gatos Ward
The Presbyterian Church of Los Gatos
The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Los Gatos

 

In the past, this also included chaplains from Good Samaritan Hospital, the Terraces and Stanford Health Care.

In past celebrations, those attending the Thanksgiving Interfaith Service were encouraged to bring canned food to donate to West Valley Community Services and St. Luke’s Lunch Program, and cash donations to other charities were encouraged. If you are able, consider donating food, items, money, or your time to a local charity to help the South Bay community during this difficult holiday season. Here are the names of a few:

 

I wish each and every one of you a very Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Los Gatos condo sales: what does your money buy?

Los Gatos condo sales are good to watch as it provides info on the most affordable segment of the local real estate market. The condo / townhome market in Los Gatos includes a broad spectrum of housing and affordability across the 95030 and 95032 zip codes and its various school districts.

Included are senior condominiums (mostly but not exclusively at the Los Gatos Commons), which are usually the lowest priced homes and which are residences with age restrictions (mostly 55+). This can skew the data a little, so remember that if it looks too good to be true, it probably is (for all the non-seniors who would love the prices at the Commons in a non seniors complex).

Also incorporated in the chart below are townhouses. A townhouse is an architectural style, not a type of ownership. A townhouse really refers to properties with no other units above or below them. They are either in condo style ownership (essentially a condominium in the shape of a townhouse) or they are planned unit developments (PUDs), which are not condos and in which the ownership includes the land under the unit.  (See also: Is that Los Gatos house or townhouse actually a condo? on this blog.)

Chart of Los Gatos condo sales in 2020

Below please find data on the Los Gatos 95030 and 95032 condominium and townhome sales.

 

Los Gatos condo sales in 2020 year to date

 

How do these condo and townhome prices compare to other nearby areas? Here’s the most recent data from my RE Report (link is to the main site, the PDF with this chart is listed in left column).

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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, as 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 continuing strong seller’s market with market action holding steady. Prices are dropping which may suggest a shift in listings to lower priced homes rather than a drop in value to the market.

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

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Los Gatos real estate market trends and statistics

Low inventory is the main story in the Los Gatos real estate market today. 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 average October inventory for Los Gatos is usually in the 70s, but in 2020 it’s a good deal short with only 51 active listings! Going back, inventory hasn’t been in-line with usual monthly trends since this March.

 

InventoryLG-Oct2020

 

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?

Of the 40 single family home sales in Los Gatos (not including the mountain market) in October on the MLS, none sold under $1 million, 12 closed under $2 million (only 3 went below $1.5 million), 17 sold above $2 and below $3 million, 9 from $3 million to $4 million, and 2 between $4 and $5 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 Oct 2020 Previous Month Year-over-Year
Median Price $2,300,000 (-2.1%) $2,350,000 $2,630,000 (-12.5%)
Average Price $2,575,300 (+3.4%) $2,491,080 $2,762,530 (-6.8%)
No. of Sales 46 (+24.3%) 37 29 (+58.6%)
Pending 57 (+3.6%) 55 29 (+96.6%)
Active 47 (-9.6%) 52 72 (-34.7%)
Sale vs. List Price 103.0% (+0.6%) 102.5% 97.3% (+5.9%)
Days on Market 26 (-9.0%) 29 37 (-29.8%)
Days of Inventory 31 (-24.8%) 41 74 (-58.8%)

 

Prices dropped a hair since last month with October numbers looking a little low compared to where they were a year ago. The number of sales, on the other hand, has risen nearly a quarter since last month and is up almost 60% since last year! Active listings have also dipped from September and are well below 2019, and pending sales rose and are nearly double last year. The sales vs list price ratio rose again to a hot 103%, well above last year. Overall it remains a seller’s market in Los Gatos, possibly impacted by delayed activity from earlier this year.

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Bring the Indoors Outside: the California Room Trend

If you are house-hunting and find yourself looking at new or recently developed homes in the Bay Area, you may have seen properties advertised to have a “California Room,” but what exactly is a California room?

California room or luxury porch image from Pixabay
Image by andre casti from Pixabay

What is a California Room?

Sometimes when a house has beautiful views, large sunny windows, and plenty of access to outdoor spaces we might promote it as “bringing the outdoors in.” With the popular trend of California Rooms, however, Bay Area new homes are bringing the indoors outside!

Outdoor living features are as old as the art of architecture itself. The California room is very similar to the classical loggia. It is a living and entertaining space open to the outdoors on at least one side and always covered by a roof. More protected than a lanai, not fully enclosed like a sunroom, and more multi-purpose than a patio, the California room is a luxury space that can be described as a hybrid between a porch and a room.

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Remember to vote by November 3rd!

voteElection Day is less than two weeks away, and in addition to the presidential election, there are a number of other candidates and issues on the ballot. Please remember to vote!

This year voting is being done a little differently here in California. Back in 2019, Santa Clara County became the 10th county in California to adopt the Voter’s Choice Act, adopting practices to make voting in elections more convenient, expedient, and accessible. Ballots and booklets on the propositions were mailed out to every registered voter early this month. All voters have the option to vote in-person or remotely by mail or official Ballot Drop Box. The Act also replaces designated Polling Places, assigned by address, with universal Vote Centers, where any Santa Clara County registered voter can vote.

Due to the pandemic, residents have been encouraged to vote early and vote by mail to reduce crowds at Vote Centers. In-person voting remains available throughout the county, but locations have been reduced for the upcoming election. If you aren’t sure where to go, or have more questions about voting, please check the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters website or phone them at 408-299-8683.

There are two types of locations: drop off only Ballot Drop Boxes, and Voting Centers where you can either drop-off your mailed ballot or fill one out in-person.

Ballot Drop Box locations in and near Los Gatos

Ballot Drop Boxes are open 24 hours a day between October 5th and November 2nd, and on Election Day, November 3rd, from midnight to 8pm when polls close. You can also find your nearest Ballot Drop Box location using the County Registrar of Voters search by address using the tab on the left titled “Find Ballot Drop Off” or by checking the complete list of locations. All of the boxes listed below are outdoor sites.

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Cheeky Los Gatos Article from 1892

Tucked away on the back page of the San Jose Daily Mercury from Monday September 5th, 1892 is an amusing and impudent little article titled “The Effect of the ‘Mercury’ on the Gem of the Foothills”.

It reads:San Jose Mercury-news, Volume XLII, Number 67, 5 September 1892

San Jose, says the Los Gatos News, is making a lively bid for Los Gatos favors. The Mercury has arranged for a daily news budget and an agent (his name is Dennis) is canvassing the town for subscribers. Like the Novitiate College and Glenridge, the Garden City will soon be applying for annexation to Los Gatos. No doubt San Jose envies us our felicitous zephyrs and the picturesqueness of our mountain scenery and would like us to divide the honor which the Gem of the Foothills monopolizes on the Pacific Coast. We advise our Town Board to go slow on San Jose. It would be well to modestly suggest that our patronizing sister first purge herself of the discordant elements which have been blazoned from the electric tower and have been made so conspicuous in the councils of the body politic before we risk the chances of admitting her to our peaceful realm. We will take the Mercury on probation and if the evidences of peace and good will develop a tendency to reform in these important particulars, we may, at some future time, consider a proposition to admit San Jose as a suburb, providing she will allow us the privilege of attaching to her main sewer to the Bay, or offer some other equally persuasive inducement.

The author sets up the joke right at the start. The News and the Mercury are competing daily papers; the Mercury (based in San Jose) is hawking subscriptions in Los Gatos (home of the News) while condescending to the Town in it’s publications, at least in the author’s opinion. In response the author (presumably from our little Town and proud of it) turns right around and patronizes them back! This article references contemporary issues, from overtly bragging about annexations and reputations, to addressing the desired expansion of public utilities (sewage, in this case), and takes jabs at San Jose’s first attempt at electric street lighting and the “San Jose Electric-Light War”! What a cheeky piece of history!