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 (aka Austin Corners) is being developed and incorporated 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 extremely low but growing, days on market are low and steady, and most indicators suggest this continues to be a hot 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 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 May fell well below that range with only 45 active listings, the lowest across all visible years!

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 we’re seeing hardly any new growth in spring 2021!

 

Los Gatos Active Inventory - May 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.

Some homeowners may be waiting until the restrictions are lifted to list their home, but seller’s willing to jump through a few hoops 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 10.9% over list price in May. Those listed upwards of $2.5 millions are also frequently selling above asking with an average of roughly 1.4% above list price in May. Even so, there are exceptions in both groups.

Certain things can skew the data. For instance, a home in Los Gatos listed just over $1.8 million took 41 days to sell and sold at list price, while another listed just shy of $3.5 million sold over 14.4% above asking in only 3 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 50 single family home sales in Los Gatos (not including the mountain market) in May on the MLS, none sold under $1 million, 12 closed at or below $2 million (2 went below $1.5 million), 15 sold above $2 and below $3 million, 12 between $3 and $3.99 million, 5 sold from $4 million to $5 million, 4 sold between $5 million and $6 million, 1 sold above $6 million, and 1 sold above $14 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 May 2021 Previous Month Year-over-Year
Median Price $3,000,000 (+10.9%) $2,705,000 $2,000,000 (+50.0%)
Average Price $3,448,340 (+15.4%) $2,988,350 $2,232,100 (+54.5%)
No. of Sales 57 (+7.5%) 53 26 (+119.2%)
Pending 63 (-11.3%) 71 33 (+90.9%)
Active 41 (+13.9%) 36 63 (-34.9%)
Sale vs. List Price 106.5% (+0.1%) 106.5% 100.0% (+6.5%)
Days on Market 23 (+20.4%) 19 26 (-12.4%)
Days of Inventory 22 (+9.5%) 20 73 (-70.3%)

Prices for Los Gatos real estate jumped up, 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 and active inventory are both up, and pending sales have taken a dip. The sales vs list price ratio held stable at a hot 106.5%, rising well above last year.

Overall it’s an increasingly busy seller’s market in Los Gatos, likely impacted by pent up demand from last year.

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Fiesta de Artes in Los Gatos

Last year, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the annual Los Gatos Fiesta de Artes was cancelled (along with nearly every other regular summer event in town). I’m delighted to share that the Fiesta de Artes website shows a return of the town’s only art & wine festival with the planned dates of September 18-19, 2021!

If you’ve never been, it’s a fabulous opportunity to mill around the Civic Center lawn and enjoy art of various types. It’s free! If you’d like to partake of wine, the proceeds all go to a very good cause.

Please check out all of the details at the event’s website:

https://losgatosfiesta.com/

 

Info from 2019 is below…

 

Los Gatos Fiesta de Artes

 

Saturday September 21st and Sunday September 22nd mark the return of the Fiesta de Artes Los Gatos, Art & Wine Festival, the only Art & Wine Festival in town all year!  It will be located at the Civic Center lawn, and the hours are 10 am to 6 pm both days. (This year it was moved from August to September – hopefully there will be far less “beach traffic” with this timing, which seems like a great idea to me.)

What happens at the Fiesta de Artes?

Think food & drink, art & shopping, dancing & socializing! Once again, there will be more than 150 vendors with a huge variety of artists and vendors displaying and selling their artwork, plus booths with food and wine and of course loads of music throughout both days. Please check out the musical lineup here: Fiesta de Artes music lineup

Where is the Fiesta de Artes held?

Fiesta de Artes will be at the Civic Center lawn across the street from Los Gatos High School.

For more information, please visit https://LosGatosFiesta.com/

Las Casitas townhomes

The smallest cluster of homes along Alberto Way is Las Casitas, a pretty townhome community with 18 units and abundant open space near downtown Los Gatos. Here are some quick facts about this attractive community:

  • The legal name of the complex is “Las Casitas IV of Los Gatos”.
  • Built in 1979.
  • This is a condo complex. Units are shaped like 2 story townhouses, but the ownership type is condominium. (Some townhomes are PUDs, Planned Unit Developments.)
  • The 18 units all appear to have the same floor plan: 3 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, 1448 SF, laundry closet in kitchen, patio & storage closet off of living room, multiple skylights, some vaulted ceilings on the 2nd floor.
  • There is a little variation in the lot sizes, but only by the tiniest of fractions. All units overlook the greenbelt from the back.
  • Each unit is assigned a carport and storage closet at the rear of the property (near the freeway)
  • Las Casitas is within the Los Gatos Union School District – a big draw for home buyers. The schools appear to be Van Meter Elementary, Fisher Middle, and Los Gatos High. All are within 1 mile as the bird flies.
  • As of April 2021, the monthly dues are $560

 

Facing Alberto Way- Las Casitas - 435 Alberto Way, Los Gatos CA 95032

 

The units are slightly staggered, which makes for a pleasant look, but also more privacy on the back patio.

 

Map of Las Casitas in relation to other communities

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Los Gatos Free Music Concert Series: Music in the Park, Jazz on the Plazz and Vasona Vibrations Schedule of Events and Performers

Update on the 2021 Summer Music in Los Gatos

Normally in April and May I’m collecting all the information on the summer musical events in Los Gatos. This year, however, we remain in the midst of a Stay Home order due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Despite ongoing risks, the warm weather and growing vaccination rollout has us hopeful as more things are beginning to open at the state and county levels. On April 2nd newly released guidance for live outdoor entertainment! Sadly, our local summer concerts are booked and planned in early winter, so this update won’t affect most of the usual lineup. Things might look a little different, but you won’t have to wait until 2022 for a good show!

2021 Updates: Free Summer Concert Series Los Gatos

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15839 Edmund Dr. Los Gatos, CA 95032

15839 Edmund Dr LG 95032 Collage

SOLD – 15839 Edmund Dr. Los Gatos 95032
Closed on 4/30/2021 at $2,465,000

View virtual tour at LosGatosHomeSale.com

A spacious 4 bed 3 bath open floorplan home on a deep lot
in a beautiful, convenient East Los Gatos cul de sac!

Spacious home featuring hardwood floors throughout. Large kitchen with abundant counter space and breakfast bar. Open living space overlooks the back yard. Four bedrooms, two with en suite baths. Deep back yard provided newer, heated lap pool with safety cover, large deck, and storage shed.

Highly regarded schools: Alta Vista Elementary (convenient access via pedestrian bridge), Union Middle, and Leigh High.

4 bed / 3 bath (2 bedrooms with en suite baths)

Lot Size 10,000 SqFt

Building Size 2,252 SqFt

Built 1953

Offered at $1,800,000

MLS # ML81835578

For more images and information visit LosGatosHomeSale.com

Features:

  • Deep lot
  • Hardwood flooring – oak in original bedroom wing and engineered hardwood in most of the rest of the home (all but kitchen and bathrooms)
  • Fireplace in living room
  • Open floorplan
  • Large kitchen with 10′ breakfast bar and gas cooking
  • Heated lap pool with safety cover
  • Large, 750 SF deck with hot tub near primary bedroom
  • Storage shed

Moving to Los Gatos? Some Place Names You’ll Want to Know

The iconic cats of Los Gatos (one shown) with the word WELCOME!If you are soon relocating to Los Gatos or new to town, you may hear people drop the names of places and feel a little lost.  In some cases, it may be trouble spelling an unfamiliar name, in others that the same place is known by more than one name or that one name has several potential meanings. Here are some place names and local terminology you’ll want to know:

Vasona – also Vasona Lake or Vasona Lake County Park: this one gets a lot of typos when people are trying to find it (I see them via the search terms people use to find this blog), sometimes typing in Verona or Vesona. This park is the largest in Los Gatos, consisting of over 100 acres, directly attached to Oak Meadow (which belongs to the town, while Vasona belongs to the county). The entrance to the park is on Blossom Hill Road close to University Avenue (don’t try to enter off of Lark – that’s a locked gate). More info on both parks.

The Manor – also Blossom Manor or Blossom Hill Manor: this is a residential neighborhood bordered by Blossom Hill Road, Los Gatos Blvd, Los Gatos Almaden and Longwood. Homes in this area are in the Los Gatos School District. (See post and photos of this neighborhood.)

The Boulevard – Los Gatos Boulevard, which is the road that Main Street turns into as it heads towards San Jose.  This is the area where normal shopping happens for many of the town’s residents. It’s where you find grocery stores, drug stores, fast food and other inexpensive restaurants, etc.

East Los Gatos – definitions vary, sometimes referencing everything from approximately Harwood Road to Highway 17, other times Harwood Road to Los Gatos Blvd. (Post on this topic.)

Downtown – usually references Main Street, Santa Cruz Avenue (north or south), University Avenue and areas closest to all of these.  (Usually does not include areas as far as Highway 9, aka Los Gatos Saratoga Road.)  Most of downtown is business related but there are some neighborhoods that are right in downtown too.

The Hill – Los Gatos has tons of hills, but “the hill” actually means the Santa Cruz Mountains and the pass through them.

Blossom Hill – can mean Blossom Hill School, Blossom Hill Park, Blossom Hill Road, or perhaps even the hill which is called “Blossom Hill”. (If you traverse Blossom Hill Road, you’ll drive up a little bit at one stretch between Camino del Cerro and Blossom Dale Drive – at this point you’re up on the base of the hill which is Blossom Hill.)   Yes, it is confusing.

Old Town – shopping center on University Avenue in downtown, once the site of the town’s elementary school. (It’s where you’ll find the Border’s bookstore and a number of nice shops and restaurants.)

In town – a contrast to “in the mountains” or perhaps “in a county pocket” but in the general area of the town of Los Gatos. There are areas with a Los Gatos mailing address but are not actually part of the town of Los Gatos. This is true for all of the 95033 zip code (which is in the mountains and reached via Hwy 17 – some of that is actually in Santa Cruz County and not Santa Clara County) as well as some of the county pockets in 95030 and 95032 (which are mostly “in town”).

The Chart House – people still refer to the old Coggeshall Mansion on North Santa Cruz Avenue by that name, but the Chart House closed several years ago and had other restaurants at that site afterwards. It’s a lovely old Victorian, one of many which initially lined that street but now the only one remaining.  Initially it was a private home, then a mortuary, then a series of restaurants. It has a reputation for being one of the most haunted places in town.  At this writing,  it is The Palms, and I hear their food is great!

NUMU – the town’s museum, both an art museum (formerly in the old firehouse on West Main) and a history museum (formerly at Forbes Mill). Located in the Civic Center on Main Street, it has changing exhibits and is worth popping by at least a couple of times a year.

In the Schools – a phrase meaning that homes in a particular area are within the Los Gatos School District. Los Gatos has several school districts, including Union Schools (shared with the Cambrian Park area of San Jose) and Moreland Schools (shared with Campbell).

Almond Grove, Edelen, Glenridge, Fairview Plaza – older residential neighborhoods either in or very near to downtown Los Gatos.  Many of these areas have homes dating back to the late 1800s. (To read about these and other neighborhoods (such as Surrey Farms, Strathmore, Belwood, Heritage Grove and many more), please click on this link for all the neighborhood posts on Live in Los Gatos.)