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 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 1 of the single family designs are currently (as of September 15, 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 slight seller’s advantage with recent declines in market action. Inventory is extremely small, days on market are slowing, and most indicators suggest it is following seasonal cooling trends.

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 August can vary, but usually sits somewhere between the low to high 70s. This August fell well below that range with only 51 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 hardly any growth in spring 2021!

 

Active Inventory August 2021 Los Gatos 95030 & 95032

 

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 affected the local real estate market today, please check Coronavirus Impact on Real Estate Sales on my other blog.

Covid restrictions have mostly been lifted, and Silicon Valley remains in a 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 6.7% over list price in August. Those listed upwards of $3 millions are also frequently selling above asking with an average of roughly 4.4% above list price in August. 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 33 days to sell, but sold around 4.6% below list price, while another listed shy of $4 million sold nearly 17.5% above asking (over $700K over) in just 7 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 sales which aren’t comparable.

By the numbers: Of the 46 single family home sales in Los Gatos (not including the mountain market) in August on the MLS, none sold under $1 million, 5 sold under $1.5 million, 9 sold between $1.5 and $2 million, 13 sold above $2 and below $3 million, 10 sold between $3 and $4 million, 7 sold over $4 to $5 million, and 2 sold between $6 million and $7 million!

The high end price point tends to be around $3,000,000 and up for this part of Santa Clara County, although it’s been creeping upwards with the overly hot market we’ve been experiencing. 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 Aug 2021 Previous Month Year-over-Year
Median Price $2,950,000 (+3.5%) $2,850,000 $2,475,000 (+19.2%)
Average Price $3,253,780 (+0.9%) $3,224,100 $2,944,000 (+10.5%)
No. of Sales 40 (-7.0%) 43 44 (-9.1%)
Pending 55 (-6.8%) 59 41 (+34.1%)
Active 50 (+8.7%) 46 55 (-9.1%)
Sale vs. List Price 105.4% (-3.0%) 108.6% 100.9% (+4.4%)
Days on Market 20 (+66.8%) 12 31 (-35.2%)
Days of Inventory 38 (+16.8%) 32 38 (0.0%)

Prices for Los Gatos real estate haven’t changed much month-over-month, but compared to last year they’ve risen about 10%-19%! Last year’s market had a higher number of closed sales and active listings, but fewer pending sales. Compared to last month, closed and pending sales fell short while active inventory grew. The sales vs list price ratio fell significantly month-over-month, although still well above last year at a red hot 105.4% of asking.

Overall, despite some seasonal cooling it remains a busy seller’s market in Los Gatos, likely impacted by pent up demand from last year.

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Ming Quong: a Los Gatos Monument

Ming Quong Arch appx c.1940
Children playing beneath the arch at the entrance to the Loma Alta Home around 1940.

At the end of Loma Alta Ave in the foothills sits the Los Gatos campus of Uplift Family Services, formerly Eastfield Ming Quong (EMQ) Family First. Tucked away among quiet residential streets, this unassuming establishment often goes unnoticed by locals, but it has deep roots in this Town and across the Bay Area, and especially within the Chinese community.

Origins: “Radiant Light”

Discriminatory laws such as the Chinese Exclusion Act (1882-1943) took their toll on US Chinatowns. Organized crime took hold in US Chinatowns and with it, human trafficking. Tong kidnaped Chinese women, smuggling them through the Golden Gate and into prostitution and slavery. In the late 19th century, Presbyterian missionaries in San Francisco began an effort to help the victims, women and children, escape to safety.

This undertaking expanded, providing safe houses and orphanages: Chung Mei (“China America”) Home for boys and Ming Quong (“radiant light”) Homes for girls.

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Mountain Charley

Mountain Charley's Saloon sign - named after the colorful figure well known in Los Gatos“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.

Related Reading

E Clampus Vitus has a page on Mountain Charlie if you’d like to learn more.

Another colorful person in Los Gatos, sometimes confused with Mountain Charley, was Charley Parkhurst, written about in Surprises of the Wild West of Los Gatos on this site.

The Promenade: Strolling Downtown Los Gatos with Live Music this Summer! 7/1 – 8/12, 2021

Los Gatos Chamber of Commerce: The Promenade Thursdays poster
Los Gatos Chamber of Commerce poster for the Promenade!

The Los Gatos Chamber of Commerce invites the community to celebrate summer together with free live music all summer!

Thursday Promenades in Downtown Los Gatos

There’s a party in downtown every Thursday Promenade beginning this week! Every Thursday evening, 3pm to 8pm from July 1st to August 12th, the stretch of North Santa Cruz Avenue in downtown Los Gatos between Main St and Bachman (that’s from Dolce Spazio to Andalé for the foodies) will transform into “the promenade.” The street will be open to foot traffic, and two stages will bookend the promenade with live musical entertainment!

Bands will begin performances at 4:30pm on the North Stage (Bachman), and at 5:30pm on the South Stage (Main), with entertainment from a different group each week. See the lineup (and any changes) on the Los Gatos Chamber of Commerce calendar, the Thursday Promenades page linked above, or Camber of Commerce social media pages.

Drivers, plan to reroute around this stretch of N. Santa Cruz Ave on Thursday nights. While there is usually plenty of parking along the old rail line behind the shops, it tends to fill up with festival traffic, so schedule in some extra time for parking. If you’re coming for the event, consider traveling by bike, or using a ridesharing service if you plan on patronizing any of the bars or brewery!

As someone who regularly attends free summer concerts in Los Gatos, which were mostly canceled earlier this year (and the Fiesta de Arts / Wine Walk postponed until September), the Promenade is music to my ears!

So invite your friends to eat, drink, play, and stroll the night away!

Los Gatos Chamber of Commerce: Thursday Promenades Live Music Schedule 2021
Musical lineup, taken from the Los Gatos Chamber of Commerce Facebook page. Click to see the original post.

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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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.