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, please understand that many of the statistics below are for sales that closed in March, however much of the activity for those sales happened before the shelter-in-place order. Next month’s data will likely show the effects of this more distinctly than what we are seeing looking back on 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.

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, which is consistent with the rest of the area, with recent dips in pricing and, surprisingly, days of inventory.

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.

What is selling best in LG right now?

Of the 24 single family home sales in Los Gatos reported on the MLS for this March, 8 closed under $2 million (the lowest was $1.73 mil), 8 were between $2 and $3 million, 5 between $3 and $4 mil, 2 between $4 and $5 mil, and one over $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 16 houses under $3 mil, the average days on market was 8.25, the average list price was $2,121,115 and the average sale price a little higher at $2,185,313. For those transactions, the average living space square footage was 1,935 SF and average lot size 11,333 SF. For this segment of the Los Gatos real estate market overall, it’s a warm seller’s market.

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 Mar 2020 Previous Month Year-over-Year
Median Price $2,565,000 (+19.3%) $2,150,000 $2,500,000 (+2.6%)
Average Price $2,807,500 (+23.4%) $2,275,070 $2,518,700 (+11.5%)
No. of Sales 24 (+71.4%) 14 27 (-11.1%)
Pending 32 (+14.3%) 28 28 (+14.3%)
Active 48 (+6.7%) 45 65 (-26.2%)
Sale vs. List Price 102.8% (0.0%) 102.8% 101.4% (+1.4%)
Days on Market 14 (-65.1%) 41 30 (-51.8%)
Days of Inventory 60 (-33.3%) 90 72 (-16.9%)

 

Prices are up year over year and up month over month. The number of sales and active listings are also down from last year, but growing from a month ago. So the market has definitely warmed up since winter, but not where it was a year ago. One area that’s up steadily is the sales vs list price which jumped to a whopping 102.8% in February and has remained there since. The days on market have sped to only two weeks, showing an active market with strong demand, and a heating seller’s market. Despite these signs of warming, remember that most of the activity on these sales happened before the shelter-in-place order began, even if closings happened after.

 

Read moreLos Gatos real estate market trends and statistics

Social distance hiking at Belgatos Park

In these days of staying home, I thought my fellow Los Gatans might enjoy photos of Belgatos Park taken this week. It’s our neighborhood park, so my family and I visit there often.

Coming in on the side at the Bacigalupi Connector, there is now a sign….

 

Sign at the Bacigalupi Connector in Belgatos Park advising visitors to stay 6 feet apart & practice social distance

 

The statement is a reminder to practice social distancing, to keep 6 feet apart from others during this shelter in place period due to the coronavirus outbreak.

 

Social distance hiking is allowed - sign reminding people to keep 6' apart

 

And just a few more photos from the day before along the Ridge Trail in Belgatos Park;

 

2020-03-26 Belgatos Park Trail 1

 

And a little further up the Ridge Trail

 

2020-03-26 Belgatos Park Trail 2

 

View of the water tanks, site still under construction

 

View of the water tanks and construction area just off the Ridge Trail at Belgatos Park

 

And a great shot of the valley below

 

Valley view from the Ridge Trail at Belagos Park in Los Gatos

Takeout Food for Shelter in Place

Los Gatos takeout food for shelter in place

Los Gatos is highly regarded for its excellent dine in restaurants. It is not known for food trucks, takeout food, or meals delivered to your home, but during the current Shelter in Place period, it’s a way for consumers to enjoy some of their favorite meals and support local businesses. In some cases, we can buy groceries at these eateries, too.

Sereno Group has a list of Covid-19 / Shelter in Place resources for the South Bay: entertainment, exercise, home schooling, and to-go restaurants still operating. The list will change as some of the Realtors, like yours truly, contribute and edit the available info, so please bookmark it! Meanwhile, I’ve taken the company’s list and added to it a bit to give you the best info that I can for now.

Here are some places where you can get a meal for takeaway or groceries to go here in Los Gatos. Interesting note: alcohol restrictions have been loosened and establishments can now provide wine, beer, or mixed drinks to go. Please be sure to put them in your locked trunk!

List of takeout food options in Los Gatos

Asa Los Gatos Takeout and groceries for pick up. (Cocktails, too.)  (408) 540-7004

Centenove Takeout at discounted rates and 20% off all bottles of wine. (408) 384-4007.

Double D’s Sports Grille, Los Gatos: Takeout/curbside meals from noon to 7 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday. (408) 402-3407.

Flights / Flights Community Market, Los Gatos: Drive-through menu and groceries. Also selling some food from other nearby shops. 12 noon – 7 p.m. daily.(408) 354-3434

Forbes Mill Steakhouse, Los Gatos: Curbside service on discounted menu. Phone in your order between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., pick up between 3 and 8 p.m. (408) 395-6434.

Happy Hound, Los Gatos: remains open, but no dining in. (408) 358-2444

Loma Brewing Company, Los Gatos: Curbside pickup menu, plus beer, available from noon to 8 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday. Place orders by 7:30 p.m. at (408) 560-9626. Loma’s Coffee Bar is open Wed – Sunday, 8 am – 12 noon.

Los Gatos Cafe – Uptown, Los Gatos: to go orders only, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. daily. (408) 356-0600

Manresa, Los Gatos: Limited number of take-away meals will be available for pickup from 4 to 6 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday this week and then, for the duration of the shutdown, Wednesday-Sunday. (408) 354-4330

Oak & Rye, Los Gatos: Curbside pickup, plus local deliveries every 30 minutes of full menu, daily specials and beer, wine, cocktails. Hours, noon to 8 p.m. (408) 395-4441.

Willow Street Los Gatos + San Jose – open for takeout and delivery (30% off bottle of wines with food) Curbside service and delivery (408) 354-5566 from noon to 8 p.m.

Zona Rosa, San Jose/Los Gatos: Curbside pickup, delivery and take-and-bake options from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. (408) 884-8268.

When possible, please pay electronically so that you and the cashier do not have to handle paper money and coins.

Additionally, it seems that many other restaurants such as pizza and donut shops, may be open for take out – if you  have a favorite, please check in on them and support the local businesses if you can.

Finally, I have never used a delivery service, but if you cannot get out, you might want to investigate Grubhub, DoorDash, UberEats, or Postmates.

Alta Vista neighborhood

Hills proximity to the Alta Vista neighborhoodAlta Vista is a scenic neighborhood which includes homes in both the Cambrian Park neighborhood and the Town of Los Gatos. For many reasons, this area is highly valued and sought after. For this article, we’ll focus on the neighborhood immediately adjacent to the school, not the entire “area of school attendance.”

What makes Alta Vista so attractive? First, it’s convenient. The high performing schools are easy to walk or bike to without crossing any major roads. Almost as close is a good-sized Safeway, a coffee shop, and other stores and eateries at the nearby Downing Center. It’s easy to get to Highway 85 from Union Avenue, too.  As a bonus, the location is popular because of it’s vicinity to Los Gatos with the lower price point of San Jose (for most of the neighborhood).

Second, it’s scenic. Alta Vista has its fair share of visual appeal as well, with many streets lined with beautiful and mature trees, Ross Creek running along one border, and views of the nearby Blossom Hill and coastal range behind it. South of Blossom Hill on the Los Gatos side, it’s not far to the foothills with their trails and parks. Yards and homes are well kept and tidy, as are the streets. Parking near the schools only becomes a problem during school functions a few times a year (and of course at drop off and pickup times).

Simply put, Alta Vista is a scenic neighborhood with great schools and a convenient location. That’s a winning combination.

Blossom Valley Drive home

Above and below: a couple of homes along Blossom Valley Drive.

Another Blossom Valley Drive house

 

To see some images of the neighborhood, feel free to check out the video slideshow just below – please note that this was made in 2009 for the first Alta Vista post on my other blog and that, while the neighborhood as a whole has not changed, things may look a little different. For instance, the new home construction shown in the slide looks much more attractive and lived in now that it has been a few years, and the shopping center has undergone some significant remodeling.

 

Please continue reading for a map of the Alta Vista neighborhood, major landmarks, info on the Alta Vista real estate market, homes for sale in Alta Vista, and more.

Read moreAlta Vista neighborhood

Pueblo de Los Gatos condos

If you are looking to buy a home in or near downtown Los Gatos, but your budget is less than $1 million, you might consider something in the Pueblo de Los Gatos condos community. It is one of the more affordable housing options anywhere in town, yet enjoys the highly prized Los Gatos Union School District and a very convenient location.

Pueblo de Los Gatos condos community sign

What are homes in Pueblo de Los Gatos like?

Pueblo de Los Gatos condos

Front doors face outside, rather than an interior corridor, so this is not a complex that feels like a hotel.  The development was built in 1970, and you may detect its age here and there, but overall, it seems to be a well kept up complex.  Residents enjoy a community pool and lots of green, open space between the buildings. Several residents appear to have dogs, but on the many visits I’ve made there, I did not hear any barking.

The individual units vary in the amount of remodeling which has been done inside. Some still have heat pumps for heating and cooling (rather than a forced air furnace), popcorn or acoustic ceilings, original bathrooms, etc. Many have been beautifully updated, though, so you really need to see each one and take it on its own merits.  Gas fireplaces are common – they may be in every unit, but I’m not sure of that.

It appears that the units were all built with Zinsco electric panels and subpanels, and they seem to be widely in use (though individual owners may have replaced them).  Some home inspectors will raise a red flag about Zinsco or Federal Pacific panels, and others do not say a word about them. Please do your own research on this.

Except for one of the homes, which has a garage, all have use of at least one carport space.

Pueblo del Los Gatos carports

How big are the condo units at Pueblo de Los Gatos?

Pueblo de Los Gatos includes 53 condominium units.  I have been in a number of them, and most of the units I’ve seen have good floor plans with very decent space. They have laundry in the unit rather than in an HOA run laundry building.

The bed, bath, and size breakdown is as follows:

  • 8 units have 1 bed, 1 bath, and either 764 SF or 789 SF
  • 44 have 2 bedrooms and 2 or 2.5 baths, with one of 3 layouts – 1032 SF, 1097 SF, or 1120 SF
  • 1 unit features 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, 1390 SF and a 2 car garage, while the rest use carports. (I do wonder if originally this wasn’t supposed to be the property manager’s residence? It was last sold in 1980, so if that was the case, it was a very long time ago!)

Read morePueblo de Los Gatos condos

Ohlone Court

Ohlone Court, Los GatosLooking for a neighborhood with attractive, younger homes that’s still close to everything in Los Gatos? The properties along Ohlone Court fit the bill as the community sits along the Los Gatos Creek Trail, across from Vasona and Oak Meadow Parks, and is equally near to downtown Los Gatos on one side and the main shopping district on Los Gatos Boulevard on the other.

Built in 1996 by Summerhill Homes, a very well respected local builder, the residences on Ohlone Court are relatively young by Los Gatos standards, and feature many elements prized in newer construction, such as open floor plans. It’s a pretty area where the neighbors all seem to care about maintaining their homes and yards nicely,  and it enjoys the highly regarded Los Gatos Schools, too.

How’s the terrain? The road climbs from Roberts Road, where it is near the Los Gatos Creek, up a knoll. The top is of course sunny and some homes enjoy fantastic views. Some homes are nearer to the creek and toward the bottom of the hill, where it’s shadier. There’s an easy to miss staircase that allows pedestrians to take a shortcut to access Blossom Hill Road and the parks from the top of the court.

This is not a big subdivision. The 25 properties are mostly single family homes, but there are also a couple of duplexes. And the surprise element is that they are condominiums. That is, although most are houses, they are held in condominium ownership (local Realtors will recognize the same situation from the Villas of Almaden, though that community has the houses show up in the MLS under condos, whereas Ohlone Court appears under single family homes). Learn more on what the different type of ownership means here: What Is the Difference Between CID Ownership in a Condo, Townhouse or PUD?

A few weeks back, I did a “drive through” of the area.  My daughter was at the wheel so I could try to capture a sense of the neighborhood for my viewers.  Hope you find it helpful.

Every neighborhood has good and not-so-good features.  What’s the catch here?  It sounds too good to be true! One issue for some buyers is the close proximity of highway 17.  Not all homes are impacted, and only a few back up directly to the freeway, but it is noticeable. This is especially true when you’re high up as there’s nothing much to block the noise. One other issue is that some of the homes are in very shady locations at the bottom of the hill.  This may bother some people who want sunnier homes. Homes on the side of a hill or at the bottom of a hill sometimes have hill related water issues. These are not insurmountable problems but it’s very important to have good drainage, proper grading, and possibly other elements such as sump pumps to keep the water out from the crawl space.

Ohlone Court plat map
Above: Ohlone Court plat map.