If you are new to Silicon Valley, you may be wondering “where is Los Gatos California?” I’ll give you a quick answer and some visual cues via a map on the town’s location:
- In the 9 county San Francisco Bay Area, Los Gatos is located within Santa Clara County, which is considered the “South Bay” region
- Santa Clara County’s largest city is San Jose (a city of about 1 million people, in the county of about 1.9 million residents), which Los Gatos borders on the southwest side (San Jose touches the bay at Alviso). Los Gatos is small by comparison, with about 30,000 inhabitants.
- Los Gatos is nestled into the base of the coastal foothills, also known as the Santa Cruz Mountains. With the backdrop of the hills, it’s quite scenic.
- In town, the zip codes are 95030 and 95032, both of which are shared with the city of Monte Sereno. The Los Gatos Mountains area is unincorporated and is the 95033 zip code (not shown on the map below).
- Los Gatos California includes about 10 square miles for the incorporated area (and many, many more if you are talking about the mountains and zip code 95033). Where is Los Gatos California? Really depends on what you mean, in town, or in the mountains!
- Downtown Los Gatos is about 30 minutes from the beach at Santa Cruz, depending on traffic.
The Civic Center for the town of Los Gatos is marked in the map below with the white star in the red circle:
Obviously, the town encompasses far more than the Civic Center location! Here’s a map of Los Gatos by region – sweeping generalizations intended only to provide an overall sense of where to find what.
Downtown Los Gatos runs primarily along Main Street, N Santa Cruz Avenue, and University Avenue, but also part of Los Gatos-Saratoga Road (Highway 9).
Within the town, there are a number of districts and neighborhoods, many of which also have businesses, though they are largely residential.
In the downtown area, there are a number of historic districts in Los Gatos.
East Los Gatos & West Los Gatos: East Los Gatos is generally considered the area east of Los Gatos Boulevard, though some people attest that anything east of Highway 17 would be the east end of town. There are many popular neighborhoods within that area, including Blossom Manor, Vista Del Monte, the Alta Vista Area, Strathmore, and Belwood – Belgatos – Surmont, among others. Please navigate through the menu under “neighborhoods” to explore these and many other areas.
West Los Gatos is generally closer to the Campbell and Saratoga borders and includes Rinconada Hills, the Old Adobe Road area, Los Gatos Woods (townhouse community near Pollard Road) and many others.
North Los Gatos is not as well defined as other area, but generally is close to Lark Avenue.
The Los Gatos Mountains are an unincorporated place in Santa Clara County with a Los Gatos mailing address. This can be a bit confusing, especially since some of this region is over Saratoga or on the far side of the summit and in Santa Cruz County.
By all standards, winter in Los Gatos is mild, and any rain we get is overdue and welcomed with gratitude. Even so, the colder and wetter temps can tend to keep us from some of our beloved outdoor activities – at least for a little bit.
Where do you like to go on a rainy day, or one which is unusually chilly? Here are a few suggestions:
- The Los Gatos Public Library is stunning, filled with natural light, includes WiFi and even has a little cafe on the first floor. One thing it doesn’t have is a whole lot of quiet, though (and this is before the high school let out, so no finger pointing at teens). Twice recently I’ve been in the quiet zone areas and had a variety of loud noises – mostly people talking on cell phones, but not only that. So go – but bring headphones or ear buds so you can listen to your own music and not someone crinkling bags or catching up by phone.
- Right next to the new public library… The Museums of Los Gatos recently combined and are now in the location where the old Los Gatos Library used to be – on the Civic Center campus. What could be better than a museum on a wet day? Check out the NUMU site and plan your trip – come rain or come shine!
- There aren’t many sports which you can play indoors in Los Gatos but Bocce Ball is one of them! How about lunch or dinner at Campo di Bocce, which has both indoors and outdoors courts? The ambiance and food are great, and it’s a super atmosphere for a family get-together or company party.
- How about a movie? The Los Gatos Theater has been renovated recently and is stunning! If you haven’t had a chance to visit there since it reopened, the inclement weather is your perfect excuse!
- Visit Petroglyph in downtown Los Gatos and make something beautiful!
There are lots of options in and around San Jose, too.
Do you love video games? Check out the AFK Video Game Lounge in downtown San Jose.
A rainy winter may just be the very best time to finally see all the local Silicon Valley museums you’ve been putting off seeing since the weather was just too good to be indoors:
- Children’s Discovery Museum
- The Tech Museum of Innovation
- San Jose Museum of Art
- Intel Museum
- Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum
- San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles
- De Sassiet Museum
- Los Altos History Museum
- Japanese American Museum of San Jose
- Portuguese Historical Museum
- Computer History Museum
- Silicon Valley Art Museum (“a virtual online art gallery”)
Have fun, and please email me if I’m missing anything that should be added to this list!
There are many factors impacting the Los Gatos real estate market, including the price point and the elementary or high school district. This post is updated every month or two. Today we’ll look at the Los Gatos realty market by pricing tiers and high school district using the months of inventory as a data point. The months of inventory, or MOI, is the currently active (for sale, no contract or pending sale) homes for sale divided by the number of homes using the same criteria which have closed escrow in the last 30 days.
These numbers were run today using MLSListings.com and it’s possible that a few more homes will be recorded as closed sales or new homes added to the market after I ran these numbers. One other disclaimer: sometimes the number of closed sales is very low or is at 0. This can be for many reasons. In some cases, there are a few which are sale pending and simply haven’t closed recently. In other cases, the market might actually be empty in those tiers, indicating a possible lack of demand or inventory. That being said, what do the numbers say?
Los Gatos real estate months of inventory in 95030 and 95032 combined
The overall MOI for the town as a whole with 95030 and 95032 zip codes shows a slightly weakening market, likely in what is a typical seasonal pattern. It is a bit of a mixed market when looking at the town as a whole, but less so when viewed by high school district or price point. February is often a time when markets heat up considerably. We’ll see when the month is over, but already in many parts of Santa Clara County, the real estate market is returning to seasonal patterns with some very hot pockets.
Same info for last November – the overall absorption rate isn’t much different now, but there are a lot few sales happening.
From mid-late June:
And from April, when the market was red hot:
The real estate market for homes with the Los Gatos – Saratoga Joint Union High School District only
Now let’s view just the homes which are in the Los Gatos – Saratoga Joint Union High School District (or homes “in the schools” as locals say).Houses for sale with Los Gatos schools tend to be more pricey than those in neighboring school districts. This isn’t just the schools, but is also a function of being closer to downtown Los Gatos. The lowest priced homes in this area are seldom listed for less than $1 million.
From last November, again, not a ton different between then and now:
It’s February and, for couples, that means it’s time to plan your Valentine’s Day! And what better place to celebrate your love than in the Valley of Heart’s Delight (Silicon Valley’s old nickname), or more specifically, in the Gem of the Foothills – our very own LG! Here we’ll give you some ideas on how to celebrate a romantic Valentine’s Day in Los Gatos.
Valentine’s Day on a tight budget: picnic with your sweetie
Los Gatos is filled with beautiful parks, and lately the weather has been in the low 70s. If you want or need to be frugal, get a simple assortment of cheeses, crackers, grapes and wine and enjoy a picnic at Vasona Park or your favorite of any one of the lovely parks in town. It’s affordable, easy, and you can enjoy some lovely views.
How about a walking tour of Los Gatos?
Stroll through scenic downtown Los Gatos. The “village” area is full of neat shops. Head over to Old Town too, and while there, walk across the pedestrian bridge between Old Town and Forbes Mill. There is something about being still on this little bridge with the world passing by underneath that’s very special. Have a look at the old mill. This was the first commercial venture in Los Gatos – and it’s tucked away, off the beaten path. . . . But easy to find if you know what to look for.
You might also consider doing the “LOST Gatos” historic walking tour – just put it on speaker. Check out the free app the various tours you can hear at the link above.
After you’ve dined, head back to North Santa Cruz Avenue and pick up some dessert at Dolce Spazio.
Dinner out in Los Gatos for Valentine’s Day? Reserve early!
Need to do the official Valentine’s meal out? Los Gatos is oozing with great restaurants. Just don’t wait until the last minute to call in for a table. Some of my favorites include the Wine Cellar, I Gatti, Viva, and Pedro’s, Looking to totally “wow” him or her? A world class restaurant is Manresa. I haven’t eaten there yet but understand that it’s one of the finest restaurants to be found anywhere (it’s just not as affordable as the other places I’ve suggested). You might also try Flights – it’s fun to share your food with a sweetheart!
Shopping for Valentine’s Day in Los Gatos : Flowers, Chocolates, and Lace
Need flowers? Bunches in downtown is very nice. Do yourself a favor and visit a proper flower shop if you’re going to do it. The grocery store flowers just don’t tend to last very long. And Bunches has a bonus, the resident pet duck!
Need chocolate? I love Chocolate Dream Box on Union Ave by Safeway (this shop was previously in King’s Court Shopping Center after moving out of downtown), it makes mouth watering truffles in beautifully delicate shapes and prints. Another good option is Fleur de Cocao, which sells truffles, artisan chocolate bars, and cakes. Their downtown location is also a cafe, so you can sit with your sweetie over a cappucino and some sugary treats.
Need something sensual? Romantiques on University Avenue near Old Town, Los Gatos, is worth a visit! Ladies intimates line the wall, beautiful silk goodies that you are not likely to find in a chain store, with articles ranging from the luxurious yet practical to the, well… less practical and significantly more luxurious. Maybe don’t bring the kids on this shopping trip.
Wishing you all a wonderful Valentine’s Day, no matter where or how you celebrate it!
Related – please also read:
The Los Gatos real estate market for single family homes is balanced as a whole, but any particular home does not generally line up with what’s average. A particular home’s market will be impacted by things such as the pricing tier (the luxury market is a colder market, while homes under $2 million are generally a hot commodity), the school district, condition of the property, etc.
First, here’s a glance at the Altos Research profiles by the Los Gatos zip codes: 95030 and 95032 are “in town” and 95033 is in the Los Gatos Mountains. The last profile refers to the averages of all 3 zip codes. These are updated automatically every week – so check back often, it will always be current!
Close to downtown – 95030:
Primarily East, West, and North Los Gatos:
The Los Gatos Mountains / Santa Cruz Mountains – 95033:
All 3 Zip Codes combined
Los Gatos real estate statistics and trends from the RE Report
The real estate numbers below reflect realty data gathered the first week of the month for the past month in Los Gatos 95030 & 95032, or MLS “area 16”. See the full REReport here.
Los Gatos Trends at a Glance for 95030 & 95032
Prices continued sliding month over month, but remain up substantially year over year. Even so, the days of inventory is quite high by local standards, with only 9 closed sales as opposed to 44 houses available.
|Trends At a Glance||Jan 2019||Previous Month||Year-over-Year|
|Median Price||$2,480,000 (-0.8%)||$2,500,000||$1,930,000 (+28.5%)|
|Average Price||$2,810,060 (-0.3%)||$2,818,350||$2,335,350 (+20.3%)|
|No. of Sales||9 (-47.1%)||17||11 (-18.2%)|
|Pending||23 (+4.5%)||22||28 (-17.9%)|
|Active||44 (+33.3%)||33||33 (+33.3%)|
|Sale vs. List Price||98.3% (-2.1%)||100.5%||105.4% (-6.7%)|
|Days on Market||39 (-11.8%)||44||47 (-18.1%)|
|Days of Inventory||147 (+151.9%)||58||90 (+63.0%)|
And the month before:
|Trends At a Glance||Dec 2018||Previous Month||Year-over-Year|
|Median Price||$2,500,000 (+8.1%)||$2,312,500||$2,392,500 (+4.5%)|
|Average Price||$2,818,350 (-4.5%)||$2,949,780||$2,543,170 (+10.8%)|
|No. of Sales||17 (-39.3%)||28||24 (-29.2%)|
|Pending||22 (-29.0%)||31||14 (+57.1%)|
|Active||33 (-31.3%)||48||22 (+50.0%)|
|Sale vs. List Price||100.5% (+2.1%)||98.4%||99.9% (+0.5%)|
|Days on Market||44 (-13.6%)||51||30 (+49.0%)|
|Days of Inventory||58 (+17.1%)||50||28 (+111.8%)|
The RE Report does not cover the mountain areas at the moment, but you can see a current Altos Research Report with tons of great info on 95033 here: altos.re/r/95d9db3?fbrefresh=true
The condominium and townhouse realty market stats in Los Gatos 95030 & 95032
Most homebuyers and sellers in Los Gatos and Silicon Valley generally are familiar with the terms “condo” or “condominium”, “townhouse” or “townhome” and “single family home”. But what about “patio home”? What type of residence is that? It’s an unknown to many consumers – and many real estate professionals too!
A patio home is sometimes referred to as a zero lot line home. It is a house (not attached to any other home) in which the structure is built against one of the property lines.
In a regular single family home, the building has a few feet on each side between the structure and the property line – that is known as a setback. In other words, you can walk around all four sides of the home without going on anyone else’s property.
That isn’t the case with a patio home. There’s no setback on one side.
A patio home is build up against the property line such that the owner cannot walk all the way around the house without going on someone else’s property.
There are advantages and disadvantages of patio homes. Advantages include more privacy than a townhome or condo would offer, and better use of land adjacent to the home since there aren’t small 5-8 foot side yards, but instead something more sizeable and useable.
Disadvantages include the lack of windows on the side of the home which is built on the property line and the inability to protect the side of the home that functions as a fence or boundary for the neighbors.
By way of example, if the side of your patio home that lines the boundary gets excessive moisture because the neighbors vigorously water their plants and don’t worry about hitting your house, that’s a problem. Additionally, since you cannot see what’s happening without asking the neighbors if you can go on their land to keep an eye on your exterior wall, there’s a risk that the structure could be getting damaged and you’d never know it. So there’s a loss of control and a loss of information that’s intrinsic to this type of home.
Additionally, many patio home communities have an association fee and that also needs to be factored in.
Patio homes tend to be less expensive than standard single family homes. The difference is often in the 5 – 10% range, but it varies with the individual home and the real estate market conditions at the time of sale.
Should you buy a patio home? It’s on a continuum between townhomes and single family homes. It may be the best compromise for you, or it could be a big headache. My thinking, generally, is that if you can buy a single family home for the same amount and same quality, your money is better spent there. But if you’re in the market for a townhome or a duet home (or duplex), this is definitely a step up and worth a little stretch.
One of my favorite shops in downtown Los Gatos is Black Cat Hats, which features all kinds of accessories in addition to hats for men and women. The folks there are friendly and knowledgeable and take a personal interest in helping customers to find just the right item they want or need.
Yesterday I paid a visit to Aileen Larson, a co-owner of and buyer for Black Cat Hats, and got to browse the tempting inventory and ask her a few questions about her experience and working in the shop.
A little history
The business was established in 2007 by Janet Dashiell, whom Aileen met in 2008 at an exercise class at the JCC in Los Gatos. In 2014, Aileen stepped in as a co-owner with Janet. Janet now does the books and buys inventory with Aileen, but is mostly behind-the-scenes. Aileen is the warm proprietor you meet while browsing the offerings: jewelry, scarves, some clothing, handbags, umbrellas, but most of all, chapeaus of every kind for both men and women. There are Stetson hats for men, newsboy caps, knit hats, wide brimmed sun hats, pill box hats, and millinery of all types.
There are also some great employees, with low turnover, who seem to be like family to Aileen.
Prior to Black Cat Hats, Aileen had 30+ years in retail sales, including women’s clothing and makeup. That background has helped her to be comfortable working in close proximity to customers and to develop an eye for what will work well for each one.
Hats are important and sell well year round, whether for health reasons (keeping warm or keeping out of the sun), to cover the head when hair’s been lost due to cancer or other medical issues, and just for fun. Interestingly, the biggest season for the shop is Christmas and second is the Kentucky Derby. The latter surprised me, but Aileen explained that there are many themed parties and events around it, so people come in to snag the perfect apparel items.
Future trends anticipated include more items for outdoors recreation, such as hiking.
Fun & challenges
I asked Aileen about the things she enjoys most about Black Cat Hat, and the biggest challenges she faces.
“I am always excited about going to work every day. I love working with the customers, getting the right look and fit for them.” She does get a lot of repeat customers, but also tourists, so it’s a nice mix of people coming through the doors.
There are two main challenges. First, as with many stores or shops, there’s a risk that people will come in, try on the merchandise, and then go home to buy the same item online. Aileen called that the showroom challenge. (It’s a little similar in real estate when we show people homes, and at the last minute a different Realtor steps in to write the contract – truly frustrating.)
Second, sometimes people aren’t used to wearing hats, and initially they feel a little silly. In the worst cases, people get the giggles or put down others trying on hats or other merchandise. That can set a bad tone for the store, of course. Aileen tries to transform the mindset so that people find hats and accessories that do look good on them, and that in turn helps them to feel comfortable and better about themselves.
The atmosphere at Black Cat Hats is attractive but also homey and caring, which makes it a pleasant place to shop. If you have the opportunity to visit North Santa Cruz Avenue, do stop by Black Cat Hats and check out the wares.
Black Cat Hats
(Near the intersection of N Santa Cruz and Bean, across from We Olive)
59 N Santa Cruz Ave, Los Gatos, CA 95030
Related Reading on downtown LG businesses:
All right, neighbors, where in Los Gatos can you find these beautiful horseshoes embedded in concrete? The first individual to email me the correct answer / location will win a prize! See below for the details.
Although clearly this is in concrete, it’s not a sidewalk – the town does not embed items into the sidewalk. Here’s another one, if you look closely, you can see it’s not the same as the one above:
With this second one, you can see that the horseshoe is adjacent to a large tree. Does that help? Maybe one more, yet another:
With this last one, it does appear that the horseshoe is next to a walkway or maybe a sidewalk. What do you think?
The first person who emails me the correct answer will get a $10 Starbucks gift card – please email me at email@example.com and put the word Horseshoe in the subject line. Please also provide your first name 🙂
When Los Gatos, Monte Sereno or other Santa Clara County residents buy or sell homes here, one of the reports provided by the sellers is the Natural Hazard Report. In it, there’s a statement as to whether or not the subject property is in an area of potential flooding if a dam were to give way.
In Los Gatos, most of the zones marked as potential flooding from dam failure are along the path of the Los Gatos Creek. Lexington is a good sized reservoir, so most of the risk comes from there. Vasona Lake is far smaller, but there are a number of houses just below the dam (which, by the way, sits atop the apparently dormant county mapped Shannon Fault).
Most of us are somewhat “downhill” of a reservoir or two, but not everyone is in an area that would be flooded should the dam burst.
The town of Los Gatos has a flood evacuation map and identifies a number of different zones. This map does not show ALL of the town, but presumably all of the areas at risk from flood from dam failure. To view it, click on on this link: Town of Los Gatos Flood Zones
There are maps for the county, as well. It takes some digging to find these things, and the best one I have found so far is not very easy for seeing the details, but it becomes clear that the largest risk is Anderson Dam, and after that it’s Lexington. Santa Clara County Dam Failure Inundation zones – go to page 95 of 223
What do we expect for the 2019 real estate market?
It’s all about supply and demand. Right now, demand is decent and supply is low. Here’s a look at the inventory of single family homes for sale in recent years by month, first in town and then for the county.
Inventory of single family homes for sale in Los Gatos 95030 & 95032 from Jan 2012 – Jan 2019:
In town (not including the Los Gatos mountains area), Los Gatos has extremely low inventory. I ran the numbers and this is lower than any other January since 2002, the longest back that the MLS will let me go. Locally, that bodes well for those looking to sell in Los Gatos. (Currently there are NO homes for sale in the Belwood, Belgatos, Surmont, or nearby areas of LG.)
What about the broader area? Most of the county has looser inventory than we do in LG. Have a look:
Inventory of single family homes for sale in Santa Clara County Jan 2012 – Jan 2019:
I think it is really important to view this month’s inventory for the county not just in relation to January 2018 (“inventory is up 8% from last year, oh no!”) but in the context of all the recent years since we’ve been in recovery from the Great Recession. Yes, inventory IS up from last year for Santa Clara County, when the first 6 months of 2018 saw prices shooting up like a geyser due to highly restricted inventory and ongoing demand. Most of 2017 and early 2018 were off-the-charts into overdrive. From early 2012 through 2016, we had a market that was appreciating at a good pace – too fast for some buyers, who opted to become permanent renters rather than to participate. Current inventory levels are very low relative to 2012 and later.
A return of some of the normal patterns?
Inventory Los Gatos 95030 & 95032 2016-2019
Inventory tends to rise throughout the first half of the year, so I am expecting that to happen again in 2019. To the left, see a chart displaying the inventory of homes for sale in Los Gatos 95030 & 95032 from Jan 2016 to today. This is a pattern we usually see – though of course, it’s not a rule, and it can change.
Prices also tend to rise in the early part of the new year as inventory does not keep pace with demand, and I see no reason why that would not happen again.
Equally important is to understand that in the 2nd half of any given year, prices often soften. Home sellers sometimes believe that “summer is the right time to sell”, so get their homes on the market then. But activity from buyers slackens after the spring buying season, so in many years, inventory is higher than demand – so prices level off or even decline.
In 2018, prices in LG and the county did decline dramatically from the spring peaks, perhaps in the 12-15% range, generally.
Economists tell us that they expect the first half of 2019 to be decent to good, but not as wild a ride as early 2018. (Milder appreciation, 3-5%?) Some believe that the second half of 2019 will be much softer. A real estate correction is expected sometime between now and 2-3 years from now. We do believe that locally, in Silicon Valley, we are at or near the top of this real estate cycle. For those wishing to sell and move out of the area, 2019 could be a good year in which to do that. It’s impossible to pinpoint the exact top or bottom of the market, though. That is something we only know when it’s passed, just like with the stock market.