A resource for folks living in or moving to Los Gatos, by Mary Pope-Handy

Homes & Housing Market

Los Gatos real estate statistics and market trends

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, generally), 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.

Los Gatos profiles by zip code

Los Gatos real estate statistics and trends from the RE Report

How’s the Los Gatos market? Real estate inventory and sales often slip during the second half of the year. We saw some of that throughout Silicon Valley, including in the town of Los Gatos.

A quick update on the LG single family home real estate market is below. In a nutshell, it’s softening overall, but remains a seller’s market in most segments. If we were to look at the higher end properties over $3 million, that would be between balanced and a buyer’s market. (It’s a great time to be a luxury home buyer.)

  • inventory is up both month over month and year over year
  • number of sales is down (from last month and also last year)
  • the median sale prices are slipping a little (month over month AND year over year)
  • the average sale prices are down from last month from a year ago
  • while still a seller’s market, the trend is clear – it is weakening – if it continues, we will be in a buyer’s market in a few months

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

Trends At a Glance Oct 2018 Previous Month Year-over-Year
Median Price $1,782,500 (+4.9%) $1,699,500 $1,780,000 (+0.1%)
Average Price $2,122,370 (+9.4%) $1,940,520 $1,972,980 (+7.6%)
No. of Sales 38 (+26.7%) 30 37 (+2.7%)
Pending 61 (-1.6%) 62 49 (+24.5%)
Active 115 (-2.5%) 118 76 (+51.3%)
Sale vs. List Price 100.0% (-0.5%) 100.5% 100.8% (-0.8%)
Days on Market 46 (+40.7%) 33 29 (+59.6%)
Days of Inventory 91 (-20.4%) 114 62 (+47.3%)

 

And the month before:

 

Trends At a Glance Sep 2018 Previous Month Year-over-Year
Median Price $2,000,000 (-10.3%) $2,230,000 $2,384,000 (-16.1%)
Average Price $2,417,500 (-10.4%) $2,699,150 $2,567,270 (-5.8%)
No. of Sales 25 (-7.4%) 27 44 (-43.2%)
Pending 42 (+10.5%) 38 39 (+7.7%)
Active 62 (+1.6%) 61 47 (+31.9%)
Sale vs. List Price 101.0% (-0.1%) 101.1% 101.1% (-0.1%)
Days on Market 25 (-29.9%) 35 42 (-41.3%)
Days of Inventory 72 (+6.1%) 68 31 (+132.2%)

 

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

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Los Gatos real estate market trends by price point and high school district

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 we 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. Homes under $2 million are selling pretty well.

Los Gatos 95030 and 95032

From mid-late June:

Los Gatos 95030 95032 months of inventory June 20 2018

And from April:

2a - Los Gatos real estate market trends by price point and high school district

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.

Los Gatos 95030 95032 LG Schools

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Ending the Alberto Way Condo Confusion

Alberto Way MapOne of the more confusing areas in Los Gatos may the Alberto Way. Most of the condominiums along that street in Los Gatos are part of The Los Gatos Commons, a senior complex that’s fairly large. (To read more about senior housing in the area, please see my post on it here.)

As with most senior housing, the units at The Commons are more affordable than the majority of  Los Gatos condos. The Commons was built in 1978 and requires that at least one resident be 55 years of age or more. As of 2018, you may be able to purchase a tiny 1 bedroom in the Commons for under $700,000.

A smaller condo community just a little closer to Los Gatos-Saratoga Road, and on the opposite side of Alberto Way, is Pueblo de Los Gatos.  These homes are a little further away from Highway 17, are a little quieter, and are not senior housing.  They tend to sell for a little more than the homes across the way. There seems to be about a 5% to 10%  difference in price, most of which may be attributable to freeway noise, but part of it to the “senior community” status. This property was developed in 1970, so is actually a little older than the Commons.

Pueblo de Los Gatos consists of 53 units. Of these 53 condo units, 1 of them is a 3 bedroom (unit # 1, which also has a large 2 car garage), 44 are 2 bedroom units, and 8 are 1 bedroom units.  Except for unit # 1, the rest of the homes in this community have carports.  For many home buyers, these properties offer a more affordable way to get into the Los Gatos Union School District than might otherwise be possible.

Additionally, there is a small townhouse complex on the same side of the street as the Los Gatos Commons. These are also not senior communities.

What is the fastest way to tell them apart? The easiest way, without even clicking on a link, is to spot the address.  If there’s a letter as part of the unit number (as in A100 or B202), it’s part of The Commons. If there’s no letter, as in #7, it’s part of the Pueblo de Los Gatos. Of course, there are other townhomes in the immediate area, too – but these are the largest communities.

Both of these are in close-to-downtown Los Gatos locations. If you’re in the market for Los Gatos real estate and would like to live close in, this is a great street to check out.

Los Gatos Commons homes for sale (55+)

Condos in the Los Gatos Commons (a senior community) which are for sale or pending sale right now. (If nothing shows, then nothing is on the market there at the moment.)

  1. 2 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,076 sq ft
    Lot size: 2,996 sqft
    Year built: 1980
  2. 2 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,136 sq ft
    Lot size: 2,879 sqft
    Year built: 1978

See all Los Gatos Commons.
(all data current as of 11/19/2018)

Listing information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Read full disclaimer.

 

All Alberto Way area homes for sale

This includes properties on Alberto Way as well as Maggi Court

  1. 2 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,076 sq ft
    Lot size: 2,996 sqft
    Year built: 1980
  2. 2 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,032 sq ft
    Lot size: 1,028 sqft
    Year built: 1970
  3. 2 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,032 sq ft
    Lot size: 1,006 sqft
    Year built: 1970
  4. 2 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,136 sq ft
    Lot size: 2,879 sqft
    Year built: 1978

See all Alberto Way.
(all data current as of 11/19/2018)

Listing information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Read full disclaimer.

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. This last month only had a handful of listings and pending sales, and the month before only had one listing and no sales. 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 all the stats 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).

Something else to be aware of is that most houses are in the Los Gatos Union School District, but a small pocket of properties lies within the Campbell School District. Those with Campbell schools usually sell for a little less. Additionally, most of this city is within the 95030 zip code, but again, there’s a small pocket which is in the 95032 area.

Finally, there are only houses in this cities – condos, townhomes, or any other type of housing – and there are no businesses, either. Being 100% residential and single family homes most likely has a large impact on the home values here, though in many areas of Silicon Valley, being in “walking distance” to a coffee shop or grocery store can be a huge plus.

Disclaimers aside, here’s the most recent info:

Monte Sereno Real Estate Report (click to view the Real Estate Report)
Trends At a Glance Mar 2018 Previous Month Year-over-Year
Median Price $5,800,000 (+79.8%) $3,225,000 $2,415,000 (+140.2%)
Average Price $5,800,000 (+57.3%) $3,686,880 $2,491,250 (+132.8%)
No. of Sales (-75.0%) 4 (-75.0%)
Pending (N/A) 0 (-50.0%)
Active (+40.0%) 5 (-22.2%)
Sale vs. List Price 96.7% (+0.3%) 96.4% 96.2% (+0.5%)
Days on Market 72 (+678.4%) 9 45 (+61.8%)
Days of Inventory 210 (+522.2%) 34 68 (+211.1%)

And the chart from last month for comparison:

Trends At a Glance Feb 2018 Previous Month Year-over-Year
Median Price $3,225,000 (N/A) $0 $2,557,500 (+26.1%)
Average Price $3,686,880 (N/A) $0 $2,557,500 (+44.2%)
No. of Sales (N/A) 0 (+100.0%)
Pending (-100.0%) 2 (-100.0%)
Active (+400.0%) 1 11 (-54.5%)
Sale vs. List Price 96.4% (N/A) 0.0% 98.2% (-1.8%)
Days on Market (N/A) 0 35 (-73.6%)
Days of Inventory 34 (N/A) 0 149 (-77.3%)

Another great source of realty trends is Altos Research, to which I also have a subscription. Altos uses list prices, though, whereas the RE Report uses sold. What I really love about these reports, though, is that market can be viewed by price quartiles, as sometimes the luxury market in an area may be behaving very differently from the entry level market. The charts below are dynamic and will be updated weekly.

app?pai=50109450&service=chart&st=CA&cid=79&zid=2891558&rt=sf&ra=a&q=t%2Cu%2Cl%2Cb&s=median price&sz=l&ts=e&theme=oldchart - The Monte Sereno real estate market

Did I mention that small data can create some really strange looking monthly shifts?

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How old are homes in Los Gatos?

Los Gatos is well known for having beautifully maintained historic properties and neighborhoods.  Not every older house is historic, and not every structure that looks like a Victorian hails from that era. So – how old are homes in Los Gatos?

One of my tools a a member of the National Association of Realtors is the Realtor Property Resource, or RPR, report generator. This last week I’ve been seeing what it can do. One interesting angle is the “heat map” function, which can be used in a few ways , including to shed some light on the age of houses or properties in town.

Unfortunately, I could not see if there was a way to eliminate the homes for sale, so they are scattered throughout the image. You can also see the unincorporated pockets within town as islands within the town’s boundaries.

Viewing this heat map, which displays the ages of homes and neighborhoods in Los Gatos, we can get a sense of where and when the town expanded.

Have a look – the whitest patches are the oldest homes, and the  closer you get to a deep red, the newer they are:

Los Gatos heat map - age of homes

For most of Santa Clara County, or Silicon Valley, a 20 year old home is “young”. On the map above, you can see that the Heritage Grove subdivision in east Los Gatos (just off Blossom Hill Road) shows up as a warm red. It was built in 2000 – almost brand new by local standards!

Conversely, there are a great many white spots near downtown, as well as off Los Gatos Boulevard. There would have been many more, particularly east of the Los Gatos Creek, were it not for the fires that devastated downtown in the late 1800s and early 1900s.  (See also “Los Gatos Fires and the Los Gatos Fire Department“, also on this site.)

August and the Los Gatos Housing Market

The August real estate market in Los Gatos is usually a bit slow.  Inventory, even in a normal year, tends to shrink in August, and with it, a lot of sales activity. Many home buyers and home sellers take the month off, sneak in one last vacation, get kids ready to school, or perhaps deliver older ones to college. Real estate often takes a back seat for a few weeks in August (and sometimes early September, too).

August and the Los Gatos Housing Market: it’s all about inventory levels

This year is worse than most in terms of buyers having any selection with record low levels of inventory throughout Silicon Valley. Have a look at the chart from January 2011 to today for Los Gatos single family homes – zip codes 95030 & 95032 (pulled from MLSListings this afternoon):

Los Gatos real estate market inventory SFH Aug 2017

Buying and selling homes in Los Gatos and Monte Sereno right now

For home sellers, this August has been a great month to market your home and to get it sold, despite vacations and student issues, because demand is so high for the minuscule amount of housing for sale. For home buyers, it feels like a crazy real estate game of inventory limbo: how low can it go? How many offers can get thrown at a single listing?

One way of looking at it is to consider the ratio of available houses for sale vs those under contract.  Right now in Los Gatos 95030 and 95032, there are 55 single family homes on the market, and there are 50 in some stage of “sale pending” (with or without contingencies). That’s pretty close to 100%.  (Monte Sereno is such a small market area that the numbers are too wonky to be useful – we need a larger sample for reliability.)

The number sold and closed in the last 30 days is 31. The months of inventory is the actives divided by the closed in the last 30 days, so 55 / 31 = 1.77 months of inventory for ALL houses, all schools, all price points, all conditions, all locations – good and bad alike. That is a red hot sellers’ market!  (Every month or two I update this article here on Live in Los Gatos: “Los Gatos real estate market trends by price point and high school district” – please check back for an update on those numbers soon.)

What has been true for most of  2017 still holds true in August: the nicely updated and remodeled homes in the lower prices to move-up prices in Los Gatos continue to sell well (quickly, often with multiple offers) if they are priced right. Specifically, these are homes under $3 million with no special challenges (location issues, lot issues, strangely configured layout, too many stairs, too much deferred maintenance, a combination of a large pool and small back yard, and so on).

What does it take to be a successful home buyer in Los Gatos or Monte Sereno right now? How to maximize buying or selling in the current market conditions

Shannon Valley Ranch house 2015Buyers: For the lower priced homes, you will need to be quick as they usually won’t last more than 8 to 10 days before the offer date and multiple offers pour in. If you can get out to see the property soon after it hits the market, you’ll have enough time to study the disclosures and get guidance from your buyer’s agent on those and the comps. If you wait to see something on a Sunday afternoon and offers are due Tuesday, you will have a very unpleasant couple of days as you rush to be ready and prepared. With the more expensive properties, they may take longer to sell, but at any given moment things could change and suddenly there are 2 offers rather than just your one.

Sellers: Being super well prepared so that you hit the ground running is absolutely key to selling your home quickly and for top dollar. That means doing the presale inspections, ordering HOA docs (if applicable), and having your disclosures completed before a buyer ever sees the home. It also means taking your Realtor’s guidance to heart in regard to staging / decluttering and easy access for buyers. If it’s too hard to see, or it does not show well, you may not sell it for as much.  Price carefully!  The number 1 problem with homes that do not sell is price.  Aim too high and you won’t get the traffic or the offers. If you aim a little low, you may draw multiple offers and push the price higher than you could have imagined.

The market can be a little funny sometimes. I’ll attend an office meeting and hear discussions about multiple offers and once in awhile there’s a particular property that seems to have trouble.  When that happens, it’s very important to try to get feedback from the buyer’s agents.  While often the problem is a too-high price, sometimes it’s something easier to adjust to effect a sale. Communication between Realtors can be invaluable so that you don’t reduce the price when perhaps a less expensive fix will do.

September is just around the corner, and it promises to be a busy one as a slight influx of inventory should bring a strong flurry of activity.

If you are thinking of buying or selling a home, please contact me for a confidential consultation on what it takes to get the best deal possible in the current market.

 

Critically Low Inventory of Homes for Sale in Los Gatos

As of yesterday, May 1st 2017, the MLS shows just 67 houses for sale in Los Gatos, 95030 and 95032.  (Today it’s lower still at a mere 54 houses.) The chart below is based on the number of active listings in Los Gatos 95030 & 95032 (MLS Area 16) on the first of each month going back to January 2007.  Take a look at the history of homes for sale (not pending or in contract) month over month – I’ve circled all of the rows for May in each year to see the contrast.

 Los Gatos 95030 and 95032 active listings single family homes

What can someone buy in town right now?  Of the 54 houses, 30 are priced at $3 million or less, with many homes available to purchase around  $1.5 to $3 million.  The least expensive home available right now is an 1100 SF house in original condition for $1.3 million.

For people thinking of selling, this is an excellent opportunity, generally, since few homes available creates the scarcity that lends itself toward homes selling faster and for more (if there are multiple offers especially).  Homes under $3 million are selling briskly.

See more information about the Los Gatos real estate market via my online Real Estate Report. Also available, download the 4 page printable report here:
http://rereport.com/scc/print/Mary.PopeHandySCC.pdf

90-day stats for Single Family properties in
LOS GATOS, CA 95030 as of November 16, 2018
Median List Price:$3,261,269Average List Price:$3,984,411
Total Inventory:33Price per Square Foot:$983
Average Home Size:3,428Median Lot Size:26,568
Average # Beds:4.30Average # Baths:4.14
Homes Absorbed:3Newly Listed:3
Days on Market:162Average Age:49

90-day stats for Single Family properties in
LOS GATOS, CA 95032 as of November 16, 2018
Median List Price:$2,548,846Average List Price:$3,132,875
Total Inventory:39Price per Square Foot:$968
Average Home Size:2,718Median Lot Size:11,144
Average # Beds:4.08Average # Baths:3.47
Homes Absorbed:6Newly Listed:5
Days on Market:63Average Age:43

18632 Woodbank Wy Saratoga

Coming on the market this week – a beautiful “view home” close to the Los Gatos border at 18632 Woodbank Way, Saratoga CA 95070. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to purchase prime Saratoga real estate, either to live in and enjoy as is, or to expand, remodel, or rebuild.

The location cannot be beat: situated on a quiet cul-de-sac and at the top of a small knoll, the 3 bedroom, 2 bath house with 2346 square feet of living space enjoys a vast, panoramic view of the coastal range.  From the family room, kitchen, and master bedrooms plus the deck and patio, you’ll take in sweeping vistas – the peaks of El Sombroso over east Los Gatos and El Sereno over west Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, and Saratoga.  The land is 1.37 acres of very very gently sloping orchards, mostly with prune trees but other types as well.

Recently updated for the sale, the house offers newly refinished hardwood floors throughout most of the house and fresh interior paint among other improvements.

On MLS by Tuesday April 4th at noon.  Price $2,400,000.  Offer due date April 18th at noon. (No pre-emptive offers, please.)

To see open house schedule and to learn more, please click on the link below:

18632 Woodbank Wy., Saratoga – just off Quito Road.

18632 Woodbank Wy, Saratoga

 

 

Los Gatos Real Estate Market Snapshot

How’s the market in Los Gatos?  Houses well priced and in good shape with no major issues that are listed at or under $2 million are selling very nicely.  Many of the houses in the 95030 and 95032 zip code areas are more expensive, though, and that segment of the market – especially over $ 3 million – is not doing so well.

Here’s a quick look at how things look for the two zip codes (the “big picture” within Los Gatos.

 

 Los Gatos 95030 and 95032 DOM and SP to LP Ratio

Los Gatos 95030 and 95032 Days On Market and Sale Price to List Price Ratio

Case study: online home valuation sites

Are you tempted to look at online, auto valuation websites to check Los Gatos real estate values?  Those online home valuation sites (including mine) can be very tempting.  After all, who wouldn’t want a real-time update on home sale prices?

A few times, I’ve had clients or potential clients who relied very heavily on a well known real estate portal for information on “what that home is really worth“.  The trouble, of course, is that the folks running the algorithms haven’t been to that street or to that house.  They don’t know if it’s exquisitely updated or if it’s in a state of ruin.  They don’t know if it seems well loved or if it has terrible odors.  

Usually the portals have a very wide target. One of them claims that they want to be within 20% of the market value 80% of the time.  Let that soak in.  For a million dollar home, that’s  a range of $800,000 to $1,200,000 not all the time but 80% of the time!

More convincing than my saying, “hey, that site is usually way off”, I like to just demonstrate what happens when I plunk a property’s address into a number of these auto valuation sites.  I find the range of estimated pricing to be very compelling.  Please have a look at the wide range of projected values – all for the same home & land!

Online Valuations for the same house

                                       Online valuation sites. (Weiss Analytics is by paid subscription.)

How would you like to own a home worth  $2.6 million and hear that it’s worth $1.6 million from online home valuation sites?  Or what if you put your condo on the market based on this kind of pricing, only to find that it was 20% off?

No, the better approach is to have a relationship with a local Realtor who can help you determine the probable buyer’s value for your home. It’s never going to be one exact price, because each buyer will have different terms, motivation, ability, and so on. If you get a lot of offers all at one, it will shoot the price high. If it takes more than 3 weeks to sell and you get just one buyer, it will be lower.

Online home valuation sites can be fun, but please remember that most of the time, they aren’t very accurate.  Want help knowing if you have enough equity to sell? Please call or email me and we can meet and go over market conditions, the comparable sales, improvements that will give a good return on value, and the marketing needed to obtain your best price so that you can make an informed decision.

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Mary Pope-Handy

Realtor
ABR, CIPS, CRS, SRES
Sereno Group Real Estate
214 Los Gatos-Saratoga Rd
Los Gatos, CA 95030
408 204-7673
Mary (at) PopeHandy.com
License# 01153805

Selling homes in
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special focus on
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