Select Page
The Monte Sereno real estate market

The Monte Sereno real estate market

Monte Sereno Stained Glass Click Here
The City of Monte Sereno is a popular community bordering Los Gatos, Saratoga, and the Santa Cruz mountains. It’s also quite small, with just about 3,500 residents, so tracking the real estate market trends for the area can be tricky.

Info at a glance (details further below):

  • This city is currently in a slight seller’s market with low inventory, just 8 available homes at the end of August.
  • Pending and closed sales are up compared to this time last year, but relatively stable month-over-month.
  • As of today, September 20, 2023, there are 8 available Monte Sereno homes for sale (1 of them is “members only”), 2 pending sales, 0 contingent sales, and 2 closed sales so far this month in Monte Sereno.

The number of houses sold in any given month will always be extremely small and the data will jump around. Checking the Los Gatos market will also help, but the best pulse on the market will come from particular sales in particular neighborhoods.

Houses make up most of Monte Sereno – there are no commercial buildings, just a post office, city hall, some churches or religious grounds, and an elementary school. There are also extremely few residential properties that are not detached single family homes. We don’t track the condo or townhomes in this area as we do in other communities because there just wouldn’t be enough (if any) data for it!

First up for the market analysis is the Altos Research weekly profile for Monte Sereno (uses list prices, not sales). This is updated automatically, so feel free to check this article weekly to see what’s happening now with list prices.




Below is the Monte Sereno Real Estate Report (click to view the complete Real Estate Report).

Trends at a Glance from the RE Report:


The number of home sales is very small in Monte Sereno. In fact, there were no closed sales throughout the month of May! The same is true with August 2022, as you can see in the chart below. But even when there are sales, one or two outstanding properties could cause major waves in the data, so take this summary with a grain of salt.

August: 3 Sales

Trends At a Glance Aug 2023 Previous Month Year-over-Year
Median Price $3,450,000 (-2.3%) $3,532,500 $0 (N/A)
Average Price $4,083,330 (+15.6%) $3,532,500 $0 (N/A)
No. of Sales (+50.0%) 2 (N/A)
Pending (-33.3%) 3 (+100.0%)
Active (+100.0%) 4 (+700.0%)
Sale vs. List Price 110.9% (+17.1%) 94.7% 0.0% (N/A)
Days on Market 17 (-67.6%) 53 (N/A)
Days of Inventory 80 (+33.3%) 60 (N/A)


While the lack of sales and listings can make sales data (like price and days on market) swing wildly, we can see that the closed sales, pendings, and active inventory are all up from last year when the market was cooling.  When inventory and sales are this low it’s crucial to track the neighboring Los Gatos market as well, to gain a bit more insight.


What does it cost to live in Monte Sereno? With an average sale price of roughly $3 – $4 million, you may wonder if anything sells that’s not in the stratosphere – can you buy an entry-level Silicon Valley home in Monte Sereno? The short answer is this: it’s not easy to find anything for under $2.5 million in Monte Sereno. Even a “fixer” often goes well above that. It can happen, although it’s rare, and the home will certainly be priced that way for a reason.

We also keep track of this market over at the Valley of Heart’s Delight blog, in addition to many other communities around Silicon Valley.

Other pricing consideration: what about schools?

Something else to be aware of is that most Monte Sereno 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.

Next, what kind of home is available to purchase in Monte Sereno now?

Click here to view Monte Sereno Homes for Sale


  • List View
  • Map View
  • Grid View

See all Monte Sereno, CA Homes for Sale & Recently Sold.
(all data current as of 9/27/2023)

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








Los Gatos real estate market trends and statistics

Los Gatos real estate market trends and statistics

Los Gatos real estate market graphic with home near downtownAs of today, Sept 13, 2023, the Los Gatos real estate market in 95030 & 95032 has gained some inventory, but pending and closed sales are both strong, and the sale to list price ratio is up. The homes that are nicely remodeled and priced aggressively are selling quickly.

Numbers for today (pulled from the MLS), going back 30 days from yesterday:

  • 47 houses for sale
  • 24 are contingent or sale pending
  • 17 have closed in the last 30 days
    • average home size 2,687 SF
    • average lot size 21,467
    • average days on market = 37
    • average sale price $3,246,294
    • median sale price $2,680,000
    • average sale to list price ratio 102%

Trends at a Glance from the RE Report

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.

These numbers never line up exactly with the MLS figures, but the data trends line up:

Trends At a Glance Aug 2023 Previous Month Year-over-Year
Median Price $3,200,000 (+13.2%) $2,828,000 $2,675,000 (+19.6%)
Average Price $3,386,360 (-1.0%) $3,422,090 $2,835,440 (+19.4%)
No. of Sales 25 (+47.1%) 17 36 (-30.6%)
Pending 21 (-16.0%) 25 45 (-53.3%)
Active 41 (+57.7%) 26 46 (-10.9%)
Sale vs. List Price 102.4% (+0.5%) 101.9% 98.4% (+4.1%)
Days on Market 32 (+0.1%) 32 37 (-14.8%)
Days of Inventory 49 (+7.2%) 46 38 (+28.3%)

Similar charts for the Los Gatos Mountains and the condo market are further down in this article.

Los Gatos real estate market statistics: multi year data by month

Here is some Los Gatos real estate market data that I pulled directly from the MLS today.

Inventory of available homes for sale in Los Gatos 95030 and Los Gatos 95032

A quick glance at the last few years suggests that this inventory remains low by a wide margin.


Inventory of Los Gatos homes for sale - single family


Builder’s Remedy

Builder’s Remedy

Builder's Remedy - high rise apartment buildingAbout thirty percent of Bay Area cities and towns do not have housing plans approved by the state. With this being the case, the Builder’s Remedy can be used in those municipalities to force projects through that the community does not want, or which violate zoning laws or CCRs (Covenants, Codes, and Restrictions). This also means that neighbors may object, but it will be ineffective in derailing the project.

Los Gatos does not have an approved housing plan right now

Los Gatos is one of those communities without an approved housing plan, which we can see online at the Housing Element Compliance Report – please note the screenshot below, which I just took. .


Why the Builder's Remedy can be used: image of Los Gatos and the Housing Element Compliance Report as of 9-1-2023


Earthquakes and Real Estate Transactions

Earthquakes and Real Estate Transactions

Original Date of Publication: October 30, 2007

Earthquakes and real estate transactions are not good go-togethers, but it can happen that they may coincide. They did for my husband and me on our first home.

Home in Santa Cruz, CA, after Loma Prieta Earthquake of October 17, 1989. Photo by Jim Handy.

Home in Santa Cruz, CA, after Loma Prieta Earthquake of October 17, 1989. Photo by Jim Handy.

A couple of hours ago, at 8:04pm, Silicon Valley experienced a “moderate” earthquake. The USGS (Unites States Geological Survey) finds it to be 5.6 on the Richter Scale.

My Experience Tonight:

When tonight’s quake happened, I was not at my Los Gatos home, but rather on the campus of Santa Clara University, in the Adobe Lodge, saying goodbye to some friends after a very pleasant evening. We’d attended a Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley’s “Theology in the City” lecture on Muslim-Christian Dialogue, followed by a wonderful reception.


October 1989, photo of baby Brian Handy's stroller in Santa Cruz after the Loma Prieta Earthquake

October 1989, photo of baby Brian Handy’s stroller in Santa Cruz after the Loma Prieta Earthquake.

As we crossed the main room of the Adobe Lodge, sounds like someone stomping on the roof commenced. Then the noise spread. As the roof cackled and groaned, we realized – about the time we started to sense it – that this was an earthquake.

It’s not untypical to hear it before you feel it! By the time my friends and I figured out that this was a seismic event, we were in the foyer. A chandelier swung pretty voilently over the head of one of the guests. We were all frozen in place and I called to the person under the light fixture to move. He didn’t. Finally, I grabbed his arm and pulled at him while explaining why I was tugging. (The biggest danger in earthquakes is from things falling!)

The shaking stopped. We were all fine. The historic adobe building had seen much bigger challenges than this moderate quake.

Immediately after the earthquake, I tried to phone home to check on Jim and the kids – no luck. Tried to call my dad at Belmont Village in San Jose. No go there, either. The cell phone couldn’t get through to anyone. I was worried that cell towers were down. After about 15 minutes, though, apparently the circuits were calm and I got through. They were fine and I could rest at ease. Too many people had the same idea as me and we were all flooding the phone lines with calls to loved ones.

Back to Business:

Earthquakes and real estate transactions – buying and selling real estate after a temblor

Meanwhile I also received an email from some clients who’d like to see the home they’re buying again before removing contingencies. They wanted to make sure nothing had happened to the home during the shake up. Who could blame them?

Buying or selling a home when a big earthquake hits? Not good.In fact, Jim and I were in escrow to buy our first home when on October 17, 1989, we had the devastating, 6.9 “Loma Prieta Earthquake” here. It was two hours after we had done our Final Walk Through on our starter place in the Cambrian Park area of San Jose.

As you might imagine, we did not close on time. But we did close.

With images of the Bay Bridge and other roads collapsed, mountains falling onto highways, and homes burned to the ground from fires caused by broken gas mains, the lender was more than a little nervous. Luckily, the home we were buying was totally empty – so there was no broken glass or other items laying in wait in the new resale wall-to-wall. No damage at all.

But the lender wanted proof, so we had to have all new inspections and a new appraisal. Time and money.


Additionally, the road to the nearby beach community of Santa Cruz, where we’d been renting, was mostly impassable due to landslides from the quake. The moving truck’s alternate route was blocked by collapsed bridges. We closed 2-3 weeks late and a little poorer from extra costs, but glad to have it all behind us.

So what happens if an earthquake strikes in the middle of your sale or purchase?
It depends.

A damaged house from the Loma Prieta Earthquake in Santa Cruz, CA, October 1989. Photo by Jim Handy.If it’s a small or moderate earthquake with no damage, nothing happens. You might double check to verify there’s no damage, but that’s about it.

In a serious quake, with or without damage, the brakes go on! Lenders are always worried about making a bad loan, so they want to verify the condition based not on your word, but based on all the professionals’ estimation of condition.

Who pays for that?

It depends on what the contract says, like always. It can probably be negotiated. But the buyer usually has the right to back out of the deal if spooked.

Why? A little clause in the contract that references “risk of loss” is usually the key. That means if there are any catastrophes before close, the seller is the one who bears the liabilty in most cases. Here’s what one of our locally used contract forms says on Risk of Loss:

“If the Property’s land or improvements are materially damaged prior to Close of Escrow, Buyer shall have the right to terminate this Contract and recover the full deposit. If Buyer elects to complete the purchase, Buyer shall be entitled to an assignment from Seller of all insurance proceeds covering the loss.”

So even if a buyer has removed all contingencies, if a big quake hits, the buyer can back out. If the house burns down from a fire, the buyer may be able to complete the purchase and take the insurance assignment from the seller. And if a lender requires all new inspections, it may be a negotiable cost between buyer and seller.

In conclusion….

Most earthquakes, happily, are small ones. Supposedly they often relieve pressure from the big faults, making large earthquakes less likely or at least less dangerous. That’s the hope, anyway.

Of course, the chance that this is a “pre-quake” and that a bigger one is coming in the next 7 days is about 30%. So we’re on alert.

Scary stuff? Well, a little. The ghosts and goblins of Halloween might spook some people. But for me, a strong earthquake in the middle of a real estate purchase or sale – well, that’s scary!

Happy Halloween, one and all. Be safe!

Possible new Robson Homes project near Belgatos Park

Possible new Robson Homes project near Belgatos Park

There is a possible new Robson Homes project near Belgatos Park at 220 Belgatos Road, Los Gatos 95032. Most of us who live close to that site only heard about the proposal this week!

Originally the Mirassou School, a public elementary school in the Union School District, it most recently has served as Mulberry School and Bright Horizons Daycare. Sadly, after 60 years in operation, Mulberry closed its doors earlier this year.

The school site has a cluster of buildings and a playground in one section of the lot, and a large grassy area that seems to be largely unused and overgrown outside of that area. This grassy field is the section that would have housing built.

What’s proposed at the possible new Robson Homes project?

The information that I saw suggests that there will be 24 houses, 6 attached homes (duet homes, 3 sets of 2), and 9 ADUs worked in. The ADUs are sometimes attached, sometimes detached, and sometimes are over a garage.

Possible new Robson Homes project near Belgatos Park - map of the proposed area for 24 new houses and 6 duet homes.

To get more information on the project and an upcoming meeting with the Union School District, please visit our post on the site: 30 new homes at Mirassou School?




Simple Rules for Landscaping to Sell Your Home

Simple Rules for Landscaping to Sell Your Home

Colonial house and manicured lawn with words Landscaping to sell your home for top dollarLandscaping to sell your home, or improving the yards’ appearance, makes sense. Curb appeal may make people want to see more, or see the property in person. Good landscaping can effectively expand the usability of the home, too, adding to its apepal.

Today we’ll provide a few simple tips to help maximize a seller’s return on investment or ROI that involve landscaping to sell your home. This is far from comprehensive, but covers often missed, general rules of thumb for sellers to present their home in it’s best l ight.

But let me warn you: I’m going to be painfully, brutally blunt. And that’s how we keep the list short!

Rules for Sellers: Landscaping to Sell

The first rule for “staging your home to sell” is the topic of today’s post and it involves landscaping and curb appeal. The front of the house needs to look great. Seriously. If the front doesn’t look wonderful (or at least respectably appealing), the buyer may never go inside to see how wonderful your home really is. In any market, first impressions are key!

Here’s Mary Pope-Handy’s “Simple Rules for Landscaping to Sell Your Home”: