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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 has been in a seller’s market with severely low inventory, just 5 available homes at the end of June, according to the RE Report (linked below).
  • The sales to list price ratio soared to 98.8%, rising a whopping +8.1% from the month prior, though it’s a hair behind last year.
  • Last month (June 2024) the MLS shows there were 6 closed sales. Of those 1 sold under $3M, 2 sold in the $4 – $5M range, 2 sold in the $5 – $6M range, and 1 sold over $12M. Of these, 3 sold over asking (101.8% – 110.2%) and  and the other 3 sold under asking (87.7% – 96.9%). Most sales took between 0-9 days on market, the +$12M sale took 73 days, and 1 of the sales under $5M took 196 days to sell (a new construction home).
  • As of today, July 18, 2024, the MLS shows that there are 9 available Monte Sereno homes for sale (of those, 2 are Member’s Only: Show and 4 are Member’s Only: No Show), 0 contingent sales, 2 pending sales, and 0 closed sale so far this month in Monte Sereno.

The number of houses sold in any given month will always be extremely small making the data tend to jump around. Checking the Los Gatos market will also help, but the best pulse on the market will come from identifying particular sales in particular neighborhoods to track relevant micro markets.

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. 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.

June: 6 Sales

Trends At a Glance Jun 2024 Previous Month Year-over-Year
Median Price $5,075,000 (-43.0%) $8,900,000 $3,200,000 (+58.6%)
Average Price $5,916,670 (-33.5%) $8,900,000 $3,140,000 (+88.4%)
No. of Sales (+200.0%) 2 (+100.0%)
Pending (-100.0%) 4 (-100.0%)
Active (+25.0%) 4 (0.0%)
Sale vs. List Price 98.8% (+8.1%) 91.3% 99.8% (-1.1%)
Days on Market 48 (-22.3%) 62 23 (+106.4%)
Days of Inventory 24 (-59.7%) 60 48 (-50.0%)

 

While the lack of sales and listings can make the data in these charts swing wildly, the overall chart shows an active market within this high-end community, though ultra high-end listings are moving slower and more in the buyers favor. When inventory and sales are this low it’s crucial to track the neighboring Los Gatos market as well, to gain additional insight.

 

What does it cost to live in Monte Sereno? With an average sale price of roughly $4 – $5 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

 

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See all Monte Sereno, CA Homes for Sale & Recently Sold.
(all data current as of 7/20/2024)

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

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Critically Low Inventory of Homes for Sale in Los Gatos

Critically Low Inventory of Homes for Sale in Los Gatos

Home buyers are really struggling to find properties that fit their needs and their budget right now. This morning I pulled the data and saw that we now have a critically low inventory of homes for sale in Los Gatos in 95030 and 95032, or “in town”. Below, please find the numbers so that you can see what a more typical month in the Gem City of the Foothills looks like. Separately, I’ll run the data for Los Gatos 95033, the Los Gatos Mountains.

Inventory of homes for sale in Los Gatos 95030 & 95032

Here are the numbers via MLS Listings for single family homes (99% houses, tiny fraction of duet homes, or single family attached – not duplexes) from January 2000 through June 2024.

In “normal years” (apart from the Great Recession or Global Financial Collapse and its fallout), we often have 80-100 homes listed for sale in town. Inventory is low right now, but it’s closer to the 25 year average than we’ve seen recently. Please note, this is not for just one school district, zip code part of town, price point, etc. If we teased out the data by school district or some other factor it might shake out a little differently. Think of this as a very broad, general picture of housing availability in town.

Having 100 houses on the market is actually not too bad for June. From about 2012 and later, it’s a little low, but not inordinately so.

Please click the image below to see a larger version of it in a new tab.

 

Inventory of homes for sale in Los Gatos - single family homes by month 2000-2024 June with averages

 

Is the low inventory really the issue?

I believe that the problem isn’t so much the number of homes for sale as the quality of homes for sale. Many of them have location problems or condition issues. Today’s buyers want to purchase move-in ready houses in a quiet spot with no location deficiencies. A good chuck of listings today are from “have to sell” situations and are not as updated as most home buyers prefer. Many have location problems, such as being next to something undesirable, like a freeway or high voltage power line.

The houses that are in great shape, in superior locations, with no big issues (think property condition, foundation / drainage or other costly repairs) and which are priced aggressively are selling quickly and with multiple offers in many cases.

 

Inventory of homes for sale in Los Gatos 95033

There is not an inventory shortage in the mountains! The 25 year average in June is 42.6 homes for sale, and we had 51! Check out the last 12 months!

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Los Gatos real estate market statistics and trends

Los Gatos real estate market statistics and trends

Los Gatos real estate market graphic with home near downtownAs of today, July 16 2024, the Los Gatos real estate market in 95030 & 95032 is a little cooler than seasonally normal, but homes are continuing to sell if priced well and it remains a seller’s market, if a milder one.  Buyers, this is a good opportunity for you, particularly if a home has been on the market for 3 weeks or longer without a price reduction.

Los Gatos real estate market statistics for the last 30 days (not a calendar month)

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

  • 53 houses for sale today (July 16, 2024)
    • the average days on market for these homes is 57 days (but one has been on for 628 days, another for more than 200, while most are 60 or less)
    • the median days on market 31 days
  • 4 are contingent (up from 2 last month), 18 are sale pending  (no contingencies, down from 26 last month)
  • 30 have closed in the last 30 days (down from 32)
    • average home size 2,630 SF
    • Average lot size 17,925 SF
    • average days on market = 18 (same as our last report)
    • the LONGEST days on market was  71, and of the 30 homes, 22 sold in 21 days or less and 15 of them sold in 9 days or less
    • average sale price  $3,636,268
    • median sale price $3,394,444
    • average sale to list price ratio 104% (down from 105% a month ago) and the highest was 130% (30% over list price)
    • 8 of the 30 homes were $4 mil or more
    • The highest sale price was $6,012,500

It is still a good seller’s market, but there’s a hint of softening.

Further below you’ll find similar charts for houses in the Los Gatos Mountains and also condos and townhomes “in town”.

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

Inventory is down a little from last month, but up from a year ago for June.

 

Active listings of homes for sale in Los Gatos in town

 

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The race to beat El Niño for home sellers

The race to beat El Niño for home sellers

Rain_cloud_El_NiñoIf you are gearing up to sell your Los Gatos area home in the winter or early spring, be prepared for some stormy weather – it’s an El Niño year!

If you’re planning to list in winter or early spring, get the outside jobs done before the rainy season begins and makes exterior work much harder. Waiting until the rains arrive will only make these jobs more miserable to do and can cause delays.

Note: this article was originally written in September 2015 for homeowners planning to sell in the upcomming months. As of this update (February 2024) we’re well into a rainy El Niño season. For tips to make your home inviting and appealing to buyers whatever the weather, check out our article Tips for selling your home in an El Niño year on the Valley of Heart’s Delight Blog. For pre-sale preparation, keep reading below!

 

Pre-El Niño Home Sale Preparations

If you are targeting a sale during an impending rainy season, here are some suggestions for sellers on preparing your home to sell ahead of El Niño’s arrival:

  1. Create a punch list of work to do outside (and inside, too).  Do a “walk around” the outside of your home, and bring someone along who does not live there to help you to identify things which need repairing, replacing, or cleaning up. (When you see something all the time, it may seem normal to you and you  won’t realize it needs addressing.) Your Realtor is often an ideal person to help you with this list.
    • Tip! Don’t forget wet-weather specific items. Is there a gutter that drips every winter, or a part of the walkway that puddles up? You may not want (or be able) to fix everything, but making the fixes you can and preparing for the expected will make things much simpler when the rain comes.
  2. Clear leaves and tree debris off your roof and out of the gutters or have someone else do this for you.
  3. Have your roof inspected (and any needed “tune up work”) done now. Roofing companies are backlogged as it is, and the wait will get much longer once the rain and wind start comming down! Putting this off can cause major delays in getting your home on the market. Ask your Realtor (or if you don’t have one, we’d love to hear from you) to recommend a quality roofer or roofing inspection company for the task.
  4. Power wash, or at least broom clean, the dust, debris, and spider webs off the exterior of the home and walkways. Power washing may not be allowed during severe drought (check your local water restrictions). Pay special attention to the area near the front door!
  5. Paint the exterior and do any other touch-up work now. Wood trim tends to need painting every 5 years or so. If yours looks tired or neglected, it sends a signal to home buyers that other things may be neglected, too. This job can’t be done during wet weather, so get it done early to avoid unscheduled delays down the road.
  6. Do any landscaping work before it becomes a muddy mess to tackle. That includes trimming back trees or shrubs as needed to avoid excess debris during stormy weather. If you plan to spruce up a flower bed with new plants or lay down fresh sod, get them in now so they have some time to take root before heavy rains and soggy soil make that a challenge.
  7. Get any inspections done ASAP if you are just a month or two out from listing. Wet weather can halt an inspection in it’s steps! Roof and chimney inspectors won’t go on a slick roof in the rain. Damp conditions in the crawlspace are not uncommon after rain, but it can be unsafe to enter until the subfloor has dried and most property and home inspectors will not inspect when wet. You may be waiting for a perfect string of sunny days if you wait to inspect until the rain begins.

 

Some other outdoor tasks for any season:

  1. Check the sidewalk condition for safety. Is it lifted and a tripping hazard? If so, contact the town of Los Gatos (if a resident) and get it on the schedule to be repaired. (San Jose residents must pay for this themselves but that city requires a permit, which can take weeks to obtain.) For more on this, read a related article: Who maintains the sidewalks in Los Gatos – the home owner, or the town?
  2. Change exterior light bulbs if needed.
  3. Paint, polish, or replace your mailbox. Clean the hardware on your front door.
  4. Cleaning the windows, tracks, and screens can make a world of difference in buyer’s perception of how clean, maintained, and bright your home is! During the rainy season it may feel futile, but trust me you want rain hitting clean windows, not dusty windows turning muddier.

 

There will be many more things to do indoors, of course, but if you can address these outdoor items while it’s dry out, they will be far easier to tackle. If you’re looking for other inspiration and tips to make your home shine in the rain, check out our post (also listed above) Tips for selling your home in an El Niño year with information on how to make your home inviting, appealing, clean, and safe during wet weather showings and tours.

 

Los Gatos Village townhome community

Los Gatos Village townhome community

Los Gatos Village townhomes in Los Gatos, CA (Silicon Valley)

Approximate boundaries of Los Gatos Village

Where can you find a 1 story townhouse which is only connected to its neighbor at the garage? This description fits many of the homes at Los Gatos Village, a tidy townhome community in east Los Gatos set alongside Los Gatos-Almaden Road.

Built in 1972, these comfortable homes are well designed both inside and out.   There are 163 units and of them, 57 have 2 stories and the rest are single story homes.

PUD townhomes, not in condo ownership

These townhouses are Planned Unit Developments, or PUDs. The majority of townhomes or townhouses are actually condominiums. A PUD is an upgrade! To learn more on why that matters, please see our article on another of our sites: What Is the Difference Between CID Ownership in a Condo, Townhouse or PUD?

The CCRs refer to the homes as townhouses rather than “single family attached” homes.

How big are the interiors and lots of town houses at Los Gatos Village?

These homes are modest in size, ranging from 1015 to 1494 square feet, generally (one home has 1648 SF – I would love to hear how that happened!). They have 2 or 3 bedrooms and 2 baths (there may be a few with 2.5 or 3 bathrooms, but most have 2). The lots likewise have a range between about 1563 SF and 4520 SF. I believe that every one of them has a 2 car garage.

Los Gatos Village is a Los Gatos real estate bargain

Homes in Los Gatos Village represent a bit of a bargain for Los Gatos housing prices as they are available for under $2 million and often closer to $1 million.

Dues are in the low $400s for the smallest units but includes quite a lot – painting, roof, beautiful lawn areas, and a pool. The incredibly good pricing might be why turnover is so low, usually only about 3% per year.

Los Gatos Village townhome community in Los Gatos CA

If you want to watch for these properties in your home search, these are the streets in which Los Gatos Village homes are located:  Milmar Way, Los Gatos-Almaden Road, Escobar Court, Escobar Avenue, and Camino del Cerro.

The good and the bad

Los Gatos Village SignVery very good:  Every home and every location has good and bad elements to factor in.  Here there’s a whole lot of good – the price point (esp. for the schools), very private townhomes, many barely attached at all and more like “patio homes” than town houses. The floorplans are smartly designed with good use of space and flow.  Many enjoy vaulted ceilings. Outside patios are also fairly spacious as townhome living goes.  It’s very hard to find a single story townhome, but there are more than 100 of them here! The complex is very scenic with lots of lawn area and graceful sidewalks inviting a good stroll into the neighborhoods nearby.

What newcomers may miss is the very convenient foot bridge where Camino del Cerro would seem to go through but is stopped by Ross Creek with two points of the road which do not actually connect for cars. But people on bike, skateboard, foot, or otherwise motor vehicle free can get across on the pedestrian bridge. This is very convenient if your goal is to get to Alta Vista Elementary School, which is just 1115 feet or so from the other side of the creek.

And in case you didn’t know, Alta Vista Elementary and Union Middle School are both very highly scoring with API scores well into the 900s.  This alone is a major draw for homes in this price point!

But wait, there’s more!  From this community it’s less than a mile’s walk to nearby Safeway, a coffee shop and all kinds of little stores at The Downing Center at Los Gatos-Almaden Road and Union. I measured about 6/10 of a mile from the front of LG Village to the shopping center. For those who cannot or do not want to drive, this is a pretty sweet location for taking care of the essentials!

Good schools, walkable area, more accessible homes (single story) set in a quiet, campus like setting – Los Gatos Village does have something for everyone and appeals to home buyers of all ages.

Los Gatos Village Greenbelt and power lines

Los Gatos Village with power linesThe not so good: The pricing and location is so good that you just know there had to be something making this so affordable, and so there is. High voltage power lines cut pretty much through the middle of this pretty community, far closer to the homes than many home buyers would like. And there’s nothing that can be done about it.

One corner of the community is “kitty corner” from the cemetery, the Los Gatos Memorial Park. There is a crematorium there, too.  For some home buyers, that may be a deal killer, but many will not take issue with the quiet neighbors.

These townhomes are older and some have “popcorn” or acoustic ceilings that today’s buyers do not want. If you otherwise like the home, I would suggest not eliminating it from your wish list because of the ceiling. You can hire someone to do it before you move in and it’s not nearly as costly as most Silicon Valley home buyers would think.

 

Los Gatos real estate, homes for sale and housing prices

Below please find a list of condos and townhouses which are for sale – as of the date of this article being written, none were for sale in Los Gatos Village.

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See all Los Gatos Village townhome community Los Gatos, California Real Estate.
(all data current as of 7/20/2024)

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

 
 

 

 

Related Reading

Rinconada Hills (gated community in West Los Gatos)

Los Gatos Woods townhome community

Belgatos Park in east Los Gatos

Guadalupe Oak Grove Park in Almaden Valley

 

 

 

Biggest home seller mistakes to avoid

Biggest home seller mistakes to avoid

4 biggest home seller mistakes to avoid - keyboard and house keysThe biggest home seller mistakes tend be the most common ones. The majority of seller mistakes often boils down to not hiring a good real estate agent and simply following her or his guidance.

Biggest home seller mistakes: summary

Here are the top four “biggest home seller mistakes” in my experience.  In most cases, a good listing agent will try to avoid these, but sometimes sellers pressure their real estate agent do do it the seller’s way, cutting these essential corners or ignoring the realities of the current real estate market.

  1. Overpricing the property for sale, misunderstanding what their home is worth.
    • Not studying the market stats and believing that the data applies to their home.
  2. Going on the market unprepared:
    • Not making the home “show ready”, nicely staged, clean, bright, and professionally photographed.
    • Not making the disclosure package complete and ready with all pre-sale inspections and disclosures completed.
  3. Lack of MLS exposure and lack of listing syndication.
  4. Overly restrictive showings, sellers being present during showings, any other hurdles to buyer’s agents showing the home to their clients.

Related to #1 and #2 above, a common mistake among sellers is pressuring the listing agent to tell them what they want to hear rather than what they need to hear. Hire a good real estate agent, ask for that professional’s guidance and act on it.

 

 

Errors with over pricing

What tops the list for the biggest home seller mistakes? High pricing! All the marketing in the world cannot compensate for a price that is too high. A low price may cause problems, too, but most of the time it will generate multiple offers, overbids, and a great sale price. In most markets, it’s riskier to overprice than to under price.

When homes don’t sell within 3-4 weeks in Santa Clara County, the vast majority of the time it is due to the list price being too high for what buyers are willing or able to pay for it.
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