Homes & Housing Market
The Los Gatos real estate market for single family homes is a sellers market as a whole, but this varies depending on many factors. 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, whether it is remote or convenient (in some cases), 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! Also, I’ve provided links to each of the 3 zip codes reports. Within those weekly reports are great data points, my favorite being the info of what size home and number of beds and baths you’re likely to find per price quartile. Check it out!
Altos Research Profiles of Los Gatos single family homes by zip code
A link is provided to the full weekly report for each zip code. It will bring you to the page for single family homes (houses and duet, or single family attached, homes), but from there you can click on a tab and view the same type of data for condominiums and townhouses if any data exists for them.
Close to downtown – 95030 (read the full weekly report for Los Gatos 95030, which is automatically updated, here):
Primarily East, West, and North Los Gatos (view the Altos Research report for Los Gatos 95032 HERE):
The Los Gatos Mountains / Santa Cruz Mountains – 95033 (see the full 95033 weekly report here, no condo or TH in these areas):
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 are up from last year, which is very interesting as many areas in the Santa Clara Valley are lower than 12 months ago. The sale price to list price ratio is up from January, the days on market and days of inventory are lower, and it seems that Los Gatos is moving into a seasonally typical spring warm up pattern.
|Trends At a Glance||Feb 2019||Previous Month||Year-over-Year|
|Median Price||$2,499,000 (+0.8%)||$2,480,000||$2,087,500 (+19.7%)|
|Average Price||$2,674,240 (-4.8%)||$2,810,060||$2,267,180 (+18.0%)|
|No. of Sales||25 (+177.8%)||9||24 (+4.2%)|
|Pending||32 (+39.1%)||23||35 (-8.6%)|
|Active||48 (+9.1%)||44||35 (+37.1%)|
|Sale vs. List Price||101.5% (+3.2%)||98.3%||106.8% (-5.0%)|
|Days on Market||23 (-41.0%)||39||21 (+10.0%)|
|Days of Inventory||52 (-64.7%)||147||39 (+31.7%)|
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:
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.
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.
One 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.)
- List View
- Map View
- Grid View
See all Los Gatos Commons.
(all data current as of 3/25/2019)
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
- List View
- Map View
- Grid View
See all Alberto Way.
(all data current as of 3/25/2019)
Listing information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Read full disclaimer.
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:
|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||1 (-75.0%)||4||4 (-75.0%)|
|Pending||1 (N/A)||0||2 (-50.0%)|
|Active||7 (+40.0%)||5||9 (-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||4 (N/A)||0||2 (+100.0%)|
|Pending||0 (-100.0%)||2||2 (-100.0%)|
|Active||5 (+400.0%)||1||11 (-54.5%)|
|Sale vs. List Price||96.4% (N/A)||0.0%||98.2% (-1.8%)|
|Days on Market||9 (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.
Did I mention that small data can create some really strange looking monthly shifts?
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:
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.)
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):
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
Buyers: 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.
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.
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:
|90-day stats for Single Family properties in|
LOS GATOS, CA 95030 as of March 22, 2019
|Median List Price:||$3,013,462||Average List Price:||$4,039,626|
|Total Inventory:||18||Price per Square Foot:||$1,040|
|Average Home Size:||3,361||Median Lot Size:||23,942|
|Average # Beds:||4.16||Average # Baths:||4.01|
|Homes Absorbed:||2||Newly Listed:||2|
|Days on Market:||176||Average Age:||52|
|90-day stats for Single Family properties in|
LOS GATOS, CA 95032 as of March 22, 2019
|Median List Price:||$2,758,332||Average List Price:||$3,492,121|
|Total Inventory:||23||Price per Square Foot:||$916|
|Average Home Size:||3,208||Median Lot Size:||12,599|
|Average # Beds:||4.30||Average # Baths:||3.89|
|Homes Absorbed:||4||Newly Listed:||5|
|Days on Market:||82||Average Age:||36|
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.