Los Gatos condo sales: what does your money buy?

Los Gatos condo sales are good to watch as it provides info on the most affordable segment of the local real estate market. The condo / townhome market in Los Gatos includes a broad spectrum of housing and affordability across the 95030 and 95032 zip codes and its various school districts.

Included are senior condominiums (mostly but not exclusively at the Los Gatos Commons), which are usually the lowest priced homes and which are residences with age restrictions (mostly 55+). This can skew the data a little, so remember that if it looks too good to be true, it probably is (for all the non-seniors who would love the prices at the Commons in a non seniors complex).

Also incorporated in the chart below are townhouses. A townhouse is an architectural style, not a type of ownership. A townhouse really refers to properties with no other units above or below them. They are either in condo style ownership (essentially a condominium in the shape of a townhouse) or they are planned unit developments (PUDs), which are not condos and in which the ownership includes the land under the unit.  (See also: Is that Los Gatos house or townhouse actually a condo? on this blog.)

Chart of Los Gatos condo sales in 2020

Below please find data on the Los Gatos 95030 and 95032 condominium and townhome sales.

 

Los Gatos condo sales in 2020 year to date

 

How do these condo and townhome prices compare to other nearby areas? Here’s the most recent data from my RE Report (link is to the main site, the PDF with this chart is listed in left column).

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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.

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 these statistics 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).

Also, there are only single family, detached houses in Monte Sereno: no apartments, multi unit housing (2 – 4 plex), no duet homes (attached single family homes). That will be changing soon, however, as the old La Hacienda property (formerly an estate, then a hotel and restaurant) at Hwy 9 and Austin Way will likely become incorporated into Monte Sereno and condos or townhomes built there.

Also, this month’s data will show some of the effects of the pandemic on the real estate market, but not all of it, as plenty has changed since March. To learn more about how Covid-19 is affecting the local real estate market, please check Coronavirus Impact on Real Estate Sales on my other blog.

During the shutdown so far, the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) stopped the timer on all Days on Market (DOM) for a time. Therefore these numbers will be off beginning from March 17th through around May 17th. In the data below, this will affect any numbers related to the days on market, the absorption rate, and the days of inventory from those months, but current numbers should be accurate.

First up for the market analysis is the Altos Research weekly profile for Monte Sereno (uses list prices, not sales – so the median sale price here is much higher than the median sale price on the solds):

 

 

This chart shows a continuing strong seller’s market with market action holding steady. Prices are dropping which may suggest a shift in listings to lower priced homes rather than a drop in value to the market.

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

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Los Gatos real estate market trends and statistics

Low inventory is the main story in the Los Gatos real estate market today. Here’s a multiple year view of single family homes for sale in Los Gatos 95030 and 95032 since January 2014 – I find this to be enlightening since any one year can be an anomaly. The chart below shows us that average October inventory for Los Gatos is usually in the 70s, but in 2020 it’s a good deal short with only 51 active listings! Going back, inventory hasn’t been in-line with usual monthly trends since this March.

 

InventoryLG-Oct2020

 

The ultra low number of listings is due to many factors, one of them being the current coronavirus pandemic and health and safety concerns. For a look at how Covid-19 is affecting the local real estate market today, please check Coronavirus Impact on Real Estate Sales on my other blog.

What is selling best in LG right now?

Of the 40 single family home sales in Los Gatos (not including the mountain market) in October on the MLS, none sold under $1 million, 12 closed under $2 million (only 3 went below $1.5 million), 17 sold above $2 and below $3 million, 9 from $3 million to $4 million, and 2 between $4 and $5 million. The high end price point tends to be around $3,000,000 and up for this part of Santa Clara County. The vast majority of what sold would not be considered luxury properties, even though in most areas of the U.S. these would be luxury price tags.

Los Gatos real estate statistics at a glance for 95030 & 95032

Next, data from the RE Report for Los Gatos (“in town”), in the Los Gatos Mountains, and for Los Gatos condos (only in town, none in the mountain communities). Below that are the live Altos Research charts, updated automatically each week. Altos uses list prices, not sold prices.

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.

 

Trends At a Glance Oct 2020 Previous Month Year-over-Year
Median Price $2,300,000 (-2.1%) $2,350,000 $2,630,000 (-12.5%)
Average Price $2,575,300 (+3.4%) $2,491,080 $2,762,530 (-6.8%)
No. of Sales 46 (+24.3%) 37 29 (+58.6%)
Pending 57 (+3.6%) 55 29 (+96.6%)
Active 47 (-9.6%) 52 72 (-34.7%)
Sale vs. List Price 103.0% (+0.6%) 102.5% 97.3% (+5.9%)
Days on Market 26 (-9.0%) 29 37 (-29.8%)
Days of Inventory 31 (-24.8%) 41 74 (-58.8%)

 

Prices dropped a hair since last month with October numbers looking a little low compared to where they were a year ago. The number of sales, on the other hand, has risen nearly a quarter since last month and is up almost 60% since last year! Active listings have also dipped from September and are well below 2019, and pending sales rose and are nearly double last year. The sales vs list price ratio rose again to a hot 103%, well above last year. Overall it remains a seller’s market in Los Gatos, possibly impacted by delayed activity from earlier this year.

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Ending the Alberto Way Condo Confusion

Map Condo and Townhome communities along Alberto Way in Los GatosOne of the more confusing areas in Los Gatos may the Alberto Way. There are a number of HOA communities and for those new to the area, they may all blur together.

Los Gatos Commons

The largest complex along Alberto Way in Los Gatos is the The Los Gatos Commons, a senior complex with 110 units. (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 2020, you may be able to purchase a a unit there between $500,000 and $700,000.

Pueblo de Los Gatos

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.

Bella Vista Village

Next to and behind Pueblo de Los Gatos is the much newer and more expensive Bella Vista Village, which was built in 1997 and 1998 and includes 47 townhomes. Click on the link to see some photos and learn about it!

Las Casitas

Additionally, there is a small townhouse complex built in 1979 with 18 units on the same side of the street as the Los Gatos Commons, Las Casitas. Something unusual is that all of them appear to have the same floor plan – all have 1448 square feet.

 

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. Also, if the price looks low for the area – it’s probably the Commons. If there’s no letter, as in #7, it’s part of one of the other communities. Or just check the map – The Commons is tucked back at the far left side of the cul de sac (beyond it are office buildings with a private driveway).

All 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.

 

 

All Alberto Way area homes for sale, pending, or sold over the last year – including The Commons

This includes properties on Alberto Way as well as Maggi Court and the other Bella Vista Village homes.

 

  • List View
  • Map View
  • Grid View

See all Alberto Way.
(all data current as of 12/3/2020)

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

 
 

 

 

The historic Broadway area neighborhood in Los Gatos

Los Gatos, CA Broadway District Historic Home

Broadway and El Sereno The very first subdivision or planned neighborhood in Los Gatos was along Broadway and nearby (Clifton Avenue, Broadway Extension and Wood Road), now the Historic Broadway Area (or Neighborhood or District).  There had already been quite a few houses built at that time in Los Gatos, but none were planned areas per se. The Town of Los Gatos has called this the first residential street of Los Gatos! John Lyndon was the developer and he bought the land and created 48 parcels which were sold in September 1881 – a good six years before the far larger Almond Grove district was created and 6 years before the town was incorporated, too. A few homes in this area may already have been present, though, and seem to predate the 1881 date.

No doubt, Mr. Lyndon’s real estate buying decision was at least partially influenced by the location of his Lyndon Hotel, a whose bar was a popular hangout for the likes of John Steinbeck and Charlie Chaplain, which was located at the corner of Santa Cruz Avenue and Broadway, and now is the Lyndon Plaza (since sadly the hotel was torn down in the 1960s).

What was once a fairly quiet end of town is today mostly in the heart of it. The area closest to the post office enjoys a wide road (if desperately in need of repair), a good variety of Victorian and mostly older, historic homes, and is very uniformly well kept. Because it is either “in town” or “close to town”, the road is lined with cars most days – perhaps also because these houses of course pre-dated garages.

Historic Broadway Area Photos

 

Where is the Broadway Historic District in Los Gatos?

The Town of Los Gatos has a Historic Districts Map – have a look:

Town of Los Gatos Historic Districts Map

 

Broadway neighborhood of Los Gatos real estate information

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Charter Oaks townhome community

The Charter Oaks townhome community was built in 3 phases between 1972 and 1975,  and consists of 101 units on a verdant, green campus. I’m told that the builder was the highly regarded Blackwell Homes.  Each townhome enjoys between 960 square feet and 1,760 sf, with the average being 1452. Most are 2 story but there are a few single story homes as well. Lot sizes are small (1,920-3,205 SF, average is 2477 SF) as there is a great deal of common, outdoors space to enjoy.

Charter Oaks townhome community

Charter Oaks Circle mapLos Gatans are drawn to Charter Oaks for many reasons. First, it offers well built homes that are thoughtfully designed in a beautiful setting. The community features include expansive greenbelt areas and a pool.

The location is a huge plus. It is located alongside the Los Gatos Creek Trail, making it an easy walking or bike commute to Netflix, a simple bike ride to Vasona or downtown Los Gatos, or a convenient route for a longer ride, jog, or stroll. To top it off, this area includes the highly regarded Los Gatos Schools and is close enough to the freeways to make commuting less stressful.

Every area has some location challenges. Because it’s close to two freeways, there’s a bit of noise from the highways but it’s not too bad. The other thing to know is that there’s just one road in and out, and trying to turn left from Charter Oaks Drive onto Lark Avenue can sometimes be frustrating as the cars just keep coming and there’s no traffic signal to help there.

Charter Oaks real estate pricing

Homes in Charter Oaks are selling for about $1,000,000 to $1,300,00 as of early 2020. (See my listing at 126 Charter Oaks Circle here.) As with every complex, some areas will sell for more than others. In this case, because the townhomes are fairly close to highway 17, some areas have road noise and will be a little less desirable.  Some will have better or lesser views, access to parking, natural light, and so on. The condition and size of the unit have an enormous impact on housing values too, of course.

 

Which streets are a part of Charter Oaks?

Includes streets are these: Walnut Hill Court, Charter Oaks Circle, Willow Hill Court, Cherry Hill Court, Almond Hill Court, Spruce Hill Court

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Interior floods in the home

Most of the time, when we think of floods, we imagine a natural disaster, and that the people impacted live in a 100 year flood plain.  On the east coast, basements are the part of the home usually impacted by floods.  Interior floods in the home can happen to anyone with plumbing, though. Today I want to share what happened to us in mid December 2012 and hope it can help others to avoid our experience.

Interior floods in the home – our story (late 2012)

A few years back we had a large amount of water intrusion due to a refrigerator water line that broke. One surprise lead to another.

First, the apparent cause may have been a different plumbing issue: dissimilar metals, copper and galvanized steel, not properly separated. It was on one of the to-do lists that just didn’t get done fast enough. We see things like that on home inspection reports and don’t always understand the risks.

I first discovered the water on December 9th, 2012, when I noticed that our dining room’s carpeting didn’t look quite right – and found it damp.  My initial thought was that our elderly dog had had an accident, but there was far too much liquid and it all seemed to be up against the wall backing to the kitchen, so it didn’t take long to realize that the pooch was not to blame.

The first job was finding what was wet so that it could be dried out ASAP, before mold got a foothold. The dining room was carpeted, so it was easy to simply pull the carpet back and check the underlayment.  (In this image, the kitchen is to the left, and the pantry and half bath are behind the wall straight ahead.) I  had a lot of calls to make to flood remediation companies, to our insurance company, etc. I was concerned about mold as I’d taken a 3 hour class in that subject at a real estate conference, so I wanted the leak stopped and the water removed immediately.

 

 

Damage from the flood in our dining room
The dining room at my house, which backs to the kitchen wall where the refrigerator water line leaked. The damage was not fully apparent until the carpet was pulled back.

 

Interior floods in the home built pre-1978

Back to that first task of figuring out what was wet – the dining room was easy due to carpet. The kitchen and other nearby areas were a different story.

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