Los Gatos Neighborhoods
If you are new to Silicon Valley, you may be wondering “where is Los Gatos California?” I’ll give you a quick answer and some visual cues via a map on the town’s location:
- In the 9 county San Francisco Bay Area, Los Gatos is located within Santa Clara County, which is considered the “South Bay” region
- Santa Clara County’s largest city is San Jose (a city of about 1 million people, in the county of about 1.9 million residents), which Los Gatos borders on the southwest side (San Jose touches the bay at Alviso). Los Gatos is small by comparison, with about 30,000 inhabitants.
- Los Gatos is nestled into the base of the coastal foothills, also known as the Santa Cruz Mountains. With the backdrop of the hills, it’s quite scenic.
- In town, the zip codes are 95030 and 95032, both of which are shared with the city of Monte Sereno. The Los Gatos Mountains area is unincorporated and is the 95033 zip code (not shown on the map below).
- Los Gatos California includes about 10 square miles for the incorporated area (and many, many more if you are talking about the mountains and zip code 95033). Where is Los Gatos California? Really depends on what you mean, in town, or in the mountains!
- Downtown Los Gatos is about 30 minutes from the beach at Santa Cruz, depending on traffic.
The Civic Center for the town of Los Gatos is marked in the map below with the white star in the red circle:
Obviously, the town encompasses far more than the Civic Center location! Here’s a map of Los Gatos by region – sweeping generalizations intended only to provide an overall sense of where to find what.
Downtown Los Gatos runs primarily along Main Street, N Santa Cruz Avenue, and University Avenue, but also part of Los Gatos-Saratoga Road (Highway 9).
Within the town, there are a number of districts and neighborhoods, many of which also have businesses, though they are largely residential.
In the downtown area, there are a number of historic districts in Los Gatos.
East Los Gatos & West Los Gatos: East Los Gatos is generally considered the area east of Los Gatos Boulevard, though some people attest that anything east of Highway 17 would be the east end of town. There are many popular neighborhoods within that area, including Blossom Manor, Vista Del Monte, the Alta Vista Area, Strathmore, and Belwood – Belgatos – Surmont, among others. Please navigate through the menu under “neighborhoods” to explore these and many other areas.
West Los Gatos is generally closer to the Campbell and Saratoga borders and includes Rinconada Hills, the Old Adobe Road area, Los Gatos Woods (townhouse community near Pollard Road) and many others.
North Los Gatos is not as well defined as other area, but generally is close to Lark Avenue.
The Los Gatos Mountains are an unincorporated place in Santa Clara County with a Los Gatos mailing address. This can be a bit confusing, especially since some of this region is over Saratoga or on the far side of the summit and in Santa Cruz County.
The Los Gatos Estates townhome community sits just off Pollard Road and More Avenue on the west end of town. Although this area on the north side of Pollard is actually in Campbell, it has a Los Gatos mailing address, which may confuse folks with a gps device. Our MLS also treats it as Campbell, so good to know about this area quirk since if you search for “Los Gatos homes for sale” there it won’t show up! (Same thing for the nearby Cameo Park West neighborhood of Leep homes a little closer to Quito Road.)
Basic facts: appx 57 homes, HOA dues as of this writing are in the high 300s (includes roof, painting, private roads, grounds, pool, spa and tennis court). Homes do not come on the market very often, but expect to see prices between $900,000 to $1,200,000 for most if they are remodeled.
Townhouses in Silicon Valley are usually either held in condominium ownership or as PUDs. These are condo. (For more info on the difference between PUD and condo ownership for common interest developments, please read this article on another of my sites.)
What are the Los Gatos Estates homes like?
They were built in 1979. Individual units range in size between 1739-2063 SF, with the average being 1921. Parcels are not big, running from 1739-2063 SF, but there’s a lot of open common space, so it does not feel small or crowded.
Why people love Los Gatos Estates
If you value a convenient location, Los Gatos Estates has it! Directly across the street from the entry to the community you’ll find a large, remodeled Safeway and a number of other helpful shops. El Camino Hospital of Los Gatos is only about a mile away. More shopping is found within 2 miles at Westgate and El Paseo de Saratoga. For workers commuting to Cupertino, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara and similar areas, a trip north on Pollard turns into Lawrence Expressway, making the journey pretty straight forward.
The highly regarded public schools are very nearby: Rolling Hills Middle School (API 919) is pretty much “next door” but on the other side of More, and Marshall Lane Elementary (API 945) is about a half mile away. Westmont High School (API 796) is within a mile also.
The townhomes at Los Gatos Estates enjoy tremendous convenience, but there’s much more to the complex than that. The townhomes are well laid out, with good floor plans, spacious rooms, and often high ceilings. Each one includes an attached 2 car garage and of course a laundry room or closet. In many ways, these townhomes feel more like houses than attached homes. Not only that, but residents get to enjoy a pool, spa, and tennis court, too.
Above is one of two gateway signs along Pollard Road, a nice welcome to the community!
Below, a typical two story townhome with both a back patio and balcony. One end of this complex is adjacent to highway 85, the train tracks, and the high voltage power lines, which you see in the image, too. Homes closest to the freeway, train and electrical wires will be somewhat price impacted by them, of course, but this creates an opportunity for more affordable housing than you might otherwise find in this neighborhood. If you are looking for good real estate pricing, this may be a great opportunity – lots of home for the money.
Courtstyle and Wimbledon Place, which is also referred to as Courtside by many locals, are townhome communities located between La Rinconada Golf Course and Winchester Boulevard, just behind the Los Gatos Bay Club Courtside. (The Bay Club Courtside was originally just “Courtside”, and that seems to be the reason for the community’s nickname.) This is a convenient commute location near both highways 17 and 85, and the area is within the Los Gatos Union School District, which is a big draw.
The Courtstyle and Wimbledon Place communities are sometimes confused with each other since they are nearby neighbors with some similar features and not terribly far apart in age, but they are distinct.
The Wimbledon Place HOA put Wimbledon Place signs up at the front and back entrances of the community not too long ago with the intention of getting the neighborhood branding corrected.
Wimbledon Place, or Courtside
The Wimbledon Place townhouses were built in 1977 and often “feel” like you’re in a single family home as the rooms are a good size, the floor plans are fairly open, and living rooms frequently feature vaulted and beamed ceilings. This is an uncrowded neighborhood, with plenty of parking in driveways and other designated spaces. It’s a very tidy, well kept neighborhood and seems to be one of the best values in town.
In the past, some of the homes felt dark as there were a lot of oversized (but beautiful!) redwood trees. When I was there this week, I noticed that a number of them had been cut down. It’s sad to see them go, but at the same time, they were close to power lines and cast a lot of shade. There are still a good number of trees there, too.
What are the homes like at Wimbledon Place?
One of the largest townhome communities in Los Gatos, the Los Gatos Woods community includes 232 townhouses set on private roads near Pollard Road. This is a very attractive neighborhood and includes many trees. This area is considered west Los Gatos and is close to the border with Campbell and Saratoga.
Los Gatos Woods is very convenient for those wishing to commute to Cupertino, Sunnyvale and Santa Clara as Quito Road is nearby and becomes Lawrence Expressway. This community is also extremely convenient for those working at El Camino Hospital of Los Gatos or any of the nearby medical centers; it’s probably a half mile on foot or by bike.
There’s a good sized, remodeled Safeway and a good number of other shops close by, too, along with the middle school (and the elementary isn’t much further). Most things seem to be within a mile or so.
What are the homes like at Los Gatos Woods?
Most of the Los Gatos Woods units were built between 1971 and 1973 and most seem to have been renovated since then with dual pane windows, remodeling inside, etc.. Home sizes range from 997 square feet to 2754 sqare feet, with typical homes being around 1400 – 1700 SF. The lot sizes vary, too, from about 1921 SF to 2639 SF, and the average being 1850 SF. Homes all include some sort of outside space, often both a back patio and a balcony. All have 2 car, attached garages, and many have driveways which are big enough to accommodate a car (though some are a bit short for that).
How’s the neighborhood?
This is a really beautifully maintained community. Continue reading
If you are looking to buy a home in or near downtown Los Gatos, but your budget is less than $1 million, you might consider something in the Pueblo de Los Gatos condos community. It is one of the more affordable housing options anywhere in town, yet enjoys the highly prized Los Gatos Union School District and a very convenient location.
What are homes in Pueblo de Los Gatos like?
Front doors face outside, rather than an interior corridor, so this is not a complex that feels like a hotel. The development was built in 1970, and you may detect its age here and there, but overall, it seems to be a well kept up complex. Residents enjoy a community pool and lots of green, open space between the buildings. Several residents appear to have dogs, but on the many visits I’ve made there, I did not hear any barking.
The individual units vary in the amount of remodeling which has been done inside. Some still have heat pumps for heating and cooling (rather than a forced air furnace), popcorn or acoustic ceilings, original bathrooms, etc. Many have been beautifully updated, though, so you really need to see each one and take it on its own merits. Gas fireplaces are common – they may be in every unit, but I’m not sure of that.
It appears that the units were all built with Zinsco electric panels and subpanels, and they seem to be widely in use (though individual owners may have replaced them). Some home inspectors will raise a red flag about Zinsco or Federal Pacific panels, and others do not say a word about them. Please do your own research on this.
Except for one of the homes, which has a garage, all have use of at least one carport space.
How big are the condo units at Pueblo de Los Gatos?
Pueblo de Los Gatos includes 53 condominium units. I have been in a number of them, and most of the units I’ve seen have good floor plans with very decent space. They have laundry in the unit rather than in an HOA run laundry building.
The bed, bath, and size breakdown is as follows:
- 8 units have 1 bed, 1 bath, and either 764 SF or 789 SF
- 44 have 2 bedrooms and 2 or 2.5 baths, with one of 3 layouts – 1032 SF, 1097 SF, or 1120 SF
- 1 unit features 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, 1390 SF and a 2 car garage, while the rest use carports. (I do wonder if originally this wasn’t supposed to be the property manager’s residence? It was last sold in 1980, so if that was the case, it was a very long time ago!)
Los Gatos, Campbell, and Saratoga meet near the intersection of Quito Road and Pollard Road in the far northwest end of LG. People driving through for the first time are often confused about what city is where. To complicate matters, some areas belong to one municipality but have the mailing address, or postal label, of another.
Such is the case with Cameo Park West, a lovely residential pocket of Campbell which is a bit of an outpost for that city and hence has a Los Gatos mailing address to make it simpler for letter carriers. The schools, of course, are not impacted either way since they have nothing to do with the city or town boundaries.
This popular neighborhood, which has claims of some sort to both areas is well built and well kept. For Los Gatans commuting to Cupertino or Sunnyvale, homes in west Los Gatos and nearby offer a shorter commute than from downtown LG or east Los Gatos.
What are homes like in Cameo Park West?
The houses found along Elwood Drive, Hyde Drive, Hyde Court, Bearden Drive, and Pollard Court were built mostly in 1966 and 1967 by a well respected, San Francisco Bay Area builder of houses, Leep Homes. There were many extras that went into homes built by Leep, among them copper plumbing (well before that was typical), two way fireplaces, front porches, formal entry halls, step down living rooms, central forced air heat, wood shake roofs (originally, now most are composition shingle) and beautiful hardwood floors. This builder was active in Santa Clara County and we see Leep subdivisions throughout San Jose, Los Gatos, Campbell and many other places within Silicon Valley.
Cameo Park West homes range in size from 1380 square feet to 2620 square feet and sit on lots as small as 6000 SF to as big as 12,600 SF. Most lots are around 8000 SF and a typical house might be about 1800 SF with 3-4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. Most of the homes in this area are single story but a few are two stories.
Most houses are “interior” to the neighborhood, but some are close to or face Pollard Road, others are next to the freeway (and with it, the high voltage power lines & towers and also the train tracks) or the school or the creek. Many would prefer a creekside setting or a school as a back neighbor, but not everyone shares that feeling.
How expensive is Cameo Park West real estate?
As of this writing, late July 2018, in the current market homes have sold between about $1,500,000 and $2,000,000. Homes may still sell as low as $1.5 million or less if they’re small, have location issues and / or fixer uppers, but within the last year one sold as high as $1,805,000. Continue reading
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.)
All Alberto Way area homes for sale
This includes properties on Alberto Way as well as Maggi Court
The Los Gatos Commons is a popular senior condominium community off of Alberto Way in Los Gatos, very close to the downtown shopping and dining district (see map, below). This complex was developed in 1978, so is 40 years old as of this writing in 2018. There are 110 condo units, ranging from 1 to 3 bedrooms. Most units have carports, but there are a few with 1 car garages available. A plus for many residents is that it is gated – a rarely found amenity in Silicon Valley.
Like other senior communities, of which there are very few in Santa Clara County, properties are more affordable here than what you might find in non age-restricted condominiums nearby.
Homes share a clubhouse, pool, spa, and fitness room, as well as beautifully maintained landscaping. Units have covered parking.
Nearby amenities include easy access to highways 9 and 17, a close proximity to downtown shopping, dining, and entertainment, such as the public library and parks. The location is hard to beat!
What do HOA Dues cost at The Commons?
The Los Gatos Commons home owner association dues start at about $450 and are more for larger units. Two bedroom homes have HOA dues of $532 at the moment.
What senior services are included?
This is an independent living community, not assisted living, which means that there are no additional senior services, such as shuttle, cleaning, or meal plans, available to residents outside of the normal HOA features such as landscaping and exterior maintenance.
Positives and Negatives
Well known positives for The Los Gatos Commons are the wonderful location, beautifully kept grounds, security features, easy lifestyle and low maintenance, the use of the pool and spa, and being among other seniors. While not inexpensive, the cost of buying a condo at the Commons is less than it might be for a comparable condominium that would not be in a seniors community – and that is a significant plus, too.
Potential negatives may be the relatively expensive HOA cost, road noise from Highway 17, not having an attached garage (for the majority of units), having 40 + year old construction, and and upcoming construction at Alberto Way and Los Gatos-Saratoga Road.
More information on the Los Gatos Commons:
Ending the Alberto Way Confusion (article on this site)
Los Gatos Commons, Association
445 Alberto Way
Los Gatos, CA 95032
Creekside Village is one of the youngest subdivisions in Los Gatos, and it’s located in a prime “walk to town” neighborhood with the highly prized Los Gatos schools, too. As the name implies, this community of houses sits alongside the scenic Los Gatos Creek (the Los Gatos Creek Trail is on the far side of the water from these properties). All of these factors make the Creekside Village neighborhood a very attractive option for house hunters.
This subdivision was built by Barry Swenson with prefab or manufactured housing between 2005 and 2006 on the former site of a mobile home park. There are 60 homes, ranging in size from 1251 square feet to 1747 SF (average home size is 1503 SF). Lots are mostly smaller, ranging from 1845 to 8909 SF, with the average parcel being 2846. Garages are either single car or 2 car tandem. While the houses are not big, the interiors are beautifully appointed and there’s nothing modest feeling about them in that regard.
All homes are on Creekside Village Drive and are assigned the 95032 zip code. It’s a very tidy community and includes a home owner’s association for the shared amenities such as the clubhouse, pool, workout room, private road, and parking.
There are pros and cons to every neighborhood. In the case of Creekside Village neighborhood, the negatives are that it’s situated very close to Highway 17 and also Highway 9 (Los Gatos-Saratoga Road). Some home buyers may not like that the lots are narrow, mostly forcing single car garages, with houses quite close together.
What do homes in Creekside Village cost?
Those sold over the last year (as of the writing of this article, October 2016) have sold at $1,199,000 and $1,429,000. That’s right, only two sold in the last year, so it’s clear that inventory doesn’t come up often in this area. For downtown Los Gatos, this is bargain real estate pricing!
Creekside Village HOA Info
At the northwest corner of Los Gatos you’ll find a really beautiful neighborhood that consists of Old Adobe Road and nearby streets. It’s just off of Quito Road on the border with Saratoga one one side and Monte Sereno on another.
This lovely area doesn’t have tightly defined boundaries (at least not as far as I know), but runs roughly between Old Adobe and Quito at the north end to Bicknell at the south and fanning out to beyond Montclair to about More Avenue. It clings to Rinconada Hills along one stretch, too.
What are homes like in the Old Adobe area?
Today I mapped out the approximate neighborhood using the county records and it appears to have about 250 houses or so. Nearly all were built in the 1960s and 1970s. Most of the homes are between about 2,000 and 3,000 square feet, but about 1/3 of them are larger, a couple even larger than 4,000 SF, but that is sure not typical. Most lots are around a quarter to a half acre, but some are bigger and some smaller. So they are comfortable houses on uncrowded lots in a mature neighborhood.
There are some areas within this part of west Los Gatos with no subdivision name, but some parts are identified as within subdivisions: Adobe Manor, Verona Manor, Montclair Oaks, Rinconada Acres, Rinconada Terrace, Rinconada Oaks. (A nearby neighborhood is English Oaks, and next to that is Oakwood. Yes, there are plenty of oaks in the region!)
Enduring popularity of the Old Adobe area
Year in and year out, this part of Los Gatos has an ongoing appeal. What’s the draw? Part of it is certainly the trees, the gently winding streets, the rolling hills (and some homes get lovely views), the well kept homes, the good public schools (elemenary and middle school API scores are well past 900), the easy proximity of shopping and the closer in commute to places in Cupertino, Mountain View, Sunnyvale, etc. Compared to east Los Gatos, this is an easier drive since you don’t have to take Hwy 85 past Hwy 17 – where it does really tend to clog. It probably shaves about 20 minutes off the commute compared to the far east end of town.
What are the assigned schools for the Old Adobe area?
This area is part of the Campbell School District (elementary and middle) and the Campbell Union High School District. Assigned public schools are Marshall Lane Elementary, Rolling Hills Middle, and Westmont High.
What about real estate prices? What do homes cost in this part of west Los Gatos?
Nothing in the town of Los Gatos is inexpensive. With good schools, nice environment, and a closer in location, you won’t be too surprised that this is a pricey area, albeit less than downtown Los Gatos or areas with “Los Gatos Schools” meaning properties in the Los Gatos Union School District.
There are many factors which can influence home values and what a buyer will be willing to pay for a property: home size, lot size, remodeling, being up on a hill with a view vs down in a gulch with little sunlight, and many other things. Over the last year, as of October 2016, homes have been selling in this area for between about $1,499,000 on the low side to about $2,400,000 on the high side.
Any other relevant issues?
Anywhere in Los Gatos, there will be issues relating to hillside homes and water damage to homes and foundations. Be careful to direct the water away from the house, even if you are in a relatively flat area! For ALL of Los Gatos, Saratoga, Monte Sereno, and Almaden, this is a huge issue. Please also read this article: What To Consider When Buying a Hillside Home in Silicon Valley.