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Housing Element

Housing Element

Housing Element Update Community MeetingUPDATE on May 9th: today I received the following from the Planning Dept in an email that went out to their mailing list I’ve put into italics):

Hello,

On May 3, 2024, the Town received a letter from HCD stating that the Town’s Draft Revised Housing Element (May 2024), as submitted to HCD on March 18, 2024, along with the specific technical modifications directed by HCD and submitted on April 26, 2024, meet the statutory requirements of State Housing Element Law (See Attachment).

As required by AB 215, the Draft Revised Housing Element is being made available to the public for a seven-day review period prior to the anticipated formal submittal of an adopted Housing Element to HCD in June.

The Draft Revised Housing Element (May 2024) is available to the public for a seven-day review period prior to HCD re-submittal.  The seven-day public review period runs until 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, May 15, 2024. 

The following items can be viewed on the Town’s Housing Element Update website at: https://www.losgatosca.gov/1735/General-Plan—Housing-Element

  • Draft Revised 2023-2031 Housing Element (May 2024) – Clean Copy
  • Draft Revised 2023-2031 Housing Element (May 2024) – Track Changes Copy*

*Please note track changes showing the specific technical modifications directed by HCD are highlighted in gray and are located on pages 10-62, 10-63, and D-44

Written comments (including name, affiliation, telephone number, and contact information) can be submitted through Wednesday, May 15, 2024, by 5:00 p.m., by email to HEUpdate@losgatosca.gov or by mail to:

Town of Los Gatos
Community Development Department
110 E. Main Street
Los Gatos, CA 95030

On May 22, 2024, the Planning Commission will consider the Draft Revised Housing Element and will make a recommendation to the Town Council.  On June 4, 2024, the Town Council will consider the Planning Commission’s recommendation and take action on the Draft Revised Housing Element.  Once adopted by Town Council, the Housing Element will then be submitted to HCD.

 

 

 

Good news to report on the Los Gatos Housing Element: on May 3rd, our town got preliminary approval from the state for the Housing Element Plan. This has been a very long time in coming!

Housing Element update from the town

Per per the town’s website:

On May 3, 2024, the Town received a letter from HCD stating that the Town’s Draft Revised Housing Element (March 2024), as submitted to HCD on March 18, 2024, along with the specific technical modifications directed by HCD and submitted on April 26, 2024, meet the statutory requirements of State Housing Element Law.

If this is the first you’ve heard of the Housing Element in Los Gatos, this phrase refers to our “strategic plan for housing the Town’s present and future residents,”

The state requires us to prepare for both the current and future housing needs and the plan must be updated every 8 years.

Once again, there’s a 7 day period of time for the public to weigh in (the quote below is from the same link above).

As required by AB 215, the preliminary review revisions to the Draft Revised Housing Element will be made available to the public for a seven-day review period prior to a formal resubmittal to HCD.  The seven-day public review period will run concurrently with the public noticing for the Planning Commission’s consideration of the Housing Element.

San Jose Spotlight shared that:

The plan identifies Los Gatos Boulevard, Los Gatos-Saratoga Road, Oka Lane and Burton Road as future development sites for housing. The housing element must still go through final Los Gatos Town Council approval before heading back to the state for certification.

Los Gatos has some unique challenges since much of our town’s land is in the Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone, and except for the addition of ADUs, construction appears to be discouraged by CalFire in those areas. Even parts of town not in that precise zone are still in higher fire risk areas. It will be interesting to see how this is factored in to the long range real estate planning for our area. (I’m concerned about safety above all.)

To get more details, please click through the two links above.

 

Related reading

Los Gatos neighborhoods – links to articles for MANY parts of town, posts on this site

Updated fire zone map (this site)

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 seller’s market with severely low inventory, just 3 available homes at the end of April, according to the RE Report (linked below).
  • The sales to list price ratio dropped to 102.1%, falling -9.1% from the month prior, but up +2.5% year-over-year.
  • As of today, May 8, 2024, the MLS shows that there are 14 available Monte Sereno homes for sale (of those, 3 are Member’s Only: Show and 6 are Member’s Only: No Show), 2 pending sales, 0 contingent sales, and 1 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.

April: 4 Sales

Trends At a Glance Apr 2024 Previous Month Year-over-Year
Median Price $5,150,000 (+13.2%) $4,550,000 $2,905,000 (+77.3%)
Average Price $6,162,500 (+35.4%) $4,550,000 $3,505,000 (+75.8%)
No. of Sales (+100.0%) 2 (-33.3%)
Pending (0.0%) 3 (N/A)
Active (-40.0%) 5 (-50.0%)
Sale vs. List Price 102.1% (-9.1%) 112.3% 99.6% (+2.5%)
Days on Market 12 (-11.5%) 13 24 (-51.7%)
Days of Inventory 22 (-71.0%) 75 29 (-25.0%)

 

While the lack of sales and listings can make the data in these charts swing wildly, the overall chart shows an active spring market that’s moving a little slower in this high-end community. 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

 

  • List View
  • Map View
  • Grid View

See all Monte Sereno, CA Homes for Sale & Recently Sold.
(all data current as of 5/27/2024)

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

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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, May 6, 2024, the Los Gatos real estate market in 95030 & 95032 remains strong

Across the county, first time home buyers are the most active and more entry level prices is the strongest segment.

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:

  • 57 houses for sale today (May 6, 2024)
    • the average days on market for these homes is 80 days (but 3 have been on for 555-557 days! Without them, it’s 47 days)
    • the median days on market for all 57 houses is 41 days
  • 3 are contingent, 25 are sale pending  (no contingencies)
  • 29 have closed in the last 30 days
    • average home size 2,454 SF
    • average lot size 15,094 SF
    • average days on market = 7 (down from 10 last month, way down from 43 sales 30 days before that!)
    • the LONGEST days on market was  24, and of the 29 homes, 27 sold in 10 days or less
    • average sale price  $3,340,338
    • median sale price $3,200,000 (same as last month)
    • average sale to list price ratio 110% ( it was109% 30 days ago, 104% in mid-March and 101% in early-mid January)

Seven of the sold homes were  $4 mil or more. The highest sale price was $7,600,000.

Some of the homes for sale have been on the market a long time, but for houses that do sell, it’s usually in 10 days or less. Some price points do typically take longer, though.

Trends at a Glance from the RE Report for Los Gatos 95030 & 95032

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 normally line up. The numbers I pulled from the MLS pointed to 33 sales, and the RE Report tracked  31 sales, not sure why there’s a difference One part of Los Gatos 95030 is MLS area 17, not 16, so that may be the sticky spot with the data.

Trends At a Glance Apr 2024 Previous Month Year-over-Year
Median Price $3,360,000 (-1.9%) $3,425,000 $2,975,440 (+12.9%)
Average Price $3,805,470 (+4.3%) $3,647,000 $3,183,500 (+19.5%)
No. of Sales 33 (+22.2%) 27 26 (+26.9%)
Pending 27 (-12.9%) 31 22 (+22.7%)
Active 47 (+27.0%) 37 46 (+2.2%)
Sale vs. List Price 107.8% (-0.6%) 108.5% 101.7% (+6.0%)
Days on Market (-70.2%) 29 17 (-48.5%)
Days of Inventory 41 (+0.5%) 41 51 (-19.5%)

 

 

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 finally into a healthier range (though I recall the days when 80 was typical).

 

Number of Listings - Los Gatos 95030, 95032 MLS Area 16 RE Stats

 

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If you love Los Gatos, but it’s not in your budget

If you love Los Gatos, but it’s not in your budget

Less Expensive Los Gatos AlternativesOnce you have visited Los Gatos – the charming architecture, the backdrop of the hills, the vibrant downtown, the great schools, and all the trees and parks – you may want to call it home. I sure did. But the town is expensive and for some it may be out of range. What if you love Los Gatos, but it’s not affordable?

There are nearby areas that may work, so I’ll mention them here. They are all discussed in depth at my Valley of Heart’s Delight blog and mentioned in my Move2SiliconValley or popehandy blogs too – the links will be to any of my own sites.

For people relocating to Silicon Valley especially, where “sticker shock” is a normal part of the welcome package, these other areas which are a little less pricey might be helpful.

Less Expensive Alternatives to Los Gatos

Almaden Valley, San Jose 95120

A little further southeast than Los Gatos, the Almaden Valley is a very scenic suburb with the Santa Cruz Mountains on one side and the Santa Teresa Foothills on the other.  There’s no “downtown”, however you’ll find a large shopping center with a remodeled Safeway, banks, Starbucks, etc., along Almaden Expressway.  This area features the New Almaden neighborhood, which is where the area began with mercury mining operations long ago. Like Los Gatos it’s also a haven for the outdoor enthusiasts with Almaden Lake, miles and miles of mountain trails, golfing, and more.   Almaden real estate market post

Cambrian, San Jose 95124

On the north and northeast side of Los Gatos sits the Cambrian area of San Jose (which has 2 zip codes, but the part adjacent to LG is 95124).  The Union School District serves both part of Cambrian and part of east Los Gatos.  There’s a noticeable price drop going into Cambrian, but the hills and the town of LG are still close.   Very good schools and a good “bang for your buck” in terms of what you get in education for the price of the home.   Cambrian real estate market statistics

Willow Glen, San Jose 95125

Willow Glen is closer to downtown San Jose than to Los Gatos, but it has much of the charm that LG is known for, includes a lovely downtown area with its own identity, and boasts some of the most scenic streets in all of Silicon Valley.  The public schools are generally not a drawing factor. Willow Glen real estate market article

Campbell 95008

Campbell is probably the most happening city in Santa Clara County right now in terms of home buyer popularity.  Campbell provides a lovely downtown, light rail access to downtown San Jose and beyond, a great parks system (especially along the Los Gatos Creek Trail), unusually good shopping, and in some areas really excellent schools.  This is a “closer in” location than Los Gatos or Almaden, so it’s an easier commute for that lower price, too.   Campbell housing market trends and stats

Los Gatos Mountains 95033

The 95033 zip code covers a lot of land in Santa Clara County and Santa Cruz County too.  Part of it is just beyond the Los Gatos town border, but the majority of it is quite a bit further.  School scores are high, air is clean, trees are everywhere and valley views (or in the next county over, Monterey Bay views) are not uncommon.

The prices are much better than in town, but the tradeoff is that you have to deal with Highway 17 every day with beach and commute traffic, plus a number of issues that are particular to the mountains, fire hazards, wildlife, septic, landslides, etc.Please also see this article on the Los Gatos Mountains or Santa Cruz Mountains     And on the market – Altos Live RE Market Charts for the LG or Santa Cruz Mountains area

 

 

 

Sold! Extensively remodeled home for sale – 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, big lot!

Sold! Extensively remodeled home for sale – 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, big lot!

SOLD!
Closed March 29th, 2024. Recieved 15 offers! 

Listed at $2,250,000
Sold at $2,800,000

Clair and I are happy to present 103 Panorama Way, Los Gatos, an extensively remodeled home for sale in east Los Gatos close to shops and schools but situated on a quiet street with no through traffic. This is not a flip! Work was done by the long time homeowner with the beautiful kitchen, bathrooms, and interior work done with permits and finals.

This property features 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 1675 SF of living space and over 8200 SF lot (some records show more than 8500 SF lot). The house was built in 1960 and it sits on a beautiful cul-de-sac with low traffic. The home is offered at $2,250,000.

The home is located in the beautiful Strathmore neighborhood off of Anne Way and Union Avenue in east Los Gatos, but it is not part of the HOA (no HOA dues, no pool access).

The highly regarded schools are Alta Vista Elementary, Union Middle, and Leigh High.

MLS # ML81955874

Virtual tour 103PanoramaWay.com

Open house dates / times:

Wednesday, May 6 9:30 – 12:30 (broker tour also)
Saturday, May 9 2 – 4 pm
Sunday, May 10 2 – 4 pm

 

103 Panorama Way - extensively remodeled home for sale

 

103 Panorama Way – extensively remodeled home!

Interior remodeling done with permits and finals

  • Kitchen provides
    • New stainless-steel appliances, including new double wall ovens and solid surface cooktop / oven combo, new hood, new fridge, new dishwasher, and new disposal
    • White shaker style cabinets
    • Quartz countertop and subway tile backsplash
    • New dual pane window
  • Fully remodeled bathrooms
  • Copper plumbing replaced in the walls to kitchen and bathrooms
  • New recessed lighting throughout
  • Freshly painted inside and out
  • New flooring and baseboard throughout
  • New raised panel interior doors
  • Living room hearth newly tiled

 

Beautifully remodeled kitchen with white Shaker style cabinets, stainless steel appliances, quartz counters, and subway tile backsplash

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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.