Los Gatos real estate statistics and market trends

Los Gatos real estate market graphic with home near downtownThe Los Gatos real estate market for single family homes has been slowly cooling down a little – as a whole. Part of it is the luxury tier, which moves slower than entry or mid level priced properties. When the luxury price strata swells, it can skew the numbers to look like everything is cooling down, when that may not be the case.

Months of inventory in Los Gatos: a quick look

Just now I went to the MLS and pulled the number of active single family homes in Los Gatos 95030 and 95032 (59) and the number of sold and closed in the last 30 days (22) to check on the overall absorption rate or months of inventory. If we divide the active listings by the closed listings in the last 30 days, we get the months of inventory – so 59 / 22 = 2.68 months of inventory for the whole of MLS area 16 in Los Gatos. For our area, a balanced market is about 4 months of inventory, so this number shows the market is slightly in the seller’s favor. In other parts of the US, balance is at around 6 months.

If we shift to viewing just houses and duet homes offered up to $2 million, it’s a very different view of the market. In this case, there are 19 active listings and 5 sold in the last 30 days, so 3.8 months of inventory, very close to balanced but slightly in the seller’s favor. This is the entry level price point for Los Gatos 95030 and 95032. It’s a little lower for the Los Gatos Mountains.

(I have a separate post on the Los Gatos months of inventory that I’ll update soon, breaking it down by price point and high school district to better pinpoint the individual markets within LG.)

 

What is selling best in LG right now?

Of the 22 closed sales in the last 30 days, 4 were under $2 million (about 23%), 10 were between $2 and $3 million, 5 between $3 and $4 mil, 2 between $4 and $5mil, and 1 at over $5 mil.  The high end price point tends to be at around $3,000,000 and up for this part of Santa Clara County.

For the houses under $3 mil, the average days on market was 42, the average list price was $2,337,242 and the average sale price just a little less at $2,266,036. For those transactions, the average living space square footage was 2,697 SF and average lot size 16,980 SF.

 

Los Gatos Trends 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 will be live Altos Research charts, updated automatically each week. Altos uses list prices, not sold prices, fyi.

The real estate numbers below reflect realty data gathered the first week of the month for the past month in Los Gatos 95030 & 95032 (all areas / school districts), or MLS “area 16”. See the full REReport here.  Prices are up both year over year and month over month, although the sale to list price ratio has dropped. Meanwhile days on market have dropped, and active listings are down with sales going up. Turnaround is quick and it’s an active market, but it’s still only a mild seller’s market.

Trends at a Glance

 

Trends At a Glance Oct 2019 Previous Month Year-over-Year
Median Price $2,590,000 (+12.1%) $2,310,000 $2,450,000 (+5.7%)
Average Price $2,718,330 (+3.1%) $2,636,620 $2,747,570 (-1.1%)
No. of Sales 28 (+12.0%) 25 25 (+12.0%)
Pending 35 (-2.8%) 36 37 (-5.4%)
Active 66 (-5.7%) 70 71 (-7.0%)
Sale vs. List Price 97.5% (-2.5%) 100.0% 99.0% (-1.5%)
Days on Market 36 (-26.4%) 48 44 (-19.2%)
Days of Inventory 71 (-12.9%) 81 85 (-17.0%)

 

And the month before:

 

Trends At a Glance Sep 2019 Previous Month Year-over-Year
Median Price $2,310,000 (+12.9%) $2,045,500 $2,000,000 (+15.5%)
Average Price $2,636,620 (+9.3%) $2,412,780 $2,417,500 (+9.1%)
No. of Sales 25 (-3.8%) 26 25 (0.0%)
Pending 36 (+12.5%) 32 42 (-14.3%)
Active 70 (-4.1%) 73 62 (+12.9%)
Sale vs. List Price 100.0% (+1.3%) 98.7% 101.0% (-1.0%)
Days on Market 48 (+39.2%) 35 25 (+96.1%)
Days of Inventory 81 (-3.6%) 84 72 (+12.9%)

Trends at a Glance for the Los Gatos Mountains

The RE Report has some info on the Los Gatos Mountains, but I do not believe it covers all of what we would have as 95033 or MLS “area 23”. You can see the mountains info market here:

Just 9 closed sales in the mountains in October, so I would not trust the general numbers that much. Better results would come from checking sales in your particular part of the mountains, such as Upper Redwood Estates, Chemeketa Park, etc., to see what the market is doing.

 

Trends At a Glance Oct 2019 Previous Month Year-over-Year
Median Price $900,000 (+9.4%) $822,500 $1,074,000 (-16.2%)
Average Price $1,108,750 (+40.9%) $787,062 $1,175,760 (-5.7%)
No. of Sales (+12.5%) 8 14 (-35.7%)
Pending 12 (0.0%) 12 20 (-40.0%)
Active 50 (+11.1%) 45 47 (+6.4%)
Sale vs. List Price 95.1% (+0.2%) 94.9% 101.9% (-6.7%)
Days on Market 36 (-45.7%) 67 48 (-24.0%)
Days of Inventory 167 (+2.2%) 163 101 (+65.5%)

 

And the month before:

 

Trends At a Glance Sep 2019 Previous Month Year-over-Year
Median Price $822,500 (-34.2%) $1,250,000 $1,075,780 (-23.5%)
Average Price $787,062 (-36.2%) $1,233,210 $1,547,820 (-49.2%)
No. of Sales (+14.3%) 7 10 (-20.0%)
Pending 12 (+9.1%) 11 20 (-40.0%)
Active 45 (+4.7%) 43 57 (-21.1%)
Sale vs. List Price 94.9% (-3.1%) 97.9% 99.2% (-4.4%)
Days on Market 67 (+66.3%) 40 44 (+52.1%)
Days of Inventory 163 (-11.5%) 184 165 (-1.3%)

Read moreLos Gatos real estate statistics and market trends

Los Gatos real estate market trends by price point and high school district

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 mild seller’s market, with post-summer cooling 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. 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 cool pockets and some which remain hotter.

 

 

And here’s the same chart with data from last February. You can see that in mid-winter the inventory was smaller and moving slightly slower.

 

2019-2-12 Los Gatos Months of Inventory 1 - 95030 95032

 

Looking back farther, here’s the same info for last November – the overall absorption rate isn’t much different from right now, and inventory and sales are neck-and-neck. Almost exactly a year ago, the market doesn’t look too different.

 

Los Gatos 95030 and 95032

 

And a reference 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.

 

 

Once again, we’ll compare it against last February. While the overall market is moving faster today than in February, here we can see that for homes in the Los Gatos School District were moving more quickly in winter. While the number of sales hasn’t changed much, inventory has gone up in this sector.

 

2019-2-12 Los Gatos Months of Inventory 2 - LGSUHSD

 

From last November, again, not a ton different between then and now.

 

Los Gatos 95030 95032 LG Schools

Read moreLos Gatos real estate market trends by price point and high school district

Do you have a high water table?

How high is the water table at your property? (Why would you care?) In Los Gatos, like Almaden, Monte Sereno, Saratoga, and many other parts of Santa Clara County, there are pockets in which the water table, meaning groundwater, is quite high. This can come with some risks.

What are some of the potential issues with high ground water?

In some cases, that groundwater is at such a shallow level that there’s an actual spring with water bubbling up at times. This can happen particularly in times of heavy rainfall. Should it occur directly under your house and into your crawlspace, that would not be good. Water can cause havoc with foundations, so the standard advice from home inspectors and structural engineers is to divert water away from the house. In most cases, that means correct any faulty grading (the soil around the house should case any rainfall to be directed away from the house), to extend downspouts away from the home, etc. If you have a spring bring water up from underground, that is a whole different approach to the challenge.

Another concern with higher water tables is the possibility of environmental problems spreading from the site of a leaking underground storage tank to nearby neighbors (who would get stuck paying the cleanup). Underground plumes of water can carry chemicals from a spill site to some distance away. That’s why home buyers receive a natural and environmental report which includes contamination sites within one mile of the property they’re interested in purchasing.

How can you learn about your neighborhood’s water table?

It seems like experts have mapped just about everything, and one of those things does include the depth at which first groundwater can be found. Today I was curious about this question and was delighted to find a Valley Water map which lays out the various depths of the water table throughout much (but not all) of the Santa Clara Valley.

How shallow is the water in Los Gatos? Per this map, it appears that:

  • At the intersection of N Santa Cruz and Los Gatos-Saratoga Road, it’s 0 – 10 feet on the northwest corner and 10 – 20 feet on the southeast and southwest corner
  • Much of the Almond Grove area appears to have 0 – 10 ft depth for water
  • Old Town seems to have 10 – 20 feet
  • Los Gatos High and the Civic Center look to have 20 – 30 feet (interesting as there was a cleanup  at the Hotel Los Gatos and the high school from a leak at the Dry Cleaner next to the hotel a few years back)
  • The Town Park Plaza is in the 10 – 20 foot area

Click on the link to the Valley Water Open Data site and scroll around to see your part of town! (Unfortunately there are some big pockets missing.)

 

Image of the Valley Water open data map, including Los Gatos and Saratoga - click on image to visit the Valley Water website
Image of the Valley Water open data map, including Los Gatos and Saratoga – click on image to visit the Valley Water website

Los Gatos homes: class and land use

When scouring the MLS for properties to view,  Los Gatos home buyers would be wise to pay attention to the property class and land use data. A few years back, I discussed a little on this topic with this article: Is that Los Gatos house or townhouse actually a condo? Today I want to focus on the MLS information that Los Gatos home buyers are viewing online, and what to look for to understand these issues better. I’ve taken screen shots from the MLS, so what you see will appear differently on other portals, but the info should be present somewhere on the page if it shows up in our local MLS.

Getting the best data means getting it from a local MLS

First, our MLS, MLSListings.com, cooperates with other MLS organizations around the state. Often, though, when info comes into our system from an outside one, some info is dropped. That can be very frustrating. The most obvious one is the days on market or DOM – it is blank when it’s an out of area MLS entry. Today I was looking for examples of property class, meaning what kind of structure is it, and the land use to share here when I found this one, below:

Class and land use - Land use blank with TH - not MLS Listings

Normally you will find info on the “class” which means the building type, such as a single family  home (if detached, a house, if attached, a duet home), a townhouse, a condominium, a duplex / triplex / fourplex, etc.  Also there should be land use – is it a condo, a PUD, or a single family home? (With condos and townhomes, there’s also a line for “ownership type.)

In the photo above, “Land use” is blank. Not helpful for a home buyer! This one was from a non-MLSListings.com entry. When that happens, you may want to make note of the info you could not find so you remember to chase it down later.

Most, however, will include the land use information, such as the next one:

Land use - townhouse in condo ownership

Many of the townhouses in Los Gatos and nearby are held in condo ownership. That means you do not own the land under the unit, even though it is a townhouse. The owner of this kind of property owns the interior space between the walls and the floor and the ceiling.   The Home Owner’s Association (HOA) has responsibility for the exterior of the structure, the roof, etc. The attic may or may not be community property. In some cases, there is a shared, open attic over all the units. In those cases, only one unit will have an opening to get into the attic.

Read moreLos Gatos homes: class and land use

Comparing the Los Gatos real estate market to others

Market comparison_ Los Gatos, Saratoga, Cupertino, and Los AltosSilicon Valley real estate market comparison: Los Gatos, Saratoga, Cupertino and Los Altos on the Valley of Heart’s Delight blog, SanJoseRealEstateLosGatosHomes.com

Today we’re looking at the real estate market for houses in some of the “west valley” communities along the base of the Santa Cruz Mountains – areas where schools are good, crime is low, residents enjoy scenic views of the hills (or of the valley from the hills, depending on the location) and overall, a highly educated population not too far from Highway 85.

Please hop on over to my Valley of Heart’s Delight blog to check out how the Los Gatos market is doing as compared to Saratoga, Cupertino, and Los Altos.

https://sanjoserealestatelosgatoshomes.com/market-comparison-los-gatos-saratoga-cupertino-and-los-altos/

What do we expect for the 2019 real estate market in Los Gatos?

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:

Inventory of homes for sale in Los Gatos 95030 and 95032

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:

Santa Clara County inventory of single family homes for sale as of Jan 1 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 Jan 2016 to Jan 2019 chart 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.

 

Related reading:

Silicon Valley real estate market reports (updated the 5th-10th of each month)

Altos weekly market report for Los Gatos 95032

Altos weekly market report for Los Gatos 95030

Altos weekly market report for the Los Gatos Mountains, 95033

NEW Altos Research Reports for Los Gatos & Monte Sereno

Altos Research has come out with a new format for its weekly market reports.

This week’s reports can be seen here:

You can use the “search bar” on any of these reports to find the market update on any zip code in Santa Clara County, too.  Like what you see? Sign up to get it each week in your inbox by clicking the “subscribe” button and providing your info.  If you subscribe, I’ll probably jot you a note to thank you and see if you want any other info. This is not a robo service, it’s me writing you personally. If you don’t hear from me but want to, please send me an email and I’ll respond asap.

95032 real estate market by quartile