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October 02, 2008

Trulia is a great source for real estate information, but when it reports on the distressed housing sector, it relies on Realty Trac, which I have found to be inaccurate and unreliable much of the time. Twice I’ve had a subscription to Realty Trac and seen homes showing up on their database which were long since closed, for instance (so the numbers were inflated). If you are visiting these sites to get a sense of the distressed housing market in Los Gatos, please allow me to provide you information from our MLS as of today. You may be surprised that it’s not quite as bad as it may appear on that site. 

A couple of disclaimers: first is that not all distressed homes are for sale. The first step in the foreclosure market is receiving a Notice of Default. Some people do “catch up” and that NOD never turns into a foreclosure.

In other cases, the home may be on the market with a NOD but is not actually a short sale – there’s enough equity in the home so that when it sells, the bank will be paid off in full. Those types of sales are “under the radar” as our MLS only tracks homes identified as short sales and those known to be bank owned (which the agents are required to disclose).

That said, here’s the information as of today on homes in Los Gatos which are short sales or bank owned. I am including the Santa Cruz mountain areas as well (95033). These numbers are far lower than in much of Silicon Valley:

Los Gatos Total for sale # Short Sale # Bank Owned
95030 Houses 57 0 1
95030 Condos 7 0 0
95032 Houses 96 5 5
95032 Condos 38 3 0
95033 Houses 18 1 0
(no condos)      
totals 216 9 6

One extreme, in these times of financial chaos nationwide, is to assume that Los Gatos is “tanking”. That is one extreme that I hope I have helped to dispell here. The other extreme is to assume that we are somehow so insulated in our beautiful haven that we are not impacted by the crisis at all. Make no doubt, Los Gatans are feeling the effects of the mortgage meltdown and the crisis in our economy overall. The lack of available credit is hurting home buyers and home sellers, but also those who work in any industry where having credit matters or where spending is a matter of discretion. So Los Gatans who sell automobiles are hurting right along side those who sell houses or have anything to do with the Silicon Valley real estate market.  The lack of available money to loan is part of the formula which is pushing house prices down, of course.

So yes, Los Gatos is impacted by the mortgage crisis and general roller coaster on Wall Street. Some homeowners are in real trouble with their mortgages. Many residents who work in credit-dependent fields are making much less then they used to and in some cases have walked away from careers in lending and selling altogether. But the sky isn’t falling on our housing market. The numbers, above, are proof enough of that.

For more posts on short sales and bank owned properties in Los Gatos (and nearby) please see: