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Los Gatos luxury homes - high end house with poolLos Gatos luxury homes provide a serene retreat for those seeking the perfect blend of natural beauty and urban convenience. From state-of-the-art home theaters and private wine cellars to expansive outdoor entertaining spaces, marvelous elements present themselves for both entertaining and rejuvenating.  These luxury homes in Los Gatos are sure to captivate your heart, just as the town itself will!

By the way, many Los Gatos luxury homes are understated and are surprisingly modest looking from the front. While there are some mega mansions here, or estate level properties with a dramatic presence from the street, often these high end properties simply look like normal, attractive ranch or historic style houses from the curb. Get inside, though, and surprises await!

In this article, we’ll review the basics in the Los Gatos luxury homes market and will provide gorgeous listings to browse near the end.

 

Why Los Gatos is a prime location for luxury real estate: setting, dining, shopping, things to do

With its picturesque location nestled at the base of the Santa Cruz Mountains and its scenic and historic downtown, the town has inspired the imaginations of writers, film makers, and artists for over a century. Many high end properties enjoy views of some sort, either of the Santa Cruz Mountains or of the town or the Santa Clara Valley. The setting can’t be beat!

Downtown Los Gatos is vibrant and includes a wide array of restaurants, coffee shops, bars, brew pubs, ice cream and other specialty shops. It’s easy to find foods of every kind, including Mexican, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Italian, New Orleans – Cajun, Vietnamese, Greek, French, plus those specializing in fish, steak, vegetarian fare, or many other types of food.

Shopping in town is varied, whether you’re looking to purchase a high end vehicle, art, or do everyday shopping along Los Gatos Boulevard.

The close proximity to Santa Cruz and the Pacific Coast make Los Gatos an easy getaway location for boating, fishing, or enjoying a day at the beach, but you don’t have to leave to have plenty to do. The town enjoys the La Rinconada Country Club, and there are several other golf courses nearby, including the highly regarded Pasatiempo Golf Club (which I walked several times with my grandparents, who were members there) just over the hill between Scotts Valley and Santa Cruz. There are a number of sports clubs, swim and racquet clubs, and even a squash club in town as well.

Some properties are built for the equestrian lifestyle. From Los Gatos it’s not hard to get to stables for boarding a horse (there are a few in town) or to rent a horse for an hour and enjoy a leisurely trail ride.

Opportunities for wine tasting abound in and near town, too, with the Los Gatos Mountains boasting a large number of wineries. (Also not to be missed: our South County area features a surprisingly large number of wineries, too.)  Or stay close to home and stop by one of the many venues in town, such as Testarossa.

Los Gatos boasts a large number of parks, from small neighborhood open spaces or playgrounds to larger settings with room to run. You might even spot a local celebrity out here or there, taking in the Los Gatos Creek Trail or exercising dogs some mild evening.

Types of luxury homes available in Los Gatos

Hillside view home in Los Gatos

Los Gatos luxury homes run the gamut for locations, sizes, and amenities.

  • Luxury properties in town: there are surprises in the historic districts as modest looking facades sometimes conceal amazing luxury and more square footage than is apparent when viewing the house from the sidewalk! Historic homes need to keep certain elements facing the public, but they often cleverly expand in back and into a 2nd story or even a basement. We see this in the Almond Grove district and the University or Edelen District as well as with historic houses in the Glenridge and Bachman Park or other areas in town. Some houses in those areas are small, but it’s not always possible to know from the road.
    • Often these houses are not on huge lots, but they enjoy tremendous access to downtown Los Gatos without needing wheels, and for many, that’s a worthwhile tradeoff!
    • Much of the times these homes are historic and are owned by people who prize that aspect and who lovingly restore and improve these homes (and frequently expand them). Some of them will boast the Bellringer award, too.
    • With less land for expansion, these houses may have basements with theaters or recreation rooms or other entertaining space on a lower level.
    • As with most prestigious homes in Silicon Valley, the kitchens tend to be showpieces with top tier or professional grade appliances, sometimes two dishwashers, a butler’s pantry, a prep or vegetable sink, an island with seating, a wine fridge, granite or quartz counters, and loads of counter space.
    • Some of these Los Gatos luxury homes are in a regular suburban neighborhood (not a historic district or home) but the houses are large and lavish and they are in a great, convenient spot for a quick walk or bike ride or drive to school, dining, and shops. There are a number of neighborhoods where we see homes rebuilt or expanded that fit this bill, such as in the Blossom Manor or Vista del Monte neighborhoods.
    • As with luxury houses generally, the backyard is frequently an extension of the living space and may include a summer kitchen, a pergola, a fireplace or fire pit, a TV mounted for viewing in an outdoor living room, and many other ways to utilize the outdoor space almost like another family room.
  • View properties: there is a plethora of views to be appreciated in Los Gatos and the hills adjacent to it! These homes may have larger lots, but if they are perched on a hill the land may not be too useable except as a buffer from having neighbors too close. Some properties with views are simple ranch style homes that have been in families for decades – they may be on a site worth a fortune but may not be a luxury property per se, but have a luxury property price tag. Close-in views will come with a premium price tag.  Views in the mountains will cost a lot less.
    • Vistas of Los Gatos may be enjoyed from the hills close to the Civic Center (College Avenue, Kimbell Avenue and close by), in the Glenridge, or up on Blackberry Hill (Blackberry Hill Road, Cypress Way, Aztec Ridge Road and nearby).
    • Views of Vasona Lake can be had from parts of Wild Way, Bersano Lane, and homes at the end of several streets off of Winchester perched above University near the water, such as at the end of East Vineland. There are few properties with lake views on Garden Hill Drive, too.  Very few homes have water views, and they aren’t all luxury homes per se, but they views certainly make them high end. Those views are highly prized.
    • Valley views can be partial (sometimes called peek-a-boo views) or expansive. The larger the view, the more the worth of it in most cases.  There are too many locations to mention, but anywhere with a little elevation over town and the right orientation may provide a sweeping, dramatic view. I’ve seen notable ones from the top of Harwood Court, from Cypress Way, and dozens of other areas around town as well as on Montevina Road and Skyline Boulevard in the Santa Cruz Mountains.
    • Views of the hills are fairly common in Los Gatos, however, they aren’t found at every home here and are always appreciated!
    • Open space views often come with views of the hills, but not always. The open space can be parkland or just large yards with vineyards, orchards, or grassy fields, all of which can provide a sense of tranquility and retreat.
  • Specialty properties: some high end properties are particularly large, fully gated, include unusual features in the house or on the land, or have a specific hobby or interest to which it caters.  Rare but expensive additions among Los Gatos luxury homes might include an indoor driving range for golf enthusiasts, a bowling alley in the basement, a safe room for protection, a large wine cellar with room for private tastings, an indoor sports court, a firing range, or any other amenity that might normally be found in a public or business setting. The land could offer a large vineyard with wine making facilities, or land with a stable, riding ring, and horse trails. A garage might provide multiple stalls (I’ve seen 8 or 10), sometimes with flooring we’d expect to find in the living space. All of these are not typical, even in the realm of highly priced real estate. These estates are more likely to be found on an acre or more, and they may have engineered extra protection against fire or other threats.

 

Features and amenities of Los Gatos luxury homes

Los Gatos luxury home's backyard in the Vista del Monte neighborhood. Built in fire pit, summer kitchen, and a hot tub in this yard, all of them enjoying a view of the hills.

This top tier of homes in town don’t always fit neatly into a definition, since some expensive properties are not truly luxury homes. As a general rule, there are a few things to look for when deciding if a home is or is not a luxury property:

  • The Los Gatos luxury homes price tag will be over $3,000,000 and more often higher than $4,000,000 “in town”. In the 95033 zip code, prices are lower, so it may be possible to get a luxury home under $3 million. For luxury on a budget, the mountains may be a consideration! (That said, insurance costs may be substantially more.)
  • The home size will include more than 3,000 square feet of living space, but frequently 4,000 SF or more.
  • In nearly all cases, the home has spacious rooms, abundant closets, and high end fixtures in kitchens and bathrooms. The vast majority of the time, it’s move-in ready, though some buyers may not care for the décor and decide to gut and remodel before moving in as a matter of taste.
  • Home features ordinarily include more rooms, such as a family room, a formal dining room, a media or theater room, possibly a library or music room, sometimes a safe room, sauna, special features. None of these is required, but generally,  the home will have living spaces beyond just a living room and a kitchen, and much of the time it will be several extra rooms.
  • The land or parcel normally is larger, and it may have a special element, such as views, an extensive outdoor entertaining area, infinity pool, tennis courts, vineyard, stable, summer kitchen (with sink, fridge, BBQ, pizza kitchen, or other features).
  • There may be an ADU or cabana for the pool.
  • The garage is often 3 car+.

Notable luxury neighborhoods in Los Gatos and Monte Sereno

Los Gatos has a tremendous number of elite neighborhoods with large, elegant homes on large lots, sometimes fully fenced and gated.  These estate properties can be found in multiple areas around town, such as off of Kennedy Road along Forrester in the Kennedy Estates neighborhood, along Santa Rosa Drive and Sierra Azul in the hills over Shannon Road in east Los Gatos, and as mentioned above, the Shannon Valley Ranch area, the Glenridge & Bachman Park areas, Vista del Monte, Blackberry Hill, and more. In east Los Gatos, estate level homes, some with views, can be found along Alerche Road and close by areas of Harwood Road and Harwood Court.

Monte Sereno is a separate city with approximately 4,000 residents which is adjacent to Los Gatos and which shares some schools, the parks, the police, library, and other services with Los Gatos. Monte Sereno enjoys a significant number of top tier neighborhoods and homes. Those include but are not limited to:

  • Areas west of Highway 9 (also called Los Gatos-Saratoga Road) near the town’s border along streets such as Ridgecrest, Oakhurst, Decatur, and Greenwood (and the streets coming off of them).
  • A scenic equestrian neighborhood with private riding trails and an arena in the Loma Serena neighborhood. These houses originally were simply good sized ranch style homes on half acre lots. Some of them are still modest homes on expensive land in a highly desirable area! Others have been expanded or rebuilt and truly are luxurious estates.
  • Some Monte Sereno properties also take in views of the La Rinconada Golf Course.

The real estate market for luxury homes in Los Gatos

The market for homes over $4 million is not always strong, but right now it’s pretty good overall. The best homes sell in a week or so, and many are under one month.

In the last month, there were 24 homes sold in Los Gatos 95030 and 95032. The top quarter for sale price was six homes. Of those:

  • The average days on market (DOM) was 40, with a range of 7 – 99 days for these 6 properties.
  • The average square footage was 4,099 SF, with a range of 2,801 SF – 5,303 SF
  • The average sale price was $5,276,083, with a range of $4,300,000 (for the smallest house) – $6,850,000
  • The average sale to list price ratio was 99%, and the range was 93% – 108%

In the mountains, with the 95033 postal code, there were just 9 homes sold in the last month.

  • The average days on market was 24, with a range of 8 – 33 DOM
  • The average home size was 3,645 SF, with a range of 1,953 SF – 4,720 SF
  • The average sale price was $2,572,667, with a range of $1,720,000 (again, for the smallest house) – $3,398,000
  • The average sale to list price ratio was also 99%, with a tighter range of 98% – 100%.Below are three graphs from Altos Research giving a relative sense of the real estate market for the market in the top quartile of list prices for the three Los Gatos zip codes.

Median list price by zip code for top quartile (top 25%) of pricing in each zip code.

Median Price - Los Gatos Luxury Homes in 95030 95032 95033 - 90-day - First_Top - Single Family 3 zip codes

 

Average days on market by zip code.

 

Average Days on Market (DOM) - Los Gatos Luxury Homes in 95030 95032 95033 - 90-day - First_Top - Single Family

And median square foot of living space (half the homes will have more, half less) to provide a sense of how large homes may be in this top 25% tier.

 

Median Square Foot - Line Chart - 90-day - First_Top - Single Family

 

Tips for buying a luxury home in Los Gatos

Los Gatos luxury homes - modern house with pool Mansions and high end homes often come with highly regarded schools, but don’t assume anything, including how close the schools may be. In some cases, there can be challenges if the local school is impacted and the one with openings is not so close to home. Some Los Gatos Mountains residents are bussing their kids to Rolling Hills Middle School in Campbell, for instance.

Reputable inspections are crucial. Sometimes the highly expensive properties take months to sell, and in that case, the Los Gatos luxury homes inspections may not be current enough. Be sure to inspect everything, whether it’s a pool, the roof, an old electric panel, etc. In the mountains that may include well water testing, the propane tank, the septic tank. Some areas may have a private road agreement that you’ll want to review and understand, possibly with the help of a seasoned real estate attorney. In other words, inspect everything.

Easements can be tricky, and they may sometimes be old and lack documentation. Be sure to review everything to your satisfaction with the escrow officer or title expert.

Similarly, be clear on boundaries. Large parcels are sometimes staked by a surveyor, but often not. It may be wise to pay for a survey, depending on the situation.

Los Gatos is in and near the hills, and the hills bring special considerations with earthquake faults, the movement of water (which can be highly damaging to homes and to foundations in particular), unstable soils, fire risks, and much more.

About 40% of the “in town” area is in the Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone, and much if not all of the mountain areas are in one fire zone or another. Los Gatos luxury homes are not infrequently in the Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone.

Right now several large insurance companies have either stopped writing policies in California or are outright canceling existing policies as of their renewal date. Because of the many fires over the last 10 years, these insurance companies have lost a bundle and consumers are paying a large increase for coverage. A friend of mine in Los Altos Hills saw her annual premium rise by tenfold. We are hearing horror stories of homeowners insurance policies in the high fire risk zones running $30,000 per year. If you are going to buy in any of these sorts of zones, be careful and do your due diligence before writing an offer on a home for sale.

Be aware that the mapped zones, whether mapped by CalFire or by an insurance company, can change, and therefore premiums could rise, too. (We have seen this over the year with flood plains. Happily, at times when good drainage work was performed, some areas have moved out of the flood plain!)

If you are new to Los Gatos, learn about traffic patterns, including beach traffic patterns, which are noteworthy on summer weekends – particularly if there’s a heat wave. Some areas are more impacted than others.

Unveiling the Extravagance: A Tour of Stunning Los Gatos Luxury Homes

Next, step into a world of sophistication and opulence as you explore these exquisite homes for sale in Los Gatos. From sprawling estates with panoramic views of the surrounding hills or valley to sleek and modern architectural marvels, each home is the epitome of elegance and makes a fine representation of Los Gatos luxury homes for sale.

Please find a sampling of Los Gatos CA luxury homes below. As mentioned above, it can be a little messy deciding what is or is not a home deserving of this label, but for our purposes we are setting the bar at properties in town listed for $4,000,000 and up. Apologies in advance to home sellers priced under that threshold whose homes are also top tier.

Prepare to be enchanted!

  • List View
  • Map View
  • Grid View

See all Los Gatos 95030 and 95032 houses $4 mil and up.
(all data current as of 6/19/2024)

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

 
 

 

 

A final word: As Los Gatos Realtors with Christie’s International Real Estate Sereno, we enjoy seeing and selling Los Gatos luxury homes. If you are interested in buying or selling one in Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, Saratoga, or anywhere near by, please reach out to us. We are discreet and welcome the opportunity to discuss your real estate needs. An email is our preferred initial contact, using mary@popehandy.com, please.

 

 

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