The Los Gatos real estate market is really a collection of smaller markets rather than one market that behaves uniformly across home sizes, zip code, price point, school district, proximity to downtown, walk-ability, and much more. An entry level condo will be a different “market” than a $5 million estate. But so do will a perfectly preserved Victorian in one of the historic districts be a different “market” than a ranch style tract home in a tract neighborhood. Today we’ll discuss the major drivers of value and pricing in the Los Gatos real estate market – or markets. (To learn how the market is doing, please use the links at the bottom of this article.)
Why Los Gatos zip codes really aren’t ideal for understanding the local market
Many of the large, national websites use zip codes as a way of keeping a pulse on the housing market. Zip codes in our fair town are kind of wonky, though, and often not the best way to track changes in inventory, absorption, sales price to list price, or other data points.
- 95030 is mostly Los Gatos and Los Gatos schools, but part has Campbell schools.
- 95030 is also the main zip code for Monte Sereno, and most of that has Los Gatos schools, but not all! Some are in the area served by Campbell schools.
- 95032 is mostly Los Gatos with either Campbell Elementary (west side of town) or Union Elementary (east side of LG), but some is in the Los Gatos Union School District
- 95032 has a sliver of Monte Sereno and 100% of it (maybe 150 homes) is within the Campbell Elementary area.
If you are using something like Altos Research, though, just remember that only most of 95030 is “in the schools” and most of 95032 isn’t. If your house is in 95032 but has Los Gatos Union School District, pay better attention to the 95030 info.
Want more info on the LG zips? See https://liveinlosgatosblog.com/los-gatos-zip-code-maps/
Major housing price drivers are the schools and proximity to downtown Los Gatos
Folks living in any of the downtown Los Gatos areas, or close in Monte Sereno neighborhoods, enjoy a double bonus of both the highly prized Los Gatos Union School District and also being close to downtown, often with very charming historic districts as part of the package. These areas are often the most expensive, if comparing homes of similar size, age, lot size, remodeling, etc., as compared to properties further north or even more, at the far eastern or western ends of town.
Measuring Los Gatos home prices by school district
I ran the numbers for the school district, using a hypothetical 1750 SF – 2250 SF house on a lot of 7000-9000 square feet in Los Gatos 95030 and 95032. So think of it as a 2000 SF home on an 8000 SF lot.
In the last 120 days (as of July 27 2016), 11 such houses have sold throughout these 2 zip codes in Los Gatos and the average price per square foot was $802. (The number would likely be higher in Monte Sereno.)
Of the 11, five have been in the area served by the Los Gatos Union School District, and the average price per SF in that area was substantially more at $933 per SF.
The remaining 6 are in the areas of the far west or far east of town, within the areas for Campbell Elementary or Union School District. Average price per SF for this area is $752. (All but one are in the Leigh area, so cannot break it down further.)
Measuring Los Gatos real estate costs by proximity to downtown
Harder is defining “close to town”, but again we’ll try, using similar criteria as much as possible
For areas in or near downtown, there were 3 and the average price per SF was $966. (They are all in the LG school district.)
In east Los Gatos, with Union Schools, there were 4 sales and the average price per SF was $738.
In east Los Gatos, a little “closer in”, with Los Gatos Schools, there were just 2 sales, average price per SF was $883.
In west Los Gatos, on the Campbell border, there were 2 homes. But this part is tricky. One house has a Los Gatos mailing address but is really in the city of Campbell – and the price is lower for that one. The average price per SF for both is $779 but for the one that’s actually in Los Gatos, it’s $817. Either way, you can see that west Los Gatos with Westmont High seems to sell for a bit more than east LG with Leigh High – and that’s what I see in my real estate practice.
Since “Los Gatos schools” are also in the downtown area and not so much at the far points in town, it’s hard to untangle how much is schools and how much is the downtown. Los Gatos Realtors, though, will tell you that home buyers will put a premium on being able to walk to restaurants, especially, so there’s a definite upgrade in pricing if you’re dream home is within an easy stroll of downtown.
Other Los Gatos real estate market factors
Other factors driving the values of a particular home or area in Los Gatos naturally including scenic views (many people especially like a valley view), home size, updating / remodeling, expansions (tasteful or maybe not), landscaping, neighborhood conditions (such as having an immaculate street on the one hand, or high voltage lines too close on the other). And, of course, this list includes things completely out of our hands, such as the economic climate and interest rates.
The question is always how is the market for YOUR home, or the one you want to buy?
To drill it down to how your particular Los Gatos real estate market is behaving, it’s important to view comparable listings and sales from your area of town, with your school district, and as many similarities as possible. It would be best to compare a Victorian home in the Almond Grove with another one in the Almond Grove, but maybe the closest thing at some point in time is in the Edelen or Fairview Plaza areas. Those might be your best comps – but not a mid century modern or ranch home 2 miles away!
Interested in selling your Los Gatos or Monte Sereno home? Please reach out to me by email or cell and we’ll set up an appointment to meet in person. Or fill out the online form here: https://liveinlosgatosblog.com/help-me-to-sell-my-home/
Want to know how the Los Gatos real estate market is doing now? Here are links to some stats and trends:
Los Gatos real estate market trends by price point and high school district (months of inventory calculated)
Los Gatos real estate market trends and statistics (on the Valley of Heart’s Delight blog)