Vasona Park’s Fantasy of Lights (Light Festival)

21st Annual Fantasy of Lights logo, from the SCCP event page.

The 21st annual Fantasy of Lights show at Vasona Lake County Park begins soon!  Occasionally people call me to ask about it – please note that I do not run the event – I am only posting information about it. Full info can be found on the county’s park website – see link below.

When: The Fantasy of Lights runs from Tuesday December 10th to December 30th, 2019 from 6 – 10pm. Prior to that, Saturday December 7th and Sunday December 8th ONLY it is the Fantasy of Lights Walk-Thru event which runs 4pm to 9pm. The Fantasy of Lights is closed on Christmas Day.

Where: Vasona Lake County Park, 333 Blossom Hill Road (near University Avenue) Los Gatos, CA

How much: The cost varies. Tickets must be purchased in advance.

Walk-Through Tickets: (Dec 7 & 8 Only)

$10 – Adult (13 & up)
$5 – Child (ages 4 – 12)
FREE – 3 years or less

Drive-Through Tickets:

$20 – per Vehicle (up to 12 riders)
$50 – per Oversize Vehicle (capacity 13+)

More details:

Please visit the Santa Clara County Parks page for the Fantasy of Lights to get more information on bus rides, special events and more! And why not ride the Billy Jones train to see the lights (you’ll get many but not all of the lights) Departing from it’s station in Oak Meadow Park Thursday through Sunday nights in December.

(More questions? PLEASE do NOT call me about this event – I’m a Realtor in Los Gatos, I’m not in charge of this venue! Please contact the SCC Parks Dept and check out their website for the Fantasy of Lights! The Vasona phone number is (408) 355-2201.)

Please visit Live in Los Gatos for year round events, neighborhood information, photos around the town, interesting real estate market data, haunted places and even some historical tidbits.

 

Los Gatos is a wonderful place to visit during the holidays, but it’s also a great place to live year round! If you are interested in buying a home in Los Gatos (or selling one), please contact me, Mary Pope-Handy. I’m both a Realtor in town and a resident myself, working full time in helping nice folks to buy & sell homes here and throughout the west valley.

If you aren’t familiar with the area, here are a few things to know!
Buy a home in Los Gatos (info on neighborhoods, school districts, homes for sale to browse online, links to important local sites & info)
Relocating and buying a house in Los Gatos
Los Gatos real estate on Facebook
Los Gatos real estate market statistics & trends for houses
Los Gatos realty trends and stats for condos & townhouses

 

 

The Monte Sereno real estate market

Elm Park in Monte Sereno, sold by Mary Pope-Handy
Ranch style home on Elm Park in Monte Sereno, sold by Mary Pope-Handy

The City of Monte Sereno is quite small, with just about 4,000 residents, so the number of houses sold in any given month will always be extremely small.

For that reason, the data may appear to jump around wildly compared to Los Gatos or Saratoga, which each have about 30,000 people living there. Please take all the stats with a tablespoon of salt, and be sure to view the Los Gatos housing market data to get a more accurate picture of what’s happening with Monte Sereno homes (just add a little to the price tag as homes there tend to sell for a bit more than LG properties).

Also, there are only single family, detached houses in Monte Sereno: no apartments, multi unit housing (2 – 4 plex), no duet homes (attached single family homes). That will be changing soon, however, as the old La Hacienda property (formerly an estate, then a hotel and restaurant) at Hwy 9 and Austin Way will become incorporated into Monte Sereno and condos or townhomes built there.

First up for the market analysis is the Altos Research weekly profile for Monte Sereno (uses list prices, not sales):

 

 

This chart shows a slight seller’s advantage in the market, which is consistent with the rest of the area.

Monte Sereno Real Estate Report (click to view the Real Estate Report)

Trends at a Glance from the RE Report:

Just 6 sales in October, so not a statistically useful pool of data, but double that of last month and a year ago had only 1 sale in October! These kind of low numbers can throw off the whole chart, so take this data with a grain of salt. The sale to list price ratio grew a hair from last month, but is down significantly from a year ago. Days on market are short, usually indicative of a warmer market, and inventory is shrinking (likely in the seasonal trend). To dig a little deeper, I pulled up the 6 sales in October and saw that 1 of them sold for more than, 1 sold exactly at, and 4 sold under list price. One of the listings sold $50,000 over (and lasted only 1 day on market). For the 4 homes that sold under list price, one was an off market sale (0 days on market), and the average days on market for the remaining 3 was about 2 months and the average underbid around $96,000. One of them was on just 25 days and sold within $81,500 of list price, another was on for 112 days and sold at $124,700 below. The speed of the sale seems to correlate with the sale to list price ratio to some extent.

 

Trends At a Glance Oct 2019 Previous Month Year-over-Year
Median Price $2,732,750 (-34.1%) $4,143,750 $4,500,000 (-39.3%)
Average Price $3,019,220 (-18.1%) $3,684,580 $4,500,000 (-32.9%)
No. of Sales (+100.0%) 3 (+500.0%)
Pending (-33.3%) 6 (+100.0%)
Active (-30.8%) 13 (+50.0%)
Sale vs. List Price 98.1% (+0.1%) 97.9% 102.4% (-4.2%)
Days on Market 35 (-33.3%) 52 12 (+188.9%)
Days of Inventory 45 (-64.2%) 126 180 (-75.0%)

 

And from last month:

 

Trends At a Glance Sep 2019 Previous Month Year-over-Year
Median Price $4,143,750 (+38.1%) $3,000,000 $3,650,000 (+13.5%)
Average Price $3,684,580 (+37.8%) $2,673,000 $3,655,000 (+0.8%)
No. of Sales (-40.0%) 5 (-40.0%)
Pending (+20.0%) 5 (+200.0%)
Active 13 (+8.3%) 12 (+116.7%)
Sale vs. List Price 97.9% (-0.7%) 98.6% 101.3% (-3.4%)
Days on Market 52 (+7.4%) 48 20 (+165.3%)
Days of Inventory 126 (+74.5%) 72 35 (+261.1%)

 

Read moreThe Monte Sereno real estate market

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

The Cornucopia Fruit Stand

Perched at a slight angle on Winchester Boulevard, the Cornucopia Fruit Stand is a celebrated remnant of the town’s agricultural heritage that you can still enjoy. Established in 1976, Cornucopia continues selling seasonal produce almost year-round. Spring and summer mean fresh fruit and veggies, and for the holidays it’s a great spot for top-grade Christmas trees.

This weekend my family and I stopped by the Cornucopia Fruit Stand in Los Gatos to stock up on some Halloween pumpkins. If you’re still looking for a squash for your porch, Cornucopia has a plethora – from Sugar Pie Pumpkins for carving to the fancy Cinderella pumpkins! And what would a pumpkin patch be without some festivity? Los Gatos’ Original Great Pumpkin Patch (as they proudly call it) is decorated with painted pumpkins (also for sale), instagrammable photo spots, friendly scare crows, and classic Halloween stand-in cutouts for the kids.

 

14288 Winchester Blvd, Los Gatos, CA 95032

Hours: 10AM – 6PM
Phone: (408) 374-6453
2019-10-27 Cornucopia Fruit Stand Los Gatos 5 decorated pumpkins
You can also visit Cornucopia Fruit Stand on their Facebook page for the most up-to-date information.
2019-10-27 Cornucopia Fruit Stand Los Gatos 6 Betty Boop pumpkin

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

Sereno Group Annual Pumpkin Decorating Contest

Pumpkin Contest Sereno GroupIt’s time to decorate some pumpkins! Sereno Group is hosting its 11th annual pumpkin decorating contest and invites kids to transform a small pumpkin into a work of art! This is not a carving contest and there should be no punctures of any kind as these works of art will need to last, and any cuts will cause rotting.

Every child who enters will get a small gift. Voting on the best work of art will take place during office meetings for each of the four age groups, with the winner of each getting a prize.

 

The age groups for this contest are:

  • 2 to 3 years
  • 4 to 6
  • 7 to 11
  • 12 to 14

Small pumpkins are being given away at the Sereno Group office locations in Los Gatos (2 locations), Saratoga, Willow Glen, Aptos, Santa Cruz, Los Altos and Palo Alto. Optionally, entrants may bring their own small pumpkin.

The deadline is Wednesday, October 30th, 2019 (voting in the offices will be the next day). Have fun – we cannot wait to see the decorated pumpkins!

Here are the Los Gatos locations, but feel free to use the others listed on the Pumpkin decorating contest poster:

Los Gatos (open M – F, 9 – 5)
214 Los Gatos-Saratoga Road, Los Gatos

Los Gatos Northpoint (open M – F, 9 – 5)
634 N. Santa Cruz Ave, Suite 100, Los Gatos

Sereno Group pumpkin decorating contest info 2019
Please click on image to see poster in full size (link to my dropbox file)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Screen on the Green in Los Gatos

Every September, the Town of Los Gatos hosts a free movie at Oak Meadow Park in the month of September for kids and kids-at-heart. This is the annual “Screen on the Green“.

This year, the movie will be The Incredibles II, and it will be September 20th, 2019.

Fun activities for children begin at 6:00pm, with train rides, carousel rides, face painting, games and more. The film will begin at 7:30 pm and will be projected onto a 25′ inflatable screen on the meadow. A snack bar will be open from 6:30-8:30pm, so have dinner before or bring a picnic and some blankets, then come early to grab a good seat!

Attendees, it is important to bring layers and something low to sit on – blankets, cushions, or low backed lawn chairs, are alright. I always bring a flashlight for after the show. The gopher holes in the lawn are easy to find by accident with your foot.

For additional details, please see the Los Gatos town website page for Screen on the Green:

http://www.losgatosca.gov/342/Screen-on-the-Green

 

 

screen on the green 2019