December 27, 2008
Monte Sereno is a lovely, upscale residential community of about 4000 people. It’s located adjacent to the town of Los Gatos and the city of Saratoga, California. There are no businesses in Monte Sereno – just homes, the post office, and the city office building along Highway 9.
Monte Sereno shares some services with Los Gatos, such as police and schools. While Los Gatos has two zip codes, 95030 and 95032, Monte Sereno shares the 95030 zip code with Los Gatos. Some folks mistakenly think that whatever is happening in Los Gatos with the housing market is also reflective of the Monte Sereno real estate market. They are sometimes quite different.
We’ll now look at a few key indicators to see how the Monte Sereno real estate market is doing, and also how it’s doing compared to the same zip code but in Los Gatos. Graphs and stats are from Altos Research, to which I have a subscription (and the right to republish this information), which uses current listing data (list prices, not sold prices, for instance). About once a month I also publish an update which uses information from the solds, and you may see that interactive report at any time by visiting http:www.popehandy.rereport.com.
I. Inventory of Houses for Sale in Monte Sereno
This first graph displays the trend of inventory among houses for sale in Monte Sereno, 95030. The four different lines are for the four quartiles, or price points. Sometimes they behave differently from one another, but here we can see that for much of the last year, inventory rose dramatically among all price ranges.
Next, a comparative look between Monte Sereno and Los Gatos inventory levels of homes for sale. While it makes sense that Los Gatos has more homes for sale (it has more households!) it is interesting to note that the rise of inventory has been more dramatic in Los Gatos than in Monte Sereno.
A retrospective: how is inventory in Monte Sereno now compared to two years ago? (The chart says only 95030 but this is just from Monte Sereno.)
II. Average Days on the Market of Homes for Sale in Monte Sereno
Below, please see the breakdown by price point, or quartile, of the days on market for Monte Sereno this year. The lowest priced homes did not experience the same degree of a “dip” in the first half of the year that the higher priced homes did. It is interesting to note that the most expensive homes had the greatest improvement for the DOM (Days on Market) early in 2008.
How does this compare to the same zip code in Los Gatos?
The patterns are pretty similar, but it would seem that for most of the year, it has been easier (faster) to sell a house in Monte Sereno than in Los Gatos.
Compared to two years ago, how do the DOM look in Monte Sereno?
As we had suspected, it was much easier to sell a home in 2006 than it has been in 2008. In fact, it looks from this indicator that it is approximately twice as hard to sell a home now, if not more, then in 2006. This has been especially grue in the last quarter of the year.
III. List Price of Homes for Sale in Monte Sereno
Now we’ll turn to the number which home sellers care about the most: price. Below, please see a graph with the median list price by quartile of homes for sale in Monte Sereno this year.
Interestingly, the most exclusive homes have come down the most, while properties in lower price ranges seem to have adjusted downward the least.
How does this compare to what’s happening in the town of Los Gatos?
It is commonly known that homes in Monte Sereno are a bit more expensive than those in Los Gatos, so the gap between the two is not surprising. That said, the way each has responded to the market is curious. While Los Gatos home prices (list prices) went down early in the year, they went up in Monte Sereno for the same time frame. In fact, these two graphs are almost completely inverse of each other!
Finally, how does the median list price of homes in Monte Sereno today compare to the list prices of two years ago?
This is another weird graph which almost looks like a symmetrical inverse from 2008 to 2006. List prices today are higher, on average, then they were two years ago.
In summary, compared to Los Gatos, Monte Sereno is faring better overall. The inventory is lower, days on market are shorter, and list prices remain higher than in Los Gatos. Compared to two years ago, it’s tougher to sell a home (and easier to buy one) in Monte Sereno: inventory is up, days on the market are up – but list prices are up too, an odd twist! In fact it’s an anomoly for most of Silicon Valley, but it does not mean that any one house will necessarily sell for more than it did 2 years ago. The median sales price is the point at which half the homes are selling for more, and half for less. So a higher median list price or sales price may simply indicate that more expensive homes are selling. That seems very likely because with the more expensive homes, buyers are less likely to be dependent on a loan.
For analysis of what’s happening in your neighborhood, or where you’d like to buy a home, please contact me. I’m happy to meet with you and go over your situation in person and in confidence.