A resource for folks living in or moving to Los Gatos, by Mary Pope-Handy

Pricing difference for Los Gatos homes “with the schools” versus Union or Campbell schools

Alta Vista School SignRecently I have noticed a couple of very high sales prices for properties in east Los Gatos with Union Schools, especially Alta Vista, Carlton, and Noddin schools.  It should be noted that ALL of the elementary and middle schools throughout Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, and the Los Gatos Mountains are very strong and can boast excellent school test scores, notably good parental involvement, and pleasant campuses. Even so, homes closest to downtown Los Gatos and with the Los Gatos Union School District have always sold for a noticeable amount more than those outside of that area. Often the delta is 10-20%, but it can very a lot.  On a couple of occasions recently, though, it seemed like at least some homes selling in the Union or Campbell schools are were gleaning prices more typically seen closer to downtown.

So I started to wonder – Is the gap between the two major areas (in the schools / not in the schools) shrinking?   Let’s see by running the numbers in the MLS for one or two segments of the market.

Multiple Listing Service study criteria:

The search I created was for houses in Los Gatos (not Monte Sereno or San Jose on the border),  zip codes 95030, 95032 (sorry, Los Gatos Mountains not included in this study); home age 20-60 years, lot size 6,000 to 10,000 SF.  These are “normal homes” and not luxury or estate properties, of course.

Los Gatos 95030 and 95032 with Los Gatos Union School District
# of Listings:  9     AVG VALUES:  age: 34  years       days on market:  28   size of home:  1,798 SF  size of lot: 6,342   price per SF: $901.94
average list price:  $1,472,872    average sale price:  $1,480,000

Los Gatos 95030 and 95032 with Union School District or Campbell Union School District
#  of Listings: 15    AVG VALUES:  age: 49 years      days on market:  22    size of home: 1,912 SF  size of lot: 8,416  SF  price per SF:  $712.23
average list price:  $1,245,033     average sale price:  $1,297,700

As you can see, it’s not really wise to use just “price per square foot” to compare these areas, because the age of the property and the lot size are significantly different.    I approached it also by trying to target just the sale price at about $1.5 million, but the data was so limited that I could not exclude newer homes or smaller parcels.  So let’s see what you can get in these two areas for that amount, or close to it.

Los Gatos 95030 and 95032 with Los Gatos Union School District

# Listings: 9      AVG VALUES:  age: 34 years  days on market: 28    size of home:  1,798    size of lot:  6,342  price per SF:  $901.94
average list price:  $1,472,872  average sale price:  $1,480,000

Los Gatos 95030 and 95032 with Union School District or Campbell Union School District

# Listings: 6      AVG VALUES:   age: 37 years    days on market: 32     size of home:    2,345     size of lot:   8,968  price per SF: $684.50
average list price:   $1,471,999     average sale price: $1,543,167

Although the homes in this second study are close in age, and not so far apart for days on market, they are vastly different for the home and lot size and the price per square foot.    If you rely on just the price per square foot – which I do not recommend because the lot is so important – you end up with homes “in the schools” costing about 32% more per SF.  But again, that’s not apples to apples since homes with Campbell and Union schools are on much larger lots (average 8968 vs average of 6342 SF of land).

Just now I tried to see if a real “like kind” comparison might be available in the Alta Vista area, since it’s part Los Gatos but mostly San Jose and all with the same builder, Garcia.  A check, though, reveals only homes in the larger San Jose area (Blossom Vista, Blossom Dale, Blossom Crest, etc.) have changed hands recently, while the minority Los Gatos area (Pinehurst, Danville, Blossom Villa and part of Blossom Valley) have not seen recent sales –  so we’d have to go back too far in time to be helpful for today’s market.

Depending on all kinds of factors, historically, the delta often appears to be 10-20%.  Sometimes there are properties which sell with so many offers that a price gets spiked.  I’m guessing that with the homes I saw in East Los Gatos that had prices as if they were “in the schools”, that’s what happened


Related reading:

Los Gatos real estate market trends by price point and high school district

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Mary Pope-Handy

Sereno Group Real Estate
214 Los Gatos-Saratoga Rd
Los Gatos, CA 95030
408 204-7673
Mary (at) PopeHandy.com
License# 01153805

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