How far does your home buying budget go in Los Gatos? Los Gatos real estate prices aren’t low, but they aren’t the highest in Silicon Valley, either, despite having great schools, wonderful downtown, and both architectural and natural beauty in abundance. In this article we’re looking at “in town” areas with zip codes 95030 and 95032 (the Los Gatos Mountains is 95033).
MLS Research by 8 price increments for LG
Earlier today I spent some time going through the MLS and looking at single family homes, townhouses, and condominiums which are active, pending, or sold in the last 2 months or so in town (95030 and 95032, MLS area 16). The narrative below reflects that research. These 8 segments are not evenly split, but reflect more general levels such as entry level, mid level, and luxury homes.
1 – Los Gatos real estate prices: lowest tier, under $700,000
Homes for sale listed in the lowest price points are condos at the Los Gatos Commons, a senior community along Alberto Way near downtown. In the last 60 days there have been 2 such condominiums sold, all 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom.
2 – Los Gatos real estate prices between $700,000 and $1 million – general entry level
For non-seniors, the next price point represents entry level homes in town. Normally these would be 1 or 2 bedroom condominiums or townhouses, but in recent weeks there were a couple of very small single family homes (under 600 SF) that appear to be tear-downs and are sold for land value. Normally you’ll find 1 – 2 bedroom units in this bracket.
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 runtoday 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.
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.
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.
From last November, again, not a ton different between then and now.
My RE Report stats come out between the 5th and the 10th of each month, but I like to get a sneak peak, so crunch my own numbers some of the time. Today I wanted a window into Los Gatos real estate pricing. First, here are the average and median sale prices for the Los Gatos market in the two “in town” zip codes of 95030 and 95032 (for single family homes):
Next, the Los Gatos Mountains (MLS area 23, zip code 95033):
Additional market info to follow in just a few days!
The inventory of single family homes for sale in Los Gatos 95030, 95032, and 95033 (the mountains) has not been lower in recent memory. This morning I pulled the data and saw that we now have a critically low inventory of homes for sale in Los Gatos. Here are the numbers so that you can see what a more typical month in the Gem City of the Foothills looks like.
Of that low inventory of just 66 homes, which part of Los Gatos are they in?
Los Gatos 95030 (MLS area 16, excluding Monte Sereno) – 16 single family homes for sale
Los Gatos 95032 (MLS area 16, excluding Monte Sereno) – 34 single family homes for sale
Los Gatos Mountains 95033 (MLS area 23) – 13 single family homes for sale
PLUS one in the Morgan Hill / Gilroy area of the Los Gatos Mountains (MLS area 1) and 2 in the Saratoga area (MLS area 17)
If you are new to Silicon Valley, you may be wondering “where is Los Gatos California?” I’ll give you a quick answer and some visual cues via a map on the town’s location:
In the 9 county San Francisco Bay Area, Los Gatos is located within Santa Clara County, which is considered the “South Bay” region
Santa Clara County’s largest city is San Jose (a city of about 1 million people, in the county of about 1.9 million residents), which Los Gatos borders on the southwest side (San Jose touches the bay at Alviso). Los Gatos is small by comparison, with about 30,000 inhabitants.
Los Gatos is nestled into the base of the coastal foothills, also known as the Santa Cruz Mountains. With the backdrop of the hills, it’s quite scenic.
In town, the zip codes are 95030 and 95032, both of which are shared with the city of Monte Sereno. The Los Gatos Mountains area is unincorporated and is the 95033 zip code (not shown on the map below).
Los Gatos California includes about 10 square miles for the incorporated area (and many, many more if you are talking about the mountains and zip code 95033). Where is Los Gatos California? Really depends on what you mean, in town, or in the mountains!
Downtown Los Gatos is about 30 minutes from the beach at Santa Cruz, depending on traffic.
The Civic Center for the town of Los Gatos is marked in the map below with the white star in the red circle:
Obviously, the town encompasses far more than the Civic Center location! Here’s a map of Los Gatos by region – sweeping generalizations intended only to provide an overall sense of where to find what.
Downtown Los Gatos runs primarily along Main Street, N Santa Cruz Avenue, and University Avenue, but also part of Los Gatos-Saratoga Road (Highway 9).
Within the town, there are a number of districts and neighborhoods, many of which also have businesses, though they are largely residential.
East Los Gatos & West Los Gatos: East Los Gatos is generally considered the area east of Los Gatos Boulevard, though some people attest that anything east of Highway 17 would be the east end of town. There are many popular neighborhoods within that area, including Blossom Manor, Vista Del Monte, the Alta Vista Area, Strathmore, and Belwood – Belgatos – Surmont, among others. Please navigate through the menu under “neighborhoods” to explore these and many other areas.
West Los Gatos is generally closer to the Campbell and Saratoga borders and includes Rinconada Hills, the Old Adobe Road area, Los Gatos Woods (townhouse community near Pollard Road) and many others.
North Los Gatos is not as well defined as other area, but generally is close to Lark Avenue.
The Los Gatos Mountains are an unincorporated place in Santa Clara County with a Los Gatos mailing address. This can be a bit confusing, especially since some of this region is over Saratoga or on the far side of the summit and in Santa Cruz County.
What do we expect for the 2019 real estate market?
It’s all about supply and demand. Right now, demand is decent and supply is low. Here’s a look at the inventory of single family homes for sale in recent years by month, first in town and then for the county.
Inventory of single family homes for sale in Los Gatos 95030 & 95032 from Jan 2012 – Jan 2019:
In town (not including the Los Gatos mountains area), Los Gatos has extremely low inventory. I ran the numbers and this is lower than any other January since 2002, the longest back that the MLS will let me go. Locally, that bodes well for those looking to sell in Los Gatos. (Currently there are NO homes for sale in the Belwood, Belgatos, Surmont, or nearby areas of LG.)
What about the broader area? Most of the county has looser inventory than we do in LG. Have a look:
Inventory of single family homes for sale in Santa Clara County Jan 2012 – Jan 2019:
I think it is really important to view this month’s inventory for the county not just in relation to January 2018 (“inventory is up 8% from last year, oh no!”) but in the context of all the recent years since we’ve been in recovery from the Great Recession. Yes, inventory IS up from last year for Santa Clara County, when the first 6 months of 2018 saw prices shooting up like a geyser due to highly restricted inventory and ongoing demand. Most of 2017 and early 2018 were off-the-charts into overdrive. From early 2012 through 2016, we had a market that was appreciating at a good pace – too fast for some buyers, who opted to become permanent renters rather than to participate. Current inventory levels are very low relative to 2012 and later.
A return of some of the normal patterns?
Inventory Los Gatos 95030 & 95032 2016-2019
Inventory tends to rise throughout the first half of the year, so I am expecting that to happen again in 2019. To the left, see a chart displaying the inventory of homes for sale in Los Gatos 95030 & 95032 from Jan 2016 to today. This is a pattern we usually see – though of course, it’s not a rule, and it can change.
Prices also tend to rise in the early part of the new year as inventory does not keep pace with demand, and I see no reason why that would not happen again.
Equally important is to understand that in the 2nd half of any given year, prices often soften. Home sellers sometimes believe that “summer is the right time to sell”, so get their homes on the market then. But activity from buyers slackens after the spring buying season, so in many years, inventory is higher than demand – so prices level off or even decline.
In 2018, prices in LG and the county did decline dramatically from the spring peaks, perhaps in the 12-15% range, generally.
Economists tell us that they expect the first half of 2019 to be decent to good, but not as wild a ride as early 2018. (Milder appreciation, 3-5%?) Some believe that the second half of 2019 will be much softer. A real estate correction is expected sometime between now and 2-3 years from now. We do believe that locally, in Silicon Valley, we are at or near the top of this real estate cycle. For those wishing to sell and move out of the area, 2019 could be a good year in which to do that. It’s impossible to pinpoint the exact top or bottom of the market, though. That is something we only know when it’s passed, just like with the stock market.