Once you have visited Los Gatos – the charming architecture, the backdrop of the hills, the vibrant downtown, the great schools, and all the trees and parks – you may want to call it home. I sure did. But the town is expensive and for some it may be out of range. What if you love Los Gatos, but it’s not affordable? There are nearby areas that may work, so I’ll mention them here. They are all discussed in depth at my Valley of Heart’s Delight blog and mentioned in my Move2SiliconValley or popehandy blogs too – the links will be to any of my own sites. For people relocating to Silicon Valley especially, where “sticker shock” is a normal part of the welcome package, these other areas which are a little less pricey might be helpful.
A little further southeast than Los Gatos, the Almaden Valley is a very scenic suburb with the Santa Cruz Mountains on one side and the Santa Teresa Foothills on the other. There’s no “downtown”, however you’ll find a large shopping center with a remodeled Safeway, banks, Starbucks, etc., along Almaden Expressway. This area features the New Almaden neighborhood, which is where the area began with mercury mining operations long ago. Almaden real estate market post
On the north and northeast side of Los Gatos sits the Cambrian area of San Jose (which has 2 zip codes, but the part adjacent to LG is 95124). The Union School District serves both part of Cambrian and part of east Los Gatos. There’s a noticeable price drop going into Cambrian, but the hills and the town of LG are still close. Very good schools and a good “bang for your buck” in terms of what you get in education for the price of the home. Cambrian real estate market statistics
Willow Glen is closer to downtown San Jose than to Los Gatos, but it has much of the charm that LG is known for, includes a lovely downtown area with its own identity, and boasts some of the most scenic streets in all of Silicon Valley. The public schools are generally not a drawing factor. Willow Glen real estate market article
Campbell is probably the most happening city in Santa Clara County right now in terms of home buyer popularity. Campbell provides a lovely downtown, light rail access to downtown San Jose and beyond, a great parks system (especially along the Los Gatos Creek Trail), unusually good shopping, and in some areas really excellent schools. This is a “closer in” location than Los Gatos or Almaden, so it’s an easier commute for that lower price, too. Campbell housing market trends and stats
The 95033 zip code covers a lot of land in Santa Clara County and Santa Cruz County too. Part of it is just beyond the Los Gatos town border, but the majority of it is quite a bit further. School scores are high, air is clean, trees are everywhere and valley views (or in the next county over, Monterey Bay views) are not uncommon. The prices are much better than in town, but the tradeoff is that you have to deal with Highway 17 every day, plus some issues that are particular to the mountains, beach traffic, etc. Please also see this article on the Los Gatos Mountains or Santa Cruz Mountains And on the market – Altos Live RE Market Charts for the LG or Santa Cruz Mountains area
What does a million dollars buy you in Los Gatos 95030, Los Gatos 95032, and nearby areas: Saratoga, Almaden, Cambrian, Campbell, Cupertino?
How far does your money go in Los Gatos, whether 95030 or 95032, and how does that compare to our nearby neighbors of Saratoga, Almaden, Cambrian, Campbell, Cupertino or San Jose, generally? Today I am snagging a chart from my Altos Research Reports which give a good sense of what a million dollars (or other amounts) can get for you in these areas. These charts use LIST PRICES, and remember, the sales prices are often different (frequently more!). Let’s have a look.
Los Gatos 95030
This is the more central part of town, the area closest to downtown Los Gatos and most of it is “in the schools”. Here a million dollars is unlikely to get you a house at all, though it could be something small that needs a lot of work if not in the downtown area…maybe….
Los Gatos 95032
Conversely, although about 1/3 of this area is in the Los Gatos Union School District, most of it is not, and this area is usually (though not always) further out so less expensive for both reasons. Interestingly, the high end prices aren’t so far apart between 95030 and 95032 from this vantage, but the gap widens a lot at the bottom quartile. In 95032 a million will get you a small house, most likely in east Los Gatos (west is a little more expensive, usually) – and it will probably need work. Something to note is that all of the elementary and middle schools in Los Gatos, no matter which school district, are high scoring, high performing institutions. The scores do change at the high school level pretty noticeably. But the improving schools in the further out areas of LG, especially in east Los Gatos, is causing the pricing gap to shrink somewhat.
So in Los Gatos, $1 million is unlikely to get you a house, though it may if it is small and not too close in to downtown (or if you are buying land value).
There’s an embedded google map below, but for those who would prefer a narrative, here’s a summary of the trail of these lines (deemed reliable but not guaranteed, and not every street is mentioned, this is only a very general description):
These towers and electric lines are fairly parallel to Highway 85 on the west and north side of town, adjacent to Pollard and Wedgewood (near the Rio Rinconada neighborhood) and following both the highway and train tracks immediately.
Heading south, the power line trail courses through the Wimbleton townhousecomplex, moves across Winchester Boulevard near Lark Avenue, and then continues its distancing from the freeway by cutting in further just north of the Vasona Dam (between there and Lark Avenue).
From there, the lines are seen over the the Live Oak Manor Park & play ground, and makes its way down the middle of Blackwell Drive, emerging near Mission Oaks Hospital (a campus of Good Samaritan Hospital nearby), then across Los Gatos Almaden and the Los Gatos Village townhome community.
Now the meandering path will straighten out and lie between the backyard fences of residential streets, such as between Coronet and Blossom Valley Drive in the Alta Vista neighborhood, behind Anne Way (the Strathmore neighborhood) and into the Drysdale tract in San Jose’s Cambrian area, moving toward Camden Avenue and behind the Oak Canyon neighborhood at the beginning of Almaden Valley.
The trail of the high voltage lines somehow gripped me so much that I ended up tracing it all the way from the hills in Cupertino into Saratoga before Los Gatos, then on through our town and into Cambrian, Almaden, Blossom Valley and Santa Teresa (areas of San Jose for any newcomers). Just to be complete, I tracked them all the way to the substation in Coyote Valley and then up into the Santa Cruz Mountains near Montevina Rd and through the Lexington area. (You can see all of this on my Valley of Hearts Delight blog.)
Below is the embedded map. If for any reason it’s not working, you can see the same info by clicking on this link.
View High Voltage Power Lines in Los Gatos and the West Valley in a larger map
July 13, 2007
Sick birds, infected with the West Nile Virus, have been found in Cambrian district of San Jose at the Los Gatos border (Union and Los Gatos Almaden area). The Los Gatos Observer published an article that includes a map of the hot spots and the area considered most risky.
Today the vector control people will be flying overhead to see if there are unkept swimming pools (which attract mosquitos, which in turn carry the virus). It is crucial to not leave standing, stagnant water available for mosquitos, especially now. Normally those of us who live in east Los Gatos are not thrilled with the abundance of helicopters flying overhead. But not today. Go for it.