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

Condo

What Is A Patio Home?

Most homebuyers and sellers in Los Gatos and Silicon Valley generally are familiar with the terms “condo” or “condominium”, “townhouse” or “townhome” and “single family home”. But what about “patio home”? What type of residence is that? It’s an unknown to many consumers – and many real estate professionals too!

A patio home is sometimes referred to as a zero lot line home. It is a house (not attached to any other home) in which the structure is built against one of the property lines.

In a regular single family home, the building has a few feet on each side between the structure and the property line – that is known as a setback. In other words, you can walk around all four sides of the home without going on anyone else’s property.

That isn’t the case with a patio home. There’s no setback on one side.

A patio home is build up against the property line such that the owner cannot walk all the way around the house without going on someone else’s property.

Patio home or zero lot line

There are advantages and disadvantages of patio homes. Advantages include more privacy than a townhome or condo would offer, and better use of land adjacent to the home since there aren’t small 5-8 foot side yards, but instead something more sizeable and useable.

Disadvantages include the lack of windows on the side of the home which is built on the property line and the inability to protect the side of the home that functions as a fence or boundary for the neighbors.

By way of example, if the side of your patio home that lines the boundary gets excessive moisture because the neighbors vigorously water their plants and don’t worry about hitting your house, that’s a problem. Additionally, since you cannot see what’s happening without asking the neighbors if you can go on their land to keep an eye on your exterior wall, there’s a risk that the structure could be getting damaged and you’d never know it. So there’s a loss of control and a loss of information that’s intrinsic to this type of home.

Additionally, many patio home communities have an association fee and that also needs to be factored in.

Patio homes tend to be less expensive than standard single family homes. The difference is often in the 5 – 10% range, but it varies with the individual home and the real estate market conditions at the time of sale.

Should you buy a patio home? It’s on a continuum between townhomes and single family homes. It may be the best compromise for you, or it could be a big headache. My thinking, generally, is that if you can buy a single family home for the same amount and same quality, your money is better spent there. But if you’re in the market for a townhome or a duet home (or duplex), this is definitely a step up and worth a little stretch.

See a similar article on the Valley of Heart’s Delight blog with a little more detail.

Ending the Alberto Way Condo Confusion

Alberto Way MapOne of the more confusing areas in Los Gatos may the Alberto Way. Most of the condominiums along that street in Los Gatos are part of The Los Gatos Commons, a senior complex that’s fairly large. (To read more about senior housing in the area, please see my post on it here.)

As with most senior housing, the units at The Commons are more affordable than the majority of  Los Gatos condos. The Commons was built in 1978 and requires that at least one resident be 55 years of age or more. As of 2018, you may be able to purchase a tiny 1 bedroom in the Commons for under $700,000.

A smaller condo community just a little closer to Los Gatos-Saratoga Road, and on the opposite side of Alberto Way, is Pueblo de Los Gatos.  These homes are a little further away from Highway 17, are a little quieter, and are not senior housing.  They tend to sell for a little more than the homes across the way. There seems to be about a 5% to 10%  difference in price, most of which may be attributable to freeway noise, but part of it to the “senior community” status. This property was developed in 1970, so is actually a little older than the Commons.

Pueblo de Los Gatos consists of 53 units. Of these 53 condo units, 1 of them is a 3 bedroom (unit # 1, which also has a large 2 car garage), 44 are 2 bedroom units, and 8 are 1 bedroom units.  Except for unit # 1, the rest of the homes in this community have carports.  For many home buyers, these properties offer a more affordable way to get into the Los Gatos Union School District than might otherwise be possible.

Additionally, there is a small townhouse complex on the same side of the street as the Los Gatos Commons. These are also not senior communities.

What is the fastest way to tell them apart? The easiest way, without even clicking on a link, is to spot the address.  If there’s a letter as part of the unit number (as in A100 or B202), it’s part of The Commons. If there’s no letter, as in #7, it’s part of the Pueblo de Los Gatos. Of course, there are other townhomes in the immediate area, too – but these are the largest communities.

Both of these are in close-to-downtown Los Gatos locations. If you’re in the market for Los Gatos real estate and would like to live close in, this is a great street to check out.

Los Gatos Commons homes for sale (55+)

Condos in the Los Gatos Commons (a senior community) which are for sale or pending sale right now. (If nothing shows, then nothing is on the market there at the moment.)

 

All Alberto Way area homes for sale

This includes properties on Alberto Way as well as Maggi Court

Los Gatos Real Estate Market Trends

January 11, 2011

December 2010 sales numbers in Los Gatos

December was a good month for sales of houses in Los Gatos, showing a dramatic 63% increase in the number of closed sales over the month before. Inventory was down sharply too, further increasing the odds of a sale in December.  With lower inventory and buyers jumping on interest rates as they began to creep up, it was a sellers market for this part of the Los Gatos real estate market.  For many more details, click on the link below.  A sumary of the number follows directly beneath it.

The Los Gatos Real Estate Market Trends Report: Single Family Homes (houses & duet homes)

December 2010:  Sales increased 63.2% from the month before, and were up 14.8% year-over-year. Prices slipped in Dec 2010 with the median price dipping 13% from the previous month, down 15% compared to last year. The average price fell 7.4%, a yearly loss of 10.3%. Inventory fell 26.7% from last month, and was down 10% year-over-year.

Trends At a Glance Dec 2010 Previous Month Year-over Year
Median Price $1,000,000 $1,150,000 (-13.0%) $1,176,000 (-15.0%)
Average Price $1,203,520 $1,299,320 (-7.4%) $1,342,370 (-10.3%)
No. of Sales 31 19 (+63.2%) 27 (+14.8%)
Pending Properties 39 48 (-18.8%) 31 (+25.8%)
Active 87 124 (-29.8%) 109 (-20.2%)
Sale vs. List Price 96.5% 94.5% (+2.1%) 96.8% (-0.2%)
Days on Market 69 75 (-7.5%) 59 (+17.2%)

The Condo market in Los Gatos is another story! December saw a slight improvement in market conditions but it remains a buyers market for Los Gatos condominium or townhouse buyers.  The prices (average and median) both slipped, as did the list price to sales price ratio, accompanied by a longer “days on market”, underlying the soft market.

The Los Gatos Real Estate Market Trends Report: Condominiums & Townhouses 
(aka condos & townhomes)

December 2010: Sales increased 12.5% from the month before, and were up 12.5% year-over-year.  Prices slipped in Dec 2010 with the median price dipping 7% from the previous month, down 7.4% compared to last year. The average price fell 6.6%, a yearly loss of 16.5%. Inventory fell 18.8% from last month, and was down 20.4% year-over-year.

Trends At a Glance Dec 2010 Previous Month Year-over Year
Median Price $520,000 $559,000 (-7.0%) $561,500 (-7.4%)
Average Price $493,267 $527,988 (-6.6%) $590,738 (-16.5%)
No. of Sales 9 8 (+12.5%) 8 (+12.5%)
Pending Properties 5 10 (-50.0%) 9 (-44.4%)
Active 34 38 (-10.5%) 40 (-15.0%)
Sale vs. List Price 95.2% 99.0% (-3.9%) 97.2% (-2.1%)
Days on Market 107 38 (+181.7%) 103 (+3.2%)

November 2010’s numbers for Los Gatos residential real estate sales – first for houses, then condos:

Trends At a Glance Nov 2010 Previous Month Year-over Year
Median Price $1,150,000 $1,080,000 (+6.5%) $1,360,000 (-15.4%)
Average Price $1,299,320 $1,305,570 (-0.5%) $1,412,730 (-8.0%)
No. of Sales 19 32 (-40.6%) 31 (-38.7%)
Pending Properties 48 45 (+6.7%) 46 (+4.3%)
Active 124 141 (-12.1%) 142 (-12.7%)
Sale vs. List Price 94.5% 96.4% (-1.9%) 96.2% (-1.8%)
Days on Market 75 33 (+127.0%) 63 (+19.0%)

Trends At a Glance Nov 2010 Previous Month Year-over Year
Median Price $559,000 $525,500 (+6.4%) $573,500 (-2.5%)
Average Price $527,988 $534,833 (-1.3%) $560,394 (-5.8%)
No. of Sales 8 6 (+33.3%) 8 (0.0%)
Pending Properties 10 6 (+66.7%) 10 (0.0%)
Active 38 44 (-13.6%) 43 (-11.6%)
Sale vs. List Price 99.0% 96.0% (+3.1%) 96.5% (+2.6%)
Days on Market 38 101 (-62.6%) 95 (-60.1%)

The real estate market will vary based on zip code, school district, price point, square footage of home & land etc., so this is only a very broad overview.  Information for your home’s segment of the market could be very different.  For instance, there’s a huge difference betwen the luxury home market and the entry level markets in Los Gatos.  Often there’s a big gap between a “walk to town” home and one that’s remote. So too with “sale type”: regular vs short sale vs bank owned. Loads of variables.  Please contact me for specific info on your area or part of the market.

Want a longer timeframe, such as annual or quarterly report, or the performance of the market going back a few years?  You can view the 2010 annual report, qua
rt
erly reports or view sales around any address in Santa Clara County (Campbell, Saratoga, San Jose and also areas of San Jose such as Cambrian Park or Almaden Valley) by visiting
www.popehandy.rereport.com.

To see the most recent posts or articles on this topic, please click here:
Los Gatos Homes & Housing Market

Interested in selling or buying a home in Los Gatos? Please call or email me today!
Mary Pope-Handy, Realtor, Sereno Group
408 204-7673  mary (at) popehandy.com

Los Gatos Real Estate Market Numbers – in for Dec 2009 and 2009 as a Whole

January 06, 2010

My Santa Clara County Real Estate Report is now updated to include the data from December 2009 for Los Gatos, San Jose, and, of course, all of Santa Clara County. 

From any of the links below, you can navigate to see the same info for he county as a whole or other areas (both cities and districts within San Jose such as Cambrian Park or Almaden Valley).

December 2009 report for Los Gatos single family homes
December 2009 report for Los Gatos condos & townhomes

Third quarter 2009 report for Los Gatos single family homes
Third quarter 2009 report for Los Gatos condominiums and townhouses

2009 annual report for Los Gatos single family homes
2009 annual report for condos and townhouses

Los Gatos residential real estate prices are down year-over-year (10-20% for most homes).  Los Gatos has mixed indicators – some numbers are better, some are worse.  Have we hit the bottom yet? Some say yes, some think that there are further corrections still to come.  Inventory is down, which puts pressure on prices.  We will know better by mid-February or early March if this will be at all a typical spring home buying season.

Los Gatos Condos For Sale: How's the Market?

October 22, 2009

The post below was written in Oct 2009. For a more current article and market update, please see:Absorption Rates for Los Gatos & Monte Sereno Real Estate Market in May 2010
 

If you are thinking of buying or selling a Los Gatos condo or townhouse, it’s helpful to know what the market’s doing – that is, what are the Los Gatos real estate trends and statistics for the condo market. 

Today we’ll have a look at the Los Gatos condo market in terms of pricing, inventory, and days on market.  We will study Los Gatos as a whole and broken out by zip code,  and also by price quartile too.  The data below is via Altos Research, to which I am a subscriber & so I have the right to use the charts & graphs here. (Note: Altos Research uses list prices, not sold prices.) The charts I’m uploading will automatically update, so if you pull up this post long after it’s been written, the charts will still be “live” and should be accurate.

First, the pricing trends for condos and townhomes in 95030 and 95032 combined (so all of Los Gatos together) over the last year, and separated by quartile:

Real Estate Market Chart by Altos Research www.altosresearch.com 

Generally, it’s been a year of some increases but overall decreases in list prices year over year (as of late October 2009).

Following, the two zip codes separated, but the quartiles combined:

Real Estate Market Chart by Altos Research www.altosresearch.com 

Interestingly, the 95030 part of Los Gatos was dropping this time last year (10-2008) while the 95032 market was mostly improving.  I suspect that this is due to the cost of living: 95032 is simply less expensive.

Getting more specific:  now see Los Gatos 95030 condos and townhomes, broken out by price quartile:

Real Estate Market Chart by Altos Research www.altosresearch.com 

Fascinating to see what happened with the group that had been the second quartile and ended up at the bottom!  The deepest decines in value (or pricing)  have come in the highest price ranges.  This is true in Saratoga and other high-end markets around Silicon Valley and in parts of San Jose (such as Almaden Valley) too.

Same pricing info but for Los Gatos 95032:
Real Estate Market Chart by Altos Research www.altosresearch.com

The 95032 patterns seemed to follow a more understandable path than 95030.

Next, inventory – the available townhouses and condominiums to buy in Los Gatos (both zips combined)over the last 12 months: Real Estate Market Chart by Altos Research www.altosresearch.com

Inventory for 95030:

Real Estate Market Chart by Altos Research www.altosresearch.com

And inventory for 95032:

Real Estate Market Chart by Altos Research www.altosresearch.com 

Now, we’ll look at the average Days on Market. Things are really interesting here as we view all of Los Gatos by quartile.:

Real Estate Market Chart by Altos Research www.altosresearch.com

And again, we’ll drill down to the zip code & quartile view of the Los Gatos condo and townhome market as we consider the average days on market:

Real Estate Market Chart by Altos Research www.altosresearch.com

 In the 95030 part of Los Gatos, interestingly, the least expensive condos are taking the longest to sell.  Why might that be the case? Here’s my hunch:  most of this zip code is “in the schools” (enjoying Blossom Hill Elementary, Van Meter Elementry, or Daves Avenue School as well as Fisher Middle School and Los Gatos High). The least expensive homes often fall into one of two categories: seniors housing (Alberto Way, the Los Gatos Commons) or small, entry level condos with only one bedroom.  Neither of these would require the highly regarded Los Gatos Schools. 

Real Estate Market Chart by Altos Research www.altosresearch.com

Conversely, in the 95032 part of town, it’s the most expensive townhomes and condos that are taking the longest to sell. A possible reason is that people who can afford a high end condo can also afford a single family home – and right now, the houses have come down so much in price that they are not as out of reach as they were in the past. Most likely, homebuyers are preferring to buy a house (perhaps in Cambrian Park or Willow Glen) rather than a costly condo.

Even more data:

I just ran a little more info off of MLSListings.com, our MLS provider here in the San Jose area, and see that in Los Gatos (both zip codes) 26 condos and townhomes sold & closed in the last month, and there are 132 available today.  That means there are  5 months of inventory, which is just a little into the seller’s market territory.

95030 –  51 available, 6 sold in last month = 8.5 months of inventory – av sales price = $1,301,667

95032 –  81 available, 20 sold in last month = 4.05 months of inventory – av sales pr = $1,068,360

Very very interesting that it’s approximately twice as easy to sell a condo in 95032 than in 95030. In most of Santa Clara County, the most affordable homes are the ones selling the best.  That general trend appears to be in full swing here in Los Gatos among the townhouse and condo market too.

If you’d like to sell or buy a Los Gatos condo or townhouse, please contact me.  I’d be happy to have a confidential, no obligation conversation with you about your wants, needs and plans.

 

Although it can be a bit of a challenge to sell a condominium or townhome in Los Gatos, it’s not impossible if the pricing, staging, and marketing are all correct.  

The Los Gatos Real Estate Market: Condos and Townhomes

May 12, 2009

The real estate market in Los Gatos is more like a puzzle than a solid picture:  it really is lots of contiguous micro markets.  The state of the market varies on neighborhood, price point, school district, and other defining factors (size, views, acreage). This is especially true when studying the condo or townhouse market in Los Gatos. So when thinking of buying or selling a condo, it’s good to get to the micro level (what’s happening in that particular complex or within a mile or so of it).

That said, it’s also helpful to see the bigger picture (a bird’s eye view) – not just the overview of sales for condos in town, but also how that market is in relation to neighboring areas such as San Jose’s Almaden Valley, Saratoga, or Cupertino. Yesterday I did a post on exactly that at my Valley of Hearts Delight blog:

The Condo Market in Almaden Valley, Los Gatos, Saratoga and Cupertino

What is interesting is that while there are fluctuations on the level of town or neighborhood, the overall trend is actually quite consistent. I invite you to check it out!

The Condo Market in Los Gatos – How Is It?

December 07, 2007

The Condo and Townhome market in Los Gatos is a mixed bag. Values are holding and appear to even be rising slightly, the “days on market” are short (a mere 14 days in November), and the list price to sales price ratio is amazing at over 101%. But just as with single family homes, the number of sales is way down.

Is this seasonal or is it “the market”?

One way to check against a seasonal fluctuation is to look at all recent Novembers and see how this one compares. Let’s have a look:

Los Gatos Condos and Townhomes Closed in November of the years 1998 through 2007

As you can see, the 5 closings in November is the least number of sales over the last decade. Sales are way, way off. And, like with single family homes viewed the same way (see yesterday’s post), it’s about half of what’s average.

If we look at the months of inventory, or the absorption rate, does it look any better?

Closed condo and townhouse sales in Los Gatos from January 2007 through November 2007

The condo market remains under 6 months of inventory, which is the point at which the National Association of Realtors would say it moves from being a sellers’ market to a buyers’ market. These numbers are much better than those for the single family home market in Los Gatos (which had 8.79 months of inventory for November – and those numbers appear to be rising steadily, wheras these numbers are up and down so they appear less predictable).

As of today, there are 5 pending condos or townhouses in Los Gatos (zip codes 95030 and 95032) and a total inventory of 26 available townhomes or condominiums in town. So approximately 20% of the homes on the market are selling. Those that do sell, sell fast and apparently for a great ratio.

But that leaves 80% of the homes that aren’t selling at all. So all the good news about “fast days on market” and “great list price to sales price” is not very heartwarming to that 80% whose homes don’t seem to want to sell.

In a market like this one, buyers are passing up homes (whether houses or lofts or anything else) with “issues” like busy roads, deferred updating, and of course especially overpriced homes. The property which is fixed up, in a superior location and priced aggressively – the gem, the deal – is selling fast.

This is not a market to see if you can get a price. It’s a market for people serious about putting a home in top condition on the market, and pricing it to attract a buyer who’s frankly looking for a good deal. Your home needs to be that good deal to sell right now.

Will it be better in the spring? Possibly. The market is really not bad now. There are always overpriced homes in less than ideal locations and with less than perfect condition that don’t sell because the price isn’t low enough to compensate for the problems. So don’t let the failure of some properties worry you about yours. Just get it in the right shape and price it for what today’s market will bear (not what you want it to be worth, not what you need, not what someone else told you it is worth).

liveinlosgatos book - The Condo Market in Los Gatos - How Is It?If you are buying another home after selling the condo or townhome, you are in luck. The market gets softer as you move up the ranks, and there’s a good chance you will make up for any felt loss on the next purchase. But hurry. No one knows whether it will suddenly become a different kind of market in the new year!

Call me if you’d like to chat about your real estate needs. I’m around and working through the holidays with just a couple of days off near Christmas – and I have time to visit with you and strategize to help you get the best deal when selling your home.

Wishing you and yours a very Happy Hanukkah, a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year (and anything else you might be celebrating in these days)!

Best regards,

Mary Pope-Handy, Realtor, CRS, ABR, EPRO, SRES, ASP, RECS, CNHS

Mary Pope-Handy

Realtor
ABR, CIPS, CRS, SRES
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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