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


Is The Economic Crisis Impacting Los Gatos Home Sales?

October 25, 2008

Several of my buyers have recently decided to hold off until things calm down with the economy. So I wondered if this was widespread or not. Tonight I checked the sales in Los Gatos (zips 95030 and 95032) for the period of 10/1 – 10/25 this year and last year. Sales are slower than last month but still ahead of last year, generally.

Among single family homes in Los Gatos, there have been 15 homes that went sale pending in that time frame this year, wheras there were 8 last year. For condos and townhomes it was 4 this year and 5 last year – close enough to not be significant in my opinion.

Right now, it does not look terribly bad. Sales are mostly ahead of last year at this same time. That said, we’ll know more when ALL the factors are in – price points, list price to sales price ratio, days on market, etc.

Is the Financial Crisis on Wall Street Causing Fewer Home Sales in Los Gatos?

October 12, 2008

I have never followed the stock market so much as I have in the last two weeks. [My primary concern is my kids’ 529 college savings plan, where the money is all in an index fund (that’s how CA has it set up).]And I wondered if Los Gatos home buyers have their downpayments in stocks and may also be holding back, so I took a look at very recent sales data to see if there are any new trends.

From my initial study of the pending sales in Los Gatos and Monte Sereno in the 95030 and 95032 zip codes, it does not appear that a slowdown in buying is happening over & above what we were already experiencing prior to the roller coaster ride on Wall Street.

sales initiated Houses Condos
10/1/2008 – 10/11/2008 7 3
10/1/2007 – 10/11/2007 7 3
09/20/2008 – 09/30/2008 4 5
09/20/2007 – 09/30/2007 4 4

It may be that we will see a change in the Los Gatos real estate market that later we’ll attribute to the financial catastrophe that is going on, but right now, I’m not seeing it. Perhaps the Los Gatos and Monte Sereno home buyers have their downpayment readily accessible in cash. (That is the case with my buyers.)

Condos and Townhomes in Los Gatos: Market Update

October 08, 2008

The condo market in Los Gatos is improving after a few rough months. It remains a buyer’s market, but not so deep a one as we saw in late spring and over the summer.

Although days on the market for Los Gatos condos and townhomes are considerably longer than they were a month or a year ago (78 days in Sept vs 32 in Aug and 33 a year ago), and the list price to sales price ratio is slipping (96.4% in Sept vs 98.7% in Aug and 99.2% in Sept 2007), there are some signs of improvement. The number of homes on the market is the same, 44, as last month, but the number of closed sales has risen from 6 in August to 8 in September.

Surprisingly, the sales prices are up too (both average and median), both for month over month and year over year. Here are those numbers (care of The Real Estate Report, a subscription I have):

Trends At a Glance Sep 2008 Previous Month Year-over Year
Median Price $850,000 $700,000 (+21.4%) $800,000 (+6.3%)
Average Price $768,021 $619,167 (+24.0%) $741,417 (+3.6%)

And finally, one of the most helpful ways of understanding the market is the absorption rate, which may be calculated as days, weeks, or months of inventory. It’s a reflection of how long it would take to sell off the current inventory if no new homes came on the market and homes continued to sell at the present rate. Below, please find the months of inventory for condos and townhomes in Los Gatos. N that there is recent improvement in the numbers:

Absorption rate for condos and townhomes in Los Gatos, CA (Silicon Valley real estate)

Next, here’s a view of the condo and single family home market of Los Gatos side-by-side:

Los Gatos real estate - absorption rates for single family homes and condos / townhomes.


If you’d like more information on how the Los Gatos townhome and Los Gatos condo market are faring, please visit my Real Estate Report for an interactive online report for all of the Silicon Valley real estate market.
Please call me if you’d like a private consultation about your real estate questions, plans, and hopes.

marygif - Condos and Townhomes in Los Gatos: Market Update

Request an online home valuation from Mary Pope-Handy



Los Gatos Single Family Home Absorption Rates and Market Conditions

October 07, 2008

The Los Gatos real estate market for single family homes is a bit of a mixed bag, with some indicators more positive than others, but on the whole, it’s a deepening buyers market.

Below, please see the basic sales data on the closed single family homes in Los Gatos for September 2008. Note that saes are up, but days on market are longer, prices are mostly down (except the year over year average sp), and the list price to sales price ratio is dropping.

Trends At a Glance Sep 2008 Previous Month Year-over Year
Median Price $1,205,000 $1,389,980 (-13.3%) $1,280,000 (-5.9%)
Average Price $1,609,960 $1,669,850 (-3.6%) $1,346,230 (+19.6%)
No. of Sales 27 22 (+22.7%) 17 (+58.8%)
Active 170 138 (+23.2%) 106 (+60.4%)
Sale vs. List Price 94.9% 96.5% (-1.7%) 97.6% (-2.8%)
Days on Market 71 51 (+39.0%) 44 (+61.3%)

A good way to judge the market overall is by crunching the numbers to get the months of inventory (or days, or weeks of inventory), also known as the absorption rate. Next, please view the Los Gatos area (including Monte Sereno and some parts of Cambrian Park and possibly Campbell) known as “area 16” in our MLS.  This lines up almost exactly with Los Gatos and the zip codes 95032 and 95030:

Los Gatos single family homes absorption rates January to Sept 2008 (Silicon Valley real estate)

As you can well see, it is going to take more and more time to sell off the current inventory of single family homes in the Los Gatos area. In fact, it is a strong trend that the buyers market has been deepening. The National Association of Realtors says that 6 months or less is a sellers market, but more than 6 months is a buyers market. We had a little dip in May through July where the sellers were under that threshold, but for the most part, it has not been much of a year for sellers in Los Gatos.

In most times, it’s very challenging for buyers to purchase a home in Los Gatos as there are often multiple offers and high demands from the sellers. Buyers, now is your chance to get in at a reasonable time!  Sellers, if you want to sell, make your home gorgous and price it competitively!

To learn more, please visit my Real Estate Report online, an interactive monthly report that provides information for all of Santa Clara County, including Saratoga, Monte Sereno, Campbell, Almaden Valley, Santa Clara, Cupertino, Sunnyvale, etc., and separated by single family homes and condominiums and townhomes.

Mini Market Update for Los Gatos: How Long Do Homes Stay On The Market?

September 29, 2008

The Los Gatos real estate market is soft – it remains a buyers market for most areas and price ranges. Agents and sellers will tell you that it’s harder to sell a home now.  Let’s look at the market data, though. It can be analyzed by price point, school district, zip code, square footage, or any number of factors. Today’s “mini update” will be a glance by zip code of condos and single family homes with focus on the days on market., amount of inventory and list prices of homes for sale. Data and graphs by Altos Research (to which I subscribe).

This first chart indicates the average days on market for Los Gatos in the 95030 zip code. The blank line represents the condo and townhouse listings and the orange line the single family homes. (This chart should automatically update itself thanks to a little html.) Both segments appear to be following a fairly similar trend here of lengthening days on the market after an easier spell from spring until about July. Houses here have been for sale at an average of 110 days, and townhouses and condos around 92 or so.These charts represent the overview of the Los Gatos real estate market. There can be a great deal of variation from one area or house to the next. The perfect, completely and recently remodeled house that is priced low may get a flurry of offers and sell way over list price. Most homes, though, don’t fit that description. Most of the real estate for sale has “some updating” but needs more. In certain areas, though, buyers will overlook condition if the price is good and the home seems clean and at least well maintained.

For information on what your home may be worth, or how much home you can buy, please contact me today!

Request an online home valuation from Mary Pope-Handy


How Did the Los Gatos Real Estate Market Do in August?

August 30, 2008

View of El Sombroso, a hill overlooking the town of Los Gatos, as seen from Vasona Lake County Park in Los GatosWe’ll get the exact, hard data for the Los Gatos real estate market in a week or so from MLSListings.com, our MLS provider (formerly known as REInfolink). Meanwhile, though, we can have a look at the closings reported to date and get a feel for how the market is doing.

This month, there were 29 closings, or completed sales, in the town of Los Gatos (zip codes 95030 and 95032) among single family homes and condos/townhomes. Of the 29 Los Gatos homes which sold, 24 were single family homes and 5 were condominiums or townhouses. I was involved in two of those sales – one as the listing agent and one as the selling agent (working with the buyers), both single family homes that were in the $1,000,000 to $2,000,000 price range, and both are in the Los Gatos School District.

How did they homes in Los Gatos do in August?

First, let’s look at single family homes. One sold “off” the MLS, so it’s hard to know how it might have done on the open market. It was extreme in another way – it sold at $5,400,000 – the most expensive closing of the month. Not your typical Los Gatos price, though not unheard of either.

For single family homes in Los Gatos, the multiple listing service, the average “days on market” was 50 and average “collective” or “cumulative days on market” was 71. So typically, it’s taking 71 days for houses to sell in Los Gatos. (My listing, which was on Magneson Terrace, took 66 days to sell – felt much longer for everyone involved, though!) Some homes sold fast (1-10 days) and a few a very long time (longest was 238 days), but most are in the 2-3 month range.

The average list price was $1,915,500 and the average sales price was $1,847,989 among Los Gatos houses. The lowest home sold for $870,000 and the highest for $5,400,000, as mentioned above. Fifteen sold between $1 million and $2 million, 3 below that range and 6 above it

Only 3 of the 24 sold higher than list price. Just 4 sold “at” list price (but of those, 2 were reduced before they sold at list price, so only 2 sold at the original list price) and the vast majority had one or more price reductions prior to selling.

What about townhouses and condos in Los Gatos? There were only five spread between two zip codes which are so far reported as closed in August. Of those, the average Days on Market is 41 (same number for Collective DOM), the average list price is $687,789 and average sales price $676,000.

So it looks like the condo market is faring better than the single family home market in Los Gatos right now, according to closed sales prices.

While pricing appears to be flat by some indicators in July, we have seen many price reductions in homes that appeared aggressively positioned in the market before offers are procured. Buyers are waiting, generally, and prices do seem to be falling somewhat in the under $2 million price range.

The soft real estate market that has been plaguing much of San Jose and Silicon Valley now appears to be impacting the entry level and mid-level homes in Los Gatos.

What can we expect? With an election year, things are always uncertain. Likewise, the interest rate has threatened to rise a bit and if that happens, it will adversely affect home prices for sellers. Think of it like the scales of justice: one side goes down, the other goes up.

Waiting may or may not be a good idea. Prices may go down and interest rates may go up. Or perhaps not – no one knows. As one of my buyer clients said, recently, “prices may go down, but if I wait, it’s like I put my life on hold”. (That buyer is now a homeowner.)

The real estate market in Silicon Valley, including Los Gatos, is comrised of many micro-markets. Please call me for specific assistance in the area where you live or would like to live.


Rent Control in Los Gatos: How Does it Work?

August 25, 2008

Did you know that Los Gatos has (some) rent control?  According to the town’s website, It does not apply to every rental property in town. “Rent control limits only apply to properties with three or more rental units.”  So people renting single family homes, a single condo, a manufactured home or a duplex in Los Gatos would not have rent control, but those in triplexes or apartment complexes would have rent control. 

How much can rents rise under the rent control restrictions? Generally, about 5% a year maximum, or 70% of the consumer price index. There are exceptions, though, if the costs to run the complex rise significantly (due to the costs on the financing of the property or improvements to the property) OR if the owner has not raised the rent for two years. In the latter case, rents may then jump by 10%.

For more information on rent control in Los Gatos, please see the town’s page on rental disputes or phone 408-402-0307 x10 then *8 and extension 17. 

Los Gatos Real Estate Market Numbers – In for July 2008

August 11, 2008

Chart of price and sales activity in Los Gatos for single family homes

The numbers are out for July’s sales activity in Los Gatos!

To the left, please see a graph for prices and sales of single family homes in the Town of Los Gatos. Note that sales prices, both median and average, are slipping, while the number of homes sold has been rising. This is welcome news for sellers.

With the Los Gatos condominium or townhouse market, things are less positive for sellers, but a great opportunity for buyers. (This is very much the situation in the Saratoga and Almaden Valley markets too – the luxury condo market is having a far harder time than the single family home market.) Prices are down and the number of homes selling is down also. Please see graph below.

Price and sales activity for condominiums and townhomes in the Town of Los Gatos, CA

Please visit my online Silicon Valley Real Estate Report to see much more data for the Town of Los Gatos or any other part of Silicon Valley’s real estate market. Visitors to the site can navigate to view statistics and graphs for condominiums and townhomes or single family homes by region.

As always, the real estate market is comprised of many “micro markets”, so please contact me for specific information on your particular home or neighborhood.

Mary Pope-Handy

Los Gatos Real Estate Market Update for August 4, 2008

August 04, 2008

What’s the housing market in Los Gatos doing in these final weeks of summer? How’s the real estate business in Los Gatos faring amid all the doom and gloom of the mortgage implosion? Are Los Gatos homes selling?

Anecdotally, I can tell you that lenders have tightened up their requirements, sales are down and buyers are pickier than ever. Buyers are waiting for prices to come down more for most homes (except the totally remodeled ones which are priced extremely competitively). Many sellers are not willing to sell in the current climate, so the local Los Gatos inventory is not terribly high. Some homes, then, are still selling with multiple offers, while others remain unsold.

Below, please see first the pricing, by quartile, of single family homes in Los Gatos. (These are list prices, not sold prices.)

The first graph reflects the 95030 zip code, which is entirely in the Los Gatos School District.

Los Gatos 95030 Single Family Homes Pricing

The following graph displays list prices of single family homes within the 95032 zip code. Much of this zip code is not in the Los Gatos School District, but some of it is.

Los Gatos 95032 Single Family Homes Pricing

Next, please see the information for pricing of condominiums and townhomes in the town of Los Gatos, again by both zip code and by quartile.

Here’s the report for townhouses and condos in Los Gatos by quartile for 95030.

Los Gatos condominiums and townhomes 95030 pricing

And here’s the same report but for the 95032 zip code:

Los Gatos Condos 95032 Pricing

Below please find reports based on listing prices by zip code and home type (single family or condo/townhome) as well as by zip code. The beginning of the reports will appear the same for both zip codes (95030 and 95032) but go deeper into the report and you will see the neighborhood stats, which are different than those of the town as a whole.

(1) Single family homes in Los Gatos 95032

Single family homes in Los Gatos 95030

(3) Condos and townhomes in Los Gatos 95032

No report for condominiums and townhouses in Los Gatos 95030 – not enough info to generate a report.

Please let me know if you’d like to discuss your particular situation with me in person, by email, or over the phone.

Best regards,

Mary Pope-Handy
Keller Williams

The Los Gatos Real Estate Market:It Isn't So Bad

January 21, 2008

Tired of hearing the doom and gloom regarding the real esate market? Most of that negative press is national news, not local news. Truly, it doesn’t impact home values in Los Gatos if prices are falling in parts of Florida, Vegas, or even in Sacramento. The local market – our town plus neighboring communities here in Silicon Valley – is the crucial one.

Things are just not that bad for home sales in Los Gatos overall.

That said, “the market” consists of several sub-markets. It’s one thing if you are trying to sell a very expensive home with an unpopular architectural style. It’s another if you’re marketing a modest or at least non-extravagent home in a good location with great schools. Still another if you have a view property…or a lot that could be split. And no matter what, overpriced just won’t work.

A view of the big picture in the Los Gatos real estate market reveals that 2006 was a lot tougher on sellers (and folks watching their equity) than 2007 was. The first three quarters of 2007 were remarkably good for single family homes, in fact. Have a look at the “months of inventory” or “absorption rate” by month for last year for single family homes. (As a point of reference, the National Association of Realtors says that less than 6 months of inventory is a sellers market.)

Absorption rate for single family homes in Los Gatos (95032, 95030) in 2007

For the condo and townhome market, it was even stronger. Once again, it was a little more challenging late in the year (not an unusual pattern for any year).

Absorption rate or months of inventory for the condo and townhouse real estate market in Los Gatos for 2007 (95030, 95032)

What about now? How is the inventory of homes in Los Gatos right now?

About one house in four is selling in this area overall. That’s pretty much the case in Los Gatos, Saratoga, and Cambrian Park. In Los Gatos there are 97 single family homes available and 27 sale pending (in Saratoga it’s 61 and 17, and in Cambrian Park it’s 140 and 34).

The condo market, which was much stronger throughout 2007 than the single family market, is now cooler than the single family home market in town. As of today, January 21st, there are 26 townhouses or condominiums for sale and just 2 under contract or sale pending. (So instead of a 1 in 4 chance of selling, it’s closer to 1 in 10.) In Saratoga it’s a little better with 10 available and 3 pending. In Cambrian there are 41 “class 2” (condo/townhome) on the market and 7 which are pending sales.

Every market presents an opportunity for buyers or sellers. Where’s the best real estate opportunity in Los Gatos now?

Late in 2007, it appeared to be an ideal time to be a “move up buyer” – to sell that townhouse and to buy a single family home. Now, early in 2008, the opportunity has shifted. It is now a great time to sell that single family home and to downsize into a townhouse or condominium.

The market is always changing and the micro markets can all be different from the general trends in the town. If you’d like to discuss your home, your neighborhood, or buying and selling, please send me an email or give me a call. I’d be happy to set up a time to talk with you about your unique situation.

Mary Pope-Handy


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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

Selling homes in
Silicon Valley, with
special focus on
Los Gatos 

and nearby areas,
Monte Sereno,
and the San Jose areas of
Cambrian and Almaden Valley

Helping Nice Folks to
Buy & Sell Homes
in Silicon Valley
since 1993


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