August and the Los Gatos Housing Market

The August real estate market in Los Gatos is usually a bit slow.  Inventory, even in a normal year, tends to shrink in August, and with it, a lot of sales activity. Many home buyers and home sellers take the month off, sneak in one last vacation, get kids ready to school, or perhaps deliver older ones to college. Real estate often takes a back seat for a few weeks in August (and sometimes early September, too).

August and the Los Gatos Housing Market: it’s all about inventory levels

This year is worse than most in terms of buyers having any selection with record low levels of inventory throughout Silicon Valley. Have a look at the chart from January 2011 to today for Los Gatos single family homes – zip codes 95030 & 95032 (pulled from MLSListings this afternoon):

Los Gatos real estate market inventory SFH Aug 2017

Buying and selling homes in Los Gatos and Monte Sereno right now

For home sellers, this August has been a great month to market your home and to get it sold, despite vacations and student issues, because demand is so high for the minuscule amount of housing for sale. For home buyers, it feels like a crazy real estate game of inventory limbo: how low can it go? How many offers can get thrown at a single listing?

One way of looking at it is to consider the ratio of available houses for sale vs those under contract.  Right now in Los Gatos 95030 and 95032, there are 55 single family homes on the market, and there are 50 in some stage of “sale pending” (with or without contingencies). That’s pretty close to 100%.  (Monte Sereno is such a small market area that the numbers are too wonky to be useful – we need a larger sample for reliability.)

The number sold and closed in the last 30 days is 31. The months of inventory is the actives divided by the closed in the last 30 days, so 55 / 31 = 1.77 months of inventory for ALL houses, all schools, all price points, all conditions, all locations – good and bad alike. That is a red hot sellers’ market!  (Every month or two I update this article here on Live in Los Gatos: “Los Gatos real estate market trends by price point and high school district” – please check back for an update on those numbers soon.)

What has been true for most of  2017 still holds true in August: the nicely updated and remodeled homes in the lower prices to move-up prices in Los Gatos continue to sell well (quickly, often with multiple offers) if they are priced right. Specifically, these are homes under $3 million with no special challenges (location issues, lot issues, strangely configured layout, too many stairs, too much deferred maintenance, a combination of a large pool and small back yard, and so on).

What does it take to be a successful home buyer in Los Gatos or Monte Sereno right now? How to maximize buying or selling in the current market conditions

Shannon Valley Ranch house 2015Buyers: For the lower priced homes, you will need to be quick as they usually won’t last more than 8 to 10 days before the offer date and multiple offers pour in. If you can get out to see the property soon after it hits the market, you’ll have enough time to study the disclosures and get guidance from your buyer’s agent on those and the comps. If you wait to see something on a Sunday afternoon and offers are due Tuesday, you will have a very unpleasant couple of days as you rush to be ready and prepared. With the more expensive properties, they may take longer to sell, but at any given moment things could change and suddenly there are 2 offers rather than just your one.

Sellers: Being super well prepared so that you hit the ground running is absolutely key to selling your home quickly and for top dollar. That means doing the presale inspections, ordering HOA docs (if applicable), and having your disclosures completed before a buyer ever sees the home. It also means taking your Realtor’s guidance to heart in regard to staging / decluttering and easy access for buyers. If it’s too hard to see, or it does not show well, you may not sell it for as much.  Price carefully!  The number 1 problem with homes that do not sell is price.  Aim too high and you won’t get the traffic or the offers. If you aim a little low, you may draw multiple offers and push the price higher than you could have imagined.

The market can be a little funny sometimes. I’ll attend an office meeting and hear discussions about multiple offers and once in awhile there’s a particular property that seems to have trouble.  When that happens, it’s very important to try to get feedback from the buyer’s agents.  While often the problem is a too-high price, sometimes it’s something easier to adjust to effect a sale. Communication between Realtors can be invaluable so that you don’t reduce the price when perhaps a less expensive fix will do.

September is just around the corner, and it promises to be a busy one as a slight influx of inventory should bring a strong flurry of activity.

If you are thinking of buying or selling a home, please contact me for a confidential consultation on what it takes to get the best deal possible in the current market.


Mini Market Update:The Los Gatos Real Estate Market

March 25, 2008

We won’t have the March stats (or first quarter statistics) for the Los Gatos residential real estate market for another week or two, but I wanted to provide a snapshot of the realty market to keep you updated.

As of this morning, there were 149 single family homes available (as “status 1”) for sale in the Town of Los Gatos (zip codes 95030 and 95032). There were also 28 pending sales of single family homes (so an 18.7% ratio). As before, approximately one home in five is selling right now.

Breaking it down by price point (but all areas), in the under two million dollar range, there were 86 homes available and 20 pending sale – so a 23% ratio. Homes are selling better in the more moderate price ranges. Looking lower at the up to and under $1.3 million, there were 41 for sale and 8 pending (19.5%).

Looking at just the $1 to $2 million range, there are 25 for sale and 5 pending (20%) in the Campbell Union High School District, and 41 for sale and 13 pending in the Los Gatos-Saratoga Union High School District (30.2%).

The sweet spot in today’s Los Gatos real estate market, then, is the moderately priced house “in the schools”. Any home that is nicely improved, staged, marketed, and above all priced well can sell in today’s market, though – it’s all about positioning for the current market conditions.

Los Gatos Real Estate Market Update

September 08, 2007

Los Gatos CA Homes: Inventory vs Sales August 2007In contrast to much of Silicon Valley, the Los Gatos market is continuing to experience appreciation and is a fairly “balanced” market overall.

I. Single Family Homes

Compared to last year, August’s closed sales of single family homes were smaller in number (off 6.5%) but up in price (median up 35.9%, average up 23.7%). Inventory is far lower than last year too – listings were down 26.4% from last year. The lower inventory is helping to keep this market balanced, as opposed to the buyers’ market it is elsewhere.

Los Gatos Homes: Prices vs Sales August 2007Compared to last month, August’s closed sales of houses in Los Gatos were down 6.5%, listings were up 6.2%, and prices were up noticeably (4.8% for the median and 7.2% for the average).

II. Condos and Townhomes

The condo market is somewhat similar in The Cats, with the numbers of listings and sales falling, inventory shrinking, and prices rising.

Compared to last year, the closed sales were down by a whopping 66.7%, listings were down by 23.5%, and prices were up strongly (28.2% median, 15% average). Normally, sales do fall off in August, so we expect to see a month to-month drop, but to see a drop from one August to the next is very noteworthy.

Los Gatos Condos: Inventory vs Sales August 2007Compared to last month, sales of townhomes and condominiums were down 69.2% and listings were up 18.2%. Prices skyrocked though, up 45.7% for the median and 30.1% for the average.

III. Give me the Cliff Notes Version

For both single family homes, townhouses and condos, this summer has been a whole lot better a time in which to sell than the year before. Inventory is down, prices are up. Sales are down tremendously, but fewer homeowners are trying to sell now than a year ago. If you could not sell your home last year, try again – things are much improved! Just make sure your price is realistic and the condition is top-notch.

Los Gatos Condos: prices vs sales Aug 2007Often the Los Gatos market follows a fairly predictable pattern for inventory, sales and appreciation: in January there are more buyers than sellers, and prices get pushed up. This inequality of supply and demand tends to remain (most years) through late spring or into summer as inventory rises.

Some years the balancing point is in May, others in July – it varies. By summer, though, usually there are more listings than buyers and prices quit rising. In the second half of the year, prices may be stable, they may drop slightly, or they may do some dropping in August and rising again between Labor Day and Halloween, when we get a second burst of folks who want to get in before the year ends. Often inventory shrinks in winter and again in late summer. In the first graph above, you can see that pattern roughly played out.

Where are we now? It is early September and if the market follows what is typical (which is what we are seeing now), we will have a very healthy market this month and next. For buyers, there’s usually more selection as houses come on the market. For sellers, there’s a renewed interest among buyers and well-priced, well-staged, and well-marketed real estate sells well. Now is a good time to both sell and to buy in Los Gatos.

If you would like more information on the market (both condos and single family homes in Los Gatos, Saratoga, San Jose and around Silicon Valley), please see my online Silicon Valley real estate market report. Or call me at 408 204-7673 for a private and confidential consultation.