The Los Gatos real estate market is cooling, but it is still a strong seller’s market – just not as “white hot” as it was a few months ago, and the trends are all pointing to a calmer, slower, more balanced market.
As of today, June 8, some info on single family homes in LG 95030 & 95032:
55 single family homes are on the market in “Active” status – it was 43 when I last updated this article on May 5 (of those, 1 is listed as “agent only, show”, and 7 are “agent only, do not show”). The agent only listings means that they are not syndicated to other websites.
1 house is under contract but there are contingencies of some kind in place (could be loan, appraisal, property inspection, buyer to sell current home, seller to find a replacement home) – so those sales may not go through.
22 houses are sale pending, no contingencies (this is a small number compared to the active listings) – it was 27 at my last update for this post
26 houses have closed escrow in the last month, down from 33 in early May (fewer pendings – sales are decelerating).
The average sale price to list price ratio for these 26 houses was 108%, a very significant drop over last month’s 118% .
Here is some data that I pulled directly from the MLS:
Lack of inventory remains pronounced, but there is a shift, and finally the inventory is higher than last year. But take a look at ALL of the previous years. What is “normal”? I think 70 – 80 is pretty normal. When it gets to be over about 100 it seems to be a slower market.
Sale Price to List Price Ratio for Los Gatos 95030 & 95032 houses
The sale price to list price ratio is a new high in April but backed way down in May. The sky isn’t falling, though. May’s ratio is still one of the highest on record.
out of the downtown hustle and bustle – but close by!
most sections have a wonderfully quiet sound score on the HowLoud.com website
the terrain is mostly level or gently sloping, but there are a few homes with views.
there’s a video drive through at the end of this article – click through to see it!
Like most of Los Gatos, there is some variation in the size of the houses and lots, but to describe the area generally, it’s fair to say that most are ranch style homes (single story, split level and 2 story homes) built in the late 1950s to mid 1960s, with some built in the late 70s. The average home size is about 2300 SF (most range between 1500 and 3000 SF) and the average lot size is about a quarter acre (many are 8000 to 10,000 SF, but a few are far larger). Most houses include attached 2 car garages, but a few of the larger homes or those built more recently offer 3 car garages.
This is a nicely maintained area where you’ll find pride of ownership in the upkeep of homes and yards.
What is the pricing difference between homes with the Los Gatos Union School District and those with either Union Elementary School District or the Campbell union Elementary School District? It is not huge, but it is noticeable.
For this study I wanted to compare similar sized homes and lots in various parts of Los Gatos 95030 and 95032. Extremely narrow parameters resulted in too small of a group, and I ended up using 2000 – 3000 SF houses on lots of 9,000 – 11,000 SF. There were 27 such single family homes sold in 2021, so not a large group. It is spread throughout the year since when I attempted to narrow it just to one quarter there were not enough homes.
Additionally, I wanted to look at three specific neighborhoods to check the pricing difference between them and their respective school districts as a whole. For this I selected the Old Adobe Road area in West Los Gatos, Blossom Manor with the Los Gatos Union School District, and the Belwood-Belgatos-Surmont area with the Union School District in East Los Gatos.
Here are the results of the 2021 pricing differences study (please note that homes may cost considerably more today as values are up quite a lot from last year):
Homes with Los Gatos Schools are the most expensive, followed by the homes in West LG, and then just a hair behind them are houses in East LG.
In the highest demand, as measured by the sale price to list price ratio, were the homes in Blossom Manor. That’s easy to understand because it’s a close to everything location, including Blossom Hill Elementary, Blossom Hill Park, and loads of shops, stores, coffee houses, and restaurants.
Next highest in demand for neighborhoods is the Belwood, Belgatos, and Surmont area, which offers the biggest bang for your buck in town.
What is the pricing difference for homes in these 3 school districts?
Pricing difference on a hypothetical 2300 SF house
If we use a mythical 2300 SF house, here’s how the dollars would shake out:
If you drive through the Edelen, Almond Grove, Fairview Plaza, Glenridge and other older and historic Los Gatos neighborhoods, you may have wondered how far back in time these architecturally interesting properties go. What are the oldest residences in town, or close by?
Los Gatos Historic Homes
Are there Adobes?
In the Santa Clara Valley, there are a handful of old adobe homes here and there, such as the Peralta Adobe in downtown San Jose (built in 1797), and the Santa Clara Women’s Club Adobe (built in 1790), and many more. I can’t say for certain if there are any remaining 18th-19th century adobe homes in Los Gatos. If they exist the most probable properties are around the Los Gatos Saratoga border, are private, occupied homes, and have extensive additions and modifications.
Victorian Era: Gold Rush to Gem of the Foothills
When discussing historic homes in the Bay Area, the Victorian undoubtedly comes to mind. And Los Gatos has plenty! A search of county real estate records for Los Gatos homes (in town, 95030 & 95032 plus the mountains, 95033) spanning the era from 1837-1901 revealed hundreds of properties identified as Victorian construction. It displayed about about 375 in 95030, 120 in 95032, and also about 140 in 95033.
If you are soon relocating to Los Gatos or new to town, you may hear people drop the names of places and feel a little lost. In some cases, it may be trouble spelling an unfamiliar name, in others that the same place is known by more than one name or that one name has several potential meanings. Here are some place names and local terminology you’ll want to know:
Vasona – also Vasona Lake or Vasona Lake County Park: this one gets a lot of typos when people are trying to find it (I see them via the search terms people use to find this blog), sometimes typing in Verona or Vesona. This park is the largest in Los Gatos, consisting of over 100 acres, directly attached to Oak Meadow (which belongs to the town, while Vasona belongs to the county). The entrance to the park is on Blossom Hill Road close to University Avenue (don’t try to enter off of Lark – that’s a locked gate). More info on both parks.
The Manor – also Blossom Manor or Blossom Hill Manor: this is a residential neighborhood bordered by Blossom Hill Road, Los Gatos Blvd, Los Gatos Almaden and Longwood. Homes in this area are in the Los Gatos School District. (See post and photos of this neighborhood.)
The Boulevard – Los Gatos Boulevard, which is the road that Main Street turns into as it heads towards San Jose. This is the area where normal shopping happens for many of the town’s residents. It’s where you find grocery stores, drug stores, fast food and other inexpensive restaurants, etc.
East Los Gatos – definitions vary, sometimes referencing everything from approximately Harwood Road to Highway 17, other times Harwood Road to Los Gatos Blvd. (Post on this topic.)
Downtown – usually references Main Street, Santa Cruz Avenue (north or south), University Avenue and areas closest to all of these. (Usually does not include areas as far as Highway 9, aka Los Gatos Saratoga Road.) Most of downtown is business related but there are some neighborhoods that are right in downtown too.
The Hill – Los Gatos has tons of hills, but “the hill” actually means the Santa Cruz Mountains and the pass through them.
Blossom Hill – can mean Blossom Hill School, Blossom Hill Park, Blossom Hill Road, or perhaps even the hill which is called “Blossom Hill”. (If you traverse Blossom Hill Road, you’ll drive up a little bit at one stretch between Camino del Cerro and Blossom Dale Drive – at this point you’re up on the base of the hill which is Blossom Hill.) Yes, it is confusing.
Old Town – shopping center on University Avenue in downtown, once the site of the town’s elementary school. (It’s where you’ll find the Border’s bookstore and a number of nice shops and restaurants.)
In town – a contrast to “in the mountains” or perhaps “in a county pocket” but in the general area of the town of Los Gatos. There are areas with a Los Gatos mailing address but are not actually part of the town of Los Gatos. This is true for all of the 95033 zip code (which is in the mountains and reached via Hwy 17 – some of that is actually in Santa Cruz County and not Santa Clara County) as well as some of the county pockets in 95030 and 95032 (which are mostly “in town”).
The Chart House – people still refer to the old Coggeshall Mansion on North Santa Cruz Avenue by that name, but the Chart House closed several years ago and had other restaurants at that site afterwards. It’s a lovely old Victorian, one of many which initially lined that street but now the only one remaining. Initially it was a private home, then a mortuary, then a series of restaurants. It has a reputation for being one of the most haunted places in town. At this writing, it is The Palms, and I hear their food is great!
NUMU – the town’s museum, both an art museum (formerly in the old firehouse on West Main) and a history museum (formerly at Forbes Mill). Located in the Civic Center on Main Street, it has changing exhibits and is worth popping by at least a couple of times a year.
In the Schools – a phrase meaning that homes in a particular area are within the Los Gatos School District. Los Gatos has several school districts, including Union Schools (shared with the Cambrian Park area of San Jose) and Moreland Schools (shared with Campbell).
Almond Grove, Edelen, Glenridge, Fairview Plaza – older residential neighborhoods either in or very near to downtown Los Gatos. Many of these areas have homes dating back to the late 1800s. (To read about these and other neighborhoods (such as Surrey Farms, Strathmore, Belwood, Heritage Grove and many more), please click on this link for all the neighborhood posts on Live in Los Gatos.)
The Glenridge neighborhood of Los Gatos s one of the most scenic residential areas anywhere in Silicon Valley. It features beautiful, custom, mostly historic homes on meandering streets. Set just above the Almond Grove neighborhood on a gentle hill it, too is close to town but with a little more altitude and better vistas.
Bachman Park is set in this area too and includes several acres alongside a creek. The park offers picnic tables, a playground, basketball courts and a large grassy field for picnics or play. A paved path follows the creek on one side of it – making a wonderful place just for strolling.
Where is the Glenridge area?
This charming older Los Gatos neighborhood is set just up the hill from the Almond Grove Historic District and adjacent to Fairview Plaza.
One of the more confusing areas in Los Gatos may the Alberto Way. There are a number of HOA communities and for those new to the area, they may all blur together.
Los Gatos Commons
The largest complex along Alberto Way in Los Gatos is the The Los Gatos Commons, a senior community with 110 units. (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 2020, you may be able to purchase a a unit there between $500,000 and $700,000.
Pueblo de Los Gatos
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.
Bella Vista Village
Next to and behind Pueblo de Los Gatos is the much newer and more expensive Bella Vista Village, which was built in 1997 and 1998 and includes 47 townhomes. Click on the link to see some photos and learn about it!
Additionally, there is a small townhouse complex built in 1979 with 18 units on the same side of the street as the Los Gatos Commons, Las Casitas, located at 435 Alberto Way. Something unusual is that all of them appear to have the same floor plan – all have 1448 square feet. It is a tidy complex built around a central grassy courtyard area. Each home has a small back patio & storage closet outside, a laundry closet in the kitchen, 3 skylights for the 2nd floor, good sized bedrooms and baths, and pleasant grounds. There are carports and uncovered parking at the back of the property, up against the freeway. Click on the link above to see a half dozen photos of this attractive complex and learn more about it.
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. Also, if the price looks low for the area – it’s probably the Commons. If there’s no letter, as in #7, it’s part of one of the other communities. Or just check the map – The Commons is tucked back at the far left side of the cul de sac (beyond it are office buildings with a private driveway).
All 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.
All Alberto Way area homes for sale, pending, or sold over the last year – including The Commons
This includes properties on Alberto Way as well as Maggi Court and the other Bella Vista Village homes.
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