Los Gatos real estate market trends and statistics

Los Gatos real estate market graphic with home near downtown

The recent Los Gatos real estate market’s statistics are pointing to an early spring in terms of the home buying market. Colleagues report busy open houses with serious buyers – and not much inventory to show them.

What is selling best in LG right now?

Of the 14 closed single family home sales in Los Gatos this January, 6 closed under $2 million (the lowest was $1.5 mil), 5 were between $2 and $3 million, 2 between $3 and $4 mil, and 1 between $4 and $5 mil. The high end price point tends to be at around $3,000,000 and up for this part of Santa Clara County. The vast majority of what sold would not be considered luxury properties, even though in most areas of the U.S. these would be luxury price tags.

For the 11 houses under $3 mil, the average days on market was 43, the average list price was $2,013,359 and the average sale price a little higher at $2,030,455. For those transactions, the average living space square footage was 2,180 SF and average lot size 26,280 SF. For this segment of the Los Gatos real estate market overall, it’s a warm seller’s market. The lower the price point, the hotter the market.

 

Los Gatos real estate statistics at a glance for 95030 & 95032

Next, data from the RE Report for Los Gatos (“in town”), in the Los Gatos Mountains, and for Los Gatos condos (only in town, none in the mountain communities). Below that are the live Altos Research charts, updated automatically each week. Altos uses list prices, not sold prices.

The numbers below analyze data gathered during the first week of each month and cover real estate statistics from the month prior in Los Gatos 95030 & 95032 (all areas / school districts), or MLS “area 16”. See the full RE Report here.

 

Trends At a Glance Jan 2020 Previous Month Year-over-Year
Median Price $2,050,000 (-1.2%) $2,075,000 $2,440,000 (-16.0%)
Average Price $2,198,850 (-13.6%) $2,545,930 $2,644,590 (-16.9%)
No. of Sales 13 (-53.6%) 28 14 (-7.1%)
Pending 13 (-23.5%) 17 27 (-51.9%)
Active 34 (+36.0%) 25 42 (-19.0%)
Sale vs. List Price 100.2% (+1.2%) 99.1% 96.8% (+3.5%)
Days on Market 27 (-36.3%) 43 62 (-55.9%)
Days of Inventory 78 (+192.9%) 27 90 (-12.8%)

 

Prices are down both year over year and month over month, continuing a softening trend. The number of sales are down from last month and last year, and both active and pending listings are shrinking. Despite these signs of cooling, both the Days on Market and the Sales vs List Price ratio are heating up since December. It’s an active market with strong demand, but it’s still only a mild seller’s market.

 

Read moreLos Gatos real estate market trends and statistics

Blossom Hill Manor Real Estate Market

Map of the Blossom Hill Manor neighborhood of Los Gatos (east Los Gatos)

The Blossom Hill Manor (aka “the Manor” or “Blossom Manor”) is a highly sought after neighborhood with its close proximity to the well regarded Los Gatos schools, parks, shops, grocery stores and major transit routes.  Homes there are nicely maintained, many streets are tree-lined and there’s a good amount of community spirit and involvement in this close-in, walkable area. Explore the area more using my Google Map of Blossom Manor, or take a video drive-through of the neighborhood at my other post, The Blossom Manor neighborhood of Los Gatos.

In this posting, we’ll discuss the Blossom Manor real estate market. The real estate market in Los Gatos has been on fire like the rest of the Bay Area over the last few years, but there’s a great deal of variation from one area, price point, school district, age and condition of home to the next.  As you can imagine, the “fixer” market is very different from the luxury market.

So far in 2019, there have been 15 closed sales in The Manor. A few quick stats on those sales:

  • Average list price $2,150,343
  • Average sale price $2,207,518 (103% of list price)
  • Median sale price $2,060,000
  • Least expensive list price $1,589,000
  • Lease expensive sale price $1,775,000
  • Most expensive list price $2,749,000
  • Most expensive sale price $2,790,000
  • Average price per SF $1,114.61
  • Average days on market 16
  • Average living space 2046 SF
  • Average lot size 9,431 SF
  • Average age of the home 61 years

Of these 15 sales, 9 were over list price, 1 was exactly at list price (an off market sale – the only one not exposed publicly before selling), and the rest sold under list price. 

Read moreBlossom Hill Manor Real Estate Market

Los Gatos real estate market trends by price point and high school district

There are many factors impacting the Los Gatos real estate market, including the price point and the elementary or high school district. This post is updated every month or two. Today we’ll look at the Los Gatos realty market by pricing tiers and high school district using the months of inventory as a data point. The months of inventory, or MOI, is the currently active (for sale, no contract or pending sale) homes for sale divided by the number of homes using the same criteria which have closed escrow in the last 30 days.

These numbers were run today using MLSListings.com and it’s possible that a few more homes will be recorded as closed sales or new homes added to the market after I ran these numbers. One other disclaimer: sometimes the number of closed sales is very low or is at 0. This can be for many reasons. In some cases, there are a few which are sale pending and simply haven’t closed recently. In other cases, the market might actually be empty in those tiers, indicating a possible lack of demand or inventory. That being said, what do the numbers say?

Los Gatos real estate months of inventory in 95030 and 95032 combined

The overall MOI for the town as a whole with 95030 and 95032 zip codes shows a mild seller’s market, with post-summer cooling likely in what is a typical seasonal pattern. It is a bit of a mixed market when looking at the town as a whole, but less so when viewed by high school district or price point. We’ll see when the month is over, but already in many parts of Santa Clara County, the real estate market is returning to seasonal patterns with some cool pockets and some which remain hotter.

 

 

And here’s the same chart with data from last February. You can see that in mid-winter the inventory was smaller and moving slightly slower.

 

2019-2-12 Los Gatos Months of Inventory 1 - 95030 95032

 

Looking back farther, here’s the same info for last November – the overall absorption rate isn’t much different from right now, and inventory and sales are neck-and-neck. Almost exactly a year ago, the market doesn’t look too different.

 

Los Gatos 95030 and 95032

 

And a reference from April, when the market was red hot:

 

 

The real estate market for homes with the Los Gatos – Saratoga Joint Union High School District only

Now let’s view just the homes which are in the Los Gatos – Saratoga Joint Union High School District (or homes “in the schools” as locals say).Houses for sale with Los Gatos schools tend to be more pricey than those in neighboring school districts. This isn’t just the schools, but is also a function of being closer to downtown Los Gatos. The lowest priced homes in this area are seldom listed for less than $1 million.

 

 

Once again, we’ll compare it against last February. While the overall market is moving faster today than in February, here we can see that for homes in the Los Gatos School District were moving more quickly in winter. While the number of sales hasn’t changed much, inventory has gone up in this sector.

 

2019-2-12 Los Gatos Months of Inventory 2 - LGSUHSD

 

From last November, again, not a ton different between then and now.

 

Los Gatos 95030 95032 LG Schools

Read moreLos Gatos real estate market trends by price point and high school district

The Almond Grove neighborhood in Los Gatos, a scenic and historic district

Map of the Almond Grove historic district in Los GatosThe Town of Los Gatos is home to many lovely neighborhoods with historic homes (Broadway Area Historic District, Fairview Plaza and others), but perhaps none is so quaint or popular as the Almond Grove neighborhood. (See video drive through this neighborhood near the bottom of this article.)

Location, location, location: the Almond Grove’s got it

The location itself could be very compelling alone as the Almond Grove neighborhood is as much “in town” as “walk to town” with so many activities and opportunities happening along North Santa Cruz Avenue, Main Street and University Avenue – all a stone’s throw away. Quite vibrant, downtown Los Gatos enjoys an inordinate amount of restaurants, shops, coffee houses, bars, places to dine , taste wine, stroll or take in a film. It’s also home to free musical concerts in the summer, a parade in December, a gorgeous new public library, a Farmer’s Market every weekend and many other events year round. Finally, the Almond Grove is set near two parks, Bachman Park and the Los Gatos Town Plaza, so there’s a good amount of open space nearby too. There’s something for everyone!

Traditionally designed neighborhood with good community results

105 Tait Ave Los Gatos (Almond Grove district) built appx 1890The allure of the Almond Grove is more than convenience, though. There’s an old time friendliness that seems to come with the big, welcoming front porches on so many of the older houses. Dwellings are also set closer together than one might find in suburbia, too. Rather than live so much in the privacy of the backyard, there’s an invitation implicit with this combination of close neighbors and a front porch that seems to underscore that residents are part of the neighborhood community and a bit less secluded.

The Almond Grove displays that sense of community from October to January especially, when it steps out as the best decorated corner of Los Gatos with a huge percentage of participation in the effort. Halloween is a great example. People’s enthusiasm is evident in by the beginning of October as props come out for the spookiest day of the year. Sometimes even in September, “Land of the Giant” sized spiders begin to appear, life-sized ghosts start to swing from porches and trees, the normally tidy and trim picket fences become smudged with spider webs, and every manner of Halloween decor drapes the district. On Halloween night, the Almond Grove district becomes positively overrun with enthusiastic kids from all over Los Gatos. I’ve been told that some homes get as many as 1,000 trick or treaters on Halloween night there.

Read moreThe Almond Grove neighborhood in Los Gatos, a scenic and historic district

Determining Probable Market Value of a Property

What's My Home WorthThinking of selling your home? One of the first questions a potential home seller has is this: “what’s my home worth?

Real estate professionals will establish the probable buyer value (do a market analysis) by comparing your home to others like it which have sold recently and perhaps also those which are currently under contract (sale pending). These similar homes are called comps (for comparable listing, pending, or sale). They factor in market conditions as well (buyers market, sellers market, inventory shortage or excess).

What is an ideal “comp”? It is a sold home that is:

  • recent (within at least 6 months, but preferably 3, similar market conditions)
  • nearby (same zip code/town, within a mile is best, same schools, within same complex or subdivision is ideal)
  • similar type of location (interior lots vs one backing to a freeway, school, high voltage lines)
  • like condition (similar amount of updating/remodeling)
  • if the subject property has an added family room, the best comp would also have an added family room (original square footage usually sells for more on a price per SF basis than added living space, and additions made without permits and finals are worth less than square footage with permits / finals)

In a tract subdivision or condo complex with many recent sales, this can be easy. If the subject property is very similar to several recently closed sales except for either the level of improvements or the lack of them, an adjustment would be made only for the condition. In my experience, the same tract house may have a range of 10% – 15% of value between completely original and not well maintained to thoroughly remodeled with high quality appliances and upgrades. (Most homes are somewhat updated. Few are either entirely or original, or even more rare, completely run down.)

Let’s do an example of a tract home in which there are several sales nearby of the same floor plan in recent months. And let’s say that a typical home there, somewhat updated, sells for $1,000,000 just to use a round number. The numbers could break down along these lines:

  • typical sale, moderately updated $1,000,000
  • same floor plan, mostly original condition $900,000 – $950,000 “depending” (very original to run down could go lower, depending on market conditions)
  • same floor plan, remodeled, turnkey $1,050,000 – $1,100,000 “depending” (“stunning remodel” could go higher depending on market conditions)

The range of values is often 10% on the same street, but it could be as much as 15% or 20% or more if you have a difference of more than just condition (lot size, precise location, view, a change in market conditions between one sale and the other). As an example, if all the comparable properties were “all original” and your home is “somewhat updated”, it’s likely that your home will sell for 5% more than the others did because of your updates. The range between “all original” and “stunning remodel” is not usually more than 20%.

It is much, much more difficult to establish market value for a home when there are no good comps. Sometimes the property being evaluated is extremely different from those sold recently & nearby.To establish a probable market value, it again will be a matter of adjustments, but when there are no good comps, a lot of adjustments must be made. Real estate professionals will adjust up and down for condition, location, the market’s behavior etc.

Read moreDetermining Probable Market Value of a Property

Belwood, Belgatos & Surmont neighborhood

Belwood Belgatos Surmont and nearby area mapJust west and south of the intersection of Blossom Hill Road and Harwood Road sits a neighborhood of Los Gatos homes with three subdivisions: Belwood of Los Gatos, Belgatos & Surmont. Nearby public landmarks are Belgatos Park and the Walgreen’s shopping center (corner of Blossom Hill and Harwood), with a Mountain Mike’s Pizza and a Starbucks coffee shop.

For many Los Gatans, all three of these east Los Gatos areas (and sometimes a broader one still) are generally referred to as “Belwood” or “Belwood-Belgatos.” (The Los Gatos Monte Sereno Police cert map identifies the whole region plus the Strathmore neighborhood, which is across Blossom Hill Road, as “Belwood” generally.)

The terrain is nearly level, with very low, gentle hills over most of the area. With winding, mostly tree-lined roads and tidy houses, it’s a very attractive neighborhood overall. For those looking for an arduous climb on foot or bike, though, Harwood Road provides a nice challenge. At the top, you’ll see a fantastic view of downtown San Jose and Silicon Valley for your trouble. (There are some challenges to be found in the open space trails, too.)

Belgatos Park and trails

Grassy fields at Belgatos Park Los GatosAt the middle of this community is the very inviting Belgatos Park, a scenic, setting which includes a playground near the parking lot, picnic areas, restrooms, trails into the hills (with some wonderful valley views), and access to the Heinz Open Space Preserve and its network of trails also. (And it’s not far to the Santa Rosa Open Space area either.)

One hill attracts kids who enjoy sliding down it on bits of cardboard, and thus has been nicknamed “cardboard hill” for decades. Most of the time these cardboard sledding enthusiasts are pretty good about picking up their “sledding vehicles” when done.

The paths are popular with people on foot, but also those on mountain bikes or horseback. As there are a few larger properties which are zoned for horses in the area, this is a very nice equestrian option.

Aerial view of Belwood of Los Gatos neighborhood 2016

For photographers, the park has abundant worthy subjects year round, both of the open space and the valley views below. In the early morning hours, or near sunset, you may see some deer too. But be careful: bobcats and mountain lions are in these hills also.

What are homes like in Belwood, Belgatos and Surmont?

Read moreBelwood, Belgatos & Surmont neighborhood

Critically Low Inventory of Homes for Sale in Los Gatos

The inventory of single family homes for sale in Los Gatos 95030, 95032, and 95033 (the mountains) has not been lower in recent memory. This morning I pulled the data and saw that we now have a critically low inventory of homes for sale in Los Gatos. Here are the numbers so that you can see what a more typical month in the Gem City of the Foothills looks like.

Housing Inventory Los Gatos 95030 95032 95033 single family homes for sale Jan 2002 - April 2019

Of that low inventory of just 66 homes, which part of Los Gatos are they in?

Los Gatos 95030 (MLS area 16, excluding Monte Sereno) – 16 single family homes for sale

Los Gatos 95032 (MLS area 16, excluding Monte Sereno) – 34 single family homes for sale

Los Gatos Mountains 95033 (MLS area 23) – 13 single family homes for sale

PLUS one in the Morgan Hill / Gilroy area of the Los Gatos Mountains (MLS area 1) and 2 in the Saratoga area (MLS area 17)

Read moreCritically Low Inventory of Homes for Sale in Los Gatos