Los Gatos Real Estate
Thinking 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. Continue reading
Just 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
At 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.
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?
The Los Gatos real estate market for single family homes is a sellers market as a whole, but this varies depending on many factors. A particular home’s market will be impacted by things such as the pricing tier (the luxury market is a colder market, while homes under $2 million are generally a hot commodity), the school district, condition of the property, whether it is remote or convenient (in some cases), etc.
First, here’s a glance at the Altos Research profiles by the Los Gatos zip codes: 95030 and 95032 are “in town” and 95033 is in the Los Gatos Mountains. The last profile refers to the averages of all 3 zip codes. These are updated automatically every week – so check back often, it will always be current! Also, I’ve provided links to each of the 3 zip codes reports. Within those weekly reports are great data points, my favorite being the info of what size home and number of beds and baths you’re likely to find per price quartile. Check it out!
Altos Research Profiles of Los Gatos single family homes by zip code
A link is provided to the full weekly report for each zip code. It will bring you to the page for single family homes (houses and duet, or single family attached, homes), but from there you can click on a tab and view the same type of data for condominiums and townhouses if any data exists for them.
Close to downtown – 95030 (read the full weekly report for Los Gatos 95030, which is automatically updated, here):
Primarily East, West, and North Los Gatos (view the Altos Research report for Los Gatos 95032 HERE):
The Los Gatos Mountains / Santa Cruz Mountains – 95033 (see the full 95033 weekly report here, no condo or TH in these areas):
All 3 Zip Codes combined
Los Gatos real estate statistics and trends from the RE Report
The real estate numbers below reflect realty data gathered the first week of the month for the past month in Los Gatos 95030 & 95032, or MLS “area 16”. See the full REReport here.
Los Gatos Trends at a Glance for 95030 & 95032
Prices are up from last year, which is very interesting as many areas in the Santa Clara Valley are lower than 12 months ago. The sale price to list price ratio is up from January, the days on market and days of inventory are lower, and it seems that Los Gatos is moving into a seasonally typical spring warm up pattern.
|Trends At a Glance||Mar 2019||Previous Month||Year-over-Year|
|Median Price||$2,500,000 (0.0%)||$2,499,000||$2,320,000 (+7.8%)|
|Average Price||$2,562,200 (-4.2%)||$2,674,240||$2,624,710 (-2.4%)|
|No. of Sales||25 (0.0%)||25||41 (-39.0%)|
|Pending||32 (0.0%)||32||30 (+6.7%)|
|Active||57 (+18.8%)||48||38 (+50.0%)|
|Sale vs. List Price||101.2% (-0.3%)||101.5%||105.6% (-4.2%)|
|Days on Market||29 (+28.5%)||23||21 (+41.8%)|
|Days of Inventory||68 (+31.9%)||52||28 (+146.0%)|
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.
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)
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 slightly weakening market, 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. February is often a time when markets heat up considerably. 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 very hot pockets.
Same info for last November – the overall absorption rate isn’t much different now, but there are a lot few sales happening.
From mid-late June:
And 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.
From last November, again, not a ton different between then and now:
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.
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.
Los Gatos, Campbell, and Saratoga meet near the intersection of Quito Road and Pollard Road in the far northwest end of LG. People driving through for the first time are often confused about what city is where. To complicate matters, some areas belong to one municipality but have the mailing address, or postal label, of another.
Such is the case with Cameo Park West, a lovely residential pocket of Campbell which is a bit of an outpost for that city and hence has a Los Gatos mailing address to make it simpler for letter carriers. The schools, of course, are not impacted either way since they have nothing to do with the city or town boundaries.
This popular neighborhood, which has claims of some sort to both areas is well built and well kept. For Los Gatans commuting to Cupertino or Sunnyvale, homes in west Los Gatos and nearby offer a shorter commute than from downtown LG or east Los Gatos.
What are homes like in Cameo Park West?
The houses found along Elwood Drive, Hyde Drive, Hyde Court, Bearden Drive, and Pollard Court were built mostly in 1966 and 1967 by a well respected, San Francisco Bay Area builder of houses, Leep Homes. There were many extras that went into homes built by Leep, among them copper plumbing (well before that was typical), two way fireplaces, front porches, formal entry halls, step down living rooms, central forced air heat, wood shake roofs (originally, now most are composition shingle) and beautiful hardwood floors. This builder was active in Santa Clara County and we see Leep subdivisions throughout San Jose, Los Gatos, Campbell and many other places within Silicon Valley.
Cameo Park West homes range in size from 1380 square feet to 2620 square feet and sit on lots as small as 6000 SF to as big as 12,600 SF. Most lots are around 8000 SF and a typical house might be about 1800 SF with 3-4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. Most of the homes in this area are single story but a few are two stories.
Most houses are “interior” to the neighborhood, but some are close to or face Pollard Road, others are next to the freeway (and with it, the high voltage power lines & towers and also the train tracks) or the school or the creek. Many would prefer a creekside setting or a school as a back neighbor, but not everyone shares that feeling.
How expensive is Cameo Park West real estate?
As of this writing, late July 2018, in the current market homes have sold between about $1,500,000 and $2,000,000. Homes may still sell as low as $1.5 million or less if they’re small, have location issues and / or fixer uppers, but within the last year one sold as high as $1,805,000. Continue reading
One 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.)
- List View
- Map View
- Grid View
See all Los Gatos Commons.
(all data current as of 4/18/2019)
Listing information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Read full disclaimer.
All Alberto Way area homes for sale
This includes properties on Alberto Way as well as Maggi Court
- List View
- Map View
- Grid View
See all Alberto Way.
(all data current as of 4/18/2019)
Listing information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Read full disclaimer.
What do you need to know before buying a house in Los Gatos? Particularly for people relocating to Los Gatos (or generally to Silicon Valley) from other areas, or from parts of Santa Clara County not close to the hills, there are a few home buying tips you’ll want to know before purchasing a home in our fair town. (For locals, these may seem obvious!)
1. Los Gatos & Schools
Whether you have school aged kids or not, you’ll want to know that there are several school districts covering the Los Gatos area. School district lines do not follow the town’s boundaries. (Not too long ago I met someone with a home to sell in the Belgatos area and he had no idea that his home did not belong to the Los Gatos Union School District. This caused him to misunderstand the likely market value of his property.)
Santa Clara County Office of Education School District Boundary Map – Sadly the map no longer exists
Town of Los Gatos: List of Schools Serving Los Gatos Students
2. Historic downtown Los Gatos areas
Areas closest to “downtown Los Gatos,” especially the historic neighborhoods (including Almond Grove, Edelen, Broadway, Fairview Plaza) tend to be much more expensive than those further out. The “walk to town” or “close to town” proximity makes them highly desireable, but also these regions of town are very scenic and have some fabulous Victorian and other beautiful architectural styles. Many are tree-lined, too.
Related to both #1 and #2, the public schools are not all that close to downtown Los Gatos. (St. Mary’s Catholic Elementary School is in the downtown area, as is the adjacent Los Gatos Parent Nursery School.)
3. Hillside locales
If you buy a house close to a hill, among some hills or on a hill, you will need to pay close attention to issues which are less common in flatter areas further from slopes. Among them are foundation, water and drainage concerns. Some flat areas near the hills may have a high water table, may springs that come seasonally or in very wet years as well as runoff problems.
Water is often far more damaging than termites but it is not really uncommon to find water in a crawl space during the rainy season. Learn about it and pay heed to property inspectors’ suggestions regarding remediation if it’s a condition in a house you want to purchase.
I wrote about this on my Valley of Hearts Delight blog (covering all of Santa Clara County, but mostly the west valley) and suggest these two articles:
4. Los Gatos address
Some homes with a “Los Gatos address” may not actually be in the town of Los Gatos. Many are in a county pocket or area (and may not have all the services of the town). A very few are actually part of either Campbell or San Jose but were assigned the Los Gatos mailing address for ease of the US Post Office.
How can you tell if a residence is part of the town of Los Gatos, is unincorporated or part of another city? The website for the county of Santa Clara has a lookup service. First you must accept the terms of service (see link above), then you will be allowed to input an address. If you type in a location’s address and it says “not found”, either you’ve got a typo in the building number or a mistake in the actual city, so perhaps it’s unincorporated or belonging to another adjacent municipality.
What difference does it make? The actual address (not mailing address) will impact a variety of things such as services (sherriff vs Los Gatos Monte Sereno police, free access to Oak Meadow Park), planning (any additions, remodels etc. will need to be approved by your actual city), voting in Los Gatos elections, etc.
5. Los Gatos is a town, not a city
Los Gatos is a town. (Monte Sereno, with whom we share some services, is much smaller but is a city, not a town.) This means our government is run a little differently. For instance, we don’t vote for mayor. Instead, we vote for town council members. They, in turn, vote for mayor. (Usually it’s a rotation.)
According to Wikipedia: “There are 481 incorporated municipalities in California, of which 459 are called cities and 22 are called towns.” [Edit: this quote was accurate as of Feb 28, 2011, but has been edited since. On Oct 24, 2017, the page lists 482 municipalities, 22 of which call themselves Towns.] I was surprised that there are so many towns – had thought it was only a handful!
Los Gatos is an interesting, fun, welcoming town. If you’re moving to the area, it’s a vibrant place you should check out. Please call or email me if you’d like more assistance.
Here’s a fun bit of Los Gatos real estate history – pricing from yesteryear! The newspaper ad for Los Gatos homes for sale is enticing. One of them reads:
Rustic type of 5 rms.,
2 Brs., tub and shower bath,
fireplace, H.W. floors, 2 car
garage, lot 60 x 140.
Or check out the house on Englewood:
1 story, rambling type, 6
rms., 3 brs., H.W. floors,
fireplace, tiled baths, 2-car
attached garage, choice
Another one features a house on Almendra for $12 ,750 with “floor furn”, which appears to be “floor furnace” (from the “Must Sell” ad, which spelled it out). Makes me wonder what the alternative to floor furnace would be! Or a house on Massol, also a rustic type for $15,000. I love the description of the “Must Sell” home as “sturdily built” and, surprisingly, “complete, with all new furniture” – $12,700 and just $4,000 down.
Can you guess the year of this Los Gatos real estate advertisement?
Have a look at this and try to guess the year:
What year do you think this ad for Los Gatos homes for sale ran? The newspaper was called the Mail News and Star, by the way.
Keep reading to see the year…