Los Gatos real estate market trends and statistics

The Los Gatos real estate market has some mixed data points and it’s an odd time. Inventory has shrunk, sales have increased, but sales are coming it at lower prices. It’s a peculiar combination of a seller’s market but with falling prices. Los Gatos home prices are generally down 15-20% from the peak a few months ago. 

Realistic sellers are pricing their homes low and selling fast. Others are languishing. It’s a tale of two (or more) Los Gatos real estate markets. If a listing is overpriced, it simply won’t get offers close to list price.

As of today, September 8, some info on single family  homes in LG 95030 & 95032:

  • 44  single family homes are on the market in “Active” status – last month at this time it was 48 (of those, 4 are listed as “agent only, show”, and 3 are “agent only, do not show”). The agent only listings means that they are not syndicated to other websites, meaning 7 of the homes for sale will not be seen on places like Realtor.com, Zillow, or Redfin.
  • 7 houses are 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. It was 4 a month ago.
  • 20  houses are sale pending, no contingencies (this is a small number compared to the active listings) – it was 23 last month at my last update for this post
  • 29 houses have closed escrow in the last month, up from 19 last month. The trend had been toward a drop in sales, so this is a reversal.
  • The average sale price to list price ratio for these 29 houses was 97% (down from 100% for my August update) – this figure has been falling consistently

Multi Year Statistics: Los Gatos real estate market

Here is some multiple year over year Los Gatos real estate market data that I pulled directly from the MLS today:

Inventory

Inventory has fallen, making it a harder market for home buyers. Inventory in August is the lowest we’ve seen in recent history.

 

Los Gatos 95030 and 95032 Inventory

 

Months of inventory for Los Gatos homes for sale

If homes continue selling at the current rate, and with no new inventory added, how long would it take to sell off everything currently listed? This number tightened up significantly in August as compared to June.

 Los Gatos 95030 and 95032 months of inventory

 

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Belwood, Belgatos, and Surmont neighborhood

The Belwood, Belgatos, and Surmont neighborhood in east Los Gatos is a tidy community at the base of the hills and close to beautiful Belgatos Park. It includes 4 subdivisions which all share access to the Belwood of Los Gatos cabana. They include:

  • Surmont, the oldest section of the neighborhood, with semi custom homes (“Class D” optional cabana membership)
  • Belgatos, which was built next and is on the west side of Belgatos Road (“Class D” optional cabana membership)
  • Belwood of Los Gatos, a large tract neighborhood with the cabana at its heart (mandatory cabana membership, many homes now extensively remodeled or rebuilt)
  • A small subdivision with 14 homes built between 1977 and 1979 that wasn’t given a name, unfortunately: Tract 5921 (10 homes) and Lots A – D. (“Class D” optional cabana membership)

 

Where is the Belwoood, Belgatos, and Surmont neighborhood?

The community is located on the south side of Blossom Hill Road, generally between Westhill Drive and Harwood Road.

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 newly added cake shop.

 

Belwood Belgatos Surmont Heritage Grove neighborhoods map

 

There’s a fair amount of confusion about what is or isn’t in this neighborhood or who can use or join the pool. Adding to the location confusion, 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.

What are the schools for this neighborhood?

The public schools for this area are Noddin Elementary, Union Middle, and Leigh High School.

What’s the neighborhood like?

The terrain is nearly level, with very low, gentle hills over most of the area. 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.

With winding, mostly tree-lined roads and tidy houses as a rule (there are only a very few exceptions). It is a very attractive neighborhood overall.

Some streets have sidewalks, but many do not. There are not a lot of street lamps, which makes for wonderful night sky viewing.

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. There are 2 nearby places for horse boarding, too.

 

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 this part of town?

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The Vista del Monte neighborhood in Los Gatos

The Vista del Monte neighborhood is a cherished and attractive area in Los Gatos 95030.

Few quick points about why the Vista del Monte neighborhood is so popular:

  • scenic area close to the hills, tree lined streets
  • many streets have sidewalks
  • enjoys a beautiful neighborhood park
  • highly prized Los Gatos schools
  • 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!

 

Vista del Monte tree lined street

 

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.

 

Vista del Monte corner home

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Pricing difference for Los Gatos homes “with the schools” versus Union or Campbell schools

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):

2021 Los Gatos Sales by Elementary School District - pricing differences

 

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:

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How old are the oldest houses in Los Gatos and nearby?

Historic Homes in Los GatosIf 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.

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Moving to Los Gatos? Some Place Names You’ll Want to Know

The iconic cats of Los Gatos (one shown) with the word WELCOME!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.)

 

Glenridge & Bachman Park neighborhood

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.

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