A resource for folks living in or moving to Los Gatos, by Mary Pope-Handy

Los Gatos Real Estate

Time Vs. Money

March 06, 2007
The statistics from February have been crunched now, and we’re finding that the Silicon Valley real estate market is strengthening. Here are the links, if you’d like to review the data yourself:

The Real Estate Report (web based, interactive, clickable links)

The Real Estate Report (printable PDF file)

Interestingly, San Jose is not doing as well as much of the valley, apparently because the entry level housing is so out of whack with incomes that it is difficult for folks to get a toe in the door.

The California Association of Realtors reports that the most expensive median home sales price in the state for January 2007 is none other than our own Los Gatos, beating out the usual suspects of Santa Barbara, Laguna Nigel, etc. (of course they were also on the list of the 10 most expensive cities for January 2007). What does this tell us? Most of all, that we live in a very highly desireable area – and even when the housing market scares folks a little, they are still willing to risk it in buying here.

I think something else is going on, too. There’s an old adage that really, really applies to successfully selling a home in today’s real estate market: Time vs. Money. I think our sellers in Los Gatos are pretty wise overall. Most of them read up on the market and they understand that buyers now want “turnkey” homes, not fixers. So rather than put a house on the market that needs work, most of them are painting, scrubbing, planting, inspecting, and preparing their homes well in advance of selling them. And it’s working. The nice homes are the ones that the buyers want, and they go fairly fast. The homes that are selling are both priced appropriately and they are put on the market in great shape.

So instead of marketing a half-ready home, and then playing catchup with the condition and the price, sellers in Los Gatos who sell (and not just list) their homes are doing the work upfront. They put in the time and effort, and in return, they get a faster sale at a higher price. They understand that “time vs. money” really applies today more than in any other market we’ve had in recent history.

Los Gatos Real Estate Market

February 20, 2007

 

View From Los Gatos

San Jose from Harwood DriveTo the left is a photo I took a few weeks back from the far edge of Los Gatos – up on Harwood Road (where you aren’t allowed to park your car so this shot was taken from the window of my automobile). That’s downtown San Jose in the distance. Behind me are the Santa Cruz Mountains, aka the Coastal Range. Across from me, beyond downtown San Jose, you see the eastern foothills. Beyond them, at some distance, is the Central Valley.

This valley, the Santa Clara Valley, was once known as “The Valley of the Heart’s Delight”. Los Gatos lies at the base of the Santa Cruz Mountains and is a town you’d need to pass through to get to Santa Cruz and the beach. It s a vibrant part of life in SIlicon Valley, though it has only a little industry (Netflix being the biggest Los Gatos employer and tax generator). Most homes don’t have a great view like this, but many do have views of the hills – and those are lovely too.

How’s the Los Gatos real estate market?

So how’s the market in this very scenic corner of the valley? Well, it depends on your price point. For Los Gatos, the most affordable (i.e., really middle class) housing is going fast. Inventory is low. In fact, in January there were 100 homes for sale (not a lot) and as of this moment, there are just 89. We have 36 homes “pending”. Most of these are not at the high end of the spectrum. Prices in our fair town (not a city, but a town – just to be clear) range from a low of $799,000 to over $15 million for single family homes. By and large, the homes under $1.5 million are flying off the market. But there just aren’t that many buyers for homes over $10 million.

In my own neighborhood, Belwood of Los Gatos, there are about 500 homes and last year about 10 of them sold. This is an exceptionally low-turnover neighborhood. Prices in 2006 averaged about $1,230,000 for a home with about 2400 square feet. Right now there’s exactly one home for sale, it’s not far from the average size but it’s listed at $1,380,000. Will it sell for that much? I have no idea. If it does sell close to that price, we will know that prices are rising again. I cannot wait to see this home myself – naturally I want my home to appreciate in value (that is, until I think about my kids hopefully being in the housing market themselves in 10 years…then I hope it just climbs very, very slowly). You can check out the housing situation in Belwood by visiting my site, www.BelwoodOfLosGatos.com and clicking on the “Homes Info” button, or navigate there directly by using this link: http://www.belwoodoflosgatos.com/more/index.cfm?Fuseaction=more_11917
Historical information for recent years is on the following page, which you can reach at the top of the Homes Info page.

So how’s the market? If you are the owner of a high end home and you need to sell, you will say it’s awful. If you own a nicely updated, well priced middle class home, you would say it’s a market that is great for sellers and a little rough on buyers. If your home is not in great shape or is not priced in the bottom third of its competition, you might be convinced it’s a terribly strong buyer’s market. Truth is, it is close to balanced for most homes. It can be a win-win market, but everyone has to be realistic and be prepared to do a little work. But that would be true for most worthwhile things in life: they tend to need a dose of realism and some effort.

What's The Market Doing?

January 26, 2007

What’s The Market Doing?

Date: Jan. 26, 2007
Tags: None

Right now in Los Gatos there are 80 properties for sale. They range in price from $15,950,000 to $795,000 (though the one at $795k is actually a San Jose address but is pulled into the “Los Gatos area” by our mls system). The average list price is $2,979,029 and average “days on the market” is 103 (and 193 for “continuous days on the market”). 

The pending sales (whether a contingent sale, a normal sale with inspection & loan contingencies in place, or all contingencies removed and nearly a closed escrow) amount to 35. For these homes, the average “days on market” is 71 (and 104 for “continuous days on market”). The average list price of these pending sales is much lower $1,774,550. (The average lot size, by the way, is about 3/4 of an acre for these homes.)

So what does that mean? Basically it means that homes which are under $2 million are selling much better than the ultra luxury homes which are at or over $2 million, $2.5 million, or more. There has been one recent sale (still pending) of a home listed at $4,795,950 but this is the exception. Every other home sold in January is at or under $2 million.  There are some higher sales between $2 million and $3 million, but they occurred in December, not January.

What’s most hot is what’s more affordable – by Los Gatos standards.  

Los Gatos Appreciation

January 16, 2007

 

Los Gatos Annual Real Estate Trends

SINGLE-FAMILY HOMES % Change from Year Before
Area Year Sales Median Price Average Price DOM New Listings Sales Median Price Average Price New Listings
LG 1998 376 $660,000 $735,738 55 687
LG 1999 391 $730,000 $863,248 66 575 4.0% 10.6% 17.3% -16.3%
LG 2000 337 $925,000 $1,157,133 40 538 -13.8% 26.7% 34.0% -6.4%
LG 2001 232 $925,000 $1,164,241 65 731 -31.2% 0.0% 0.6% 35.9%
LG 2002 309 $955,000 $1,096,678 71 706 33.2% 3.2% -5.8% -3.4%
LG 2003 310 $970,000 $1,113,078 90 717 0.3% 1.6% 1.5% 1.6%
LG 2004 466 $1,165,000 $1,294,057 61 905 50.3% 20.1% 16.3% 26.2%
LG 2005 413 $1,251,000 $1,366,305 56 823 -11.4% 7.4% 5.6% -9.1%
LG 2006 299 $1,359,000 $1,504,811 57 662 -27.6% 8.6% 10.1% -19.6%

Affordable Housing in Los Gatos

December 06, 2006

liveinlosgatos wreath - Affordable Housing in Los Gatos

Affordable Housing in Los Gatos

Los Gatos is a pricey town. The average single family home sells for about $1,200,000 (starters upwards of $800,000 and it seems there is no upper limit on pricing for large homes on large parcels). So folks struggling to pay the rent, whether employed or retired, might not consider looking in Los Gatos for a below-market rate place to live. But the town has got some affordable housing, and the details are on the town website.  Visit it and learn about both rentals and purchase programs. 

Also, thinking of purchases, there are some great loan programs out there that can help too: Bank of America has an “Acorn program” with great terms (underwritten by a charity), and also there’s a CAL-FHA loan with even more generous guidelines, and then there are also programs for folks buying into zip codes where prices are depressed.  Interest rates have gone down in the last week or two (which is not atypical for December: remember, it’s supply and demand) and this is a great time to buy at a reduced cost.  I can put you in touch with a lender if you want to investigate any of these options.

Renting or buying, Los Gatos is a wonderful place to live.

Hidden Japanese Garden

Hidden Japanese Garden

Date: Dec. 2, 2006
Tags: None

The Kotani-En Japanese Garden is a well kept secret, because this national landmark is on private land – it is not open to the public. I’m a native and only learned of its existence recently!  Even the plaque is on private land and sites that discuss this fascinating place admonish us to not trespass or disturb the owners.

The Saratoga Historical Foundation lists three local Japanese gardens: the well known Hakone Gardens of Saratoga and the lesser known  Nippon Mura, which is halfway between Saratoga and Los Gatos and is now the site of the La Hacienda, and also Kotani-En, which is located at 15891 Ravine Rd (again, private road, do not disturb occupants or trespass).

The California Office of Historical Preservation’s description of Kotani-en is the best I’ve found, so I will quote it here and give attribution:

NO. 903 KOTANI-EN – Kotani-En is a classical Japanese residence in the formal style of a 13th-century estate with tile roofed walls surrounding a tea house, shrine, gardens, and ponds. Constructed for Max M. Cohen in 1918-1924 of mahogany, cedar, bamboo, and ceramic tile by master artisan Takashima and eleven craftsmen from Japan, Kotani-En represents a harmonious union of art and nature in a two-acre rustic environment. Kotani-En is a prominent example of Japanese landscape architecture in America. “

http://ohp.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=21522 (lists all landmarks in Santa Clara County)

Los Gatos Annual Real Estate Trends – Single Family Homes

November 26, 2006

Los Gatos Annual Real Estate Trends

SINGLE-FAMILY HOMES % Change from Year Before
Area Year Sales Median Price Average Price DOM New Listings Sales Median Price Average Price New Listings
LG 1997 359 $550,000 $641,487 66 611        
LG 1998 376 $660,000 $735,738 55 687 4.7% 20.0% 14.7% 12.4%
LG 1999 391 $730,000 $863,248 66 575 4.0% 10.6% 17.3% -16.3%
LG 2000 337 $925,000 $1,157,133 40 538 -13.8% 26.7% 34.0% -6.4%
LG 2001 232 $925,000 $1,164,241 65 731 -31.2% 0.0% 0.6% 35.9%
LG 2002 309 $955,000 $1,096,678 71 706 33.2% 3.2% -5.8% -3.4%
LG 2003 310 $970,000 $1,113,078 90 717 0.3% 1.6% 1.5% 1.6%
LG 2004 466 $1,165,000 $1,294,057 61 905 50.3% 20.1% 16.3% 26.2%
LG 2005 413 $1,251,000 $1,366,305 56 823 -11.4% 7.4% 5.6% -9.1%

Los Gatos Real Estate Annual Trends – Condos

November 26, 2006

CONDOS % Change from Year Before
Area Year Sales Median Price Average Price DOM New Listings Sales Median Price Average Price New Listings
LG 1997 120 $307,500 $331,610 38 172
LG 1998 141 $369,500 $371,263 38 202 17.5% 20.2% 12.0% 17.4%
LG 1999 139 $415,000 $401,278 41 185 -1.4% 12.3% 8.1% -8.4%
LG 2000 142 $549,500 $546,117 27 168 2.2% 32.4% 36.1% -9.2%
LG 2001 87 $487,500 $508,365 63 243 -38.7% -11.3% -6.9% 44.6%
LG 2002 148 $507,500 $532,005 65 280 70.1% 4.1% 4.7% 15.2%
LG 2003 159 $529,000 $531,194 90 277 7.4% 4.2% -0.2% -1.1%
LG 2004 169 $563,000 $590,146 41 248 6.3% 6.4% 11.1% -10.5%
LG 2005 163 $650,000 $670,409 36 222 -3.6% 15.5% 13.6% -10.5%

DEFINITIONS

Med. Price
Median Price is that at which 50% of properties sold were above that price and 50% were below.
Ave. Price
Average Price is the sum of all prices divided by the number of sales.
Ave. DOM
Average Days on Market is the average time it took to sell all properties.
Newly Listed
How many properties came on the market in the given time period.

Info by Rick Campbell of The RE Report (a subscription I have)

Mary Pope-Handy, Realtor, CRS, ABR, e-PRO, SRES, ASP, RECS, CNHS
Helping Nice Folks to Buy & Sell Homes Since 1993
Co-Author: “Get The Best Deal When Selling Your Home In Silicon Valley”
Intero Real Estate Services, Los Gatos, CA (Silicon Valley)
408 357-5760 (Direct); 408 204-7673 (Cell); 408 715-0201 (eFax)
www.PopeHandy.com www.ValleyOfHeartsDelight.com
emailto: Mary@PopeHandy.com
Blog: www.LiveInLosGatos.com

 

Neighborhood Spotlight: Belwood and Belgatos

November 21, 2006

Belwood of Los Gatos, Belgatos and Surmont areas of Los Gatos

On the far eastern end of Los Gatos lies a friendly and active neighborhood of about 500 homes: Belwood of Los Gatos, and also the Belgatos and Surmont neighborhoods – all of whom now share a cabaña.

Mary Pope-Handy's Valley of Heart's Delight logo

Mary Pope-Handy

Realtor
ABR, CIPS, CRS, SRES
Sereno Group Real Estate
214 Los Gatos-Saratoga Rd
Los Gatos, CA 95030
408 204-7673
Mary (at) PopeHandy.com
License# 01153805

Selling homes in
Silicon Valley, with
special focus on
Los Gatos 

and nearby areas,
including
Monte Sereno,
Saratoga,
Campbell,
and the San Jose areas of
Cambrian and Almaden Valley

Helping Nice Folks to
Buy & Sell Homes
in Silicon Valley
since 1993

 

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Photo of Mary Pope-Handy, August 2018

Mary's other sites
and blogs


ValleyOfHeartsDelight blog
Santa Clara County Real Estate,
especially the West Valley areas
*Main BLOG*

Move2SiliconValley.com
Silicon Valley relocation info

popehandy.com
Los Gatos real estate
Silicon Valley real estate,
focus on home selling

ValleyOfHeartsDelight
Gateway to Mary's other sites, info on Mary Pope-Handy's listings

The Real Estate Report
Statistics and trends for Santa Clara County, San Mateo County, and Santa Cruz County - updated monthly



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