Los Gatos real estate market trends and statistics

Low inventory has been the headline story in the Los Gatos real estate market since last spring. Here’s a multiple year view of single family homes for sale in Los Gatos 95030 and 95032 since January 2015 – I find this to be enlightening since any one year can be an anomaly. The chart below shows us that the average inventory for Los Gatos in May can vary, but not by a large margin and usually sits somewhere between the high 70s to upper 80s. This May fell well below that range with only 45 active listings, the lowest across all visible years!

Seasonal trends for 2020 were thrown completely off shortly after the lockdown order. Inventory never grew to the expected level last spring with available listings consistently shrinking from May through January! And we’re seeing hardly any new growth in spring 2021!

 

Los Gatos Active Inventory - May 2021

 

The ultra low number of listings is due to many factors, one of them being the current coronavirus pandemic and health and safety concerns. For a look at how Covid-19 is affecting the local real estate market today, please check Coronavirus Impact on Real Estate Sales on my other blog.

Some homeowners may be waiting until the restrictions are lifted to list their home, but seller’s willing to jump through a few hoops are benefitting from a very hot seller’s market with limited inventory. If you’re interested in selling your home this year, check out my article on how to Sell Your Home in 2021. When you’re ready to talk to an agent I would love to hear from you!

What is selling best in LG right now?

In general, single family homes listed at or under $2.5 million are selling well, with their sales averaging around 10.9% over list price in May. Those listed upwards of $2.5 millions are also frequently selling above asking with an average of roughly 1.4% above list price in May. Even so, there are exceptions in both groups.

Certain things can skew the data. For instance, a home in Los Gatos listed just over $1.8 million took 41 days to sell and sold at list price, while another listed just shy of $3.5 million sold over 14.4% above asking in only 3 days. When planning to buy or sell, it’s best to look at the data within a mile of your home (or the one you want to buy), and across similar properties, excluding the odd sales which aren’t comparable.

By the numbers: Of the 50 single family home sales in Los Gatos (not including the mountain market) in May on the MLS, none sold under $1 million, 12 closed at or below $2 million (2 went below $1.5 million), 15 sold above $2 and below $3 million, 12 between $3 and $3.99 million, 5 sold from $4 million to $5 million, 4 sold between $5 million and $6 million, 1 sold above $6 million, and 1 sold above $14 million!

The high end price point tends to be 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.

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) – the entire Los Gatos real estate market combined. 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 May 2021 Previous Month Year-over-Year
Median Price $3,000,000 (+10.9%) $2,705,000 $2,000,000 (+50.0%)
Average Price $3,448,340 (+15.4%) $2,988,350 $2,232,100 (+54.5%)
No. of Sales 57 (+7.5%) 53 26 (+119.2%)
Pending 63 (-11.3%) 71 33 (+90.9%)
Active 41 (+13.9%) 36 63 (-34.9%)
Sale vs. List Price 106.5% (+0.1%) 106.5% 100.0% (+6.5%)
Days on Market 23 (+20.4%) 19 26 (-12.4%)
Days of Inventory 22 (+9.5%) 20 73 (-70.3%)

Prices for Los Gatos real estate jumped up, but that’s likely caused by the exceptional +$14 mil sale. The number of sales and sales pending continue to rise well above last year showing heightened buyer activity. Available inventory, on the other hand, continues to fall short year-over-year. Compared to last month, closed sales and active inventory are both up, and pending sales have taken a dip. The sales vs list price ratio held stable at a hot 106.5%, rising well above last year.

Overall it’s an increasingly busy seller’s market in Los Gatos, likely impacted by pent up demand from last year.

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Fiesta de Artes in Los Gatos

Last year, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the annual Los Gatos Fiesta de Artes was cancelled (along with nearly every other regular summer event in town). I’m delighted to share that the Fiesta de Artes website shows a return of the town’s only art & wine festival with the planned dates of September 18-19, 2021!

If you’ve never been, it’s a fabulous opportunity to mill around the Civic Center lawn and enjoy art of various types. It’s free! If you’d like to partake of wine, the proceeds all go to a very good cause.

Please check out all of the details at the event’s website:

https://losgatosfiesta.com/

 

Info from 2019 is below…

 

Los Gatos Fiesta de Artes

 

Saturday September 21st and Sunday September 22nd mark the return of the Fiesta de Artes Los Gatos, Art & Wine Festival, the only Art & Wine Festival in town all year!  It will be located at the Civic Center lawn, and the hours are 10 am to 6 pm both days. (This year it was moved from August to September – hopefully there will be far less “beach traffic” with this timing, which seems like a great idea to me.)

What happens at the Fiesta de Artes?

Think food & drink, art & shopping, dancing & socializing! Once again, there will be more than 150 vendors with a huge variety of artists and vendors displaying and selling their artwork, plus booths with food and wine and of course loads of music throughout both days. Please check out the musical lineup here: Fiesta de Artes music lineup

Where is the Fiesta de Artes held?

Fiesta de Artes will be at the Civic Center lawn across the street from Los Gatos High School.

For more information, please visit https://LosGatosFiesta.com/

Los Gatos Free Music Concert Series: Music in the Park, Jazz on the Plazz and Vasona Vibrations Schedule of Events and Performers

Update on the 2021 Summer Music in Los Gatos

Normally in April and May I’m collecting all the information on the summer musical events in Los Gatos. This year, however, we remain in the midst of a Stay Home order due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Despite ongoing risks, the warm weather and growing vaccination rollout has us hopeful as more things are beginning to open at the state and county levels. On April 2nd newly released guidance for live outdoor entertainment! Sadly, our local summer concerts are booked and planned in early winter, so this update won’t affect most of the usual lineup. Things might look a little different, but you won’t have to wait until 2022 for a good show!

2021 Updates: Free Summer Concert Series Los Gatos

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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.)

 

Ending the Alberto Way Condo Confusion

Map Condo and Townhome communities along Alberto Way in Los GatosOne 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!

Las Casitas

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.

 

  • List View
  • Map View
  • Grid View

See all Alberto Way.
(all data current as of 6/22/2021)

Listing information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Read full disclaimer.

 
 

 

 

Vasona Park’s Fantasy of Lights (Light Festival)

21st Annual Fantasy of Lights logo, from the SCCP holiday event page 2020
22nd Annual Fantasy of Lights logo, from the SCCP event page.

The 22nd annual Fantasy of Lights show at Vasona Lake County Park begins soon! Occasionally people call me to ask about it – please note that I do not run the event – I am only posting information about it. Full info can be found on the county’s park website, linked below.

22nd annual Fantasy of Lights

When: The Fantasy of Lights runs from Friday, December 4th to Saturday, December 30th, 2020 from 6 – 9pm. This year there will be no Fantasy of Lights Walk-Thru, an opening tradition, only the drive-through spectacular. As always, the Fantasy of Lights is closed on Christmas Day.

Where: Vasona Lake County Park, 333 Blossom Hill Road (near University Avenue) Los Gatos, CA

How much: Tickets must be purchased in advance available online through EventBrite. Cost is $20 – per vehicle. One household per vehicle! As of this writing, November 30th, all dates and times for the 2020 Fantasy of Lights are already sold out!

More details:

Please visit the Santa Clara County Parks page for the Fantasy of Lights to get more information and updates on this event.

This year the pandemic is bringing changes on this holiday tradition. However, the socially-distant nature of this event has made it especially popular in 2020! As mentioned above, there will be no walk-through event, no bus admission, limit to one household per vehicle, and nights will run an hour shorter than last year to comply with the mandatory curfew. Visitors health and safety is given top priority for this event!

The annual Holiday Train ride with the Billy Jones Wildcat Railroad does not appear on the BJWRR calendar, and it is unclear whether it will be open for operation during the Fantasy of Lights Season. (In summer I learned the railroad was closed under the directive for Amusement Parks, however their social media pages show that they planned to be open the weekend of November 21-22, so they may be operating under different sector currently.) Check their social media or contact BJWRR for information on operations.

More questions? PLEASE do NOT call me about this event – I’m a Realtor in Los Gatos, I’m not in charge of this venue! Please contact the SCC Parks Dept and check out their website for the Fantasy of Lights! The Vasona phone number is (408) 355-2201.

Please visit Live in Los Gatos for year round events, neighborhood information, photos around the town, interesting real estate market data, haunted places and the occasional historical tidbit.

 

Los Gatos is a wonderful place to visit during the holidays, but it’s also a great place to live year round! If you are interested in buying a home in Los Gatos (or selling one), please contact me, Mary Pope-Handy. I’m both a Realtor in town and a resident myself, working full time in helping nice folks to buy & sell homes here and throughout the west valley.

If you aren’t familiar with the area, here are a few things to know!
Buy a home in Los Gatos (info on neighborhoods, school districts, homes for sale to browse online, links to important local sites & info)
Relocating and buying a house in Los Gatos
Los Gatos real estate on Facebook
Los Gatos real estate market statistics & trends for houses
Los Gatos realty trends and stats for condos & townhouses

 

 

Los Gatos duet homes

Likely the most misunderstood properties in town are the Los Gatos duet homes. This is some of the more affordable housing for buyers looking to get into Los Gatos schools, so is popular for that reason especially.  When offered for sale, they sometimes show up in the MLS as condos, at other times as townhouses, and at other times still as single family homes. If you want to buy one, how would you know where to look? And why is there so much confusion?

 

 

Los Gatos duet homes facing Lark Avenue

 

What are duet homes?

Let’s start with what a duet home is and is not. A duet home is also known as an attached single family home. Architecturally, it looks a bit like a townhouse, though usually larger, that is only attached on one side. This is not a duplex (which has one owner for both sides and is considered “income producing property” since either one or both sides is rented out). With duet homes, normally there is a different owner for each side.

A duet home is an architectural style, and in most cases it’s like owning a normal house – you own not just the airspace of the structure, but also the exterior and the land beneath it. Naturally, they can be exceptions. In the Cambrian area there are duet style homes which are held in condo ownership – the Lone Hill Highlands HOA. You’ll only know which type of ownership you’re getting if you carefully read the preliminary title report. A buyer’s lender will care which it is – if it’s a planned unit development and not a condo, it is often easier to get the loan as the HOA won’t need to get bank approval.

 

Tract 9069 – Los Gatos duet homes

 

Los Gatos Duet Homes - greenbelt view

The small community of duet homes is named Tract 9069 and is built around a pretty greenbelt area.  There’s a bit of grass, some walkways, lovely Japanese maple trees along one side, and a pergola and what appears to be a heritage tree on the side next to the Los Gatos Creek Trail. Sadly, this lovely tract of homes has no name! All three streets serving the two dozen or so properties here have the word Mill in the name – Mill Court, Mill Creek, and Mill Road.

If you want to purchase real estate here, the best best is to watch for streets with Mill in the name. Or do a “map search” on the mls (I have results at the end of this article).

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