Los Gatos real estate market trends and statistics

Low inventory is the main story in the Los Gatos real estate market for 2020. Here’s a multiple year view of single family homes for sale in Los Gatos 95030 and 95032 since January 2014 – 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 December can vary, but usually sits somewhere between 30 to 40 and occasionally higher. Seasonal trends for 2020 have been thrown completely off. Inventory has been unusually consistent since March with little fluctuation, the result of which is a higher than average inventory in December. This is a shift from the preceding months when, in fact, most of the year Los Gatos inventory has been extremely low.

 

Los Gatos Active Inventory SFH through Dec 2020

 

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.

What is selling best in LG right now?

In general, single family homes listed at or under roughly $2.5 million are selling well, averaging around 8% over list price. For those listed in the high $2 millions and upward, on average they are selling a bit under asking. Even so, there are exceptions in both groups. Certain things can skew the data. A home in east Los Gatos listed under $2 million took over 50 days to sell and sold below asking, causing the days on market for that set to look longer than is actually the case for most homes. 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 don’t apply.

By the numbers:  Of the 22 single family home sales in Los Gatos (not including the mountain market) in December on the MLS, none sold under $1 million, 7 closed under $2 million (only 1 went below $1.5 million), 9 sold above $2 and below $3 million, 5 from $3 million to $4 million, 1 sold above $7 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). 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 Dec 2020 Previous Month Year-over-Year
Median Price $2,776,500 (+18.1%) $2,350,000 $2,075,000 (+33.8%)
Average Price $2,882,500 (+9.3%) $2,638,150 $2,545,930 (+13.2%)
No. of Sales 26 (-33.3%) 39 28 (-7.1%)
Pending 30 (-3.2%) 31 16 (+87.5%)
Active 39 (-22.0%) 50 29 (+34.5%)
Sale vs. List Price 101.5% (-0.4%) 101.9% 99.1% (+2.5%)
Days on Market 35 (+53.9%) 23 43 (-18.2%)
Days of Inventory 45 (+21.0%) 37 31 (+44.8%)

 

Prices rose since last month and last year (although that is likely skewed due to the $7.1 mil sale). The number of sales, on the other hand, is a little below last year and significantly cooler than the month prior. Active listings have also fallen since November, which is normal seasonal cooling, but are higher than 2019 inventory. Pending sales are holding steady and are nearly double the year prior, and the sales vs list price ratio cooled to 101.5%, remaining well above last year. Overall it remains a seller’s market in Los Gatos with some seasonal cooling, possibly impacted by delayed activity from earlier this year.

Read moreLos Gatos real estate market trends and statistics

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).

Read moreLos Gatos duet homes

Thanksgiving Interfaith Service in Los Gatos

Cornucopia - Thanksgiving Interfaith ServiceThe annual Thanksgiving Interfaith Service is a longstanding holiday tradition here in Los Gatos, and this year it’s going virtual. Join in on Zoom by registering online to attend the celebration on Tuesday, November 24th from 7pm – 9pm. The organization under which this happens is the Los Gatos Interfaith Clergy Association. All are welcome!

Each year, an ecumenical service is held at a different house of worship with the theme of Thanksgiving. This year, it’s being held at all of them! The first ever Los Gatos Virtual Interfaith Thanksgiving will be hosted on Zoom and streaming directly from the many sanctuaries of our community.

A big highlight of the event, which often draws about 350 attendees, is the joint choir, which is also going virtual for this event. This year’s event also features a sermon from Rabbi Aron of Congregation Shir Hadash.

Attendance is free and attendees must register online to receive the Zoom link to join this virtual celebration. No in-person celebration or reception will be held this year.

Thanksgiving Interfaith Service sponsors from recent years have included:

Congregation Shir Hadash
Faith Lutheran Church (ELCA)
Los Gatos United Methodist Church
St. Luke’s Ediviscopal Church
St. Mary’s Catholic Church
The Baha’i Faith of Los Gatos
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Los Gatos Ward
The Presbyterian Church of Los Gatos
The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Los Gatos

 

In the past, this also included chaplains from Good Samaritan Hospital, the Terraces and Stanford Health Care.

In past celebrations, those attending the Thanksgiving Interfaith Service were encouraged to bring canned food to donate to West Valley Community Services and St. Luke’s Lunch Program, and cash donations to other charities were encouraged. If you are able, consider donating food, items, money, or your time to a local charity to help the South Bay community during this difficult holiday season. Here are the names of a few:

 

I wish each and every one of you a very Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Remember to vote by November 3rd!

voteElection Day is less than two weeks away, and in addition to the presidential election, there are a number of other candidates and issues on the ballot. Please remember to vote!

This year voting is being done a little differently here in California. Back in 2019, Santa Clara County became the 10th county in California to adopt the Voter’s Choice Act, adopting practices to make voting in elections more convenient, expedient, and accessible. Ballots and booklets on the propositions were mailed out to every registered voter early this month. All voters have the option to vote in-person or remotely by mail or official Ballot Drop Box. The Act also replaces designated Polling Places, assigned by address, with universal Vote Centers, where any Santa Clara County registered voter can vote.

Due to the pandemic, residents have been encouraged to vote early and vote by mail to reduce crowds at Vote Centers. In-person voting remains available throughout the county, but locations have been reduced for the upcoming election. If you aren’t sure where to go, or have more questions about voting, please check the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters website or phone them at 408-299-8683.

There are two types of locations: drop off only Ballot Drop Boxes, and Voting Centers where you can either drop-off your mailed ballot or fill one out in-person.

Ballot Drop Box locations in and near Los Gatos

Ballot Drop Boxes are open 24 hours a day between October 5th and November 2nd, and on Election Day, November 3rd, from midnight to 8pm when polls close. You can also find your nearest Ballot Drop Box location using the County Registrar of Voters search by address using the tab on the left titled “Find Ballot Drop Off” or by checking the complete list of locations. All of the boxes listed below are outdoor sites.

Read moreRemember to vote by November 3rd!

Fiesta de Artes in Los Gatos

It’s no surprise after 4 months of sheltering in place due to coronavirus, but the 2020 season of Fiesta de Artes is off. It had been planned for Sept 19-20.

Stay home and stay safe – we’ll see you again in 2020!

https://losgatosfiesta.com/

 

Info from last year 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/

Restaurants with patio dining in Los Gatos

The Wine Cellar restaurant in Old Town, Los Gatos

In Los Gatos, it may be possible to dine out of doors year round, but it is always a particularly popular option between March and October in the scenic town once referred to as “the gem city of the foothills.” And this year, it might be your only option for a while!

I originally wrote this post back in April of 2019, but barely a year later and it’s more relevant than ever. Restaurants who have had their doors closed since mid-March are finally opening – to the outdoors. Today I want to highlight these establishments for diners and give a nod to a number of the Los Gatos restaurants which offer dining al fresco; we are lucky to have so many choices!

Changes are happening quickly, so this is not a 100% comprehensive directory of Los Gatos eateries that are open with patio dining. Many restaurants not formerly offering patio dining have begun to offer outdoor seating to accommodate guests during the pandemic. Similarly, some establishments that regularly offer patio seating have decided not to offer it at this time. The charts below are mostly thanks to the excellent list provided by the Los Gatos Chamber of Commerce, in addition to a few Google searches, to update my previous list of restaurants.

Some of the restaurants that were on my 2019 list include Forbes Mill Steakhouse and Lexington House. These are all still open offering either pickup, delivery, or both at this time, and they may open for patio dining in the future. Unfortunately, a few restaurants have shuttered their doors for good. Both I Gatti and Chicago Steak & Fish are permanently closed.

Accommodations vary from permanent to temporary outdoor dining and space may be limited. I am not able to confirm all of the locations on these lists, and many have not updated their information online. Last Sunday I drove through Downtown and saw everything from spacious concrete patios dining with colorful shade installations to folding chairs under pop-up canopies. The Chamber of Commerce announced on their Facebook page that the k-rails and parklets are temporary installations to provide outdoor seating and will be replaced with more appealing planter barricades soon.

Remember that California currently requires face masks in all public places, and establishments may have their own rules for diners, so check ahead of time and come prepared.

Finally, I should mention that these restaurants with outdoor seating offer varied selection and pricing, from super casual (Happy Hound, Classic Burgers and Los Gatos Meats are all low key) to much more costly and formal. (And if you want a unique experience, one is at the local nudist resort – Lupin Lodge!) Not every one of these businesses is in downtown Los Gatos either. Links are provided where available so you can check them out yourself.

Did I miss one that should be mentioned? Feel free to email me any updates!

Bon appetit!

Read moreRestaurants with patio dining in Los Gatos