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
Low inventory has been the headline story in the Los Gatos real estate market for the last year. 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 March can vary, but not by a large margin and usually sits somewhere between the mid 50s to 60s. This March fell well below that range with only 43 active listings, the lowest across all visible years.
Seasonal trends for 2020 were thrown completely off after the lockdown order with inventory has been unusually consistent since March with little fluctuation, the result of which was a higher than average inventory in December and lower averages throughout the rest of the year.
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 roughly $2.5 million are selling well, averaging around 6.3% over list price in March. Those listed around $2.5 millions and upward are also frequently selling above asking with an average of roughly 3.9% above list price in March. Even so, there are exceptions in both groups. Certain things can skew the data. For instance, a home in Los Gatos listed under $2 million took over 8 months to sell and sold $1 over asking, while another listed around $3.7 million sold over 28% above asking in just 7 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 46 single family home sales in Los Gatos (not including the mountain market) in March on the MLS, none sold under $1 million, 13 closed at or below $2 million (3 went below $1.5 million), 19 sold above $2 and below $3 million, 11 above $3 and below $4 million, and 3 sold ranging from $4 million to $4.6 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
No. of Sales
Sale vs. List Price
Days on Market
Days of Inventory
Prices fell from last month and aren’t far from last year. However, last month had a rare +$10 million sale, so take last month’s average price with a grain of salt. The number of sales and sales pending are well above last month and last year showing heightened activity. Available inventory, on the other hand, continues to fall short of last year, but grew a little month-over-month. The sales vs list price ratio jumped to a hot 105.1%, rising well above last month and last year. Overall it’s an increasingly busy seller’s market in Los Gatos, possibly impacted by delayed activity from earlier this year.
One 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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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?
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
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).
The 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:
Election 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.