Fewer sales, but higher sales prices, in Los Gatos & Monte Sereno

September 05, 2010

The Los Gatos & Monte Sereno real estate markets cooled a bit in August 2010 with significantly fewer fewer sales.  This is true both for houses as well as for condominiums and townhouses.  A word of caution: although the median and average sales prices are rising, this does not mean, necessarily, that individual homes are rising in value.  It may signify just that more expensive homes are selling.

Here’s a quick look at the numbers from my newly updated Real Estate Report (click the links for more info on these categories or for anywhere in the greater San Jose or Santa Clara County areas):

Los Gatos houses (and duet homes):

Sales fell 21.2% from the month before, and were up 4.0% year-over-year.

Prices improved in Aug 2010 with the median sales price rising 5.3% from July, up 22.9% compared to a year ago. The average price rose 5.7%, a year-over-year gain of 14.8%.

Inventory fell 1.4% from the previous month, and was down 4.6% from last year.

Los Gatos condominiums & townhouses:

Big drops in sales combined with significant rise in inventory makes this market especially soft right now.  Sales dropped a whopping 40% from the month before, and also fell 40% year-over-year.

Prices did improve in Aug 2010 with the median price climbing 1.2% from the previous month, down 15.6% compared to a year ago. The average price slipped 12.7%, a year-over-year drop of 16.2%.

Inventory climbed 12.7% from last month, and was up 6.9% year-over-year.

Monte Sereno houses:

Sales declined very dramatically 50% from July, and fell 60% year-over-year.

Prices improved in Aug 2010 with the median price climbing 53.0% from the previous month, up 37.9% compared to last year. The average price rose 32.0%, a yearly gain of 19.4%.

Inventory fell 28.9% from last month, and was up 10.3% year-over-year.

The Los Gatos Mountains:

The mountain communities often walk to the beat of a different drummer, and this month is no exception.  Sales increased 200% from the month before, and were down 14.3% year-over-year.

Prices fell in Aug 2010 with the median price dropping 17.5% from the previous month, up 30.0% compared to last year. The average price rose 4.1%, a yearly gain of 36.8%.

Inventory rose 6.1% from last month, and was up 75.0% year-over-year.

For specific information on your home or neighborhood, please contact me!

A Five Year View of the Los Gatos Real Estate Market (Jan 2005 to June 2010)

July 17, 2010

Today I want to step back and look not at the micro-markets but at the overall realty market in Los Gatos  from January 2005 to the present (through June 2010) and to get a sense of the major trends in our real estate sales.

Ratio of inventory to sales: One of the best ways to gage the health of the local real estate market is to check the ratio between available listings or inventory and homes closed in the last month (that ratio gives us the “months of inventory”). Below please find the numbers of listings and solds per month in Los Gatos beginning in January 2005 and going through June 2010.

Los Gatos Residential Real Estate Listings and Solds Jan 2005 to June 2010

The red bars above represent inventory (or available listings) and the yellow represent solds during that month.  While there are always more listings than solds, the futher apart they are the better it is for buyers and the worse for sellers.  When they are relatively close together, it’s more of a seller’s market (and worse for buyers).   You can see that in late 2006 and into early 2007 those two were at their closest – that was a strong seller’s market here.

Looking at the most recent bars on the far right hand side, which are for June 2010, you can see that sales are up a little but listings are up even more.  The net result is that it’s swung more into the buyer’s favor.   You can scan the last five years and see worse times, though, as in late 2008 and early 2009, when it looked like there was practically a moratorium on sales.

Also, if you find the bars for December for each year, you’ll see that the ratio between listings and solds is better (if you’re a seller).  What’s happening there?  Many homes are taken off the market during the holidays, but those which stay on have better odds of selling. 

Median Sales Price of Los Gatos Homes Sold:  The next big question that buyers and sellers have is how much homes are worth. Over the last 5.5 years in Los Gatos, we have seen our usually strong market take a bad tumble beginning in mid 2008 and then roller-coastering a bit from there. Overall, it looks like the “low” point is behind us, but it will take several more months of higher median sales prices for buyers and sellers to be confident throughout Los Gatos. (This is the town as a whole.  The market can be very different from one price point to the next – this is just a generalization.)

Los Gatos residential real estate median sales price Jan 2005 to June 2010

Average Days on Market: Finally, how long do homes stay on the market in Los Gatos before selling or being pulled from the market?

Los Gatos real estate average days on market

The average days on market are low for many months in the first half of this time period, but there are some spikes.  Just as the ratio of listings to solds is more favorable in December in the second chart, in this one we see that the days on market in December are usually the longest.   It is tempting to say that these homes are “picked over” but not every home that is available in December has been on the market a long time.   Conversely, the shortest months are often (though not always) in early spring – February through April.

This year, the trend for average days on market has been a bit up and down, but overall it’s better than most of what we’ve been seeing for the last two years.  The occasional months with spikes cause us to be less than certain, though, about recovery for this market as a whole.

Absorption Rates for Los Gatos & Monte Sereno Real Estate Market by Sale Type: Short Sale, Bank Owned, Regular Sale

May 26, 2010

The Los Gatos & Monte Sereno real estate market has been improving in recent months.  Below please find the numbers of Monte Sereno & Los Gatos homes for sale right now, both houses and duet homes as well as condominiums and townhouses, followed by the months of inventory for each set.  Six months is a “balanced” market.  Fewer is a seller’s market and more is a buyer’s market.  The months of inventory (or absorption rate) is one of the best ways to gage the market conditions overall.

As you can see, in general the market is “balanced” for houses and condos alike, both hovering close to six months, and is a seller’s market for distressed properties (short sales and bank owned homes).  The bargain prices found with short sales and REOs makes them the hot ticket of the market in general. Short sale and bank owned condominiums or townhomes for sale are the sweet spot of the Los Gatos & Monte Sereno realty market right now with just 1 -2 months of inventory.

April 2010 Real Estate Sales Numbers for Los Gatos Now Ready

May 06, 2010

My Santa Clara County Real Estate Report is now updated for the April 2010 sales

Countywide, there are now more pending homes than available homes for sale here in Silicon Valley!  But how about in Los Gatos?  The ratio is about half as many pendings to availables here, both for houses and for condominiums or townhomes.  (The list price to sales price ratio is also lower here – countywide it’s at about 100% but here, as you can see below, it’s around 96%.)

Get the full report for Los Gatos homes & real estate online.

Here’s the summary for Los Gatos houses & duet homes:

Trends At a Glance Apr 2010 Previous Month Year-over Year
Median Price $1,275,000 $942,500 (+35.3%) $955,000 (+33.5%)
Average Price $1,333,370 $1,235,480 (+7.9%) $1,035,330 (+28.8%)
No. of Sales 29 22 (+31.8%) 25 (+16.0%)
Pending Properties 60 45 (+33.3%) 26 (+130.8%)
Active 130 121 (+7.4%) 170 (-23.5%)
Sale vs. List Price 96.6% 97.4% (-0.8%) 95.0% (+1.7%)
Days on Market 70 89 (-20.6%) 54 (+29.1%)

And for condos and townhouses in Los Gatos (see the full report online):

Trends At a Glance Apr 2010 Previous Month Year-over Year
Median Price $692,500 $543,000 (+27.5%) $710,000 (-2.5%)
Average Price $683,625 $572,833 (+19.3%) $700,222 (-2.4%)
No. of Sales 8 (+33.3%) (-11.1%)
Pending Properties 19 19 (0.0%) (+137.5%)
Active 40 52 (-23.1%) 51 (-21.6%)
Sale vs. List Price 95.9% 101.5% (-5.6%) 94.5% (+1.5%)
Days on Market 56 29 (+96.1%) 74 (-24.0%)

To see the data, charts & graphs for listings and sales in Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, Saratoga, Cambrian Park, Almaden, Campbell, Willow Glen or anywhere in Santa Clara County, please visit my RE Report online now!

How Were This Year's April Home Sales in Los Gatos?

May 04, 2010

The spring home buying season (or spring home selling season) is usually pretty good in Los Gatos, with April being one of the best months.  How was this year?  And how was it in relation to recent years in the 95030 and 95032 zip codes of Los Gatos? 

I ran the numbers myself – so every effort was made for accuracy but it’s not guaranteed – and also ran them in recent years dating back to 1998.  Additionally I provided the “average” so see how this year actually compares. 

For April 2010, there were a total of 40 houses, duet homes, condominiums and townhouses which closed escrow between April 1 and April 30, about 7% off the 13 year average of 43.  The breakdown was 31 houses or duet homes (close to average) and 9 condos or townhomes (30% fewer than average).  So this view shows that it’s a mixed real estate market with trend improving for houses for sale more than condominiums.

 April home sales in Los Gatos, CA, from 1998 to 2010

A look at last year shows a lot of improvement for houses sold.  And a look at the year before that, 2008, also shows marked improvement for houses on the market in Los Gatos.  Not so true for the condominium and townhouse sales, though.  Those sales continue to lag.  The condo market has been hurting throughout Silicon Valley because home buyers can now afford to buy a house and that’s their preference, most of the time.

To see how Santa Clara County did as a whole, please visit my Valley of Hearts Delight blog.

For help in buying or selling your Los Gatos home, please contact me today:
Mary Pope-Handy  408 204-7673 or mary (at) popehandy.com

Are Short Sales on the Rise in Los Gatos?

April 28, 2010

For about two years, I’ve been periodically providing the readers of this blog information on distressed properties, mostly short sales but also bank owned homes (REOs) in and near Los Gatos.  Today’s San Jose Mercury News has an article on the cover by Sue McAllister regarding the increasing number of short sales in Silicon Valley. Across Santa Clara County, short sales account for about one-third of the inventory.  (Another “rough number”: countywide, our prices are down about 1/3 from the peak.) 

What about Los Gatos?  Is the trend here also for rising numbers of short sale homes on the market? Bargain hunting home buyers will correctly tell you that there just aren’t many Los Gatos homes for sale which are short sales.  Some sellers will tell you that the short sales are hurting their home’s market value.  Both are true.

Right now in Los Gatos (area “16”, zips 95032 and 95030), there are 181 houses, condos, duet homes and townhouses for sale.  Of those, 7 are short sales and 2 are bank owned properties. (Six of the seven are priced at under $1,000,000, so the most affordable part of the market is being hit hardest by short sales. One of the listed homes is over $2,000,000.  Four are in 95030, three in 95032.  Three are houses, four are condos/townhomes.)

Let’s look only at the number of short sales in town over the last couple of years (not in relation to the total inventory, but as a stand-alone number).  Here’s what I have for dates and short sales:



4-28-10       7
11-16-09     9
5-3-09       16
10-2-08       8
7-19-08       7
5-18-08       8
3-26-08       5

Inventory is lower than it was a couple of years ago, so it could be argued that the percentage of available homes which are short sales here is greater than it was.  Also it could be argued that many more short sales are to come due to adjustable rate mortgages which are poised to reset.  That may be true.  A quick survey of the numbers, though, does not bear out the idea that short sales are rising in the town of Los Gatos – at least not right now.  Perhaps that is because when they do come on the market, they are aggressively priced and go under contract fairly quickly.  (Unfortunately they stay as pending sales a great long time, so their impact is significant on pricing.)

Interested in more areas?  This morning I also posted an article on my Valley of Hearts Delight blog on this same topic (without the history) covering much of the West Valley:  Monte Sereno, Saratoga, Almaden Valley, Cambrian Park, Campbell, Willow Glen, Santa Clara, Cupertino, the LG Mountains, Blossom Valley and all of San Jose.  Please visit my Valley of Hearts Delight blog to read about them.

February Statistics for Los Gatos and Monte Sereno Real Estate

Below, find list prices in Monte Sereno over the last year, by price quartile. Interestingly, the 1st and 3rd quartile appears to have been changing downward the most while the highest priced homes seem to be faring the best (remember, though, these are list prices not sold prices).

Real Estate Market Chart by Altos Research www.altosresearch.com

Now Los Gatos, 95030, where again the highest median list price seems to be holding better than other price points:

:Real Estate Market Chart by Altos Research www.altosresearch.com

And finally Los Gatos, 95032:
Real Estate Market Chart by Altos Research www.altosresearch.com

In this last group, it looks more clear that the higher the price point, the less the list price appears to be experiencing downward pressure.

Finally, Days on Market in these three areas by quartile.

Monte Sereno, 95030, is mixed. 

Real Estate Market Chart by Altos Research www.altosresearch.com

Los Gatos, 95030 – where it’s really not getting easier to sell a home, overall:

Real Estate Market Chart by Altos Research www.altosresearch.com

Los Gatos, 95032, things are not so dire as elsewhere – perhaps because prices are lower here than in the other two areas.  This seems to be born out by the fact that the highest priced homes are experiencing the longest DOM.

Real Estate Market Chart by Altos Research www.altosresearch.com

What about the role of school districts in all of this?

Much of 95032 is in the Campbell Union High School District.  So I did a little more crunching on my own, looking at school district rather than zip code.

For active listings right now in “area 16” again, here’s what I found for DOM (days on market)

(1) All of “area 16” with Los Gatos Saratoga High Schol District – DOM = 185
Same but a maximum list price of $1.5 million – DOM = 133

(2) All of “area 16” with Campbell Union High School District – DOM = 71
Same but a max list price of $1.5 million – DOM = 66

(3) For all of “area 16” without regard to school district, the DOM = 152
Same but with max list price of $1.5 million – DOM = 106

(Monte Sereno is 99.5% Los Gatos Schools with only the tiniest sliver falling into Campbell Schools.)

So this is a little surprising – we tend to believe that homes with Los Gatos Schools always sell better than those with Union or Moreland. But is that the case?

Let’s drill it down once more to a more specific price range and see, among the active listings, what’s happening.

Price range: $1,000,000 to $1,400,000. I added the average square footage of the home since the results surprised me and I thought this might be an important factor.

(1) LGSHSD – DOM = 100 (av SF = 1904)
(2) CUHSD – DOM = 42 (av SF 2826)
(3) All schools – DOM = 82 (av SF = 2185)

Within this band of pricing, it appears that the homes may be moving faster in the less expensive part of Los Gatos.  Why is this?  Perhaps because it’s taken a bigger correction and is now viewed favorably.  There could be lots of factors.  We could continue breaking it down by neighborhood, by age of construction, and many other factors, including whether or not something was a short sale or bank owned property (which is a separate topic).  It might also look different if we picked apart the pendings or solds this way, so this is not comprehensive, but is a general indicator that homes not in the most expensive part of town are selling easlier than those “closer in”.

For help with understanding the home you want to buy or sell, please contact me!