The Twin Creeks neighborhood in Monte Sereno (and a small number in Saratoga) enjoys an ideal setting away from busy commercial roads, with gently curving streets graced by creeks, an abundance of trees, and the coastal foothills as its backdrop. It’s a more rural community in that you won’t find sidewalks, curbs, gutters, or many street lamps – if any. Property in this area is impeccably presented, with nicely maintained or updated homes and often gorgeous landscaping. Both homes and land tend to be large, though not in every case.
The neighborhood does not come across as pretentious at all, although of course it is a very costly place in which to buy a home. I think it comes across as more low key because the homes seem proportionate to the land, and many are ranch style rather than something trendy. These lovely houses are in sync with the space around them, so you don’t end up with the McMansion effect. The houses are nice but do not crowd the land.
As with most of Monte Sereno, this charming neighborhood is served by the Los Gatos Union School District (or the Saratoga Union School District for the handful in Saratoga) and the Los Gatos-Saratoga Joint Union High School District.
Last week (on April 6th) I pulled the statistics for available houses or single family homes for sale in Los Gatos and Monte Sereno (95030 and 95032, not the Los Gatos Mountains 95033). We have been experiencing a very palpable shortage of inventory. Below please find a graph to visually demonstrate where we are, and then the data in numbers so you can see each month compared to the years prior.
And next, the numbers themselves. I particularly like this way to view info as it provides a way of seeing what inventory has been like for the same month in prior years very easily and it also enables the viewer to get a sense of the normal patterns that the local real estate market tends to follow (albeit with some fluctuation). It’s easy to see that the lowest months for inventory tend to be in winter and the peak months are usually in the middle of the summer.
For our current year, this view offers a way of validating that inventory really is low. In March we had 68 houses for sale, but in March 2015 it was 70, March 2014 it was 84 and the numbers rise for each year going back until we see the largest inventory in 2009 at 260 – a very deep seller’s market here.
Is inventory low? Yes, it is – there have been very few months since January 2002 in which home buyers have had so little choice and home sellers such a good opportunity to sell.
(Please note small error on this image – the data was pulled April 6th, not April 10th, but the data should be unchanged.)
It’s early October – many years, we experience an influx of inventory in Los Gatos homes for sale at about this time (between Labor Day and Halloween). Not this year, though. It seems that the uptick in available homes for sale mostly happens in years where it’s a seller’s market. The Los Gatos & Monte Serenoreal estate market, especially in the 95030 zip code, where prices continue to fall, has not been a seller’s market in most price ranges recently. It appears that many homeowners are holding onto their homes for now – probably until the market recovers. My buyers are noticing the lack of inventory too.
(On a side note: I do have buyers looking for a turnkey Los Gatos home with 4 bedrooms, 2 baths and a less than 10,000 sf lot for up to 1.5 million. Nothing currently on the market is a fit for them – if you have a home that might work, or know of one not currently on the market, please let me know. Either zip code or school area is OK.)
Today we’ll have a look at the list prices and inventory for two zip codes, which combined generally make up the area included in the Town of Los Gatos and also the City of Monte Sereno: 95030 and 95032. 95030 is Los Gatos and also Monte Sereno. (There are some funky exceptions: one area with the 95032 zip code out by Pollard and Quito actually belongs to Campbell but has a Los Gatos address for postal reasons. Another area near National and Carlton along the Cambrian border has a San Jose, 95124 mailing address but is actually Los Gatos – same thing, for postal reasons the mailing address is off.)
Another caveat – and a big one – is that today’s study does not include a breakdown by school district. This can be a leading indicator of how your particular neighborhood might be faring. Altos does not use this criteria so I can’t factor it in with this study. On August 24th, I did a post on my Valley of Hearts Delight blog on the Los Gatos Real Estate Market that did include the school district information. This is great data but takes many hours to assemble, so it’s not something I can provide often. But have a look there too – many of the trends are unchanged, even if the exact numbers are different:
The charts below were created by me with Altos Research, to which I have a subscription and the right to publish the charts. Altos uses LIST PRICES in its data fyi.
List prices with both zip codes combined, market separated out by quartile over the last 6 months:
Just 95030 – closer to downtown, usually, than most of 95032, and almost 100% “in the schools”, this is a more expensive place to live than 95032:
Now just 95032:
Now inventory – the upper cluster of quartiles is 95032, the lower one is 95030:
Combining quartiles is a little easier (a quartile is 25% of the market so of course the four tiers will always be about the name in number as each other).
What’s interesting is that although the 95030 zip code is usually more in demand (due to downtown Los Gatos proximity and the famed schools), those more expensive homes have not been getting scooped up by the market quite as fast as the homes in 95032. The latter are more affordable – and affordability is key in most price points. The days on market for Los Gatos homes for sale by zip code and quartile:
Altos provides a “median market action index” (greater than 30 is a sellers market) that is quite interesting – note the huge difference:
Next, by zip code and price quartile. 95030 is “all over the board, with some parts trending downward and others moving upward…
Now for Los Gatos 95032, which seems to be behaving more as a unified group than 95030:
In most of the 95032 price points, the market’s been improving. It’s still a buyer’s market, but until August or September, it was improving steadily.
How’s the market? Really needs to be, “how’s your specific market?” The lowest price points in 95030 are selling well – which has been the case for months. The most expensive homes in 95030 are lagging the most – which has also been the trend. The less expensive homes in 95032 are faring better overall. If we were to break 95032 down by school district (as I did in the post referenced above), we’d find that the homes selling the best are the ones with Los Gatos Schools (not Moreland or Union).
For information on your particular corner of the Los Gatos real estate market or the Monte Sereno real estate market, please contact me. I’d be happy to chat with you – no obligation.