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The Monte Sereno real estate market

The Monte Sereno real estate market

Monte Sereno Stained Glass Click Here
The City of Monte Sereno is a popular community bordering Los Gatos, Saratoga, and the Santa Cruz mountains. It’s also quite small, with just about 3,500 residents, so tracking the real estate market trends for the area can be tricky.

The number of houses sold in any given month will always be extremely small and the data will jump around. Checking the Los Gatos market will also help, but the best pulse on the market will come from particular sales in particular neighborhoods.

Houses make up most of Monte Sereno – there are no commercial buildings, just a post office, city hall, and an elementary school. There are also extremely few residential properties that are not detached single family homes. We don’t track the condo or townhomes in this area as we do in other communities because there just wouldn’t be enough (if any) data for it!

First up for the market analysis is the Altos Research weekly profile for Monte Sereno (uses list prices, not sales). This is updated automatically, so feel free to check this article weekly to see what’s happening now with list prices.

 

 

Below is the Monte Sereno Real Estate Report (click to view the complete Real Estate Report).

Trends at a Glance from the RE Report:

By the end of November this small city had only 2 closed sales and 8 active listings – so take any swings in data with a grain of salt. The current chart shows clear and distinct cooling in Monte Sereno, although some swings in the data may be less dramatic than they seem. Why? One of October’s 4 sales was a luxury property valued over $10M. And with so few sales this chart can swing wildly due to one or two exceptional homes!

Inventory, pending, and closed sales dipped month-over-month, and activity is well below last year. The sales to list price ratio also tends to swing wildly with so few sales, but finally dipped below 100% on average for two consecutive months. Overall homes are taking much longer to sell, averaging over a month on market.

Again, with so few sales the data is often sqewed by one or two extraordinary sales. With high demand and extremely low inventory, Monte Sereno remains in a seller’s market with clear cooling.

 

Trends At a Glance Nov 2022 Previous Month Year-over-Year
Median Price $3,424,000 (-14.9%) $4,025,000 $4,000,000 (-14.4%)
Average Price $3,424,000 (-37.7%) $5,497,500 $4,900,330 (-30.1%)
No. of Sales (-50.0%) 4 (-33.3%)
Pending (-25.0%) 4 (-62.5%)
Active (-11.1%) 9 (+33.3%)
Sale vs. List Price 93.3% (-4.3%) 97.5% 105.1% (-11.3%)
Days on Market 48 (+171.4%) 18 (+519.6%)
Days of Inventory 116 (+71.9%) 68 58 (+100.0%)

MLS info pulled directly: the charts below all were pulled from MLS Listings.com

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Twin Creeks neighborhood in Monte Sereno

Twin Creeks Road near the creekThe 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.

What are properties like in the Twin Creeks area?

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Austin Corners: from Popular Resort Destination to Death Curve

In 1940 construction began to widen, straighten, and modernize Highway 9. This was eagerly welcomed by locals who hoped to ease beach traffic and to eliminate the infamous ‘Death Curve’ at Austin Corners. The project was a success and the once bustling, popular, and even notorious, Austin Corners has since become a nearly forgotten by way.

The Austin Corners Namesake

Austin Corners Map

Historic Maps from History San Jose highlighted to show DB Austin’s property of Los Gatos-Saratoga Rd and Quito. Click to go to the source of the maps.

The name Austin comes from Captain Daniel “Dan” Buckley Austin, who purchased 60 acres of land 1.25 mi from Los Gatos around 1882. By 1888 he sold all but the 2.25 acres of his parcel surrounding his home, though the area would keep his name for centuries to come.

Mr. Austin was one of the original stockholders and directors of the Los Gatos and Saratoga Wine and Fruit Company, and his property became the location for the Plant from 1885-1919. The Wine and Fruit Plant was a community effort, “built by local growers… to facilitate the processing of grapes” (LG History Research Collection) and its managers were respected members of the community, such as orchard owner Alfred Malpas and Antone Anderson. Mr. Austin did not live to see the Plant’s destruction due to prohibition in 1919.

Mr. Austin was heavily influential in the creation of a school house and a school district in this part of the county. The original Austin School District’s single room schoolhouse was built on his property in 1884, and was used until a new schoolhouse was built on the same location in 1913 at what is today 19010 Austin Way. This school district was incorporated into the Saratoga School District in the 1920s, and when the highway was straightened the old schoolhouse was raised and replaced with an Arts and Crafts style building that would be used as a nursery school for years (Saratoga History Newsletter March 2009).

A Trip to the Corner

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Creffield Heights and San Benito Avenue area

Creffield Heights and San Benito Avenue area

From from San Benito Ave next to Ashler

A charming Los Gatos neighborhood with diverse architecture in the central part of town, if not quite downtown, is the San Benito Avenue area. This neighborhood sits on a gentle hill, a bit of a ridge, and many of the homes in this section of town enjoy lovely views due to the mild elevation. Here, a small road named Creffield Heights starts at San Benito Avenue and slides back into the hill, where the far point of the road stretches into Monte Sereno before looping back into Los Gatos.

The pluses for this neighborhood are huge: proximity to downtown Los Gatos, proximity to Oak Meadow Park and Vasona Lake County Park, the scenic vistas of the hills, the diverse architecture, the well-maintained homes, the highly regarded Los Gatos schools, and much more.

The negatives are few and far between. In some areas, especially some of the streets running between San Benito and North Santa Cruz Avenue, roads are narrow and overcrowded with cars. In some areas, residents may only park on one side of the street. Another issue is the hill itself. Often with hillside properties and neighborhoods, water running off the hill, or under it until it finds level ground, can cause home owners tremendous headaches. See “What To Consider When Buying a Hillside Home in Silicon Valley

Creffield Heights

I’ve been curious about the inviting little pocket of homes for over 20 years – who could resist the signs on stucco which announce the street and neighborhood name with so much dignity? When I checked the county records, I found just 10 residences on this street (and some are flag lots), so it’s a very small community.  Two of the parcels are in the city of Monte Sereno. The home styles and ages are also all over the place, giving each home a unique charm and personality. It’s kind of a funny pocket! Even so, that area has a little more altitude, so some of the views are delightful.

San Benito Ave Area

This area is much larger and includes the Creffield Heights block. Within this neighborhood are 10 units in condo ownership (built 1981), 6 listed as duplexes (built from 1900 – 1998), and 12 Multi Family Units (built 1918 – 1998). Most of the area is occupied by over 200 single family homes built between 1900 and 2019. The average age for these homes is 62 years and the median age is 69 years old. As you might expect, homes here can vary a great deal, for instance they come in a range of 1 – 7 bedrooms, so buyers looking in this area should expect to be flexible and patient. In the past year (as of writing, March 2020) only 4 homes sold in this area and none are currently listed.

Terrain for the San Benito Avenue area

Below please find a terrain map with the very approximate neighborhood boundaries marked. The outlined and blue-filled area of the map is the greater San Benito Avenue area. The bright green marker is for the appx center of Creffield Heights, and the pale green one is where the impressive “Creffield Heights” sign and entrance may be seen (photos below in slideshow).

Photographs of the Creffield Heights and San Benito Avenue neighborhood

Please enjoy some photos I took recently, mostly on San Benito Avenue in Los Gatos

Real estate prices & homes for sale in the San Benito area

This area has so much diversity that it would be very difficult to give an estimate of what it would take to buy a home in this area. Houses vary in age, size, grandeur, condition, view, and lot size. Many smaller homes on smaller lots will sell for between $1.4 and $2 million. Large homes on large lots, perhaps will views, will sell for considerably more. Over the last year (as of March 2020) only 4 homes sold in this area. They ranged from a tiny home (under 1,000 sqft) on a good sized lot (over 6,500 sqft) for only $1,215,000 to an average sized home on a large lot (almost 7,500 sqft) at $2,210,000. This is a “low turnover” area, but homes that come to market generally sell quickly.

Below please find homes for sale by map for this area, and a list of available homes through the link. (more…)

Loma Serena neighborhood

The Loma Serena neighborhood in Monte Sereno is semi-rural, and it enjoys the distinct advantage of being an equestrian community. This community offers horse trails and a stable which can be rented by home owners in the community. This is a wonderful plus, as many equestrian areas feature homes that are perhaps a little more rural, on larger lots, and which feel less like a neighborhood. Loma Serena enjoys both the neighborhood feel and the community trail and stables. It’s the best of both worlds.

Loma Serena neighborhood in Monte Sereno

Loma Serena neighborhood in Monte Sereno

Where is the Loma Serena neighborhood?

The Loma Serena subdivision is located partially along and just off of Daves Avenue in Monte Sereno as well as on and near Vineland. It is adjacent to the Twin Creeks neighborhood to the west and is just south of the English Oaks neighborhood (in Los Gatos). Loma Serena is within the Los Gatos Union School District (most of Monte Sereno is, but part is within the boundaries of the Campbell School District).

Map of the Loma Serena neighborhood in Monte Sereno

Map of the Loma Serena neighborhood in Monte Sereno

Loma Serena neighborhood streets include:
Daves
Equestrian Way
Via Encantado
Via Palomino (off Vineland)
Via Caballero
Via Pinto
Via Vaquero
Vineland
Plus  one home on Alma Jo Ct, and one home on Twin Creeks

Loma Serena equestrian area

Loma Serena equestrian area

What are the homes like in the Loma Serena area of Monte Sereno?

There are 89 parcels (one vacant parcel, the other 88 with a house built), and 85 of them are part of tract number 3393, for those of you interested in doing some research yourself.

 Loma Serena house in Monte Sereno

Loma Serena house in Monte Sereno

Most houses were built between 1964 and 1975 (the marjority in the 60s) as ranch style homes. The living space ranged in square footage from 2100 or 2300 up to about 3200 SF. Many have since been either rebuilt or enlarged and remodeled extensively and may not look like ranch or ramblers today, but driving through the area, it’s predominantly still single story, larger, unpretentious ranch style houses. Today, a few properties have more than 5,000 SF and the average home size is 3286 square feet. Most have 4 or 5 bedrooms, but some have as few as 3 bedrooms, and a handful have 6 bedrooms.

In addition to a more typical ranch style house, in this area you will also find some striking modern and contemporary 2 story homes.

Loma Serena cul-de-sac house

Loma Serena cul-de-sac house

Lot sizes average about a half acre – most homes sit on parcels of 20,000 to 25,000 SF, but a few are bigger. The average, by my calculation, is 25,550 SF.

Loma Serena neighborhood real estate info

What does it cost to buy a home in this scenic community? Like most of Monte Sereno, real estate prices are high here.  For most properties, values will run between $3 and $4 million, but larger estate like homes which are rebuilt or extensively remodeled and expanded could fetch more than $4 million. A small, “all original” home needing a lot of work might possibly go for less than $3 million, depending on many factors.

This is a small pocket, and turnover is low!

See also the Altos Research weekly real estate market report for Monte Sereno (updates automatically).

Below, I tried to map the neighborhood on the program which allows to to display listed, pending, and sold properties here. My map may not be 100% correct, but the homes showing will give you a general idea of the real estate pricing in Loma Serena.

 

  • List View
  • Map View
  • Grid View

See all Loma Serena.
(all data current as of 12/9/2022)

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

 
 
Loma Serena common area

Loma Serena common area