Lowest Priced Homes Remain the "Best Sellers" in Los Gatos

October 16, 2009

As readers of this blog know, Los Gatos is full of micro-markets, and that can make generalizations about how the “Los Gatos real estate market” is doing a bit skewed. So whatever you read online, or hear about in your neighborhood or from friends, do take with a grain of salt since your home may or not be similar to whatever other home you’re hearing about in terms of how it might sell (or if you’re a buyer, the home you may want to purchase may be different….).

Disclaimer aside, I did a few minutes of data-collecting on MLSListings just now for single family homes (houses or attached/duet homes, but not condos or townhomes) in the town of Los Gatos (not Monte Sereno, but LG with zip codes 95032 and 95030). It appears that the general trend continues: the most affordable Los Gatos homes, generally, are selling fairly well.

What I did was run the numbers (agents: using the “preview” button on REIL), then simply added two other criteria: high school district (Saratoga-Los Gatos High School District and Campbell Union High School District) and then list price of up to $1.5 million. Then I figured out the absorption rate, or the months of inventory (MOI). The solds are homes which have closed in the last month.

Where the MOI is greater than 6, it is a buyer’s market, and where it’s under 6 it is a seller’s market – six months is considered a “balanced” market.

So, looking at the first set, for Los Gatos overall the absorption rate is 5.6 months – or very close to a balanced market. But we know that some areas and price points are selling much slower than others. Surprisingly, when all of Los Gatos with “the schools” are considered, the MOI is 7.7. Given that it feels like entry level homes in that part of town feel like they’re flying off the market, this doesn’t sound right. So look at the second group of numbers, where the price range is limited to those under 1.5 million. We can see that there are only 39 such homes for sale now (vs 101 for all price points) and the MOI is a brisk 3.55. That makes sense. So what’s slower are the more expensive homes, generally. Entry level homes in the schools are selling at a healthy pace.

Interestingly, homes in the Campbell Union High School District are faring even better – and the data is inverted, slightly, as to where the sweeter spot of the market lies. For these homes, those under 1.5 mil are going at a quick 2.4 months of inventory. The market as a whole for Los Gatos houses for sale in this area is lower still, though – 2.23. That demonstrates that the market is even faster in the higher priced homes. My belief is that this is the case because those homes – high end homes in the CUHSD – have taken a bigger hit on pricing and buyers are responding. Cannot prove it in this brief blog post entry, though, but that’s my (hopefully educated) hunch.

What about your neighborhood, or where you’d like to buy? Get hyper local when you think about how “the market” is. Feel free to visit my Los Gatos Real Estate Report and see local sales in your neighborhood. Make it more precise by indating the beds/baths you want to consider, and how far out (in a radius) you’d like to see the comps, or how far back in time. Best part: you don’t have to register, you don’t have to leave a footprint. (Your search is not saved on my site, so I will not be showing up on your front porch!) Or call or email me for a confidential, no obligation, no-pressure consultation.

The Market is Heating Up in Los Gatos

May 10, 2009

The Los Gatos real estate market is heating up, particularly in the homes that are most affordable (and featuring Los Gatos Schools) but noticeable in many areas and price points.

Below please find a graph displaying prices and sales (median and average) for single family homes in Los Gatos.  This graph uses a 3 month moving average to level out any odd bumps in the data such as seasonal fluctuations.
 

Los Gatos Single Family Homes Market Data

(image from www.PopeHandy.ReReport.com, a subscription service of mine, and used by permission)

The actual (not seasonally adjusted) “months of inventory” in Los Gatos looks even more dramatic.  Below, find the absorption rate for not just Los Gatos, but also Monte Sereno, Saratoga, Cupertino, and the average of all four:

Months of inventory for Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, Saratoga, Cupertino and the average of all four
When looked at together, the overall trend becomes exceedingly clear that the market is changing.

Sellers, the market is better now than it’s been in many months.  If your home is not getting activity, it’s time to get it in line with the market.

Buyers, it’s still in your camp in many markets, but your advantage seems to be slipping. 

No one knows whether the market will continue along this trend or if this is just a blip in the Silicon Valley real estate market landscape.  The threat of more foreclosures throughout Santa Clara County will be the thing which can tip this one way or the other.

The Los Gatos Real Estate Market:It Isn't So Bad

January 21, 2008

Tired of hearing the doom and gloom regarding the real esate market? Most of that negative press is national news, not local news. Truly, it doesn’t impact home values in Los Gatos if prices are falling in parts of Florida, Vegas, or even in Sacramento. The local market – our town plus neighboring communities here in Silicon Valley – is the crucial one.

Things are just not that bad for home sales in Los Gatos overall.

That said, “the market” consists of several sub-markets. It’s one thing if you are trying to sell a very expensive home with an unpopular architectural style. It’s another if you’re marketing a modest or at least non-extravagent home in a good location with great schools. Still another if you have a view property…or a lot that could be split. And no matter what, overpriced just won’t work.

A view of the big picture in the Los Gatos real estate market reveals that 2006 was a lot tougher on sellers (and folks watching their equity) than 2007 was. The first three quarters of 2007 were remarkably good for single family homes, in fact. Have a look at the “months of inventory” or “absorption rate” by month for last year for single family homes. (As a point of reference, the National Association of Realtors says that less than 6 months of inventory is a sellers market.)

Absorption rate for single family homes in Los Gatos (95032, 95030) in 2007

For the condo and townhome market, it was even stronger. Once again, it was a little more challenging late in the year (not an unusual pattern for any year).

Absorption rate or months of inventory for the condo and townhouse real estate market in Los Gatos for 2007 (95030, 95032)

What about now? How is the inventory of homes in Los Gatos right now?

About one house in four is selling in this area overall. That’s pretty much the case in Los Gatos, Saratoga, and Cambrian Park. In Los Gatos there are 97 single family homes available and 27 sale pending (in Saratoga it’s 61 and 17, and in Cambrian Park it’s 140 and 34).

The condo market, which was much stronger throughout 2007 than the single family market, is now cooler than the single family home market in town. As of today, January 21st, there are 26 townhouses or condominiums for sale and just 2 under contract or sale pending. (So instead of a 1 in 4 chance of selling, it’s closer to 1 in 10.) In Saratoga it’s a little better with 10 available and 3 pending. In Cambrian there are 41 “class 2” (condo/townhome) on the market and 7 which are pending sales.

Every market presents an opportunity for buyers or sellers. Where’s the best real estate opportunity in Los Gatos now?

Late in 2007, it appeared to be an ideal time to be a “move up buyer” – to sell that townhouse and to buy a single family home. Now, early in 2008, the opportunity has shifted. It is now a great time to sell that single family home and to downsize into a townhouse or condominium.

The market is always changing and the micro markets can all be different from the general trends in the town. If you’d like to discuss your home, your neighborhood, or buying and selling, please send me an email or give me a call. I’d be happy to set up a time to talk with you about your unique situation.

Mary Pope-Handy