Charter Oaks townhome community

The Charter Oaks townhome community was built in 3 phases between 1972 and 1975,  and consists of 101 units on a verdant, green campus. I’m told that the builder was the highly regarded Blackwell Homes.  Each townhome enjoys between 960 square feet and 1,760 sf, with the average being 1452. Most are 2 story but there are a few single story homes as well. Lot sizes are small (1,920-3,205 SF, average is 2477 SF) as there is a great deal of common, outdoors space to enjoy.

Charter Oaks townhome community

Charter Oaks Circle mapLos Gatans are drawn to Charter Oaks for many reasons. First, it offers well built homes that are thoughtfully designed in a beautiful setting. The community features include expansive greenbelt areas and a pool.

The location is a huge plus. It is located alongside the Los Gatos Creek Trail, making it an easy walking or bike commute to Netflix, a simple bike ride to Vasona or downtown Los Gatos, or a convenient route for a longer ride, jog, or stroll. To top it off, this area includes the highly regarded Los Gatos Schools and is close enough to the freeways to make commuting less stressful.

Every area has some location challenges. Because it’s close to two freeways, there’s a bit of noise from the highways but it’s not too bad. The other thing to know is that there’s just one road in and out, and trying to turn left from Charter Oaks Drive onto Lark Avenue can sometimes be frustrating as the cars just keep coming and there’s no traffic signal to help there.

Charter Oaks real estate pricing

Homes in Charter Oaks are selling for about $1,000,000 to $1,300,00 as of early 2020. (See my listing at 126 Charter Oaks Circle here.) As with every complex, some areas will sell for more than others. In this case, because the townhomes are fairly close to highway 17, some areas have road noise and will be a little less desirable.  Some will have better or lesser views, access to parking, natural light, and so on. The condition and size of the unit have an enormous impact on housing values too, of course.

 

Which streets are a part of Charter Oaks?

Includes streets are these: Walnut Hill Court, Charter Oaks Circle, Willow Hill Court, Cherry Hill Court, Almond Hill Court, Spruce Hill Court

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Old Adobe Road neighborhood

Map of the Old Adobe Road area in west Los Gatos - also indicating proximity of the Oakwood and English Oaks subdivisions, plus the cities of Saratoga and Monte Sereno are shown on the map
Old Adobe Road area in west Los Gatos, just off Quito Road

At the northwest corner of Los Gatos you’ll find a really beautiful neighborhood that consists of Old Adobe Road and nearby streets. It’s just off of Quito Road on the border with Saratoga one one side and Monte Sereno on another.

This lovely area doesn’t have tightly defined boundaries (at least not as far as I know), but runs roughly between Old Adobe and Quito at the north end to Bicknell at the south and fanning out to beyond Montclair to about More Avenue. It clings to Rinconada Hills along one stretch, too.

What are homes like in the Old Adobe area?

Today I mapped out the approximate neighborhood using the county records and it appears to have about 250 houses or so. Nearly all were built in the 1960s and 1970s, but 10% of the neighborhood spans a century from 1920 to 2018. Most of the homes are between about 2,000 and 3,000 square feet, but about 1/6 of them are larger, a dozen reach 4,000 SF and up, but that is not typical. Most lots are around a quarter to a half acre, but some are bigger and some smaller. So they are comfortable houses on uncrowded lots in a mature neighborhood.

There are some areas within this part of west Los Gatos with no subdivision name, but others are within identifiable subdivisions: Adobe Manor, Verona Manor, Montclair Oaks, Rinconada Acres, Rinconada Terrace, Rinconada Oaks. (A nearby neighborhood is English Oaks, and next to that is Oakwood. Yes, there are  plenty of oaks in the region!)

 

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Strathmore neighborhood of Los Gatos

Take in a view of the hills from the Strathmore neighborhood of Los Gatos. Beside Blossom Hill with the coastal range rising behind it, homes here enjoy a beautiful backdrop and nature close by with plenty of access to parks and trails. But the beauty and nature is only one part of the wonderful neighborhood.

 

Strathmore neighborhood of Los Gatos sign at entrance to subdivision

 

Despite its quiet charm, this neighborhood is anything but rural. Easy access and practicality are another major draw. Both the freeway and plenty of shopping are within a mile, and shopping on The Boulevard (Los Gatos Boulevard) is only a little farther (about 2 miles by car). A pedestrian friendly area with sidewalks and tree lined streets, Strathmore is a popular spot for locals to stroll, walk dogs, jog, bike or otherwise enjoy a little of California’s pleasant climate.

 

Strathmore neighborhood 2 story house

 

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Blossom Hill Manor Real Estate Market

Map of the Blossom Hill Manor neighborhood of Los Gatos (east Los Gatos)

The Blossom Hill Manor (aka “the Manor” or “Blossom Manor”) is a highly sought after neighborhood with its close proximity to the well regarded Los Gatos schools, parks, shops, grocery stores and major transit routes.  Homes there are nicely maintained, many streets are tree-lined and there’s a good amount of community spirit and involvement in this close-in, walkable area. Explore the area more using my Google Map of Blossom Manor, or take a video drive-through of the neighborhood at my other post, The Blossom Manor neighborhood of Los Gatos.

In this posting, we’ll discuss the Blossom Manor real estate market. The real estate market in Los Gatos has been on fire like the rest of the Bay Area over the last few years, but there’s a great deal of variation from one area, price point, school district, age and condition of home to the next.  As you can imagine, the “fixer” market is very different from the luxury market.

So far in 2019, there have been 15 closed sales in The Manor. A few quick stats on those sales:

  • Average list price $2,150,343
  • Average sale price $2,207,518 (103% of list price)
  • Median sale price $2,060,000
  • Least expensive list price $1,589,000
  • Lease expensive sale price $1,775,000
  • Most expensive list price $2,749,000
  • Most expensive sale price $2,790,000
  • Average price per SF $1,114.61
  • Average days on market 16
  • Average living space 2046 SF
  • Average lot size 9,431 SF
  • Average age of the home 61 years

Of these 15 sales, 9 were over list price, 1 was exactly at list price (an off market sale – the only one not exposed publicly before selling), and the rest sold under list price. 

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The Almond Grove neighborhood in Los Gatos, a scenic and historic district

Map of the Almond Grove historic district in Los GatosThe Town of Los Gatos is home to many lovely neighborhoods with historic homes (Broadway Area Historic District, Fairview Plaza and others), but perhaps none is so quaint or popular as the Almond Grove neighborhood. (See video drive through this neighborhood near the bottom of this article.)

Location, location, location: the Almond Grove’s got it

The location itself could be very compelling alone as the Almond Grove neighborhood is as much “in town” as “walk to town” with so many activities and opportunities happening along North Santa Cruz Avenue, Main Street and University Avenue – all a stone’s throw away. Quite vibrant, downtown Los Gatos enjoys an inordinate amount of restaurants, shops, coffee houses, bars, places to dine , taste wine, stroll or take in a film. It’s also home to free musical concerts in the summer, a parade in December, a gorgeous new public library, a Farmer’s Market every weekend and many other events year round. Finally, the Almond Grove is set near two parks, Bachman Park and the Los Gatos Town Plaza, so there’s a good amount of open space nearby too. There’s something for everyone!

Traditionally designed neighborhood with good community results

105 Tait Ave Los Gatos (Almond Grove district) built appx 1890The allure of the Almond Grove is more than convenience, though. There’s an old time friendliness that seems to come with the big, welcoming front porches on so many of the older houses. Dwellings are also set closer together than one might find in suburbia, too. Rather than live so much in the privacy of the backyard, there’s an invitation implicit with this combination of close neighbors and a front porch that seems to underscore that residents are part of the neighborhood community and a bit less secluded.

The Almond Grove displays that sense of community from October to January especially, when it steps out as the best decorated corner of Los Gatos with a huge percentage of participation in the effort. Halloween is a great example. People’s enthusiasm is evident in by the beginning of October as props come out for the spookiest day of the year. Sometimes even in September, “Land of the Giant” sized spiders begin to appear, life-sized ghosts start to swing from porches and trees, the normally tidy and trim picket fences become smudged with spider webs, and every manner of Halloween decor drapes the district. On Halloween night, the Almond Grove district becomes positively overrun with enthusiastic kids from all over Los Gatos. I’ve been told that some homes get as many as 1,000 trick or treaters on Halloween night there.

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Rinconada Hills

Rinconada Hills, which sits on the northwest side of Los Gatos, adjacent to Saratoga and Cambpell, is a resort-like community with many luxurious amenities. It is one of the few gated communities anywhere in Silicon Valley, and one of the largest in the greater San Jose area.

Built in stages between 1968 and 1981, the homes here were built by Brown & Kaufmann in 5 different sections. The campus is quite large, 107 acres (almost as big as Vasona Lake County Park) and includes 394 townhomes (see floorplans here) and 40 houses, or single family homes. Approximately 1,000 people live here (in a town of about 30,000). Most everyone in LG knows someone who lives at Rinconada Hills!

Rinconada Hills homes

 

The campus includes a remodeled clubhouse (Great Room, library alcove, commercial kitchen, lockers, showers), 10 pools (1 at the clubhouse), spa, and 3 tennis courts. The residents may utilize an extra parking lot for cars or the RV lot for boats/ trailers etc. – though there is a waiting list for that. Additonally, there are 3 ponds plus a lake,  and great views to be enjoyed while walking up the hill in the private grounds.

What are homes like at Rinconada Hills?

All of the homes, whether townhouses or single family homes, have stucco exteriors and tiled roofs, although there’s quite a bit of diversity within the areas and styles. Home sizes range from small 2 bedroom townhouses to large 3000 + SF homes on big lots with views. There’s a little bit of everything, but a typical residence might be an 1800 SF 2 story townhouse with 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, an attached 2 car garage. There are a few single story townhomes as well as single story houses, though.

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Belwood, Belgatos & Surmont neighborhood

Belwood Belgatos Surmont and nearby area mapJust west and south of the intersection of Blossom Hill Road and Harwood Road sits a neighborhood of Los Gatos homes with three subdivisions: Belwood of Los Gatos, Belgatos & Surmont. Nearby public landmarks are Belgatos Park and the Walgreen’s shopping center (corner of Blossom Hill and Harwood), with a Mountain Mike’s Pizza and a Starbucks coffee shop.

For many Los Gatans, all three of these east Los Gatos areas (and sometimes a broader one still) are generally referred to as “Belwood” or “Belwood-Belgatos.” (The Los Gatos Monte Sereno Police cert map identifies the whole region plus the Strathmore neighborhood, which is across Blossom Hill Road, as “Belwood” generally.)

The terrain is nearly level, with very low, gentle hills over most of the area. With winding, mostly tree-lined roads and tidy houses, it’s a very attractive neighborhood overall. For those looking for an arduous climb on foot or bike, though, Harwood Road provides a nice challenge. At the top, you’ll see a fantastic view of downtown San Jose and Silicon Valley for your trouble. (There are some challenges to be found in the open space trails, too.)

Belgatos Park and trails

Grassy fields at Belgatos Park Los GatosAt the middle of this community is the very inviting Belgatos Park, a scenic, setting which includes a playground near the parking lot, picnic areas, restrooms, trails into the hills (with some wonderful valley views), and access to the Heinz Open Space Preserve and its network of trails also. (And it’s not far to the Santa Rosa Open Space area either.)

One hill attracts kids who enjoy sliding down it on bits of cardboard, and thus has been nicknamed “cardboard hill” for decades. Most of the time these cardboard sledding enthusiasts are pretty good about picking up their “sledding vehicles” when done.

The paths are popular with people on foot, but also those on mountain bikes or horseback. As there are a few larger properties which are zoned for horses in the area, this is a very nice equestrian option.

Aerial view of Belwood of Los Gatos neighborhood 2016

For photographers, the park has abundant worthy subjects year round, both of the open space and the valley views below. In the early morning hours, or near sunset, you may see some deer too. But be careful: bobcats and mountain lions are in these hills also.

What are homes like in Belwood, Belgatos and Surmont?

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