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