The Los Gatos real estate market has never been hotter.
SELLERS: Homes that could not sell a few months ago or a few years ago are selling fast, with multiple offers, and often with large overbids. (If you have a “problem property”, this is THE MARKET for selling it.)
BUYERS: if a home you like comes on the market, do not wait until the weekend to see it. It may be gone by then. Not every listing agent gives the property a full week on the market. This happened to my buyers twice in the last week.
Right now we seem to be in a period of hyper inflation with home prices. When prices appreciate at this rate, appraisal problems can happen and buyers will need more than 20% down both to compete and also to pay for the appraisal shortfall, which may be likely in some cases. (For info on the Monte Sereno real estate market, check this link.)
Please note: these data charts were all pulled by me, Mary Pope-Handy, from MLSListings.com, to which I subscribe.
I’m a little inventory obsessed, but check out where we are in December 2021 versus December in any recent year. Buyers want to buy, but there’s “nothing to purchase”.
Please click the image below to see a larger version of it (it will pop open in a new window or tab).
Heritage Grove is a younger east Los Gatos neighborhood which was developed by Summerhill Homes, a very highly regarded builder in Silicon Valley, in about the year 2000. It sits between the beautiful Heintz Open Space Preserve (with trails to nearby Belgatos Park and other open space) and a mini orchard along Blossom Hill Road between Union and Leigh Avenues. Recently I videotaped the community and think it’s a pretty good introduction to the neighborhood.
A few years back, I wrote about this area extensively, and included a map and slideshow, on another of my blogs (SanJoseRealEstateLosGatosHomes.com). If you’d like more real estate information on the homes there, or the open space trails, please continue to learn more here:
The 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
The 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.
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.
The annual Los Gatos historic home tour returns to town for one day only on April 21st, 2018, and tickets will be available to purchase online as soon as February 26th. Sponsored by the New Museum of Los Gatos (NUMU), the annual event showcases beautiful Los Gatos properties from different eras and frequently their gardens, too.
The focus of this 23rd annual Los Gatos historic home tour will be the lovely Johnson Avenue neighborhood!
Seven houses will be on display for tour-goers. The medley of event features also includes some live music and vintage cars for show on the street.
The NUMU site offers this teaser about the Los Gatos historic home tour: “The program guide provided to all tour goers includes historical and architectural information on the featured homes as well as back stories and trivia on the history of the Johnson Avenue neighborhood, including the locations of the former sites of a private zoo of exotic animals, and the baseball field where Los Gatan Hal Chase practiced. (He was later implicated in the Black Sox scandal of 1919.)”
Sunday evening, in lieu of the usual second tour day is a new event, entitled A Bigger Bash.
Please visit the link below or click on the image at the right to get all of the details and to purchase your advance tickets (more costly if you wait to the day of the event).
How long will it take to sell your Los Gatos home? If you own a house in Los Gatos, 95030 or 95032, the answer is “it depends”. Naturally part of the formula will be the condition of the property and how aggressively it’s priced. The pace also will be a function of schools and price point. Generally speaking, the lower priced single family homes tend to sell the fastest (assuming that it’s priced and marketed well and doesn’t have any “issues”). That’s true in all neighborhoods and subdivisions. (The Los Gatos Mountains area, or 95033, is a different market.)
Today, let’s take a look at the Los Gatos real estate market for home sellers by pricing tier and high school district with a view toward the number of days on the market. (You can read about the ratio of actives to solds and the absorption rate at the article linked below under Related Reading.)
We’ll begin with a look at the town as a whole. For homes actively listed and not yet sold or sale pending in town, have a look at the number of properties for sale and the days on market (“DOM”) for each price point:
The average “days on market” for all homes is 70, so you might think that this is how long it will take to get your home into contract. That’s not the case, though, as some homes never sell (even in a red hot economy like ours). Others sell really fast.
What we can see, though, is that the homes in the lowest price point haven’t been on the market long – a hint that this is the market segment that is moving.
Next, let’s have a look at the part of LG 95030 & 95032 with Los Gatos High School.
Notice that the average days on market for this group is 47, not 70. Most groups have double digit days on the market. So perhaps not flying off the market, but not bad by national standards, and certainly faster than the town as a whole. It looks like the answer to “how long will it take to sell” may be improved by being “in the schools”.
How long will it take in the areas with either Westmont High or Leigh High? Overall, a much longer “days on market” are present for the active listings with 124. But the lower prices, up to $2 million, are extremely fast with the few homes in that band only being available for about a week or less.
The actively listed properties are everything available – the good as well as the not so good. If we look at pending sales, though, we’ll get an idea on how fast buyers take the best homes out of the market. Let’s check on the homes under contract now.
Los Gatos is the “gateway to the Pacific” from Silicon Valley – and vice versa. Snuggled into the base of the Los Gatos Mountains, this scenic area offers a charming downtown, architecturally interesting homes and commercial areas, a beautiful natural setting and great public and private schools to boot. Housing costs are high here, so many wanting to make the town their home may investigate buying a townhouse or townhome rather than a single family home.
What does it cost to buy a Los Gatos townhouse?
Housing prices for townhomes varies with the school district, walkability, and proximity to downtown or other features such as having a view. And, of course, the size of home, number of beds and baths, the outside space, and its condition will all impact the home prices.
Most of the townhouses are 2 or 3 bedrooms. There are some 4 bedroom homes and once in a blue moon, you may stumble upon a 1 bedroom.
On the low end, it may be possible to purchase a small Los Gatos townhouse for about $500,000 for a 1 bedroom, if you can find it. At the high end, they can soar past $2 million. For the 48 townhomes in sold in the last 180 days, anywhere in Los Gatos 95030 or Los Gatos 95032, here are the average numbers (list price, sale price, square footage, days on market, HOA fee, price per square foot) all together, for the Campbell Union High School District area of town and for the Los Gatos-Saratoga Joint Union High School District part of town:
What I found most surprising is that buying a townhouse “in the schools” is not so much more expensive than one with Campbell or Union Schools.
What are typical HOA dues for townhomes in Los Gatos?
The Home Owner Association or HOA dues are often a shock to home buyers. As you see in the chart above, an average HOA fee paid for the homes sold in the last 6 months was $530. But they are not all so expensive – or so inexpensive.