The recent Los Gatos real estate market’s statistics are pointing to an early spring in terms of the home buying market. Colleagues report busy open houses with serious buyers – and not much inventory to show them.
What is selling best in LG right now?
Of the 14 closed single family home sales in Los Gatos this January, 6 closed under $2 million (the lowest was $1.5 mil), 5 were between $2 and $3 million, 2 between $3 and $4 mil, and 1 between $4 and $5 mil. The high end price point tends to be at around $3,000,000 and up for this part of Santa Clara County. The vast majority of what sold would not be considered luxury properties, even though in most areas of the U.S. these would be luxury price tags.
For the 11 houses under $3 mil, the average days on market was 43, the average list price was $2,013,359 and the average sale price a little higher at $2,030,455. For those transactions, the average living space square footage was 2,180 SF and average lot size 26,280 SF. For this segment of the Los Gatos real estate market overall, it’s a warm seller’s market. The lower the price point, the hotter the market.
Los Gatos real estate statistics at a glance for 95030 & 95032
Next, data from the RE Report for Los Gatos (“in town”), in the Los Gatos Mountains, and for Los Gatos condos (only in town, none in the mountain communities). Below that are the live Altos Research charts, updated automatically each week. Altos uses list prices, not sold prices.
The numbers below analyze data gathered during the first week of each month and cover real estate statistics from the month prior in Los Gatos 95030 & 95032 (all areas / school districts), or MLS “area 16”. See the full RE Report here.
Trends At a Glance
No. of Sales
Sale vs. List Price
Days on Market
Days of Inventory
Prices are down both year over year and month over month, continuing a softening trend. The number of sales are down from last month and last year, and both active and pending listings are shrinking. Despite these signs of cooling, both the Days on Market and the Sales vs List Price ratio are heating up since December. It’s an active market with strong demand, but it’s still only a mild seller’s market.
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 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 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.
Where can you find a 1 story townhouse which is only connected to its neighbor at the garage? This description fits many of the homes at Los Gatos Village, a tidy townhome community in east Los Gatos set alongside Los Gatos-Almaden Road.
Built in 1972, these comfortable homes are well designed both inside and out. There are 163 units and of them, 57 have 2 stories and the rest are single story homes.
How big are the interiors and lots of town houses at Los Gatos Village?
These homes are modest in size, ranging from 1015 to 1494 square feet, generally (one home has 1648 SF – I would love to hear how that happened!). They have 2 or 3 bedrooms and 2 baths (there may be a few with 2.5 or 3 bathrooms, but most have 2). The lots likewise have a range between about 1563 SF and 4520 SF. I believe that every one of them has a 2 car garage.
Los Gatos Village is a Los Gatos real estate bargain
Homes in Los Gatos Village represent a bit of a bargain for Los Gatos housing prices as they are available for under $1 million (as of this writing in August 2015). Three sales in the last six months, from the update here in October 2016, have been in the mid $700s to the mid $900s. Dues are in the high $300s but includes quite a lot – painting, roof, beautiful lawn areas, and a pool. The incredibly good pricing might be why turnover is so low. In the last 365 days, there have been just 5 sales, representing a 3% annual turnover. If you see it and like it, buy it fast.
If you want to watch for these properties in your home search, these are the streets in which Los Gatos Village homes are located: Milmar Way, Los Gatos-Almaden Road, Escobar Court, Escobar Avenue, and Camino del Cerro.
The good and the bad
Very very good: Every home and every location has good and bad elements to factor in. Here there’s a whole lot of good – the price point (esp. for the schools), very private townhomes, many barely attached at all and more like “patio homes” than town houses. The floorplans are smartly designed with good use of space and flow. Many enjoy vaulted ceilings. Outside patios are also fairly spacious as townhome living goes. It’s very hard to find a single story townhome, but there are more than 100 of them here! The complex is very scenic with lots of lawn area and graceful sidewalks inviting a good stroll into the neighborhoods nearby.
What newcomers may miss is the very convenient foot bridge where Camino del Cerro would seem to go through but is stopped by Ross Creek with two points of the road which do not actually connect for cars. But people on bike, skateboard, foot, or otherwise motor vehicle free can get across on the pedestrian bridge. This is very convenient if your goal is to get to Alta Vista Elementary School, which is just 1115 feet or so from the other side of the creek.
And in case you didn’t know, Alta Vista Elementary and Union Middle Schoolare both very highly scoring with API scores well into the 900s. This alone is a major draw for homes in this price point!
But wait, there’s more! From this community it’s less than a mile’s walk to nearby Safeway, a coffee shop and all kinds of little stores at The Downing Center at Los Gatos-Amaden Road and Union. I measured about 6/10 of a mile from the front of LG Village to the shopping center. For those who cannot or do not want to drive, this is a pretty sweet location for taking care of the essentials!
Good schools, walkable area, more accessible homes (single story) set in a quiet, campus like setting – Los Gatos Village does have something for everyone and appeals to home buyers of all ages.
The not so good: The pricing and location is so good that you just know there had to be something making this so affordable, and so there is. High voltage power lines cut pretty much through the middle of this pretty community, far closer to the homes than many home buyers would like. And there’s nothing that can be done about it.
One corner of the community is “kitty corner” from the cemetery, the Los Gatos Memorial Park. For some home buyers, that may be a deal killer, but many will not take issue with the quiet neighbors.
These townhomes are older and some have “popcorn” or acoustic ceilings that today’s buyers do not want. If you otherwise like the home, I would suggest not eliminating it from your wish list because of the ceiling. You can hire someone to do it before you move in and it’s not nearly as costly as most Silicon Valley home buyers would think.
Los Gatos real estate, homes for sale and housing prices
Below please find a list of condos and townhouses which are for sale – as of the date of this article being written, none were for sale in Los Gatos Village.