Santa Clara County
Looking for great schools, more space, and a less suburban environment? Just beyond the borders of the Town of Los Gatos lies a collection of rural communities situated in the scenic Santa Cruz Mountains, or Coastal Range and together there are known as “The Los Gatos Mountains.” This large region sits above Almaden Valley, Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, Saratoga, and a bit north of there in Santa Clara County, and just over the summit and toward Scotts Valley, Soquel, and Aptos in Santa Cruz County. As the description implies, it is a sprawling area and within it there are different school districts, views, levels of sunshine, natural hazards such as earthquake faults, and amenities which can all impact housing prices and real estate market trends and the market may be very different from one segment or price point to another.
All of these areas fall under the 95033 zip code and have a Los Gatos mailing address, so they are viewed together. Don’t be confused into thinking that areas in the Los Gatos Mountains are the same as the Town of Los Gatos, though – they are quite different.
95033 Los Gatos Mountains Real Estate Market Update
Unfortunately, my usual resource, the RE Report, has no section for the Los Gatos Mountains. Instead, the analysis I have written below is based off of data collected directly from the MLS over September and to date in October.
In the month of September, 6 homes sold in the 95033 mountain area of Los Gatos. Sale price ranged from $550,000 – $1,950,000 with an average of $1,055,750. Wide ranges like this are not unusual. While lot size is usually larger than in-town properties it can also vary a great deal, as does building age and size. For instance, the highest priced home had nearly 10 times the building size of the lowest priced property. Now let’s compare this with October sales, since we are coming towards the end of the month. This time, the range of sales is between $890,000 – $1,887,500 with an average of $1,330,625. What does this show us? The range is fairly consistent. In the mountain area you can still readily find properties for under $1 million – something we are not seeing in any other Los Gatos market at the moment – but you can also find large properties with big homes selling at what would be the medium to high-end for an in-town home.
What else can we learn from the sold listings in September and October? Well, the listing price tells us a lot. In September, only one of the six homes sold for higher than list, two sold exactly at list, and three sold below list price. In October, one out of four sold above list price and the rest sold for less than listed. Inventory is taking longer to sell as well. Some homes are still selling rapidly with two selling in under a week last September, but many are taking longer; in the same month, one sold that was on market for 204 days. The average days on market for September 62 days and 45 days in October, while most of the South Bay has an average of a month or less. What does this all mean? Buyers are having an easier time in the mountain market. Listings on-market longer are receiving fewer offers, and offers under list price are more regularly being accepted. The fastest selling properties where there is greatest demand and where homes have sold over list are within a range of $1 – $1.3 million, which would be considered entry-level in the rest of town but is mid-priced here.
So what about active listings? There are currently 15 active properties on the market. The most recent listing has been on the market only 4 days, while the longest has been active for 238, with the average being 117 days on market. List price ranges from $550,000 – $5,800,000 with an average list price of $1,863,267. Another way to tell that this market is cooler than elsewhere in Silicon Valley is the number of active vs sold, which shows that there is a lower ratio of demand to inventory in the mountain market.
Although the market is noticeably cooler in the mountains than in town and many other areas around South Bay, the market here is still more active than it usually is. Buyers not wanting to deal with the stress of the strained seller’s market, or who are looking for lower-priced homes and don’t mind the drive and other special concerns with hillside properties will find the Los Gatos 95033 market to be a good option.
Mountain Market Trends by Quartile
Below is a chart taken from the October 2017 Altos Research market update. It divides properties into four price quartiles to show variances in market trend. Surprisingly, the last year has been looking a little backwards with prices rising in winter and falling in spring. This might have to do with the available inventory elsewhere, since we typically see more homes go on market around spring and inventory lessening in winter, giving buyers fewer options. The luxury market bounces around a lot because of the extreme variety of homes in that range.
Live Altos Charts
While I do not frequently update the Los Gatos Mountain market post (there are agents who specialize in the mountain market – I am not one of them, though I have sold a number of mountain homes) the charts below will always be up to date. These are live charts, regularly updated and constantly tracking sales and listings from the MLS.
The median list price of homes for sale in the Los Gatos Mountains 95033 – all price points combined:
The median list price of homes for sale in the Los Gatos Mountains 95033 – showing info by price quartile:
Average days on the market (number of days the home’s been listed for sale on the MLS), all price points combined:
Average days on the market for 95033 by pricing tier – it’s typically erratic as the amount of inventory tends to be small:
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(all data current as of 10/18/2019)
Listing information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Read full disclaimer.
The Environmental Protection Agency has dubbed January “National Radon Protection Month“. Radon is usually off the radar in Silicon Valley, but should it be? As it turns out, Santa Clara County is a an area with moderate radon levels.
The only real way to know if radon is a problem for your indoor air quality is to test it. The County of Santa Clara has a page on its site regarding radon, the state’s health and safety code regarding radon, a list of service providers and qualified labs, and more. Click here to go to the Indoor Air Quality page for the county.
Recently in an “advertorial” piece in the San Jose Mercury News, I saw that there are home testing kits for radon available online. The county doesn’t mention these so not sure if it’s omission because the kits are new or an exclusion because it’s a job better left to testers. I’ll let my readers do more research, but wanted to mention it in passing as another option to investigate.
September 25, 2010
How many short sale listings are there in Silicon Valley right now? Silicon Valley is primarily covered by Santa Clara County with a bit in Alameda, Santa Cruz and San Mateo Counties. Today we’ll just focus on Santa Clara County, which is a large area covering about 1.8 million people and includes San Jose as its biggest city with about 1 million residents.
|Available homes for sale in Santa Clara County||4800|
|Homes listed on the MLS as “Short Sales”||1266|
|Homes listed as Bank Owned Properties (REOs)||478|
As of Sept 25, 2010, there are exactly 4800 houses, duet homes, condominiums and townhouses for sale (but not yet under contract, not sale pending) which are listed on the MLS as available. Of those, 1266 are short sales and 478 are bank owned properties or REOs, so a total of 1444 are “distressed sales”, and that’s 30% exactly of the available inventory. This does not count those who are for sale with a missed payment or who have a notice of default filed but do have enough equity in their properties to close escrow without asking the bank to get shorted in the process. The true number of distressed sales is a bit higher than 30%.
July 19, 2008
What’s happening with the number of short sales in Silicon Valley? Are they rising or falling? How does this impact the real estate market in various parts of Santa Clara County?
Let’s have a look at the numbers over the last few months in selected areas of Silicon Valley. Below, please find the number of active (for sale) short sale listings of single family homes and condominiums or townhomes in Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, Saratoga, and other parts of the San Jose area.
|Los Gatos Mtns||3||2||3|
|San Jose (all)||1534||1777||1708|
While there’s a noticeable rise from late March to late May, the numbers are backing down a bit now.
Can we infer anything from this? Yes and no.
First of all, we do not see a worsening of the market overall – the doom and gloomers would like us to think that the sky is falling on the local real estate market, but looking through this lens, it doesn’t appear to be the case. If the numbers of short sales were swelling, it would portend lower prices because short sales themselves tend to sell for less, and most short sales eventually turn into foreclosures – and they also sell for far less than homes which are lived in and loved.
On the other hand, we are not done seeing loans reset. That is, a lot of folks took out mortgages a few years ago with adjustable rate loans that would be level for 3, 5, 7, or 10 years. As some of these get reset, there may well be more people in trouble who scramble to sell with a short payoff to the bank or who otherwise cannot make the new, higher payments. So we may be getting new waves of homes in the short sale pool.
Whenever I do a post on foreclosures, short sales, and bank auctioned homes, I get emails and calls about how to buy one of these homes at a steal of a price. So I’m going to quickly recap my input on what to do if you are a bargain hunting buyer
- The biggest problem with short sales is that although the seller wants to sell, the buyer wants to buy, and the agents want to help their respective clients, the success of the transaction depends on the lending institution approving the sale. In my experience, this is where the problem is – most often, the banks either do not respond (at all, ever), or they take so long to respond that the home’s no longer worth what the buyer inititally offered. Worse, some lenders use a servicing company to handle payments, and some of them would rather service a loan through foreclosure than facilitate a short sale. I spent a lot of time in early 2008 putting short sale transactions together, only to have the bank ignore the offers. My advice: save yourself time and effort and buy a home that you can actually close on. (I am not working on short sales any more in this market.)
- When short sales fail to produce a closed transaction, the property continues through the foreclosure process. The next step is the auction by the bank. There is no role for the real estate agent here, so we Realtors can’t help you with this stage. With the auction, you’ll need a large percentage of cash on hand and you have NO right of recission – no ability to investigate the property and later change your mind. No congingencies – which I think is very, very dangerous.
- Bank owned properties have gone all the way through the foreclosure process. They are usually vacant (in some cases, the bank allows the former owner to stay on as a tenant so that the house is not vacant and vandalized). The bank wants to sell and will permit you to do inspections and to have a reasonable contingency period. The main risk here is that the house may have been beat up by the former owners on their way out. That doesn’t always happen, but it’s certainly a possibility. Bank owned homes are usually offered on the MLS, and a Realtor or other real estate licensee can assist you in purchasing one of these. Agents are not afraid of “working these” because they know that the bank needs and wants to close escrow – so there’s a chance for a happy ending here (unlike with most short sales).
Whether you want to buy a distressed property in Silicon Valley or just want to know how these sales impact your home buying, home selling, or home value, the data is important for understanding how the real estate market is faring here. I’ll continue to keep you updated in the coming weeks and months.
Mary Pope-Handy, Realtor, CRS, ABR, e-PRO, SRES, ASP, RECS, CNHS, ACRE
Helping Nice Folks to Buy & Sell Homes Since 1993
Co-Author: “Get The Best Deal When Selling Your Home In Silicon Valley”
408 204-7673 (Cell)
Blog: www.LiveInLosGatos.com & www.ValleyOfHeartsDelight.com
For more posts on short sales and bank owned properties in Los Gatos (and nearby) please see: