Update for Los Gatos, Monte Sereno and Saratoga Real Estate Market

January 12, 2009

The real estate sales numbers are in for Los Gatos, Saratoga, Monte Sereno, San Jose and all of Silicon Valley for December 2008 and for the year as a whole.

Santa Clara County Real Estate Report for 2008 (annual report – you may also find on this site the annual reports for Los Gatos, the Los Gatos Mountains, Campbell, Saratoga, etc. as well as quarterly reports and monthly reports – monthly report links found at the bottom of this post).

You already know that things have been bad: money’s hard to borrow, homes are hard to sell, jobs seem to be threatened.

There was some good news to be found, though.

  • Home sales increased in the second half of 2008, and we expect that to continue
  • By the end of 2008, the number of sales were up year-over-year from 2007
  • Prices are down – in some areas prices have “rolled back” two to three years. In other places, it’s closer to four years. This is good news for buyers!
  • If your downpayment is strong and credit is great you can get a loan and the news for you is great: interest rates are very, very attractive now! FHA loans are reappearing! Sellers are considering carrying second loans!
  • Banks are finally getting it together for handling REOs and short sales. New divisions are appearing to handle the increased workload.. These sales should be smoother in 2009.

How about our local market in the west side of Silicon Valley?

The upscale communities of Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, Saratoga, Almaden Valley, Cupertino and other foothill areas with good schools did not fare as badly as most of Santa Clara County in 2008, but they are not immune from the prevailing winds, either.

Los Gatos single family home sales graphs - info courtesy of REReport, used by permission (subscriber).

Overall, inventory is up and time on the market is up while the list price to sales price ratio is down.

Please visit my Real Estate Report at www.PopeHandy.ReReport.com for the complete, interactive report for last month, last quarter, or last year – countywide, by city, or by area of San Jose, or click on the following links to see the most recent monthly report for these areas:

Los Gatos Single Family Homes
Los Gatos Condos/Townhomes

Monte Sereno Single Family Homes (there are no condos or townhomes in Monte Sereno)

Almaden Valley Single Family Homes
Almaden Valley Townhomes & Condominiums

Cambrian Park Single Family Homes
Cambrian Park Condos and Townhouses

Campbell Single Family Homes
Campbell Townhomes and Condos

Willow Glen Single Family Homes
Willow Glen Condominiums and Townhouses

(apparently no homes closed escrow in the LG Mountains in December – in Nov there was one and in Oct one)


Homes Sought for Horses

December 28, 2008

I picked this article up thanks to Google Alerts (for “Los Gatos”). Horses are at the wrong end of hardship with this poor economy, and several individuals and agencies are trying to keep these beautiful animals from ending up in the wrong hands. One of them is right here in Los Gatos.

Love horses? Got room and the ability to care for them? Have a look at the article in the Contra Costa Times:  Free to a good home — the horse of your choice. (Scroll to the bottom and find an equestrian do-gooder in Los Gatos.)

As for me, I wish I had room and the budget. I have fond memories of riding horses in south San Jose and at Garrod’s in Saratoga as a kid here. My parents had a home next to a horse ranch, and as a teen I felt like I was in heaven just to see the horses graze each day. For today I’ll have to settle for spreading the word, but I would love to hear more about this from folks involved.

The Great Silicon Valley Caper is April 27And Benefits Benefits Eastfield Ming Quong

April 19, 2008

The Great Silicon Valley CaperI
If you live in Los Gatos, Campbell, or nearby parts of Silicon Valley, you are probably familiar with the good work done by Eastfield Ming Quong, or EMQ,  in its children & family services. Next weekend is their big fundraiser, The Great Silicon Valley Caper. This is a tremendous opportunity to support addiction prevention work and services to kids and families here in Silicon Valley. Please visit their website at www.GreatSiliconValleyCaper.org to learn more.

And if you can’t swing the caper, there are other ways to help kids and families in need. Local shops which support the nonprofit include The Happy Dragon Thrift Shop in Los Gatos (245 W Main St., Los Gatos, CA 95030  tel (408) 354-4072)  and The Butter Paddle in Saratoga.

Snapshot of Short Sale Listings in Silicon Valley

April 08, 2008

Short sales are on the rise in Silicon Valley. Note the change of active listings identified as short sales in just the last 13 days! The list below does not include pending sales.

Silicon Valley Short Sales - Data from MLSListings.com (REIL)

Related Posts on Short Sales in Silicon Valley by Mary Pope-Handy:

Are there many short sale listings in the Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, Saratoga area?

Can a Real Estate Agent Help You to Buy a Distressed Home or Pre-Foreclosure in Los Gatos?

Are there many short sale listingsin the Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, Saratoga area?

March 26, 2008

Short sale signIn some parts of Santa Clara County, a high percentage of homes on the market in the lower price ranges especially are offered as “short sale” listings. For example, recently I’ve been assisting buyers of single family homes in the $500,000 price range in parts of San Jose (such as Evergreen, Blossom Valley, Santa Teresa and South San Jose). The vast majority of those listings, perhaps 95% or more, are “short sales”.

But that’s not happening in Los Gatos, Monte Sereno or Saratoga. Short sales pull values down, so if you live in this lovely foothill area, be glad that the real estate market here is healthier!

Here are the numbers of local short sale listings as of today, March 26, 2008:

  • Los Gatos – 5 total, 2 single family houses and 3 condos or townhomes which are listed as being short sales as of today (95032 and 95030 areas)
  • Monte Sereno – 1 single family house listed as a short sale.
  • Saratoga – 0 single family houses, 0 condos or townhomes which are presented as short sales.
  • Los Gatos Mountains – 3 single family homes

How does this compare to nearby areas in Silicon Valley?

For comparison, I’ll combine houses and condos/townhouses. The number after each area reflects the total number of short sale listings for that city or district

    • Cambrian Park – 59
    • Santa Clara – 56
    • Campbell – 13
    • Cupertino – 1
    • Los Altos – 0
    • Sunnyvale – 50
    • Blossom Valley – 193
    • San Jose (all areas) – 1534

A high number of short sales creates increased risk on home values. Short sales usually sell for lower than market value because (1) they take longer to sell, (2) they take much longer to close escrow, (3) they have a high rate of never closing at all (most short sales become foreclosures), even if the seller, the buyer, and agents representing buyer and seller are doing their best to get it closed. Often the slowdown is with the lender, or a servicing company representing the lender. They are overwhelmed with files.

It can be a vicious cycle on home values once it starts. A short sale listing finally gets a good buyer and contract to purchase the home. The bank “sits” on it for 30 or 45 days or more. Meanwhile, in areas with a lot of short sale listings, prices get pushed down. Buyers realize after a month or more that the house is no longer what they originally offered on it. They don’t want to be tied to yesterday’s price in a declining market. So after a period of time, the buyer is very likely to stop waiting and either ask for a lower price or go on to a more attractive property. If that first home goes back on the market again, it will need to be at a lower price to keep up with market conditions.

It is easy to find a short sale listing in many parts of Silicon Valley, but it is much more difficult to find them in the pricier areas. We are continuing to see a split or “bifurcated” market in which the higher priced areas are more insulated from the recent asault on home values.

Related post:

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