What is the difference in home prices by elementary school district in Los Gatos? Here are the December statistics. Normally we’d like to see at least a couple of dozen home sales to be sure of market trends, but in the Los Gatos Mountains there were only two closed sales last month. Expensive homes can be in the mountains, of course, but most of the time, your money will go farther there than down in the valley.
Please click on the image below to see a larger view of Santa Clara County home prices by elementary school district:
Campbell Union Elementary District covers not just the West side of Los Gatos, but also Campbell and a portion of Saratoga. The median sale price is a little higher than in East Los Gatos, but the price per square foot was lower. That surprised me, given that the average home size was pretty close from one area to the next.
The Los Gatos real estate market is really a collection of smaller markets rather than one market that behaves uniformly across home sizes, zip code, price point, school district, proximity to downtown, walk-ability, and much more. An entry level condo will be a different “market” than a $5 million estate. But so do will a perfectly preserved Victorian in one of the historic districts be a different “market” than a ranch style tract home in a tract neighborhood. Today we’ll discuss the major drivers of value and pricing in the Los Gatos real estate market – or markets. (To learn how the market is doing, please use the links at the bottom of this article.)
Many of the large, national websites use zip codes as a way of keeping a pulse on the housing market. Zip codes in our fair town are kind of wonky, though, and often not the best way to track changes in inventory, absorption, sales price to list price, or other data points.
95030 is mostly Los Gatos and Los Gatos schools, but part has Campbell schools.
95030 is also the main zip code for Monte Sereno, and most of that has Los Gatos schools, but not all! Some are in the area served by Campbell schools.
95032 is mostly Los Gatos with either Campbell Elementary (west side of town) or Union Elementary (east side of LG), but some is in the Los Gatos Union School District
95032 has a sliver of Monte Sereno and 100% of it (maybe 150 homes) is within the Campbell Elementary area.
If you are using something like Altos Research, though, just remember that only most of 95030 is “in the schools” and most of 95032 isn’t. If your house is in 95032 but has Los Gatos Union School District, pay better attention to the 95030 info.
Major housing price drivers are the schools and proximity to downtown Los Gatos
Folks living in any of the downtown Los Gatos areas, or close in Monte Sereno neighborhoods, enjoy a double bonus of both the highly prized Los Gatos Union School District and also being close to downtown, often with very charming historic districts as part of the package. These areas are often the most expensive, if comparing homes of similar size, age, lot size, remodeling, etc., as compared to properties further north or even more, at the far eastern or western ends of town.
Measuring Los Gatos home prices by school district
I ran the numbers for the school district, using a hypothetical 1750 SF – 2250 SF house on a lot of 7000-9000 square feet in Los Gatos 95030 and 95032. So think of it as a 2000 SF home on an 8000 SF lot.
In the last 120 days (as of July 27 2016), 11 such houses have sold throughout these 2 zip codes in Los Gatos and the average price per square foot was $802. (The number would likely be higher in Monte Sereno.)
Of the 11, five have been in the area served by the Los Gatos Union School District, and the average price per SF in that area was substantially more at $933 per SF.
The remaining 6 are in the areas of the far west or far east of town, within the areas for Campbell Elementary or Union School District. Average price per SF for this area is $752. (All but one are in the Leigh area, so cannot break it down further.)
Measuring Los Gatos real estate costs by proximity to downtown
Harder is defining “close to town”, but again we’ll try, using similar criteria as much as possible
What’s selling right now in Los Gatos? The Los Gatos real estate market tends to have warmer and cooler pockets. (Please also see The Real Estate Market Trends in Los Gatos .) At the moment, almost anything listed for saleunder $2 million in Los Gatos 95030 and 95032, as long as it’s appropriately priced, staged, and marketed, is selling in under a month – and about half of those that sell do so in about 10 days. The Los Gatos luxury home market is not quite so on fire, though. As the price rises, so does the “days on market”.
Here’s a quick view of the 95030 median list price by quartile (4 pricing tiers). All levels have had some movement, but it’s most dramatic in the highest priced homes.
Next, let’s check out Los Gatos 95032, also for the median list price of houses for sale – same situation here with the most irregular movements happening in the top part of the pricing segments.
Months of Inventory for the Los Gatos Real Estate Market by School District and Price Point
The Los Gatos real estate market is “hot” overall – but not equally, and certainly not in all areas or price points! Yesterday I crunched the numbers from my MLS to provide for you the absorption rate or months of inventory. This figure is calculated by getting the count of active listings (not under contract – some statisticians include pending sales as well) and the sales closed in the last month and dividing them. If there are 3 homes for sale and 1 closed in the last month, you have 3 months of inventory. What this means is simple: if no new inventory came on the market, how long, at the current rate of sales, would it be for buyers to “absorb” the current supply of inventory? The shorter it is, the hotter the market. Five or six months is balanced.
Group One: The more affordable homes in 95030 and 95032 in Los Gatos – up to $2 million. Where it says “infinite”, that means that homes are for sale but none sold/closed escrow in the last 30 days. Where it says N/A, no homes for sale or sold. Have a look:
What’s hot? Up to the $1.5 million point, everything in LG is hot! The cooling starts at $1.5 mil in the part of down with Campbell or Union Schools. For houses “in the schools”, the market remains strong up to the $2 million mark, where it changes dramatically.
How are things for the over $2,000,000 point?
Over $2 million, it’s anywhere from a balanced market to impossible to sell for Los Gatos houses on the market. Homes over $2 million are tough to sell if they don’t feed to Los Gatos High School. But even properties which have LGHS as the school of attendance are challenged to sell in the upper pricing tiers.
Right now in Los Gatos, there are 154 houses (or duet homes) available or for sale in 95030 and 95032. Of them, 4 are short sale listings and 3 are REOs (real estate owned by the bank, or “bank owned”). That doesn’t sound too dramatic, does it?
But short sale listings are priced significantly lower than normal Los Gatos homes for sale, so they sell faster. (Not all of them will close escrow, but that’s for another post.) The numbers are much higher as a percentage of the homes under contract or sale pending. Of the pending sales, there ar 61 single family homes under contract in all, 14 of which are short sales (23%) and none is bank owned.
The numbers become more dramatic when the school district or price point is broken out. A larger percentage of short sales is found among lower priced homes in the Union or Moreland School District areas of Los Gatos rather than more expensive properties which are “in the schools”. Some areas have been more hard hit than others. Tonight I ran the numbers for the faithful readers of this blog and I hope you find it interesting – I did!
First, pending short sales of houses on the market in the Los Gatos School District. The ratio is appx 22.22% of all pending sales are short sales in this part of Los Gatos. (DOM = “days on market”)
Now, houses in Los Gatos which are in either Union or Moreland Schools. Here, the ratio is a little higher – 24% of all sales are short sales. Unfortunately for the folks in the Loma VIsta, El Gato and Linda neighborhoods, a disproportionate number of short sales are in this area, and that’s putting downward pressure on pricing there.
What about short sales of condos and townhouses in Los Gatos? We’ll again have a look by school district (something most news sites never factor in….).
In the Los Gatos School District area of Los Gatos, the short sales account for 30% of the pending sales of condominiums and townhomes for sale. This is a significantly higher percentage than the homes! It is probably due to pricing – the more affordable homes are the hardest hit with short sales, so entry level housing in Los Gatos (i.e., the least expensive homes in town) are impacted the most. This part of town is more expensive than that of the Union or Moreland Schools, so let’s see how it compares to that.
Finally, Los Gatos condominiums and townhomes which are under contract and are short sales in the Union School District or Moreland School District areas of Los Gatos. In this part of town, there are 8 condos or townhouses which are sale pending, and four of them are short sales – so a whopping 50% of the pending sales of townhouses and condos in this part of Los Gatos are short sales!
Although there are some more expensive sale pending Los Gatos homes for sale which are short sales, the majority of short sales are in the more affordable price ranges, so the Leigh High School or Westmont High School (Union & Moreland Schools) areas of town are much more impacted by short sales than the pricer areas of Los Gatos “in the schools”.
How important are short sales to your home’s value? It all depends on how prevelant they are in your area. One can be dismissed as a fluke, but if there are multiple short sales nearby, it will definitely harm home values, unfortunately.