Silicon Valley Short Sale Listings

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. 

Distressed Sales in Santa Clara County
as of Sept 25, 2010:
30% of Inventory is Short Sale or Bank Owned Homes
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%.

How Big of an Impact are Short Sale Listings on Los Gatos Homes for Sale?

May 12, 2010

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”)

Los Gatos pending short sales (houses)

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. 

Los Gatos houses on the market which are short sales and "sale pending" in Union or Moreland School District

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.

Condos and townhouses in Los Gatos which are short sales, sale pending, in the Los Gatos School District

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!

Los Gatos short sale condominiums and townhouses which are sale pending in the Union or Moreland School Districts

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.

Can You Get a Cheap Home in Los Gatos by Finding a Bank Owned Property or Short Sale?

July 25, 2009

Every couple of weeks I get a phone call or an email from someone who wants to get a “cheap” home in Los Gatos by finding a bank owned house or condo, or a short sale, here in town.  Real estate prices in Silicon Valley have fallen substantially due to foreclosed homes, but the areas primarily impacted are the least expensive neighborhoods, not the most expensive ones.

So let’s have a look at the numbers. The chart below is data gleaned by me this morning from, our mls provider.

Currently for sale, available Available Avail Short Sales Avail REOs  % Normal Sales
Santa Clara County SFH 2871 584 214 72.20%
Santa Clara County Condos & TH 915 252 71 64.70%
Los Gatos & Monte Sereno SFH 201 14 5 90.55%
Los Gatos & MS Condos & TH 51 4 0 92.16%
Sold & Closed within last 30 days Sold Sold Short Sales Sold REOs  % Normal Sales
Santa Clara County SFH 1707 229 522 56.00%
Santa Clara County Condos & TH 362 47 123 53.04%
Los Gatos & Monte Sereno SFH 33 2 0 93.94%
Los Gatos & MS Condos & TH 9 1 0 88.89%

The majority of homes selling & closing in Santa Clara County are “regular” or non-distressed sales and in Los Gatos (as in other high-end areas), the percentage of short sales and bank owned properties are very low.

Bottom line: while there are some very good deals to be found in Los Gatos & Monte Sereno (as well as in Almaden,and Saratoga, there are not a lot of foreclosures to buy and prices have not dropped so dramatically in these areas as in other parts of Silicon Valley.


Taking a Pulse of the Silicon Valley Short Sale Situation

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.


3/26/2008 5/18/2008 7/19/2008
Los Gatos 5 8 7
Monte Sereno 1 0 0
Saratoga 0 1 4
Los Gatos Mtns 3 2 3
Cambrian Park 59 63 68
Santa Clara 56 63 69
Campbell 13 19 23
Cupertino 1 1 0
Los Altos 0 2 1
Sunnyvale 50 58 51
Blossom Valley 196 217 190
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.

Buying a distressed property can be an adventure.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

  1. 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.)
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Best regards,


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: &

For more posts on short sales and bank owned properties in Los Gatos (and nearby) please see:

Snapshot of Short Sale Listings in Silicon Valley – Updated

April 15, 2008

Why do short sales matter so much? In a nutshell, “Silicon Valley short sales” are a precursor of real estate price drops. That is, where you find a lot of short sales, you will see “downward pressure” on pricing. Where you see few or no short sales, you will not find this same pressure.

Most short sales do NOT sell before going to foreclosure. There’s a lot of hype about buying your first home in San Jose as a short sale to save money, but there’s no savings if you wait three months and the lender never approves the deal. (Or just as bad, the lender waits so long to say yes that the home is no longer worth what you offered on it.)

Below please find a list of homes being marketed as short sales in Silicon Valley.

What trends do YOU see?


Active Listings of Short Sale Single Family Homes, Condos, Townhouses
3/26/2008 4/8/2008 4/15/2008
Los Gatos 5 8 9
Monte Sereno 1 0 0
Saratoga 0 0 1
Los Gatos Mtns 3 2 3
Cambrian Park 59 73 53
Santa Clara 56 68 59
Campbell 13 23 28
Cupertino 1 3 2
Los Altos 0 1 1
Sunnyvale 50 69 54
Blossom Valley 196 251 200
San Jose (all) 1534 1882 1667

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 (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?