Most homebuyers and sellers in Los Gatos and Silicon Valley generally are familiar with the terms “condo” or “condominium”, “townhouse” or “townhome” and “single family home”. But what about “patio home”? What type of residence is that? It’s an unknown to many consumers – and many real estate professionals too!
A patio home is sometimes referred to as a zero lot line home. It is a house (not attached to any other home) in which the structure is built against one of the property lines.
In a regular single family home, the building has a few feet on each side between the structure and the property line – that is known as a setback. In other words, you can walk around all four sides of the home without going on anyone else’s property.
That isn’t the case with a patio home. There’s no setback on one side.
A patio home is build up against the property line such that the owner cannot walk all the way around the house without going on someone else’s property.
There are advantages and disadvantages of patio homes. Advantages include more privacy than a townhome or condo would offer, and better use of land adjacent to the home since there aren’t small 5-8 foot side yards, but instead something more sizeable and useable.
Disadvantages include the lack of windows on the side of the home which is built on the property line and the inability to protect the side of the home that functions as a fence or boundary for the neighbors.
By way of example, if the side of your patio home that lines the boundary gets excessive moisture because the neighbors vigorously water their plants and don’t worry about hitting your house, that’s a problem. Additionally, since you cannot see what’s happening without asking the neighbors if you can go on their land to keep an eye on your exterior wall, there’s a risk that the structure could be getting damaged and you’d never know it. So there’s a loss of control and a loss of information that’s intrinsic to this type of home.
Additionally, many patio home communities have an association fee and that also needs to be factored in.
Patio homes tend to be less expensive than standard single family homes. The difference is often in the 5 – 10% range, but it varies with the individual home and the real estate market conditions at the time of sale.
Should you buy a patio home? It’s on a continuum between townhomes and single family homes. It may be the best compromise for you, or it could be a big headache. My thinking, generally, is that if you can buy a single family home for the same amount and same quality, your money is better spent there. But if you’re in the market for a townhome or a duet home (or duplex), this is definitely a step up and worth a little stretch.
If you’ve been house hunting for a turnkey property with highly regarded Los Gatos schools, you’ll be happy to hear about my newest listing at 126 Charter Oaks Circle.
This is a sunny, updated & remodeled 3 bed, 2.5 bath townhouse with approximately 1574 SF in the beautiful Charter Oaks townhome community! It is offered at $1,125,000. A turnkey property, 126 Charter Oaks Circle includes many amenities:
- dual pane windows
- engineered hardwood floors (less than 2 years old)
- newly remodeled hall bath (in 2017)
- newly remodeled master bath (in 2017)
- vaulted ceilings
- air conditioning
- recessed lights
- ceiling fans in bedrooms
- kitchen updated in late 2016 with quartz counters, tile back splash, and stainless appliances and sink.
- open concept floor plan
- private front courtyard with slate patio and double door entry
- master suite includes a deck with greenbelt view
- large powder room also accommodates laundry
- washer, dryer and fridge all stay
- 2 car garage
Easy commute location with quick access to both Highway 85 and Highway 17. Enjoy the Los Gatos Creek Trail, which is steps away, or relax at the Charter Oaks community pool.
Fantastic, highly rated Los Gatos Schools: Blossom Hill Elementary, Fisher Middle, Los Gatos High.
Open house schedule for 126 Charter Oaks Circle:
From Lark Avenue, turn north onto Charter Oaks Drive, then left onto Charter Oaks Circle. You will see the Sereno Group “for sale” sign near the garage. Please use the guest parking spaces and do not block any driveways when viewing the home.
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The Charter Oaks townhome community was built in 3 phases between 1972 and 1975, and consists of 101 units on a verdant, green campus. I’m told that the builder was the highly regarded Blackwell Homes. Each townhome enjoys between 960 square feet and 1,760 sf, with the average being 1452. Most are 2 story but there are a few single story homes as well. Lot sizes are small (1,920-3,205 SF, average is 2477 SF) as there is a great deal of common, outdoors space to enjoy.
Los Gatans are drawn to Charter Oaks for many reasons. First, it offers well built homes that are thoughtfully designed in a beautiful setting. The community features include expansive greenbelt areas and a pool.
The location is a huge plus. It is located alongside the Los Gatos Creek Trail, making it an easy walking or bike commute to Netflix, a simple bike ride to Vasona or downtown Los Gatos, or a convenient route for a longer ride, jog, or stroll. To top it off, this area includes the highly regarded Los Gatos Schools and is close enough to the freeways to make commuting less stressful.
Every area has some location challenges. Because it’s close to two freeways, there’s a bit of noise from the highways but it’s not too bad. The other thing to know is that there’s just one road in and out, and trying to turn left from Charter Oaks Drive onto Lark Avenue can sometimes be frustrating as the cars just keep coming and there’s no traffic signal to help there.
Charter Oaks real estate pricing
Homes in Charter Oaks are selling for about $1,100,000 to $1,200,00 as of spring 2017. (See my listing at 126 Charter Oaks Circle here.) As with every complex, some areas will sell for more than others. In this case, because the townhomes are fairly close to highway 17, some areas have road noise and will be a little less desirable. Some will have better or lesser views, access to parking, natural light, and so on. The condition and size of the unit have an enormous impact on housing values too, of course.
Which streets are a part of Charter Oaks?
Includes streets are these: Walnut Hill Court, Charter Oaks Circle, Willow Hill Court, Cherry Hill Court, Almond Hill Court, Spruce Hill Court
What does it cost to buy a Los Gatos townhouse? What are typical HOA dues for townhomes in Los Gatos?
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. Continue reading
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 School are 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.
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See all Real estate matching your search.
(all data current as of 7/21/2019)
Listing information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Read full disclaimer.
January 06, 2010
My Santa Clara County Real Estate Report is now updated to include the data from December 2009 for Los Gatos, San Jose, and, of course, all of Santa Clara County.
From any of the links below, you can navigate to see the same info for he county as a whole or other areas (both cities and districts within San Jose such as Cambrian Park or Almaden Valley).
Los Gatos residential real estate prices are down year-over-year (10-20% for most homes). Los Gatos has mixed indicators – some numbers are better, some are worse. Have we hit the bottom yet? Some say yes, some think that there are further corrections still to come. Inventory is down, which puts pressure on prices. We will know better by mid-February or early March if this will be at all a typical spring home buying season.
October 22, 2009
The post below was written in Oct 2009. For a more current article and market update, please see:Absorption Rates for Los Gatos & Monte Sereno Real Estate Market in May 2010
If you are thinking of buying or selling a Los Gatos condo or townhouse, it’s helpful to know what the market’s doing – that is, what are the Los Gatos real estate trends and statistics for the condo market.
Today we’ll have a look at the Los Gatos condo market in terms of pricing, inventory, and days on market. We will study Los Gatos as a whole and broken out by zip code, and also by price quartile too. The data below is via Altos Research, to which I am a subscriber & so I have the right to use the charts & graphs here. (Note: Altos Research uses list prices, not sold prices.) The charts I’m uploading will automatically update, so if you pull up this post long after it’s been written, the charts will still be “live” and should be accurate.
First, the pricing trends for condos and townhomes in 95030 and 95032 combined (so all of Los Gatos together) over the last year, and separated by quartile:
Generally, it’s been a year of some increases but overall decreases in list prices year over year (as of late October 2009).
Following, the two zip codes separated, but the quartiles combined:
Interestingly, the 95030 part of Los Gatos was dropping this time last year (10-2008) while the 95032 market was mostly improving. I suspect that this is due to the cost of living: 95032 is simply less expensive.
Getting more specific: now see Los Gatos 95030 condos and townhomes, broken out by price quartile:
Fascinating to see what happened with the group that had been the second quartile and ended up at the bottom! The deepest decines in value (or pricing) have come in the highest price ranges. This is true in Saratoga and other high-end markets around Silicon Valley and in parts of San Jose (such as Almaden Valley) too.
Same pricing info but for Los Gatos 95032:
The 95032 patterns seemed to follow a more understandable path than 95030.
Next, inventory – the available townhouses and condominiums to buy in Los Gatos (both zips combined)over the last 12 months:
Inventory for 95030:
And inventory for 95032:
Now, we’ll look at the average Days on Market. Things are really interesting here as we view all of Los Gatos by quartile.:
And again, we’ll drill down to the zip code & quartile view of the Los Gatos condo and townhome market as we consider the average days on market:
In the 95030 part of Los Gatos, interestingly, the least expensive condos are taking the longest to sell. Why might that be the case? Here’s my hunch: most of this zip code is “in the schools” (enjoying Blossom Hill Elementary, Van Meter Elementry, or Daves Avenue School as well as Fisher Middle School and Los Gatos High). The least expensive homes often fall into one of two categories: seniors housing (Alberto Way, the Los Gatos Commons) or small, entry level condos with only one bedroom. Neither of these would require the highly regarded Los Gatos Schools.
Conversely, in the 95032 part of town, it’s the most expensive townhomes and condos that are taking the longest to sell. A possible reason is that people who can afford a high end condo can also afford a single family home – and right now, the houses have come down so much in price that they are not as out of reach as they were in the past. Most likely, homebuyers are preferring to buy a house (perhaps in Cambrian Park or Willow Glen) rather than a costly condo.
Even more data:
I just ran a little more info off of MLSListings.com, our MLS provider here in the San Jose area, and see that in Los Gatos (both zip codes) 26 condos and townhomes sold & closed in the last month, and there are 132 available today. That means there are 5 months of inventory, which is just a little into the seller’s market territory.
95030 – 51 available, 6 sold in last month = 8.5 months of inventory – av sales price = $1,301,667
95032 – 81 available, 20 sold in last month = 4.05 months of inventory – av sales pr = $1,068,360
Very very interesting that it’s approximately twice as easy to sell a condo in 95032 than in 95030. In most of Santa Clara County, the most affordable homes are the ones selling the best. That general trend appears to be in full swing here in Los Gatos among the townhouse and condo market too.
If you’d like to sell or buy a Los Gatos condo or townhouse, please contact me. I’d be happy to have a confidential, no obligation conversation with you about your wants, needs and plans.
Although it can be a bit of a challenge to sell a condominium or townhome in Los Gatos, it’s not impossible if the pricing, staging, and marketing are all correct.
December 07, 2007
The Condo and Townhome market in Los Gatos is a mixed bag. Values are holding and appear to even be rising slightly, the “days on market” are short (a mere 14 days in November), and the list price to sales price ratio is amazing at over 101%. But just as with single family homes, the number of sales is way down.
Is this seasonal or is it “the market”?
One way to check against a seasonal fluctuation is to look at all recent Novembers and see how this one compares. Let’s have a look:
As you can see, the 5 closings in November is the least number of sales over the last decade. Sales are way, way off. And, like with single family homes viewed the same way (see yesterday’s post), it’s about half of what’s average.
If we look at the months of inventory, or the absorption rate, does it look any better?
The condo market remains under 6 months of inventory, which is the point at which the National Association of Realtors would say it moves from being a sellers’ market to a buyers’ market. These numbers are much better than those for the single family home market in Los Gatos (which had 8.79 months of inventory for November – and those numbers appear to be rising steadily, wheras these numbers are up and down so they appear less predictable).
As of today, there are 5 pending condos or townhouses in Los Gatos (zip codes 95030 and 95032) and a total inventory of 26 available townhomes or condominiums in town. So approximately 20% of the homes on the market are selling. Those that do sell, sell fast and apparently for a great ratio.
But that leaves 80% of the homes that aren’t selling at all. So all the good news about “fast days on market” and “great list price to sales price” is not very heartwarming to that 80% whose homes don’t seem to want to sell.
In a market like this one, buyers are passing up homes (whether houses or lofts or anything else) with “issues” like busy roads, deferred updating, and of course especially overpriced homes. The property which is fixed up, in a superior location and priced aggressively – the gem, the deal – is selling fast.
This is not a market to see if you can get a price. It’s a market for people serious about putting a home in top condition on the market, and pricing it to attract a buyer who’s frankly looking for a good deal. Your home needs to be that good deal to sell right now.
Will it be better in the spring? Possibly. The market is really not bad now. There are always overpriced homes in less than ideal locations and with less than perfect condition that don’t sell because the price isn’t low enough to compensate for the problems. So don’t let the failure of some properties worry you about yours. Just get it in the right shape and price it for what today’s market will bear (not what you want it to be worth, not what you need, not what someone else told you it is worth).
If you are buying another home after selling the condo or townhome, you are in luck. The market gets softer as you move up the ranks, and there’s a good chance you will make up for any felt loss on the next purchase. But hurry. No one knows whether it will suddenly become a different kind of market in the new year!
Call me if you’d like to chat about your real estate needs. I’m around and working through the holidays with just a couple of days off near Christmas – and I have time to visit with you and strategize to help you get the best deal when selling your home.
Wishing you and yours a very Happy Hanukkah, a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year (and anything else you might be celebrating in these days)!