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 $1,000,000 to $1,300,00 as of early 2020. (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
One of the largest townhome communities in Los Gatos, the Los Gatos Woods community includes 232 townhouses set on private roads near Pollard Road. This is a very attractive neighborhood and includes many trees. This area is considered west Los Gatos and is close to the border with Campbell and Saratoga.
Los Gatos Woods is very convenient for those wishing to commute to Cupertino, Sunnyvale and Santa Clara as Quito Road is nearby and becomes Lawrence Expressway. This community is also extremely convenient for those working at El Camino Hospital of Los Gatos or any of the nearby medical centers; it’s probably a half mile on foot or by bike.
There’s a good sized, remodeled Safeway and a good number of other shops close by, too, along with the middle school (and the elementary isn’t much further). Most things seem to be within a mile or so.
What are the homes like at Los Gatos Woods?
Most of the Los Gatos Woods units were built between 1971 and 1973 and most seem to have been renovated since then with dual pane windows, remodeling inside, etc.. Home sizes range from 997 square feet to 2754 sqare feet, with typical homes being around 1400 – 1700 SF. The lot sizes vary, too, from about 1921 SF to 2639 SF, and the average being 1850 SF. Homes all include some sort of outside space, often both a back patio and a balcony. All have 2 car, attached garages, and many have driveways which are big enough to accommodate a car (though some are a bit short for that).
How’s the neighborhood?
This is a really beautifully maintained community.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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 Schoolare 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.
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.
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.