Bring the Indoors Outside: the California Room Trend

If you are house-hunting and find yourself looking at new or recently developed homes in the Bay Area, you may have seen properties advertised to have a “California Room,” but what exactly is a California room?

California room or luxury porch image from Pixabay
Image by andre casti from Pixabay

What is a California Room?

Sometimes when a house has beautiful views, large sunny windows, and plenty of access to outdoor spaces we might promote it as “bringing the outdoors in.” With the popular trend of California Rooms, however, Bay Area new homes are bringing the indoors outside!

Outdoor living features are as old as the art of architecture itself. The California room is very similar to the classical loggia. It is a living and entertaining space open to the outdoors on at least one side and always covered by a roof. More protected than a lanai, not fully enclosed like a sunroom, and more multi-purpose than a patio, the California room is a luxury space that can be described as a hybrid between a porch and a room.

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Are Short Sales on the Rise in Los Gatos?

April 28, 2010

For about two years, I’ve been periodically providing the readers of this blog information on distressed properties, mostly short sales but also bank owned homes (REOs) in and near Los Gatos.  Today’s San Jose Mercury News has an article on the cover by Sue McAllister regarding the increasing number of short sales in Silicon Valley. Across Santa Clara County, short sales account for about one-third of the inventory.  (Another “rough number”: countywide, our prices are down about 1/3 from the peak.) 

What about Los Gatos?  Is the trend here also for rising numbers of short sale homes on the market? Bargain hunting home buyers will correctly tell you that there just aren’t many Los Gatos homes for sale which are short sales.  Some sellers will tell you that the short sales are hurting their home’s market value.  Both are true.

Right now in Los Gatos (area “16”, zips 95032 and 95030), there are 181 houses, condos, duet homes and townhouses for sale.  Of those, 7 are short sales and 2 are bank owned properties. (Six of the seven are priced at under $1,000,000, so the most affordable part of the market is being hit hardest by short sales. One of the listed homes is over $2,000,000.  Four are in 95030, three in 95032.  Three are houses, four are condos/townhomes.)

Let’s look only at the number of short sales in town over the last couple of years (not in relation to the total inventory, but as a stand-alone number).  Here’s what I have for dates and short sales:

 

 

4-28-10       7
11-16-09     9
5-3-09       16
10-2-08       8
7-19-08       7
5-18-08       8
3-26-08       5

Inventory is lower than it was a couple of years ago, so it could be argued that the percentage of available homes which are short sales here is greater than it was.  Also it could be argued that many more short sales are to come due to adjustable rate mortgages which are poised to reset.  That may be true.  A quick survey of the numbers, though, does not bear out the idea that short sales are rising in the town of Los Gatos – at least not right now.  Perhaps that is because when they do come on the market, they are aggressively priced and go under contract fairly quickly.  (Unfortunately they stay as pending sales a great long time, so their impact is significant on pricing.)

Interested in more areas?  This morning I also posted an article on my Valley of Hearts Delight blog on this same topic (without the history) covering much of the West Valley:  Monte Sereno, Saratoga, Almaden Valley, Cambrian Park, Campbell, Willow Glen, Santa Clara, Cupertino, the LG Mountains, Blossom Valley and all of San Jose.  Please visit my Valley of Hearts Delight blog to read about them.