The Monte Sereno real estate market

Monte Sereno Stained Glass Click HereThe City of Monte Sereno is a popular community bordering Los Gatos, Saratoga, and the Santa Cruz mountains. It’s also quite small, with just about 3,500 residents, so tracking the real estate market trends for the area can be tricky.

The number of houses sold in any given month will always be extremely small and the data will jump around. Checking the Los Gatos market will also help, but the best pulse on the market will come from particular sales in particular neighborhoods.

Houses make up most of Monte Sereno – there are no commercial buildings, just a post office, city hall, and an elementary school. There are also extremely few residential properties that are not detached single family homes. We don’t track the condo or townhomes in this area as we do in other communities because there just wouldn’t be enough (if any) data for it!

First up for the market analysis is the Altos Research weekly profile for Monte Sereno (uses list prices, not sales). This is updated automatically, so feel free to check this article weekly to see what’s happening now with list prices.

 

 

Below is the Monte Sereno Real Estate Report (click to view the complete Real Estate Report).

Trends at a Glance from the RE Report:

By the end of August this small city had only 5 closed sales and 4 active listings – so take any swings in data with a grain of salt. Despite those swings, Monte Sereno appears to be showing a fair amount of stability. Inventory and turnover have calmed a hair month-over-month with active inventory way down year-over-year.

Over the last couple of months the market has calmed down. Prices fell significantly since last year, a big change from the month prior when prices were up 10% year-over-year, and that was closer to 20% or even 30% in spring. Still, with so few sales the data is likely to have been sqewed some by a few extraordinary sales.

The sales to list price ratio tends to swing wildly with so few sales, but has remained over 100% on average for months. While the average days on market were stable month-over-month, the individual sales tell a different story – only one sold in under a week, compared to July where that was a small majority of sales.

With high demand and extremely low inventory, Monte Sereno remains in a strong seller’s market with clear cooling.

 

Trends At a Glance Aug 2022 Previous Month Year-over-Year
Median Price $3,075,000 (-30.1%) $4,400,000 $4,990,000 (-38.4%)
Average Price $3,334,000 (-22.5%) $4,304,190 $5,255,830 (-36.6%)
No. of Sales (0.0%) 5 (-16.7%)
Pending (-22.2%) 9 (+40.0%)
Active (-20.0%) 5 12 (-66.7%)
Sale vs. List Price 100.4% (-7.0%) 108.0% 100.7% (-0.4%)
Days on Market 23 (0.0%) 23 61 (-63.0%)
Days of Inventory 24 (-20.0%) 30 60 (-60.0%)

MLS info pulled directly: the charts below all were pulled from MLS Listings.com

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Los Gatos real estate market trends and statistics

The Los Gatos real estate market has some mixed data points and it’s an odd time. Inventory has shrunk, sales have increased, but sales are coming it at lower prices. It’s a peculiar combination of a seller’s market but with falling prices. Los Gatos home prices are generally down 15-20% from the peak a few months ago. 

Realistic sellers are pricing their homes low and selling fast. Others are languishing. It’s a tale of two (or more) Los Gatos real estate markets. If a listing is overpriced, it simply won’t get offers close to list price.

As of today, September 8, some info on single family  homes in LG 95030 & 95032:

  • 44  single family homes are on the market in “Active” status – last month at this time it was 48 (of those, 4 are listed as “agent only, show”, and 3 are “agent only, do not show”). The agent only listings means that they are not syndicated to other websites, meaning 7 of the homes for sale will not be seen on places like Realtor.com, Zillow, or Redfin.
  • 7 houses are under contract but there are contingencies of some kind in place (could be loan, appraisal, property inspection, buyer to sell current home, seller to find a replacement home) – so those sales may not go through. It was 4 a month ago.
  • 20  houses are sale pending, no contingencies (this is a small number compared to the active listings) – it was 23 last month at my last update for this post
  • 29 houses have closed escrow in the last month, up from 19 last month. The trend had been toward a drop in sales, so this is a reversal.
  • The average sale price to list price ratio for these 29 houses was 97% (down from 100% for my August update) – this figure has been falling consistently

Multi Year Statistics: Los Gatos real estate market

Here is some multiple year over year Los Gatos real estate market data that I pulled directly from the MLS today:

Inventory

Inventory has fallen, making it a harder market for home buyers. Inventory in August is the lowest we’ve seen in recent history.

 

Los Gatos 95030 and 95032 Inventory

 

Months of inventory for Los Gatos homes for sale

If homes continue selling at the current rate, and with no new inventory added, how long would it take to sell off everything currently listed? This number tightened up significantly in August as compared to June.

 Los Gatos 95030 and 95032 months of inventory

 

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Blossom Hill Manor Real Estate Market

Map of the Blossom Hill Manor neighborhood of Los Gatos (east Los Gatos)

The Blossom Hill Manor (aka “the Manor” or “Blossom Manor”) is a highly sought after neighborhood with its close proximity to the well regarded Los Gatos schools, parks, shops, grocery stores and major transit routes.  Homes there are nicely maintained, many streets are tree-lined and there’s a good amount of community spirit and involvement in this close-in, walkable area. Explore the area more using my Google Map of Blossom Manor, or take a video drive-through of the neighborhood at my other post, The Blossom Manor neighborhood of Los Gatos.

In this posting, we’ll discuss the Blossom Manor real estate market. The real estate market in Los Gatos has been on fire like the rest of the Bay Area over the last few years, but there’s a great deal of variation from one area, price point, school district, age and condition of home to the next.  As you can imagine, the “fixer” market is very different from the luxury market.

So far in 2019, there have been 15 closed sales in The Manor. A few quick stats on those sales:

  • Average list price $2,150,343
  • Average sale price $2,207,518 (103% of list price)
  • Median sale price $2,060,000
  • Least expensive list price $1,589,000
  • Lease expensive sale price $1,775,000
  • Most expensive list price $2,749,000
  • Most expensive sale price $2,790,000
  • Average price per SF $1,114.61
  • Average days on market 16
  • Average living space 2046 SF
  • Average lot size 9,431 SF
  • Average age of the home 61 years

Of these 15 sales, 9 were over list price, 1 was exactly at list price (an off market sale – the only one not exposed publicly before selling), and the rest sold under list price. 

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Los Gatos real estate market trends by price point and high school district

There are many factors impacting the Los Gatos real estate market, including the price point and the elementary or high school district. This post is updated every month or two. Today we’ll look at the Los Gatos realty market by pricing tiers and high school district using the months of inventory as a data point. The months of inventory, or MOI, is the currently active (for sale, no contract or pending sale) homes for sale divided by the number of homes using the same criteria which have closed escrow in the last 30 days.

These numbers were run today using MLSListings.com and it’s possible that a few more homes will be recorded as closed sales or new homes added to the market after I ran these numbers. One other disclaimer: sometimes the number of closed sales is very low or is at 0. This can be for many reasons. In some cases, there are a few which are sale pending and simply haven’t closed recently. In other cases, the market might actually be empty in those tiers, indicating a possible lack of demand or inventory. That being said, what do the numbers say?

Los Gatos real estate months of inventory in 95030 and 95032 combined

The overall MOI for the town as a whole with 95030 and 95032 zip codes shows a mild seller’s market, with post-summer cooling likely in what is a typical seasonal pattern. It is a bit of a mixed market when looking at the town as a whole, but less so when viewed by high school district or price point. We’ll see when the month is over, but already in many parts of Santa Clara County, the real estate market is returning to seasonal patterns with some cool pockets and some which remain hotter.

 

 

And here’s the same chart with data from last February. You can see that in mid-winter the inventory was smaller and moving slightly slower.

 

2019-2-12 Los Gatos Months of Inventory 1 - 95030 95032

 

Looking back farther, here’s the same info for last November – the overall absorption rate isn’t much different from right now, and inventory and sales are neck-and-neck. Almost exactly a year ago, the market doesn’t look too different.

 

Los Gatos 95030 and 95032

 

And a reference from April, when the market was red hot:

 

 

The real estate market for homes with the Los Gatos – Saratoga Joint Union High School District only

Now let’s view just the homes which are in the Los Gatos – Saratoga Joint Union High School District (or homes “in the schools” as locals say).Houses for sale with Los Gatos schools tend to be more pricey than those in neighboring school districts. This isn’t just the schools, but is also a function of being closer to downtown Los Gatos. The lowest priced homes in this area are seldom listed for less than $1 million.

 

 

Once again, we’ll compare it against last February. While the overall market is moving faster today than in February, here we can see that for homes in the Los Gatos School District were moving more quickly in winter. While the number of sales hasn’t changed much, inventory has gone up in this sector.

 

2019-2-12 Los Gatos Months of Inventory 2 - LGSUHSD

 

From last November, again, not a ton different between then and now.

 

Los Gatos 95030 95032 LG Schools

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August and the Los Gatos Housing Market

The August real estate market in Los Gatos is usually a bit slow.  Inventory, even in a normal year, tends to shrink in August, and with it, a lot of sales activity. Many home buyers and home sellers take the month off, sneak in one last vacation, get kids ready to school, or perhaps deliver older ones to college. Real estate often takes a back seat for a few weeks in August (and sometimes early September, too).

August and the Los Gatos Housing Market: it’s all about inventory levels

This year is worse than most in terms of buyers having any selection with record low levels of inventory throughout Silicon Valley. Have a look at the chart from January 2011 to today for Los Gatos single family homes – zip codes 95030 & 95032 (pulled from MLSListings this afternoon):

Los Gatos real estate market inventory SFH Aug 2017

Buying and selling homes in Los Gatos and Monte Sereno right now

For home sellers, this August has been a great month to market your home and to get it sold, despite vacations and student issues, because demand is so high for the minuscule amount of housing for sale. For home buyers, it feels like a crazy real estate game of inventory limbo: how low can it go? How many offers can get thrown at a single listing?

One way of looking at it is to consider the ratio of available houses for sale vs those under contract.  Right now in Los Gatos 95030 and 95032, there are 55 single family homes on the market, and there are 50 in some stage of “sale pending” (with or without contingencies). That’s pretty close to 100%.  (Monte Sereno is such a small market area that the numbers are too wonky to be useful – we need a larger sample for reliability.)

The number sold and closed in the last 30 days is 31. The months of inventory is the actives divided by the closed in the last 30 days, so 55 / 31 = 1.77 months of inventory for ALL houses, all schools, all price points, all conditions, all locations – good and bad alike. That is a red hot sellers’ market!  (Every month or two I update this article here on Live in Los Gatos: “Los Gatos real estate market trends by price point and high school district” – please check back for an update on those numbers soon.)

What has been true for most of  2017 still holds true in August: the nicely updated and remodeled homes in the lower prices to move-up prices in Los Gatos continue to sell well (quickly, often with multiple offers) if they are priced right. Specifically, these are homes under $3 million with no special challenges (location issues, lot issues, strangely configured layout, too many stairs, too much deferred maintenance, a combination of a large pool and small back yard, and so on).

What does it take to be a successful home buyer in Los Gatos or Monte Sereno right now? How to maximize buying or selling in the current market conditions

Shannon Valley Ranch house 2015Buyers: For the lower priced homes, you will need to be quick as they usually won’t last more than 8 to 10 days before the offer date and multiple offers pour in. If you can get out to see the property soon after it hits the market, you’ll have enough time to study the disclosures and get guidance from your buyer’s agent on those and the comps. If you wait to see something on a Sunday afternoon and offers are due Tuesday, you will have a very unpleasant couple of days as you rush to be ready and prepared. With the more expensive properties, they may take longer to sell, but at any given moment things could change and suddenly there are 2 offers rather than just your one.

Sellers: Being super well prepared so that you hit the ground running is absolutely key to selling your home quickly and for top dollar. That means doing the presale inspections, ordering HOA docs (if applicable), and having your disclosures completed before a buyer ever sees the home. It also means taking your Realtor’s guidance to heart in regard to staging / decluttering and easy access for buyers. If it’s too hard to see, or it does not show well, you may not sell it for as much.  Price carefully!  The number 1 problem with homes that do not sell is price.  Aim too high and you won’t get the traffic or the offers. If you aim a little low, you may draw multiple offers and push the price higher than you could have imagined.

The market can be a little funny sometimes. I’ll attend an office meeting and hear discussions about multiple offers and once in awhile there’s a particular property that seems to have trouble.  When that happens, it’s very important to try to get feedback from the buyer’s agents.  While often the problem is a too-high price, sometimes it’s something easier to adjust to effect a sale. Communication between Realtors can be invaluable so that you don’t reduce the price when perhaps a less expensive fix will do.

September is just around the corner, and it promises to be a busy one as a slight influx of inventory should bring a strong flurry of activity.

If you are thinking of buying or selling a home, please contact me for a confidential consultation on what it takes to get the best deal possible in the current market.

 

The Real Estate Market Trends in Los Gatos

Los Gatos Home Sale Trends: it really depends on your segment of the market

How’s the real estate market in the Town of Los Gatos? The real estate market trends in Los Gatos varies from one price point and neighborhood to the next, from one type of housing to the next, and even between the town’s two zip codes, 95030 and 95032. Here we’ll take a view of the overall movement in the market; please understand that it may or may not apply to your particular Los Gatos home so please call or email me for specific information relating to your property.

Overall, Los Gatos continues to be a seller’s market, though not as deep as in other places in Santa Clara County (it’s wild in Cupertino, Sunnyvale, Palo Alto). Inventory is better than a year ago, inching toward more normalcy while remaining on the scarce side.

Today I pulled the data from MLSListings.com using their “statistics” tool (any Realtor can do this who’s a member of the MLS).  The numbers below represent single family homes, or houses, in the Los Gatos zip codes of 95030 and 95032, all price ranges, school districts, home sizes etc.

Real Estate Market Trends in Los Gatos

2015-8-25 Los Gatos real estate statistics 95030, 95032

 

The luxury market over about $3 or $4 million is usually more sluggish than the entry level homes, so what happens if we don’t go that high?

And now, same criteria but just homes under $ 2,000,000:

Los Gatos real estate market for homes listed under 2 mil

 

As you can see, the sale price to list price ratio for these 240 houses is a little higher and the days on market a bit shorter if we focus on just the homes offered at under $2 million.  We could further refine this ad infinitum but Realtors often say that the best price will come with a fast sale (some sellers feel like if the home goes sale pending in just 2 weeks, it was too soon and they left money on the table).  So let’s check it out.  The next set is the same as above but only for homes that went under contract in 14 days or less:

Los Gatos Stats DOM 14 or less

Not only are the $2 million dollar or less homes the ones moving better, but the 130 of them (out of 240) that did sell within 14 days really moved fast (9 days on average) and with a much higher sale price to list price ratio!

This is why it is so key to drill down what’s happening to the micro market level.  The monthly average for 95030 & 95032 in Los Gatos was 101.3% for all homes, but how very different it is for those under $2 million that sell within a couple of weeks!  Home buyers and real estate investors who rely on only those general numbers will be 4% off (about the amount of a typical price reduction) – plenty enough by which to lose the sale.

What can throw your Los Gatos property’s home values:

  • having a pool with a small backyard (pool removal may make you money) or NOT having a pool with an acre or more
  • additions that you love but most buyers consider a detraction
  • smaller than normal kitchen
  • home in worse repair or lack of updating than typical
  • being adjacent to something undesirable, such as a busy road, high voltage lines, or train tracks
  • bad odors from pets, strong cooking, cigarette or cigar smoke etc.

If you are thining of buying or selling in Los Gator or nearby, please reach out to me and let’s talk about working together. To be successful and to get the most out of your transaction, it’s key to get the data that is relevant to the house in question and not just wing it based on zip code or city wide data.  Los Gatos real estate and Silicon Valley real estate require a more sophisticated approach!

For those who want to do more research, here is a great resource

For info on Los Gatos or anywhere in Santa Clara County, San Mateo County or Santa Cruz County, please have a look at my online Real Estate Report.

 

Los Gatos & Saratoga real estate sales statistics 2005 – 2014

Today I’m able to share with you some statistics pulled together from MLSListings.com by Timothy Proschold of Sereno Group Los Altos (which he’s given those of us in Sereno permission to share). I thought my readers would really appreciate this statistical history of sales in Los Gatos and Saratoga from 2005 to 2014.

A quick, but important, note on the areas included for Los Gatos.  “Los Gatos”, as a mailing address and as an area searched on the MLS, now includes the Los Gatos Mountains (95033) as well as the “in town” or the unincorporated areas close to town with the zip codes of 95030 and 95032. (This is a recent change in the way MLSListings collects data – and it’s messing with us!)  In the study below, all three of these areas are included.  If you are looking at 95033, these figures will be a bit high, and if you’re considering 95032 or 95030, they will be low.   So while we often do compare and contrast Los Gatos and Saratoga, the gap in pricing will be more acute because of the more rural areas include.   Be that as it may, this is great info that I think you will find very valuable – and thanks again to Tim for compiling it for us!

First, the price per square foot for single family homes (SFH) in Los Gatos and Saratoga (these might shake out differently by school district, price point etc.).

Los Gatos & Saratoga Sales Stats (2005-2014)

Similar patterns overall, but Saratoga is currently making a steeper climb in housing values.

Next,  the median sale price and average days on market (DOM) from 2005 to 2014 for houses or single family homes in Los Gatos.

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