The 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.
Near the bottom, there are a few charts that I pulled from the MLS directly. Be sure to scroll down to see them.
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.
The December chart shows home prices are up and inventory is down. The sale price to list price ratio and the days on market look a little cooler than the month before, but both are still showing a highly competitive market climate.
Trends At a Glance
No. of Sales
Sale vs. List Price
Days on Market
Days of Inventory
MLS info pulled directly: the charts below all were pulled from MLS Listings.com
The Los Gatos real estate market has never been hotter.
SELLERS: Homes that could not sell a few months ago or a few years ago are selling fast, with multiple offers, and often with large overbids. (If you have a “problem property”, this is THE MARKET for selling it.)
BUYERS: if a home you like comes on the market, do not wait until the weekend to see it. It may be gone by then. Not every listing agent gives the property a full week on the market. This happened to my buyers twice in the last week.
Right now we seem to be in a period of hyper inflation with home prices. When prices appreciate at this rate, appraisal problems can happen and buyers will need more than 20% down both to compete and also to pay for the appraisal shortfall, which may be likely in some cases. (For info on the Monte Sereno real estate market, check this link.)
Please note: these data charts were all pulled by me, Mary Pope-Handy, from MLSListings.com, to which I subscribe.
I’m a little inventory obsessed, but check out where we are in December 2021 versus December in any recent year. Buyers want to buy, but there’s “nothing to purchase”.
Please click the image below to see a larger version of it (it will pop open in a new window or tab).
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.
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 runtoday 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.
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.
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.
From last November, again, not a ton different between then and now.
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):
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
Buyers: 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.
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
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:
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:
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
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
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.).
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.