A resource for folks living in or moving to Los Gatos, by Mary Pope-Handy

Union School District Pricing: How Much More to Live in Los Gatos than San Jose?

Alta Vista and Carlton attendance areas for Los Gatos and Cambrian area of San JoseIf you’re interested in buying a home in the Union School District, which straddles the Los Gatos and Cambrian area of San Jose border, you may be wondering what the real estate price difference is between homes in San Jose 95124 vs properties in Los Gatos 95032.

The Carlton Elementary School area of attendance, and even more the Alta Vista Elementary School area, offers the opportunity to own a home in either zip code, so seeing the pricing delta isn’t that hard. What is harder is ascertaining what ratio or range of ratios you might find when house hunting in these neighborhoods.

For single family homes sold in the last 30 days in either the Carlton or Alta Vista areas, here’s the breakdown (disclaimer, 17 homes sold & closed total for both LG and SJ in that time):

In Los Gatos:

  • average list price$1,690,429
  • average sale price $1,733,555
  • average square footage of the home 2530
  • average lot size 19,486
  • average days on market 42

In San Jose (same schools area):

  • average list price $926,990
  • average sale price $992,100
  • average home SF 1575
  • average lot size 7815
  • average days on market 21

Here the gap in pricing looks huge. But is it? Homes and land are both bigger in Los Gatos. Biggest takeaway to me is this: in general, if you want a bigger home on a larger lot, Los Gatos is probably going to be your town. Buying “just the schools” and fine with a smaller house? San Jose provides a more affordable means to get into the schools.

Are there SIMILAR houses and lots to compare the true price differential between San Jose and Los Gatos with the same schools?

Everyone wants to make it a simple, easily measurable “cost” for living in Los Gatos, and I get asked about “apples to apples” between San Jose and Los Gatos? That is something that’s tricky for a number of reasons. But let’s try anyway.

First, it’s hard to find an equal set of houses to compare because most of the parcels in San Jose are around 6000-6500 SF, and in Los Gatos they generally start at 8000 SF, which is pretty noticeable, especially if the house is small.

Second, most of the homes in the town of Los Gatos are closer to the hills, and prices tend to jump as you cross Los Gatos-Almaden Road and Blossom Hill (as well as when you get closer to downtown Los Gatos).

Additionally, when inventory is tight, people pay more for lesser homes, usually, and in down markets they are far pickier and tend to get the more expensive areas because they can. It’s not a static ratio, at least not that I can tell.

But – all these issues noted, I went back 90 days and tried to find homes that were as close to similar in these areas as possible. There were hardly any and for this study I’m not factoring in the condition, remodeling, pools, exact location. This is the view from 10,000 feet up – nothing more. Here are those numbers, on average, for this moment in time:

In Los Gatos (6 homes):

  • average list price $1,135,833
  • average sale price $1,239,500
  • average SF 1765
  • average lot size 8225
  • DOM 10
  • price per SF (remember, lot size & location difference) $726.98

In San Jose (3 homes):

  • average list price $1,065,677
  • average sale price $1,165,677 (not a typo)
  • average SF 1833
  • average lot size 6502
  • DOM 8
  • price per SF (reminder about lot sizes) $635.94

The price gap is about $73,000 or about 6%. Normally, it seems to be a 3-5% difference among the most similar properties. Perhaps this ultra small sample is not truly representative.

Some streets literally weave in and out of LG and SJ, such as Blossom Valley Drive. The best comparison would be homes on the same street, same builder, floor plan and condition, and if you could find it, the same lot size too. The gap could move depending on the market, even if you could find close comparables. For rough estimates, 5% may be a good starting point.

Interested in buying or selling a home in the Cambrian – Los Gatos border area? Or anywhere in Santa Clara County? Please reach out to me via email or phone. I’d welcome the opportunity to meet with you and to discuss, confidentially, your plans and considerations on moving. mary (at) popehandy.com 408 204-7673


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Mary Pope-Handy

Sereno Group Real Estate
214 Los Gatos-Saratoga Rd
Los Gatos, CA 95030
408 204-7673
Mary (at) PopeHandy.com
License# 01153805

Selling homes in
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