How far does your money go in Los Gatos, whether 95030 or 95032, and how does that compare to our nearby neighbors of Saratoga, Almaden, Cambrian, Campbell, Cupertino or San Jose, generally? Today I am snagging a chart from my Altos Research Reports which give a good sense of what a million dollars (or other amounts) can get for you in these areas. These charts use LIST PRICES, and remember, the sales prices are often different (frequently more!). Let’s have a look.
Los Gatos 95030
This is the more central part of town, the area closest to downtown Los Gatos and most of it is “in the schools”. Here a million dollars is unlikely to get you a house at all, though it could be something small that needs a lot of work if not in the downtown area…maybe….
Los Gatos 95032
Conversely, although about 1/3 of this area is in the Los Gatos Union School District, most of it is not, and this area is usually (though not always) further out so less expensive for both reasons. Interestingly, the high end prices aren’t so far apart between 95030 and 95032 from this vantage, but the gap widens a lot at the bottom quartile. In 95032 a million will get you a small house, most likely in east Los Gatos (west is a little more expensive, usually) – and it will probably need work. Something to note is that all of the elementary and middle schools in Los Gatos, no matter which school district, are high scoring, high performing institutions. The scores do change at the high school level pretty noticeably. But the improving schools in the further out areas of LG, especially in east Los Gatos, is causing the pricing gap to shrink somewhat.
So in Los Gatos, $1 million is unlikely to get you a house, though it may if it is small and not too close in to downtown (or if you are buying land value).
How about the nearby areas? I do not have access to the same chart for the Los Gatos Mountains, but I can tell you that those areas are considerably more affordable!
Almaden area of San Jose 95120<h/3>
Almaden has a number of school districts, which of course impacts pricing and what you get for your money. But it is possible to buy a home in Almaden for under a million dollars!
Cambrian area of San Jose 95124
The 95124 zip code has been enjoying nicely improving schools, which are in turn attracting people who are very interested in school scores and performance, and in turn this is pushing prices up. This area is also close to Los Gatos in many areas, and has nice views of the hills – so for many, it’s a nice option to being in Los Gatos.
Cambrian area of San Jose 95118<h/3>
Most of 95118 has San Jose Unified Schools, which are generally good but not quite as highly scoring as the Union or Cambrian School Districts. 95118 homes tend to be a little younger, and the area a little less freeway accessible . This area is on the valley floor, while some of 95124 is on or close to hills – so 95118 is a bit more affordable. 95124 and 95118 did not use to have vastly different pricing, but the high end is quite a bit higher now. The lower end, though, is lower in 95124. (The lowest priced homes in 95124 are quite old, whereas in 95118 the houses are simply not that old.)
Campbell California 95008
Campbell is extremely popular right now! Its downtown is very vibrant, it has light rail, it has the Pruneyard with a TJ’s and a movie theatre and a brewery…not to mention the many parks, creek trail or other elements that make this one in-demand city. Not all houses are “walk to town”, of course – those nearest the town will command a premium. Even so, it’s very possible to buy a nice house in Campbell and stay under a million dollars.
Cupertino is home to fantastic schools, fantastic high tech companies (Apple and more) and fantastic wineries to boot. To state that it’s a competitive housing market is an understatement: it’s a very, very, very competitive real estate market in Cupertino, and not for the faint of heart or the short of cash. Got a million bucks? In most cases, you can buy a house but it will be small and you will probably need to put a lot of money into it. If it needs “everything”, you could be facing $100,000 to $200,00 to remodel. And it would still be small.
San Jose 95129 – West San Jose, Cupertino border area
Part of 95129 has Cupertino Schools and part has Campbell Schools, and those areas have very different real estate markets. Folks without kids in public schools may strongly prefer the Campbell Schools area since it’s less expensive and they don’t want to pay for the schools if they aren’t using them. There’s as much competition for the Cupertino area as there is in Cupertino itself, perhaps even more since prices are a little less expensive without the city name on the address. The chart below has an oddity about it: the least expensive homes have more square footage than those in the next higher bracket. This could have to do with condition (fixers) or school district. If you were planning to buy or sell in this zip code, it would be wise to tease out the data a little more than this broad overview provides. (Usually! In the current charts, the prices in Cupertino currently are lower than in 95129!)
Saratoga CA 95070
Saratoga is a lovely enclave, close to the Santa Cruz Mountains, sporting a charming downtown, some of the best public schools in the valley, and many impeccable (if not downright lavish) neighborhoods. As a graduate of Saratoga High School, I can tell you that money and Saratoga are old friends (I used to be horrified seeing 16 year olds driving Porches to school – but I digress). Like many other areas of Santa Clara County, Saratoga has a few school districts, and these have a large bearing on the market value of properties in that fair city. Other big factors are “walk to town” or “walk to schools”, proximity to the hills (being on the hill side of Saratoga Sunnyvale Road or Hwy 9 will cost more), having a view, or of course having more acreage. So there are lots of variables. Disclaimers aside, here are the numbers for the city as a whole.
San Jose, all areas combined
For comparison: San Jose, California as a whole. What’s happening here, why are homes so much less expensive? The areas profiled above are all along the west side (though some may call Almaden Valley “south”), which is a more costly area in Santa Clara County. There are many more affordable areas in the region, so if the places listed above cause you to lose heart, don’t! There’s more affordable housing elsewhere in Silicon Valley.
Let’s go back to the original question: what can you get for a million dollars? Or maybe we should say WHERE can you purchase a house along the west side of Santa Clara County for a million dollars? Here are places to consider from the places discussed above:
- Almaden Valley (but almost impossible to get Leland High at $1 million – so townhomes may be considered)
- East Los Gatos 95032 (but the house will be on the small side, maybe 1200 SF
- Cambrian 95118 – you will get a very nice house of about 2200 SF or a bit more
- Cambrian 95124 – you will get a very solid home of about 1800 to 2000 SF in most areas, but it will likely need updating
- Campbell – you may get close to 1800 SF, but it will probably need remodeling and updating
- West San Jose – perhaps in 95129 if not in Cupertino Schools
- Saratoga – unlikely but maybe you can find a fixer in the Campbell Union High School District. If so, it will be small, but have good upside potential!