Homes for sale in Los Gatos

Homes for sale in Los Gatos include Cape Cod, Ranch, Craftsman, Victorian, and more architectural stylesWant to find homes for sale in Los Gatos?  Depending on your budget, wants and needs, several different home types or locations may be just right for you.

The town of Los Gatos encompasses several different school districts, county pockets, three zip codes and all kinds of neighborhoods, price ranges and housing types.

Los Gatos senior housing for sale

This charming corner of the county also offers one of the only places in Silicon Valley where there is senior housing for sale.  Virtually all of the “over 55” communities are for rent, not to purchase, in Santa Clara County (biggest exception being The Villages in San Jose’s Evergreen district).  There used to be a three senior condo communities in town, but one was converted a few years ago to remove any age restrictions.  Now the main provider of more affordable senior housing to buy in Los Gatos is the Los Gatos Commons (please click on the link to see Los Gatos Commons homes for sale). There’s also a complex for seniors on West Parr Avenue, too.

Homes for sale in Los Gatos with good schools

Los Gatos High School on Main Street

Los Gatos High School on Main Street

Luckily, all of the elementary and middle schools serving the town of Los Gatos and its many neighborhoods are excellent! All of the public schools are highly regarding for grades K – 8.  This is also true for Monte Sereno, which shares many services with Los Gatos.

The high school level is still quite good, but scores are a little lower.  The three high schools which cover the town are Los Gatos High School (Los Gatos-Saratoga Joint Union High School District), Leigh High School, and Westmont High School (Leigh and Westmont are part of the Campbell Union High School District). If you buy a home in downtown or central Los Gatos, the school of attendance will be Los Gatos High, which has the best scores.  Leigh is the school of attendance for students in the far east end of town, and Westmont for the far west end.  Many home buyers want to purchase property with a specific school or district in mind, and for that reason, the schools are a major driver of home values.

Shopping for Monte Sereno and Los Gatos homes for sale by zip codes

Los Gatos & Monte Sereno homes for sale - sold listing on Elm Park95030 is the area closest to downtown Los Gatos and all of it is in the Los Gatos School District.  95032 has a portion that is in or near downtown, but most of it is the area to the far east, north and west of downtown.  Some of it is in the Los Gatos Union School District, and some isn’t (Moreland or Union School Districts instead). 95033 is actually the Los Gatos Mountains – it has a Los Gatos mailing address but is not part of the town at all (except in spirit!), residents there do not vote in town elections, etc.  Homes for sale in Los Gatos will likely be more expensive if they are in the downtown area, both because buyers appreciate the downtown activities, but also because many want those schools.

Confusing? Yes – but if you have a targeted school in mind, just let me know. I’ll help you to find the right house or condo for your budget and needs.

Los Gatos is a fantastic place to live – it’s a scenic, vibrant community with very active community participation (lots of volunteerism), three different free musical concert series each summer, and awesome culture for a small town (a fantastic museum and big, new library, an art & wine festival each August and much more).  Our parks are exquisite and offer something for everyone – from sailing and paddle boats to playgrounds, carousel and train rides, and a fabulous network of trails for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. If you’ve decided to buy a home in Los Gatos, you’ve made a good decision!

Los Gatos homes for sale – view by map – No Registration Required

Below, please browse homes for sale in Los Gatos (houses, condominiums, townhomes) and Monte Sereno (houses only) and listed on the MLS here  – search by map without registering! Zoom in to get closer view of Los Gatos homes for sale, or move map to change  neighborhoods.




More Resources for your Los Gatos Home Buying:

For more information on living in Los Gatos, please visit my Live in Los Gatos Blog

Learn about the many Los Gatos neighborhoods on the Live in Los Gatos Blog

For information on the cost of Homes for sale in Los Gatos and Silicon Valley real estate market (trends, statistics), please see my Silicon Valley Real Estate Report.

Info on the market for Los Gatos single family homes for sale and sold:  Los Gatos RE Report for houses

Info on the market for Los Gatos condos and townhomes:  Los Gatos RE Report for condos and townhomes

This information brought to you by Mary Pope-Handy, Sereno Group, Los Gatos.  I live and work in Los Gatos and am an area native (growing up in Santa Clara and Saratoga).  BRE License # 01153805.

Posted in homes for sale Tagged with: , , , , , ,

What nickname will your house get from Silicon Valley home buyers?

Silicon Valley home buyers tend to give the each property they see a nickname so that they can remember which home they’re talking about. Often the nickname references a quirk of the  home, though sometimes an outstanding feature, which makes the most memorable or unique impression and ends up becoming a label for the home.  What nickname will your house get when it’s on the market?  Will it be remembered for something great, something odd, or something bad?  What’s the one phrase that will come to be your property’s de facto tagline?

Image of a house with words over it, advising that Silicon Valley home buyers give a nickname to the homes that they visit

What kind of nicknames do buyers assign homes they’ve seen?

Here’s a sampling of how Silicon Valley home buyers may speak of listings they’ve seen – one person referencing the house to another might preface it by saying something like…

“It was that house with the amazing kitchen – the ceilings were vaulted, there was a HUGE island…”

The Eichler” (if they only saw one Eichler, or whatever architectural style)

“You remember, it was the one that had the view of …”

The orange townhouse!  Remember, the living room was painted tangerine!  Who could forget that one?”

“The creepy condo with people there… The sellers never left, and worse, in one room, someone was even in bed.  They knew we were coming, why did they do that to us?”

The one with the alarm.  Remember how our Realtor had to run all over to find the keypad to disarm it, but had trouble even finding it?  I never want to see another place with the alarm on after that!”

“Yes, you remember the house – it had rocks instead of lawn and there were 2′ high garden gnomes. Remember the gnome house?”

“The one with the incredible back yard.  You know, the one with the summer kitchen, a pizza oven and trellis?”

“I’m talking about the one that smelled of pets. They had a rabbit in one of the bedrooms. It was really bad.”

Everything was white house – all the rooms were painted white”

Sellers: how will buyers quickly remember your home as distinct from any other?

A question for Silicon Valley home sellers: What is the most unique thing about your home?  What will be different from every other home for sale at the same time as yours?  What nickname will your house get?

It will help the marketing and sale of your home if that one most salient and most memorable to strike Silicon Valley home buyers is something  really positive. Got gnomes, trophy animals on the wall, or boudoir photography?  Bad idea to have these around for home selling – that’s what buyers will remember, not the house or condo itself!

Wouldn’t you love to hear this – “it’s the perfect house, we could really see ourselves living there!”  Or “it’s the first house we could both agree on!”  Or better still “the house we fell in love with“.  The more people who say that, the better your sale price will be!

Hire a good Silicon Valley Realtor to help you make your home memorable in a good way.  Please call or email me today to discuss selling your home for the best price and terms that the market will bear.


Posted in Selling tips Tagged with: , , ,

Looking for a top Los Gatos real estate agent?

Are you looking for a very successful, knowledgeable Los Gatos real estate agent? In the town of Los Gatos alone, there are about 1000 Realtors hanging their licenses at one brokerage office or another.  Many of them don’t live in town, and many don’t sell here at all.  Others advertising themselves as a Los Gatos Realtor neither live in town nor have an office.

So it can be hard to sift through a lot of noise to find a great realty advocate to work with who knows the ins and outs of Los Gatos, understands the market and the inventory, and can help you to maximize either buying or selling.

Fell in love with Los Gatos because of your blog - regarding Live in Los Gatos blog, by Los Gatos real estate agent Mary Pope-HandyMy home and office are both in Los Gatos – home is in east Los Gatos and office is Sereno Group in downtown Los Gatos.  I’ve been selling Los Gatos real estate since 1993 and have represented buyers and sellers on properties ranging from modest condos, townhouses and houses to multi-million dollar estates.   My enthusiasm for Los Gatos comes through loud and clear in my Live in Los Gatos Blog articles, where you’ll find the most detailed, drilled down information on Los Gatos neighborhoods, the real estate market (including by price point and high school district), events, and more.

One relocating client said to me “I fell in love with Los Gatos because of your blog”.

If you do research on the Los Gatos real estate market trends, areas in which to live, or any other information on the town for newcomers, you’ll find my name, Mary Pope-Handy, attached to many of the results.  For many people, what I share on my blogs and social media is the# 1 source of real estate information in Los Gatos.  Info is drilled down to a level not found on the big, national sites or in any other agent’s blog or website locally.  That’s an angle that makes me a uniquely informative Los Gatos real estate agent.

On Facebook, I have a very active page on Los Gatos real estate, neighborhoods, homes, as well as realty and related news in Silicon Valley and beyond.  Please check it out:  Http://

Photos and videos are popular, and in recent years I branched out and created a YouTube channel.  Here’s the Los Gatos real estate video playlist – please check it out!

And, of course, I don’t just videotape, photograph, and write about Los Gatos real estate and homes.  I preview, show buyers, list and sell Los Gatos homes in every part of town, in every price point or school district.  Usually I’m in the top 3-5% of agents in Silicon Valley for production (and you can see testimonials at my site, on Zillow or Yelp).

Looking for a top Los Gatos real estate agent who’s truly focused on Los Gatos?  Check out the Live in Los Gatos blog and the Los Gatos real estate Facebook page.  Please drop me a note or give me a call.  Not ready yet? That’s OK too… Feel free to check out the many articles on my blog or Facebook page.





Posted in About Us, Los Gatos, Working in real estate Tagged with: , ,

Frequently asked Silicon Valley relocation questions

Saratoga Village - a Silicon Valley relocation magnet for its good schools, charming village, and scenic beauty

Saratoga Village (downtown Saratoga)

Because Silicon Valley has such immense intellectual capital, many people from around the world are drawn to at least consider living here.  I put together a Silicon Valley relocation website, called, and invite you to check it out for more in-depth information.  Here’s a quick list of the most commonly asked questions that I tend to encounter about the area.

  1. Where exactly is Silicon Valley?  This region does not have strictly defined borders, but generally is the  southern part of the San Francisco Bay Area (Santa Clara County, includes Palo Alto, Sunnyvale, Mountain View, Cupertino, San Jose, Santa Clara, etc.) and the San Francisco Peninsula San Mateo County, includes Menlo Park, Foster City, Redwood Shores, San Mateo, etc.), with little fingers stretching out to a bit of the East Bay (Alameda County and the city of Fremont)  and down into Santa Cruz County (city of Scotts Valley). For more info on the location of Silicon Valley, please visit the Move2SiliconValley site:
  2. What do homes cost in Silicon Valley?  A lot…  Unless you are coming from NYC’s Manhattan, or Paris, London, Tokyo, etc. – it will be painfully expensive.  Recently a client of mine bought a nice Los Gatos home and found that they paid four times as much (and she and her husband got about 25% less home and 50% less yard than they had elsewhere).  In Santa Clara County, the average house sells for $1 million.  (All areas, not the best areas like Cupertino, Los Altos, Saratoga.)  A little north, in San Mateo County, it’s $1.2 million.  Further south, in Santa Cruz County, it is $850,000. Overall, it gets cheaper the more south you go and the longer your commute gets.  You can check the real estate market statistics for all three sites on my Silicon Valley Real Estate Report site.
  3. How much does it cost to buy a 3 or 4 bedroom house with 2000 square feet in a GOOD area with good schools? This is a major Silicon Valley relocation question.  Depending on where you buy, that type of house could run anywhere from about $1.2 million to about $2.4 million.  Every 6 to 12 months I update a post on another of my sites with a list of cities or areas with good schools and what it costs to live there.  Please have a look:
  4. Is there a typical down payment amount when buying a home in Santa Clara County or nearby?  Most of the time,  home buyers do put down more than 20% when purchasing a condo, townhouse, or house here.  Often it’s 25-30%, but sometimes more, and sometimes it’s “all cash, no loans”.   Just now I pulled the sales which were reported as all cash, no loans from May 1 2016 to today, June 29, 2016, and the currently reported ratio is 15%.  Some agents do not complete that field, however, so it’s likely a higher percentage than that.   Also, buyers coming in from other countries often need at least 30% down if their employer is also from outside of the U.S.
  5. Can you help me to find a rental?  I hear this one a lot – sometimes once a week.  No, sorry, the vast majority of rental or lease properties in the San Jose area are “for rent by owner”.  Once in a great while I hear of a “courtesy rental”, which means an agent has a client who’s renting the home directly (not paying any Realtors) but wanting to find a tenant by word of mouth.  So feel free to shoot me an email (please don’t text if we have never communicated before) if you’d like me to keep an ear open for you.  Just don’t count on it as the odds are probably less than 1% that I’ll hear of something.
    Here I have listed the best rental resources I’ve found:
  6. Can I talk with you or meet with you, even if I’m not going to buy a house?  Yes, absolutely. I am happy to do a one hour consultation at my office or at a coffee shop if you prefer that to help you learn the ropes here. (I don’t do tours for people who are not pre-approved by a good lender and ready to buy, though.)
  7. Can you recommend a good lender?  Yes, I would like very much to do that.  About half the time, my Silicon Valley relocation and local buyer clients come with someone they found on their own, and sometimes that does not work out very well.  I have five or six very well vetted, trusted lenders – both mortgage brokers and bankers – all of whom I can vouch for.  Please contact me before you find someone online… I’ll put you into good hands.  By the way, a great lender does not have to be on Zillow or Yelp or any other site to be hardworking, responsive, ethical, or to provide good rates.  The folks I endorse spend their time taking great care of their customers and clients rather than marketing themselves.


Posted in Relocation Tagged with: , ,

Managing real estate stress and worry

Real estate worries and nerves

Real estate worries and nerves

Buying and selling real estate – especially in pricey, overheated Silicon Valley – can make a wreck of anyone.  Sometimes clients turn to me and say “how can you do this for a living?”  They are bewildered that I can take so much stress. (The short answer is that helping someone to buy or sell is not the same thing as buying or selling one’s own property!)

Having worked with many home buyers and sellers, and having bought and sold real estate myself, I can verify that even the easiest, smoothest transactions are still very stressful.  Some are worse: sales after a divorce, death, forced relocation, bankruptcy, illness (and medical bills) all pile on the emotions and in many cases, worry.  Several times I’ve had clients battle or get diagnosed with cancer while in the middle of a home sale.   Happy reasons for buying or selling do make it easier, but the sheer volume of things to do and manage can be overwhelming even so.

I am not a counselor, but I can offer some suggestions that I think may help most home buyers and sellers based on my experiences.  I hope that these will help.  If you tend to be a worrier, or have a lot of other big things going on in your life, it may not be a bad idea to get help via a therapist for these weeks / months to manage the stress.

Home buyers and mitigating stress

Taking on that big, new mortgage can be terror-inducing.  I know, I’ve bought homes twice!  Everything looks and feels worse when you awake at 2am, by the way.  Just know that it can happen, and remind yourself that it will look and feel better at 10am than it does when you awaken in the middle of the night with too much on your mind.

Here are a few home buyer stress reduction tips:

  • Lending worries – this tends to be The Big One. The best defense against stress here is good information. Know that the banks may qualify you for more than you are comfortable borrowing. Don’t be pushed. Before deciding what’s a good or bad loan and purchase amount, consult with a CPA or other tax professional to get a sense of the “net impact” of your loan.  Once you have that info, you should be in a better position to decide, and that will ease your mind.   Ditto with the various loan products – get lots of info on the options (30 year fixed, 10-1 arm or?), and then when you decide you will feel better because you are better informed.
  • Other money worries – future costs count too – remember that homes need ongoing maintenance.  For older homes, you may want to budget and save about 1% of the value of the home for repairs / replacement per year unless your new abode is brand new. (You will not use this much per year, but do save that much. If you can put that away, then it will not be scary or horrible when you need a new roof, sewer line, kitchen, or whatever.  People get into trouble when they find that replacing things over time is a shock to the budget.  Plan for it and you will feel less stress because you are ready. (That goes for insurance too: if you make sure that you have a strong policy, you will sleep better at night).
  • Categorize under “obvious”, but get enough sleep, be careful about having too much caffeine, alcohol, etc.  Take care of your health because even the most unavoidable stress can run you down.  Try to get to bed at the same time each night.  Try not to look at computers or your cell phone for a half hour or more before going to bed (that blue light tells your brain to stay awake.)  Get exercise, even if it’s walking 20 minutes a day.  Eat right (veggies and fruits).  You will feel better and you will handle stress better if you are better rested and nourished.
  • While you’re minding sleep and what  you ingest, also mind what you listen to.  Some buyers and sellers find that everyone has advice – even if it’s not any good!  Beware the poor “over the cubicle wall” advice, or people from out of the area telling you how to negotiate here.  Nothing good can come of getting bad advice.
  • Related to all that: hire a good Realtor.  Please.  There are gobs of Realtors in this area.  My local MLS has 16,000 members.  The top 1/3 or top 1/4 are probably really good and they don’t charge more than the rest. A good Realtor will help you to ID red flags, find a good lender, navigate you through the process of writing an offer and the acceptance and the escrow.  The seller pays the fee so there is NO reason to be stuck with a bad agent.  If you have help from a strong, ethical agent whom you can trust, it will help your stress level!
  • Many people swear by meditation. I wouldn’t vote against it!

Home sellers: worry reduction tips

  • The stress of too much stuff and what to do with it – Begin the thinning out process well in advance, as this is frequently the biggest stresser, and it’s more true the longer you’ve been in your home.  If you think you’ll be moving in 5 years, decide to break down the work and start now with the sorting: items to keep, items to give to family members or friends, items to donate, items to sell, items to toss.  Maybe do one room per month, or one set of boxes in the garage per month.  I suggest doing it one chunk at a time because you can feel a sense of accomplishment as you go, and that helps!
  • Being rushed and having to deal with too much stuff – Sometimes it’s not possible to start this process ahead of time – sometimes there’s a forced relocation due to a job transfer, a change in health, etc.   If you have a lot of “stuff”, and you are rushed, ask family and friends to help you (if you will allow them to do so).  Or pay a professional organizer to assist you.   Either way, when the worry about all those things is lifted, you will feel better.  If all else fails, and truly this is a last resort, haul it to storage and deal with it later – but do get it out of there.
  • Hire well – The point listed above for buyers about hiring a good Realtor is just as true here, if not more so, since your listing agent will give you guidance on what to do to get ready for the market that will give you the best bang for your buck.  If you feel confident that you are getting good guidance with everything, you will feel a relief of stress.
  • Have a contingency plan – often when selling, the biggest fear is not having another place to go to.  It can help if you just plan to put your belongings in storage and get them when the nex transaction is done.  This is equally true wither doing a move up or move down or lateral transaction. Please also read “How to Sell One Home and Buy Another Without Losing Your Mind
  • “This too shall pass” – when having to keep the house clean for showings and inspections starts to get to you, know that it’s temporary.  Take a deep breath and remind yourself that it’s only for a little while.
  • As with home buyers: get enough sleep (stress is draining), get enough exercise, and try to eat healthfully. It does all help.

If you feel that you are experiencing more than the normal Silicon Valley real estate stress, do not hesitate to call on professional help.  This is big stuff and there’s no shame in getting assistance.



Posted in Buying tips, Selling tips, Working in real estate Tagged with: , , ,


Gilroy Garlic Shoppe

Gilroy Garlic Shoppe

Gilroy, famously known as the Garlic Capital of the World, is one of the main areas in Silicon Valley’s South County.  (The other is Morgan Hill. Smaller in population are Coyote Valley and San Martin.)  You may have been there for the annual Garlic Festival, a fun and garlicy extravaganza the last weekend in July each year.

Gilroy’s convenient location along major highways

Situated at the crossroads of Highway 101 and Highway 152, Gilroy garners a lot of traffic not just for summer fun with garlic, wineries, and produce sold at the road, but for major shopping too.  The outlet malls, recreational vehicle, and automobile shopping are both destinations for folks willing to “drive a little, save a lot”.  Because of these significant highways, it’s not hard to get to the beach via Watsonville or to the central valley via Pacheco Pass.

Gilroy is scenic, with the beautiful coastal range nearby. The beautiful Eagle Ridge Golf Course will be an attraction for many.  Kids love Gilroy Gardens, with rides and magical looking trees.  Gilroy enjoys a nice downtown area, good restaurants, and plenty of businesses. It’s an older city and there are many lovely Victorian homes to enjoy and appreciate.  Most of the year it’s very temperate – but be advised, it can be toasty in summer, sometimes 10 degrees warmer (or more) than downtown San Jose.

Gilroy farm field

Gilroy farm field

One of the last agricultural areas in Silicon Valley, Gilroy offers a tremendous amount of open space and “horse country”.   It is a less congested area featuring a more rural atmosphere and a somewhat slower pace of life.

Real estate prices are more affordable, too.  Most people working in Silicon Valley will find it to be too far of a commute, so the tech workers are not competing for homes like they would be further north.    For people who can telecommute, this may be a fantastic option.  It is also an option for those wishing to retire in Silicon Valley to somewhere nearby but less expensive.

If you’ve never spent time in Gilroy, or south county generally, I’d suggest you go and make a day, or maybe a full weekend, of it.  Go hungry and enjoy the bounty of the local harvest while there!


Median home prices of listed properties for sale in Gilroy – to give a sense of home prices



Posted in Gilroy Tagged with: , ,

Santa Clara, California Real Estate

Santa Clara Adobe - the Santa Clara Women's Club - some of the oldest real estate in town!Coming to Silicon Valley?  The City of Santa Clara has a lot to offer: a wide variety of businesses, shops, parks, athletic opportunities, mature neighborhoods, medical facilities and more. Love football?  The brand new Levi’s Stadium, home to the San Francisco 49ers, is not to be missed!  Nearby is California’s Great America, a wonderful amusement park with rides, entertainment, and something for everyone.  Santa Clara is well regarded for parks and especially for competitve swimming.  Quite a few neighborhoods feature community pools and caba

It’s at the very heart of Silicon Valley and features a highly rated college, too – Santa Clara University, with Mission Santa Clara at its center. Santa Clara enjoys superior mass transit as Caltrain has stops in this city, making it simple to commute north toward San Francisco or into downtown San Jose. Located close to the San Jose International Airport, it’s easy to access air travel, too.

Santa Clara California real estate, neighborhoods and home value

Santa Clara’s real estate and home prices will vary depending on many factors, including proximity to work centers, better schools, pockets with charming architecture (such as you’ll find in the Old Quad neighborhood), etc. Part of this city is in the Cupertino school district area of attendance, and those homes are very highly sought after due to the high test scores.

Housing close to Santa Clara University will also be quite competitive, as students (including law school and other graduate enrollees) may want to be near enough to leave the car at home.

Looking for a golf course view? There are a few places near the Pruneridge Golf course with that lovely open space scenery. But the view will of course come at a cost.

The Rivermark area in north Santa Clara is popular as it’s quite young and has a large shopping center adjacent to it.

Posted in homes for sale, Santa Clara Tagged with: , ,

Alviso, California Real Estate

Alviso is San Jose’s waterfront community, located at the southern part of the San Francisco Bay. At one time it was incorporated as a separate city, but was annexed to San Jose in 1968. It’s convenient for commuting to North San Jose or anywhere along Highway 237 in particular. Alviso is one of the least expensive parts of the city of San Jose. Over the years, this low-elevation area has been prone to some flooding in times with heavy rainfall. That may be contributing to the lower cost of owning a home there.

Browse Alviso California real estate and homes for sale

Please read more about the Alviso area here:

Posted in homes for sale Tagged with: ,

Saratoga, California Real Estate

Saratoga is a scenic, upscale community which is snuggled into the base of the beautiful Santa Cruz Mountains. The area is popular due to the high quality of public school education, the charming downtown (known as Saratoga Village), the close proximity to work centers in Cupertino and Sunnyvale, and the beautiful landscape with mountains, rolling hills, trees, vineyards, and more. Saratoga is a Silicon Valley destination for concerts, hiking, excellent restaurants, and shopping. Many fall in love and decide to make it their home.

Saratoga’s home prices will be impacted by many factors, including the school districts, the size of the home, size of the lot, condition / remodling, and proximity to The Village. You can learn more about the neighborhoods, subdivisions, and school districts here:

Below please find a map of real estate for sale in the city of Saratoga.  Please note that there are a number of school districts in this city, and schools are a major driver  of home values.  Proximity to downtown Saratoga, or “Saratoga Village” as well as views can pull values up.  Being too close to high voltage lines, the freeway, or in a remote location may bring values down.  To learn more about the properties for sale, click on the real estate pins below.

Learn more about Saratoga California real estate at another article on this site:

Posted in homes for sale, MLS Lists, Saratoga Tagged with: , , ,

Is it the top of the real estate market in Silicon Valley?

homeThe Silicon Valley region has seen a tremendous amount of appreciation in home values over the last 4 years.  For home owners who bought at the last peak, this means that they may have a good amount of equity again.  For home buyers who’ve been “watching the market” for two or more years, they have seen their buying power shrink. Perhaps they saw an amount similar to their whole down payment evaporate.   How much has waiting cost? Has waiting made buying now not so feasible? Is it too risky?


The problem: rapid appreciation in Silicon Valley real estate values

Let’s use the Cambrian area os San Jose for an example, though it is “hotter” than many areas in Santa Clara County (main reason has to do with excellent schools at a more reasonable price).

A quick study of houses in San Jose, 95124 sold in the first half of each year with 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and 1100 – 1300 SF and a lot size of 5500-7000 SF is below for the basic stats.  These houses are within the Leigh High School Boundaries.  I mapped out an area on the MLS and used the same map area for all 4 years.

Have a look at the list and sale prices for these properties, on average:

Cambrian area of San Jose - Home value appreciation

In four years, that’s quite a jump – $350,000 or so in increased pricing for a home of about 1200 SF. Values today, a year later, are higher, too – most likely this typical home would be worth about $ 1 million if in somewhat updated condition in a decent location (not fully remodeled, not ideal location), so more like $450,000 gain in 4 years.

And that fact leads some buyers to say that we are “at the top of the market“.

The question: determining the “top of the market”

Are we at the peak of real estate prices for Silicon Valley?

No one knows the exact top or bottom of the market until it’s passed, whether it’s in real estate, stocks, or anything else. As the saying goes, “hindsight is 20 / 20”.

We do know that corrections come periodically (in real estate, stocks, etc.).   Most of the time, we have corrections about every 10 years here.  Most of the time, the runups are much more than the corrections.  The last “Great Recession”, though, was a doozy, and that correction rolled pricing way back.

A correction will come sometime –  maybe this year, next year, or the year after, but I think probably not as much as 3 years into the future.

When the next correction comes, how bad will it be?

Just as we never know exactly when it will happen, we also never know how deep it will be.  But we do know that a correction is never uniformly painful or intense.  We saw this with the last one – Sunnyvale, Cupertino, and Mountain View (expensive areas near major employment regions) fared much better than Evergreen, Santa Teresa and remote areas which are more affordable and further out.  The less costly areas had far more foreclosures and short sales, and not only did prices roll back more (percentage)  in those sections of the valley, the recovery was slower in coming. In general, decade to decade, Palo Alto seems to be the last to fall and the first to rise during times of soft pricing or depreciation in home values in Silicon valley.  A lot of influence on the correction comes down to location.

Cameo Park West street in Campbell

What will cause a correction? Read more ›

Posted in Cambrian Park (SJ), Neighborhoods in Cambrian Tagged with: , , , , ,