As of this writing, June 22nd, open houses are still on-hold but all listed properties may now be shown by appointment and following certain restrictions such as limiting showings to only to two buyers living in the same home with 1 real estate agent present. The market statistics are not super reliable for several reasons, due to the many market changes over the last few months, and this post will be a little shorter until there’s more data. The Shelter in Place order kicked in here on March 18th for the general population and March 17 for those over 65 or with chronic health conditions.
To see more on the coronavirus impact on real estate sales, please follow the link to the Valley of Heart’s Delight blog.
In general, though, for the homes that have sold, they generally did OK in March, but sales really slowed after mid-month. Most areas remained in a cooler seller’s market since then, but as restrictions are lifted the market is heating up again.
As always, the homes selling fastest are in “turnkey” condition, have no location issues, and are priced a little low or right at the perceived market value, and not aiming too high on the list price. That is true in all markets locally.
First, some data from Altos Research, with data based on currently listed properties (not sold homes) by zip code. This will automatically update each week.
Los Gatos real estate market trends in 95030: schools and downtown proximity
The chart above represents 95030 in Los Gatos (only, not Monte Sereno). Right now, this chart shows that for Los Gatos homes in the 95030 zip code, days on market are rising, the market action has been on the decline, and it’s a slight seller’s market. That said, we have a somewhat obscured picture due to the current pandemic, but it’s clear that there has been distinct cooling in the spring market.
If you’d like to see the FULL weekly report, use the following link and save it, as it will be updated automatically every 7 days:
This part of Los Gatos has the Los Gatos Union School District and features locations closer to downtown Los Gatos than 95032 or most of 95033 (the Los Gatos Mountains area). For that reason, it’s a little pricier than other parts of town. With the higher prices come a bit slower of a real estate market, so here Altos says that it’s a market only slightly in the seller’s favor.
Los Gatos real estate market trends 95032: schools and commute
The chart above represents 95032 based on list prices, not sold. The prices are lower in this Los Gatos market, though it’s also presenting as a slight seller’s market with a marginally better market action and it has a slightly quicker turnover than the 95030 sector.
The 95032 zip code in Los Gatos is more complicated than 95030 for a few reasons. First, part of it is in the Los Gatos Union School District, part is in the Campbell Union School District (west Los Gatos near the Saratoga and Campbell borders), and part is in the Union School District (shared with the Cambrian zip code of 95124 in San Jose). All are good to great schools at the elementary and middle school level. At the high school level, Los Gatos High will have a little more draw due to stronger scores than Westmont or Leigh High (in the Campbell Union High School District), so that part of 95032 will sell for a bit more.
Check out the Altos Research Weekly Report for Los Gatos 9503032 for more.
Additionally, since west Los Gatos is closer to Cupertino and Apple, and other high tech employment centers, that side of 95032 will sell for a little more than east Los Gatos – though that could change with the new Google complex in downtown San Jose.
Inventory & Sales for Los Gatos 95030 and 95032 (MLS Area 16)
Below you will find a chart of the history of the Los Gatos inventory & sales of single family homes from the last 12 months to the present. From this chart, the Spring activity doesn’t really look too bad, but usually in this season the number of sales are higher, as are the number of active listings.
My sense is that this is an artificial picture of what’s going on. I pulled up the homes as they went pending by week during March, and I saw this:
Sales had fallen off as of mid-March absolutely, but there was probably also an impact earlier than that as consumers saw the virus coming closer. It may seem surprising, then, that the numbers didn’t fall more significantly in April. While there had initially been a complete freeze on showing homes, by April vacant homes could be shown and further restrictions were lifted in May allowing for greater market activity.
Los Gatos 95033: mountains, schools, and affordability
The chart above updates regularly, displaying real-time changes in the market for Los Gatos Mountain area for 95033. Currently, it shows a slight seller’s market, up from early April which had the mountain market in a slight buyer’s advantage. It’s still cooler than either 95030 or 95032.
The Los Gatos Mountains area of 95033 enjoys great schools, clean mountain area, and a lot more house for the money than you’ll get “in town”. (There are some challenges, so it’s a trade off.) This is mostly a county pocket, and not part of incorporated Los Gatos, though some close in areas, such as Montevina Road, are both 95033 and “in town”.
Note how much lower the median list price is (as well as the price per SF) as compared to either 95030 or 95032! When many websites aggregate home prices in Los Gatos, they include 95030, 95032, and 95033 – the last one pulling the median or average price down to artificial levels if the consumer sees it thinking it’s an “in town” price.
This area also enjoys a slight buyer’s advantage right now. Most of the time, as it appears today, homes in 95033 have much longer days on market than homes in 95030 & 95032. That being said, the homes here can vary wildly and when inventory or sales are low it can throw the data. It might be that if you compared homes listed between 1 and 2 million in these 3 zip codes, the marketability would look different.
Sale price to list price ratio
One way of assessing the market is to check the sale price to list price ratio. In the chart below, nothing appears to far amiss in March, nor in what we can see of April so far on this count. Now that May numbers are in, though, it’s clear there’s a cooling trend in this ratio, dropping roughly 1% each month. May of 2020 has the lowest average sale to list price ratio across all May data going back to 2015.
Sale price to list price ratio in the Los Gatos mountains 95033
There are very low numbers of sales in the mountains right now, so this will be the only chart for the moment. When I’ve pulled up others, the system gives an error message that the numbers are too low to be reliable.
This one metric does not look bad. In fact, it’s a little hotter than some recent years’ May numbers. We’ll have to see how it goes through the rest of the Shelter in Place period.
What is selling fastest in Los Gatos?
Turnkey houses in areas with no issues and no major repairs or updating needed are selling fast. This is even more true if they are nicely remodeled and priced appropriately or a little under market value. Examples of issues include being too close to high voltage power lines or other negative elements. And, of course, they are in the lower pricing tiers of appx $2 million or less (or a little more, but under $3 million).
The highest priced homes over $3 – $5 million will sell better if they are in the Los Gatos Union School District. In a normal market, it is especially challenging to sell a very high end home in east Los Gatos with Leigh High, both because at that price point most home buyers want Los Gatos High, but also it’s a further commute to most employment centers closer to Palo Alto.
School districts aside, there will always be homes that are having trouble selling. Some of these properties have not been updated, have been over-improved for the immediate neighborhood, or were overpriced. Often the over-pricing is because of bad comps (market comparables), such as using numbers from a hot spring market instead of the cooler summer or fall / winter market, or when things like differences in lot size or school district within a neighborhood are not considered in pricing. It’s an easy mistake to make as the market is shifting.
The ultra luxury market over $5 million often struggles, though, no matter what school district it’s in. There just are not a lot of buyers wanting to spend or able to lay out that much money.
Resources for the Los Gatos Real Estate Market Trends
Here are some resources to help you better understand the statistics and market direction for our beautiful town, updated frequently:
A great overview of the statistics for the town of Los Gatos 95030 & 95032 can be found on my Real Estate Report by navigating to Los Gatos and then under “zips” choose which part of town you want to understand better. Or view the same report on my Live in Los Gatos Blog.
On my Live in Los Gatos Blog, you’ll find an article updated often which considers the Los Gatos months of inventory, or the absorption rate, by price point and high school district. Here it is extremely clear that we have a consortium of realty markets, not just one market per se.
Additionally, I have a subscription to Altos Research, which provides market data based on currently listed homes for sale. Altos displays info by zip code, and those charts will be posted below. They are automatically updated each week, so please bookmark this page and return often.
Altos Research: Los Gatos 95030
Below are live updating charts. The first two here are the 90-Day statistics for Single Family Homes and then Condos in Los Gatos 95030.
As of the latest update (as of this writing, late June), Single Family Homes in 95030 are taking over three months to sell on average. With a small number of sales, though, this data can change quickly. Condos in this zip code are selling much faster, in under two months.
The graph above shows the Median Price for condos and homes in 95030. The condo market follows a more erratic path, though both generally follow the same trends. Right now, prices are looking up after a recent dip.
The graph above compares the same two for total inventory. While the housing market has its ups and downs, the condo market is flat-lining only a smidgen above zero.
Here’s something a little different. This graph shows the Average Days on Market. Houses in this sector clearly take a lot longer than in the valley to sell, but condos have moved very quickly for a long time, though they recently slowed to a over a month, something that hasn’t happened since winter. At the same time the condo market was slowing down, the housing market heated up through the middle of the year, but it’s slowing back down again now.
This chart shows a bit of a surprise, and good news for buyers in the 95030 area. The Median Price per Sqft has been on a slow but steady increase for single family homes in this area for a long time, but there’s been a very clear dip in both SFH and condo price per square foot since the start of March. The condo value, however, has often been all over the place.
And the last graph for this sector is the Median Market Action Index, roughly how hot is the market. Again, the condo market has been more erratic, but both are very close to one another and currently count as mild seller’s markets.
Altos Research: Los Gatos 95032
Below are the Altos charts covering the 95032 zip code. Again, we’ll start with the 90-day statistics.
Homes are taking roughly the same time to sell in 95032 as in 95030, but condos are selling nearly twice as fast here as in their in-town counterparts. Still, small data pools means these percentages could fluctuate quickly.
Above is the Median Price graph comparison between Condos and Single Family homes in 95032. They show similar trends, though they are a little shifted in time and don’t quite sync up. Both condos and homes show fairly level numbers for the second half of 2019, but by the start of 2020 began to move significantly. In the new year, condos dipped and homes rose in median price, but both have changed direction since.
The graph above shows that inventory in both houses and condos have increased since the start of spring, though it hasn’t reached the levels of last year.
Days on market are low for both houses and condos, though condos have begun to climb again after bottoming out. Homes are taking longer to sell than they were a year ago at a solid 3 months.
Single family homes have seen some strong ups and downs in the price per sqft, but condos are fairly stable after a winter drop and a spring rise. That might just be another case of small pools of data for the charts, though.
Lastly, the Median Market Action Index shows two surprisingly close mild seller’s markets in the housing and condo sectors. Homes have seen a drastic dive in activity over the last few months, but condos fell sooner and are turning back around again.
Now we have one final Altos chart with the 90-day statistics for Los Gatos Mountains 95033:
Days on Market in this update are slow, looking a little slower than homes in the 95030 sector. This might look different if things were broken down by price point, however.
Why do you get so much more home for your money in Los Gatos than in a similar place like Los Altos? Why are the Los Gatos Real Estate Market Trends milder than Palo Alto or nearby?
Silicon Valley has a concentration of high tech jobs close to Palo Alto, Mountain View, Sunnyvale and nearby, plus many others in Santa Clara, north San Jose and Cupertino. Los Gatos is not the “closest in” for most of these companies (Netflix excluded!). Traffic here is pretty terrible, especially on highway 85, so being a little further out has kept the Los Gatos housing market somewhat less in demand than our neighbors to the north like Cupertino and Los Altos. This is especially true for east Los Gatos, which is more dependent on Highway 85 south of 17. Even so, it’s not a far commute to Apple. With everything that this town has to offer, prices here are really a very good deal for what you get!
For more information on the Los Gatos real estate market trends which are relevant to your property, or the one you’d like to buy, please contact me. I would be happy to meet with you and discuss working together so that you can get the best deal possible with the current climate.
Please also visit my Silicon Valley real estate report, which includes info on all the cities and towns in San Mateo County, Santa Clara County, and Santa Cruz County. Here’s the link to the Los Gatos page. Also view the Los Gatos real estate market report on my SanJoseRealEstateLosGatosHomes.com site.