What is Going On With the Market?

The Belwood of Los Gatos house on Belblossom Drive was not overpriced in the 9’s, but it hasn’t sold and the price has just dropped like a rock to $799,000. I wish I could buy it myself at that price!

Is this a hint of what is to come?

It might be.

The east side of the Santa Clara Valley and the south county areas have been suffering with a very difficult real estate market these last few months.

Maybe it’s spreading to the west valley communities now too.

For a long time we had a “bifurcated market”. The westside was still hot-hot-hot. Homes in Sunnyvale and Palo Alto were flying off the market. Multiple offers. As is sales. All of that – continuing despite the travails on the poorer side of the San Jose market.

But now it looks like we’re seeing the market stalling out. By early next week we should have the real estate statistics for September, but from my cursory look at homes online and in the MLS in Los Gatos and Saratoga, I see a very noticeable slowdown in sales activity.

In the case of one of my buyer clients, I got an email that he and his wife are going to wait. “The interest rate is .75% higher than I was budgeting”, he lamented.

In a buyer’s market, buyers don’t buy. They wait. They wait for interest rates to improve (by the way, that often happens in the dead  of winter) and/or for prices to improve.

I think what is happening now – hindsight is always 20/20 but figuring out the current market is trickier – is that we are caught in a changing tide. I believe that our “neutral” or balanced market is now falling into a stronger buyer’s market.

If that is the case, prepare for more drastic price cuts in Los Gatos and Saratoga and all of Silicon Valley to get homes sold.

That’s what the buyers are waiting for.

Photos of the Moon Over Belwood

 

The moon between palm trees in Belwood of Los Gatos, Sept 24, 2007. Photo by Mary Pope-HandyToday the typically pleasant, normal September weather returned to Los Gatos after several gloomy and unseasonably cold days took hold of us. It was too nice to stay indoors so in the late afternoon, I grabbed the leash and asked our aging black lab, Bella, if she wanted to go for a walk.

She limps now, but moves fast at the sound of food or the promise of a walk. We were out the door quickly.

After a stroll down Bacigalupi Drive, greeting neighbors and other dog walkers and pedestrians, we returned home to a really beautiful site. The moon was just about full and it was almost exactly between two palm trees straight ahead of me.

Getting Bella inside, I grabbed my Canon Power Shot out of my car and brought it outside, only to find the rechargeable batteries had died.

Got new ones off the charger and snapped a few shots. They didn’t look good in the tiny little window of the camera and I was afraid that the impact would be lost. I took about a half dozen shots and then the batteries died again. Grrr. But I got what I needed.

The moon as seen from close to Bacigalupi Dr. and Harwood Road in Los Gatos on Sept 24, 2007. Photo by Mary Pope-HandyIt wasn’t until I uploaded the pics to my computer that I could see if this would work or not. I think it does come across – though still not as breathtaking as when I saw it “live” today.

Here I think the moon looks so much like a ping pong ball suspended between two palmy paddles.

Another beautiful evening here in Los Gatos.

 

(This post was also inputted into my Live in Los Gatos blog, which can be found online at www.LiveInLosGatos.com)

 

Signs in Belwood…and Los Gatos

Open Houses are a near weekly event in Belwood, Belgatos and Surmont – and all of Los Gatos, really!

The town of Los Gatos has a sign ordinance (rule) that the open house signs are supposed to be of the "generic" variety. They may have simple arrows on them, or the words "Open House", but they are not to be personalized. Open House directional signs should not include the agent’s name, the brokerage’s name, or anything else. Additionally, they are not to be the large placard type signs – but the more minimalistic sized ones you see around town.

Each city near Los Gatos has different signage rules, so it can be confusing to agents as to what is allowed where. In Cupertino, NO signs are allowed except on the property itself!

Once I had a listing I was holding open in Cupertino. I was very aware of the sign restrictions, but my listing was a corner lot, so I figured I could put signs on both sides.  I placed one directly on the main front lawn of the home (between the sidewalk and the house) and another on the side, between the sidewalk and the street.

To my utter amazement, a code enforcement officer drove up, while my clients looked on from the driveway, and took my sign to his truck and sped away. Apparently in Cupertino, what I did was wrong.  The next day I had to go and pay $5 to get it out of hock. I was not a happy agent, and my sellers were very unhappy with their city too. (Wouldn’t he have been a good soul to have just told me to move it 3 feet?)

I wanted to relay this story because the Los Gatos rule about open house signs is really not all that strict. Signs can be green, black, maroon, blue – you name it. But the town doesn’t want a junky look. So no big ads for the agent or the brokerage within the town boundaries.

If you happen to visit an open house where the agent does not know of our ordinance, it’s not a bad thing to nicely let him or her know. It is confusing with each town having different rules, but Los Gatos is wise, I think, in wanting to de-commercialize the open house signage a bit. It makes a prettier town for all of us when the signs used here are the correct ones.

Grass Fires in Silicon Valley

Today is Labor Day – it’s many things, but it’s also the end of summer. But it’s not the end of the dry season. In fact, the rains won’t really arrive until November. So between now and then, the fire danger will continue to rise in our hilly, rural areas.

A few days ago, the coastal hills near Stevens Creek Reservoir and the Montebello Ridge over Cupertino (just a little north of Los Gatos) burned fiercely.  It took a couple of days and a lot of firefighters to extinguish it.

Now the hills by Mount Hamilton on the east side are ablaze too. We just took a quick drive to the top of Harwood Road to see the enormous plume of smoke rising over the hills by south San Jose.

What does this have to do with Belwood, Belgatos & Surmont?  Earlier today, Bella and I took a walk down Bacigalupi Drive and into Belgatos Park, entering on the side, as we do most days. The grassy area there is parched. The path is covered in wood chips and tanbark. And to my horror, I saw two cigarette butts among the wood chips.

Belgatos Park in Los Gatos CA in FebruaryBelgatos Park in Los Gatos CA in May

 

 

 

 

 

Smoking is not illegal in the park, as my husband (the volunteer parks commissioner) reminded me today. But it is very unwise to do it in the tinderbox areas which comprise most of the park.

Should we put a polite request at the entrance to the park that cigarettes are a great danger to the park, to Belwood and to Los Gatos as a whole, and that putting them out in the grassy areas is inadvisable???

To me it’s obvious: fire season and burning objects over dry grass don’t mix. But apparently it’s not obvious to everyone.

Fire season’s not over yet. Let’s hope that common sense prevails and we won’t have any more senseless fires.

 

 

 

 

Why Choose Belwood, Belgatos, or Surmont?

Blog: Why Live in the Belwood, Belgatos, or Surmont areas in Los Gatos?
by Mary Pope-Handy, posted 8/22/2007

Jim and I bought our first home in Cambrian Park in 1989, and scrimped and saved, and fixed our fixer ’til we could make a move into a nicer home in a better area in 1999. As a Realtor, there were a couple of neighborhoods I had my eye on, but the one I really hoped we could live in was Belwood.

Luckily for us, a home that fit the budget and the needs came up on Bacigalupi Drive in Belwood of Los Gatos just as our starter home a mile and a half away sold. It had all the “right things wrong” (if everything had been “done”, we couldn’t have afforded it!)  It had a great floorplan on a great street with all the rooms we needed (4 bedrooms plus an office, large family room, decent living room, open kitchen – and the dining room was small but has potential). It was not perfect, but no house is. I wished I could have had a larger dining room for our massive family parties (I have a scheme on how I can eventually expand it) and I wish our lot was one of the larger ones (it’s not, the home is newer than most here but also on a smaller lot). Compromise is a big part of home buying. We did, however, get 95% of what we wanted.

And we got great neighbors – fantastic, really. They are all nice, they are quiet, they are wonderful folks.

Why choose Belwood? I had wanted it for the same reason my buyers now want it. It’s close to the hills so is extraordinarily scenic, it has a huge, fabulous park, Belgatos Park. It enjoys a cabana. The streets meander (not straight grids). You see people out and about – walking, jogging, riding bikes, exercizing dogs, and sometimes you even see someone go by on horseback. It’s a real community and it has a nice feel to it.

Folks here take care of their homes. You don’t see a lot of dilapidated cars sitting around. Yards look nice. People are friendly.

In summer, neighbors gather to watch films at the cabana. Folks with little swimmers sign up to be a part of The Dolphins Swim Team.

There’s just a lotthat’s right here in this far corner of Los Gatos.

As for us, I think we’ll be here another couple of decades. We love it here in Belwood.

Belwood, Belgatos Surmont and east Los Gatos area resources

In this article, you will find important phone numbers, addresses and websites. Please check back often as the list grows, and feel free to make suggestions to me for more. Listed first are things which may be most urgent, if hopefully not needed most often.

EMERGENCY:

Dial 911 in case of true emergency

HOSPITALS:

Community Hospital of Los Gatos 815 Pollard Road, Los Gatos, CA 95032 (off Winchester Blvd between Lark and Camden) tel 408 378-6131

*Good Samaritan Hospital 2425 Samaritan Dr., San Jose, CA 95124 (off Los Gatos Blvd near Hwy 85) tel 408 559-2377

*Closest to Belwood/Belgatos/Surmont and east Los Gatos areas

UTILITIES:

Garbage: Waste Management/Green Valley Disposal Co.
(until March 2007)
408 354-2100
http://www.greenvalley.com

Power: Pacific Gas & Electric     800 743-5000
http://www.pge.com

Telephone: Verizon
To order service 800 483-4000
Repair 800 483-1000
Billing 800 483-3000
http://www.Verizon.com

Television: Cable TV: Comcast  800 945-2288 http://www.comcast.com

Television: Satellite TV: Direct TV      800 347-3288

Water: San Jose Water    408 277-4036

LOCAL GOVERNMENT & PUBLIC INFO:

Town of Los Gatos: Town Hall, 100 E. Main Street, Los Gatos, CA 95030 tel 408 354-6834  Hours are M-F 8-5 The town website has a myriad of information, such as specific telephone numbers you may need or contacts within certain departments.
http://www.losgatosca.gov

Los Gatos Public Library: Tel 408 354-6891    See webpage on town site for oodles of information: http://www.losgatosca.gov/index.asp?NID=831

NEARBY RESTAURANTS:

In Walgreen’s Shopping Center

Los Gatos Pizza (lunch, dinner, parties for kids, sports)
14080 Blossom Hill Rd, Los Gatos, CA 95032
.
(408) 358-5545
***Coupon on their website!***
http://www.losgatospizza.com

Tea Garden Chinese Kitchen (lunch, dinner – take out)
14030 Blossom Hill Road Los Gatos 356-0022
Open Mon.- Fri. 11:30 am-9 pm, Sat. 4-9 pm
Closed Sunday. Call (408) 356-0022

Gallo’s Italian Restaurant (late afternoon, Dinner)
14180 Blossom Hill Rd Los Gatos CA408 358-3661
Open Sunday and Monday 4-9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday
4- 10 p.m. Call for catering specials and reservations  (408) 358-3661

Kitty-corner from Walgreen’s Shopping Center:

Bangkok Taste Thai Restaurant
1769 Blossom Hill Rd., Los Gatos. (lunch, dinner)
Open for lunch Mon.-Sat. 11 a.m.-3 p.m., dinner daily until 9
p.m. Call for take-out. (408) 358-2525.
www.bangkoktaste.com

NEARBY STORES:

Ernies Wine & Liquor
14140 Blossom Hill Road Los Gatos, CA
95032-5118
Phone: (408) 356-7661

Walgreens
14100 Blossom Hill Road Los Gatos, CA 95032. Phone: (408) 356-2511
Pharmacy (408)356-1152

Extended Hours Walgreens
1376 Kooser Rd   San Jose, CA 95118
(in triangular shopping center at Blossom Hill, Kooser and Meridian) – store faces Kooser
Store tel:
(408) 448-0436
Pharmacy (408) 448-2503

BelwoodOfLosGatos.com


This website is provided by Mary Pope-Handy, a Belwood resident and real estate agent.

*************************

For the HOA site,
and phone numbers for the Cabana or HOA, please visit
BelwoodHomes.org


************************* Mary Pope-Handy
Belwood area resident
Realtor
ABR, CIPS, CRS, SRES
Sereno Group Real Estate
214 Los Gatos-Saratoga Rd
Los Gatos, CA 95030
408 204-7673
Mary (at) PopeHandy.com
BRE License #01153805

Valley of Heart's Delight fruit

Mary’s other sites & blogs


Live in Los Gatos Blog
Los Gatos neighborhoods, homes & real estate, events, parks, photos, dining, community info

Valley Of Hearts Delight
Santa Clara County Real Estate,
with an interest in history

ValleyOfHeartsDelight blog
Move2SiliconValley.com
Silicon Valley relocation info

popehandy.com
Silicon Valley real estate,
focus on home selling

Silicon Valley Real Estate Report
Silicon Valley real estate
market trends & statistics

Altos Report Signup