A couple of nights ago, I was out walking in the neighborhood with my daughter when we noticed a “Little Free Library” stand at 100 Belhaven Drive (at the corner with Harwood Road). It had a few books inside and said “take a book, return a book”. Apparently there are little free libraries all over the place, but it was the first we’d learned of it.
The website for Little Free Library says that their mission is
- To promote literacy and the love of reading by building free book exchanges worldwide.
- To build a sense of community as we share skills, creativity and wisdom across generations.
Los Gatos housing inventory may well be at an all time low. For other blogs, I crunch the real estate numbers regularly and can tell you that in the last 15 years (for which I can get MLS statistics) there’ve never been so few available homes to buy. I’ve been selling real estate for 20 years now and don’t remember it ever being so dire. In fact, the worst year ever still had twice as many houses for sale as what we’ve got now.
The available inventory in Los Gatos, and Santa Clara County generally, is inching up. The numbers have risen about 25% from a couple of months ago, but are off between 30% and 65% from the year before, depending on how you slice and dice the numbers. In our lovely corner of east Los Gatos, right now there are only 2 homes for sale, one on Blossom Hill and one on a side street at the corner of Blossom Hill. Last year there were 13 sales in the neighborhood, and in 2011 there were 17. We could use more inventory!
If you are thinking of selling in 2013, now is a great time. There’s little competition and a very strong level of buyer demand. Please call me for a free, no obligation, no pressure consultation. Please email me at mary (at) popehandy.com or call me at 408 204-7673.
Los Gatos Real Estate Market Trends and Statistics
Although spring weather has not yet arrived in Los Gatos, the door to door solicitors are out in force, annoying and concerning residents. Over the last 3 or 4 weeks, it seems that getting an unexpected knock at the front door is almost a daily occurrence. Surprisingly, many of these happen after dark, as late as 8pm in some cases. Some want to ask to bid window replacement or other home improvement projects. Some want to sell magazines. And others are looking for charitable donations or political action.
What can be done?
It’s not a new problem, but lately it does seem worse. A “no solicitors” sign by the front door may help. The town of Los Gatos requires all door to door salespeople to have a permit, so you may ask to see it. Many won’t have obtained the peddler’s permit because it costs about $100.
The Nextdoor online group for Surmont, Belgatos and Belwood has been actively discussing this problem. If you live in the area west of Blossom Hill Road in the general Belgatos area and aren’t already a member, sign up to join now and keep current on what’s happening at www.belwood-belgatos.nextdoor.com
A beautiful black kitten or young cat was found high in a tree at Belridge and Harwood Roads on December 31st. He was reluctant to come down, but several neighbors did try to lure him over a couple of days. Thanks to the persistence of two kindly neighbors, he has been rescued, fed and warmed up. One of the residents, Byron, brought the Belwood cat to the Humane Society to check for chipping, but no luck. Is this friendly feline yours, or do you know where he belongs? If so, please call Byron at 408-267-1733.
How’s the real estate market for the Belwood of Los Gatos, Belgatos and Surmont neighborhoods of Los Gatos? Today I present some detailed views of the state of the real estate market in 2012, viewed from several angles. This is a lengthy article, but one I hope my neighbors and would-be neighbors will find very helpful.
Inventory was low across all of Los Gatos and Silicon Valley, and turnover in this corner of east Los Gatos 9part of the 95032 zip code) is never high, so it’s not surprising to learn that a mere 13 houses sold over the last year. Most home owners would like to know whether values are rising or falling, how tough it is to sell a house, and whether or not homes are selling over the asking price. We’ll have a look at these questions, and more, using graphs I created from our local real estate multiple listings provider, MLSListings.com.
There were 13 closed sales in Belwood, Belgatos and Surmont plus 4 houses that did not sell in 2012
There were 13 sales of houses in 2013 – not too many for a neighborhood with more than 300 houses! There were four others which did not sell, however. One is currently for sale, and 3 more are cancelled, expired, or withdrawn. In every market, no matter how “hot”, some homes do not sell. This is important to remember. Too many home owners get euphoric about the sales prices and multiple offers which they hear about. What’s usually not considered is the “market rejection” that other properties get. It is a sobering balance to the multiple offer frenzy stories which one hears.
This first graph displays the closed numbers of sales by price point. This is helpful not just for sellers, but home buyers interested in purchasing here. Last week I got an email from a resident of Santa Clara County indicating a desire to see properties here with 2200 square feet or more available at under $1,000,000. Is that possible? Let’s see.
In the graph above, we find that three properties sold here between $800,000 and $1 million. We do not yet know from the data anything more about the houses, whether they were small, big, regular sales or distressed properties. A quick look at the MLS just now shows that all of the sold houses were regular sales except one, a short sale on Belwood Gateway which was in that lowest pricing tier (and which took about 2/3 of a year to sell).
Days on market or average days to sell in Belwood, Belgatos and Surmont area
Next, the average days to sell (meaning to have an accepted purchase offer or contract) for the houses on the market that did sell – not all of those offered in 2012 were purchased! (In every market, there are homes that do not sell. Most of the time it is because they are overpriced.)
From the time the house is showing on the MLS as active or available, how long until there was a ratified contract? In most cases, not long at all. For the lowest price group, the average days to sell is badly skewed by the short sale on Belwood Gateway – that one took 213 days to sell due to transactions falling through and the difficulties of getting a distressed property closed. When I eliminate the short sale from the mix, the average days on market for the other 12 properties was a very fast 17. The longest was 66 and the shortest was 2. The graph below shows the days on market of all sold houses by price point. Although it appears that the least expensive homes are the hardest to sell, that’s not really the case. The short sale tilts the average.
Average list prices of Surmont, Belgatos and Belwood homes that sold in 2012
What about home values and pricing? Below, please find the average list price of properties by month. For most of 2012, the majority of houses for sale ranged between one million and $1.4 million. There are higher and lower priced properties, of course, but this range gives home buyers a general sense of area values for typical homes. Newer one, view lots, extra large homes or custom built properties will cost more. Houses on Blossom Hill Road, older homes, properties needing extensive renovation etc. will sell for less. Have a look: Continue reading
How’s the real estate market in the Belwood, Belgatos and Surmont areas? Below, please find a list of properties which are currently available or sold (there are NO pendings at the moment) in these parts of Los Gatos this year.
Homes for sale:
As you can see below, most properties are priced at over $1 million unless located on (busy) Blossom Hill Road.
Since January 1st, only 3 homes in the area have sold for under $1 million, and one of them was a short sale that was directly across from the cabana. Please note that overall, homes in the Surmont, Belgatos and Belwood neighborhoods are selling over list price – in fact, by $13,437 or almost 1% over list price. Although the one short sale took over 200 days from listing to closing, most homes in the area sold far faster – 9 of the 12 sold within 2 weeks! That is a nice, strong sellers’ market.
Even so, it’s imperative not to overprice. Just because it’s a sellers’ market does not mean that buyers will pay just any price for a home. They are wary after the market’s downturn!
Want to discuss your home’s value? Please call or email me today and we can meet, go through your house together, and discuss probable market value and pricing strategies.
I have been communicating with a family relocating to Silicon Valley from Austin who think that the Belwood, Belgatos or Surmont area might be a good fit for them. They are open to other nearby areas, too, but the most important thing is that they want to be within the boundaries for Noddin Elementary School.
Do you have or know of a rental like this that might be available in June?
Size : 3 Bedrooms (or more)
Area : Within Noddin Boundaries
Alarmed & two storey preferable but not a deal breaker.
Reach me at 408 204-7673 or mary (at) popehandy.com.
Tonight at the Belwood Cabaña in east Los Gatos, there was a community meeting of neighbors with a panel of officials to discuss the explosion at the yard on Westhill and Belblossom on March 5th. Officials included Sgt Kerry Harris from the Los Gatos Monte Sereno Police Department, two men from P G & E (one named Tamon) and a representative from the county fire department. Jim and I arrived about 1-2 minutes late so unfortunately I missed some of the names. (My apologies to the panelists whose names I missed.)
About 50 neighbors gathered at 7:30pm to this not-so-well publicized event (it was mentioned on this Belwood blog, the Nextdoor site and the Facebook group but did not make the local papers or even the edition of The Bellringer which was delivered to residents today). Those of us who attended generally expected to learn what exactly had happened to cause the explosion. Instead, we learned that P G and E has determined that it was not caused by natural gas (their arena) and therefore their investigation is closed as they are not the right entity to investigate other causes. The Town of Los Gatos appears to have done exactly nothing beyond the original police report (and of course, sending Sgt Harris over tonight, which was very much appreciated).
So what caused the explosion that seriously injured the gardener and caused the boom to be heard and felt up to a quarter of a mile or more away? We still don’t know. Who’s doing an ongoing investigation to find out what caused it? As of tonight, no one.
This was not a happy revelation that as of now, no one is really investigating anything. The crowd was clearly displeased and uneasy with what feels like a ticking time bomb. If we don’t know what caused this explosion, how can we possibly prevent another? This was the reasoning of many of the calm, but concerned, voices.
Most felt that the power company had not done nearly enough to check on safety issues. With a little prodding by the public, it was learned that the company could do more….and it sounds like Tamon, the pubic advocate within P G & E, will request that further testing take place. It isn’t guaranteed to happen, but it would be a help.
There was some news, though. We did hear, for the first time, that when the explosion happened, there was a fireball “the size of two car lengths” followed by smoke of the same size. It seems to have dissipated rapidly.
We stayed for an hour – there were lots of questions, some more like long commentaries. A few people expressed frustration and more than one appeared to simply vent. It was mostly civil but had some contentious moments. The presence of both police and fire representatives was helpful, I think, to explain how each department got involved and what their roles were. That was a plus. And while Tamon seemed caring and adept at working with the pubic, his counterpart didn’t share that talent and his repeated, terse replies to others’ comments of “that’s not true” didn’t do much to warm up the community to him, or to the company, for that matter. (But thank you, Tamon – you did a good job under pressure.)
So was turpentine to blame, as initially thought? Sounds like it wasn’t – but they don’t know. PG & E doesn’t know, the fire department doesn’t know, the police department doesn’t know.
But the Belwood, Belgatos, and Surmont neighbors do know that this isn’t over yet. This is not a “closed case”. We deserve better. All of Los Gatos does.
Many thanks to Edwin Swartz for letting us know that there will be a meeting March 26th at 7:30 in the evening with representatives of PGE and town staff regarding the explosion at the corner of Westhill, and Belblossom Drive. The meeting will be at the cabaña club, and the neighborhood is invited to come with their questions.
The market is pretty hot in our pocket of Los Gatos! Here’s what has gone under contract in Belwood, Belgatos, Surmont and very nearby since January 1, 2012. (DOM = “Days on Market”. REO = “Real Estate Owned (by the bank)” or bank owned home.)
|Sale type||Status||Street||List Price||Sales Price||Square Ft||Lot Size||DOM||Sale Date|
|Reglar||Pending||BELWOOD GY||$ 949,000.00||1730||11385||8||4/20/2012|
|Regular||Pending||OLD ORCHARD DR||$1,275,000.00||2736||10209||51||3/27/2012|
|Short Sale||Pending||BELWOOD GY||$ 925,000.00||2251||10240||213||3/30/2012|
|Regular||Pending||BELCREST DR||$ 895,000.00||2448||9875||7||4/4/2012|
|Reglar||Sold & Closed||HARWOOD RD||$1,099,999.00||$1,098,000.00||2804||11036||252||1/5/2012|
|Regular||Sold & Closed||ALMOND BLOSSOM CT||$1,199,950.00||$1,140,000.00||2923||10018||59||3/2/2012|
The home on Belvale had 6 or 7 offers – I know because I placed one of the bids on it for my buyers! There were also multiple offers on the Bacigalupi house as well. Both are said to have sold over list price. Most homes are selling pretty fast now, and at very good prices.
The real estate market across Silicon Valley has really zoomed into a strong seller’s market over the last 3 to 4 weeks. I have been involved with MANY offers, both on the seller side and the buyer side, and almost every single one was a multiple offer situation with sales getting pushed much higher than list price. (This last Monday, for example, I sold a small Santa Clara condo that was not strategically underpriced but it got 20 offers, 8 of them “all cash” and sold about 8% over list price. This is happening all over.)
Want to see more photos and a map? My Los Gatos Real Estate Report can display listings, pendings and sold properties anywhere in Santa Clara County. Click on this link to see what’s happening near our part of town. (It loads a little slowly so please be patient.)
If you’d like to buy or sell a home in the Surmont, Belgatos, or Belwood of Los Gatos areas , please call me! I’m a resident (since 1999) and a Realtor here in Los Gatos with Sereno Group and know the area like only a local does.
mary (at) popehandy (dot) com