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
It appears that turpentine was on the ground and there was some speculation that a spark from the electric tools seems to have caused this terrible explosion and injury. That assertion was retracted at a community meeting about the Los Gatos explosion March 26th 2012. Please click the link to read the full update.
Yesterday at around 2pm, a large, explosive sound rocked the Belwood, Belgatos and Surmont areas of east Los Gatos. The thundering noise sounded to me like a transformer blowing out – but worse (I was walking down Bacigalupi with my dog at the time). Neighbors wondered what caused it: gas explosion, rifle, transformer, or what? Several of us apparently called police.
When I phoned in, I was told that the Los Gatos-Monte Sereno Police Dept was investigating. They thought that a tree trimmer had hit a power line but weren’t sure at that time.
About an hour later, I came through the area after seeing a post on the Facebook group page for Belwood area residents that the noise originated from something happening in the “class d area” (meaning Surmont/Belgatos). Whatever it was came from a front yard of a house at the corner of Belblossom and Westhill. P, G & E crews were investigating. A police officer was taking a report. And neighbors gathered to share what they knew, thought or experienced with the big boom of two o’clock.
A Belblossom home owner there told me that a gardener was doing something when the explosive sound occurred, that it put him in shock and that his ankle was broken. I was very relieved that he was still alive, as was everyone else there.
At that time, it remained unclear what happened exactly. P, G & E crews were still on scene, investigating.
Today I’m not seeing anything in the news about this, so wanted to share what I had heard (and seen) so far. Wishing a very speedy and easy recovery to the person who was injured. I hope that the P,G & E crews can figure out what happened so that it never happens again.
On the Nextdoor neighborhood sharing site for Belwood and nearby east Los Gatos areas, a resident let members know that her automobile, which had been parked in her driveway, had been broken into sometime last night or early this morning. That makes the 6th such incident in the immediate area in the last 6 months (the other five I found on CrimeReports.com). In each case, it seems the car or truck was parked either in the driveway or on the street in front of a house.
Most of the Surmont, Belgatos, Belwood, Harwood, Gemini Court, Alerche and nearby areas have houses with 2 car garages (sometimes 3) but often either more vehicles or not enough room in the garage to house everything, so it’s not unusual for cars and other vehicles to be parked outside overnight. Thieves may be looking for valuables but just as possibly could be searching for a way into your house via keys to the doors or garage door openers. Please pack these items in and out with you and don’t leave them in the car!
To check out crime near your house at no cost, please visit http://www.CrimeReports.com and enter an address in the space up top for it. The default time frame is very recent but if you go to the “dates” section, you can view issues going back as far as 6 months ago. Also, please note that while there are 4 spots in the area identified as TV or theft from vehicle, some icons are for multiple issues and at least one of those includes a theft from vehicle. You will find other thefts in the area too – please keep your home locked up and important items out of your front yard, driveway, etc. As always, call 911 with suspicious behavior – and be safe!
What’s happening in the real estate market in the Belwood, Belgatos and Surmont areas of east Los Gatos? Today I did some research on the MLS for 2011 year to date in this part of 95032.
In the image below, after I completed my work I realized that one of the “actives” is actually on the San Jose side of Blossom Hill Road (the low price home at just under $500,000 – it is a short sale by the way). The numbers tell us that in general a 4 bed, 2 bath home in average condition (that is, partially updated but not “fully remodeled”) is worth just about $1,000,000.
I find the “sum” number to be unhelpful but the minimum, maximum and average sales prices (including the cost per square foot) to be extremely useful.
Let’s stop a moment and just look at what’s closed so far in 2011 – 10 homes – about 1 home per month on average (very, very low turnover).
|sold & closed||BELHAVEN DRIVE||$1,199,000||59||6||3||2,448||10,000|
|sold & closed||BELHAVEN DRIVE||$1,175,000||123||4||2||2,500||10,625|
|sold & closed||BELWOOD GATEWAY||$1,050,000||29||6||3||2,448||10,530|
|sold & closed||BELCREST DRIVE||$999,000||7||4||2||2,131||10,000|
|sold & closed||OLD ORCHARD DRIVE||$975,000||10||4||2.5||2,159||11,934|
|sold & closed||BACIGALUPI DRIVE||$960,000||8||4||2||1,748||10,000|
|sold & closed||WESTHILL DRIVE||$949,950||7||4||2.5||2,076||10,998|
|sold & closed||BELBLOSSOM WAY||$900,000||7||4||2||2,259||10,000|
|sold & closed||BELCREST DRIVE||$899,000||17||4||2||1,960||10,769|
|sold & closed||BELBLOSSOM WAY||$875,000||25||4||2||1,748||9,877|
Next – how long does it take to sell these Los Gatos homes?
As you can see, often there are far more homes available (or listed for sale on the MLS) than are selling. This is typical for all of Silicon Valley but of course to differing ratios. It’s a red hot seller’s market when homes are selling as fast as they’re listed. In most markets, though, some percentage of homes never does sell – it’s a bit like the “bell curve” applied to home selling. Some sell fast and for top dollar, some sell in a month or two, and some either sell only after a prolonged marketing time or not at all.
With extremely low inventory and low turnover, it’s almost a crap shoot as to how fast a home in these east Los Gatos areas will sell. If there’s no other competition and the property is (1) fully remodeled and (2) priced aggressively, it will sell fast. If not, it’s anyone’s guess – but definitely worse if more homes are for sale.
Want to sell your Surmont, Belgatos or Belwood home? Please contact me – I live here too and will do my best to get you the best price for your property!
It’s mid-October and little ghosties, Jack-o-Lanterns, grave stones, witches, over sized spider webs and other trappings of Halloween have begun to appear in the Surmont, Belgatos and Belwood neighborhoods of east Los Gatos. There’s no shortage of the “Halloween Spirit” – so to speak – in this corner of town! It sure is fun to see.
What’s your favorite haunt in the hood?
If you’d like to share your photos of ultra cool Halloween decorating, I’d be very happy to post them here! Whether it’s effects that show up on October 1st or October 31st, we’d love to share them with the neighbors!
As the month goes on, I will add images of local streets, yards and homes where the decor is noteworthy.
Here’s one of my very favorites – a great little ghost western style town up the street from Jim & me.
And another one with some serious spider webbing:
And yet another with quite a few ghosts – this one on Westhill Drive’s Belgatos area.
Meanwhile, if your not-so-haunted house has children who’d like to participate in a pumpkin decorating contest, I’d like to invite you and them to dive into the project asap. My real estate brokerage, Sereno Group, is hosting its annual pumpkin decorating (not carving) contest and the DEADline is this Friday, October 21 at 5pm.
Read all about the contest on my Live in Los Gatos blog. Hope to see loads of the spooky, cute, funny, and outrageous creations next week!
How’s the local real estate market in east Los Gatos? Homes here are in a very active price point for Los Gatos generally, as well as for Los Gatos with Union schools. (You can also view homes for sale in our area here on BelwoodOfLosGatos.com under the “real estate” tab – or just use this link.)
Homes for sale, pending and sold/closed in the last 30 days in Belwood, Surmont and Belgatos neighborhoods:
Right now there are 5 houses for sale in Belwood, Belgatos and Surmont. Of them there are 4 “regular sale” properties available and one short sale in the neighborhood (2 on Westhill, 1 on Belhaven, 1 on Belblossom and the short sale on Belwood Gateway). One home, which was very affordably listed at $875,000, is sale pending. Additionally, a bank owned property or REO (real estate owned by the bank) is under contract.
How long have they been listed for sale? The two on Westhill just came on the market within the last few days. Two of the five have been available for about 60-70 days.
You can read the MLS info on each of them on my ValleyOfHeartsDelight blog.
How are prices? Four neighborhood homes have closed escrow in the last 30 days, with prices ranging from $975,000 to just under 1.2 million.
Months supply of inventory: To figure the months of inventory, you simply divide the actives by the solds (from the last month). We have 5 available and 4 which have closed – so 1.25 months of inventory. That looks pretty good but if you live in the area you know that these things tend to come in waves and just a month ago we had “infinite” months of inventory. So don’t get over excited about this and price your home too high – if houses are priced appropriately, they are selling. If not, they are sitting.
Below are live charts and graphs from Altos research for the 95032 zip code. They will automatically update themselves each week, so even if this post appears “old”, the info below will always be current!
Charts and graphs by Altos Research using active listings
|90-day stats for Single Family properties in|
LOS GATOS, CA 95032 as of October 11, 2019
|Median List Price:||$2,583,231||Average List Price:||$3,239,473|
|Total Inventory:||43||Price per Square Foot:||$879|
|Average Home Size:||2,738||Median Lot Size:||12,599|
|Average # Beds:||3.98||Average # Baths:||3.54|
|Homes Absorbed:||4||Newly Listed:||4|
|Days on Market:||77||Average Age:||50|
If you live in or near Belwood of Los Gatos, you’ve probably noticed a proliferation of “for sale” signs recently – and also a “coming soon” sign here or there! (I saw one of those at Westhill and Blossom Hill Road yesterday).
At the moment there are 3 available homes in Belwood and Belgatos – none in Surmont – (plus one on Harwood and one on Gemini Court as well as one on Regent) and there are three under contract or sale pending.
The homes for sale range in list price from a high of $1,295,000 to a low of $960,000 with an average list price of $1,078,300 and an average price per square foot of $504.50 (average days on market 32). Those which are sale pending vary from $1,199,000 to $900,000 with an average asking price of $1,049,667 and average price per SF of $439.04 (average days on market 23). It’s not rocket science that the more affordably priced homes tend to sell while those with higher asking amounts linger! Buyers want the most value for the money they spend. That can mean a bigger house or it can reflect the quality of remodeling or improvements at the property.
The ratio of listings to sales isn’t bad – 3 available, 3 under contract.
What has sold recently? Just one property has sold and closed in the last month: it was a 4 bed, 2 bath, 1748 SF model that closed escrow at a low, low price of $840,000. (The same floorplan is on the market for $960,000 on another street in the neighborhood – makes it a tough sell!)
With 3 available and 1 closed in the last months, it’s 3 months of inventory. What’s challenging is that the one which closed is so much lower than some of those for sale.
For 2001, there are 5 homes in Surmont, Belgatos and Belwood which sold & closed. The average square footage is 2100, average list price is $984,600 and average sales price is $967,000. Sales prices ranged from the low, low number of $840,000 to a high of $1,090,000.
The market keep changing – we are seeing multiple offers in many areas closer to Palo Alto. It’s not here yet but give it a little time….
Recently I searched online for our neighborhood and saw a link to the City-Data website. It referred to Surmont (most of it), Belgatos and Belwood all as “Belwood of Los Gatos” or “Belwood”. Oh well – it’s not an uncommon mistake!
Anyway, using information from the census and other sources, city-data does provide some interesting demographics on our corner of east Los Gatos, including:
- population listed as 1516
- area listed as .564 square miles
- a list of street names (missed a couple), their length and direction
- when our homes were built (most 1960s)
- the average number of rooms in our homes
- median rent paid in 2009 (there are multi family homes included)
- distribution of ages (kids and people in their 40s appear prominent)
- the types of power we used to heat our homes (22% electricity, 76% gas, 2% other)
- info on occupations of females in Belwood (17.6% in management)
- info on occupations of males (24% in management)
And loads more….Nice graphics with charts displaying the info so it’s easy to grasp and digest.
So go have a peek at the city-data page on Belwood. See if anything there surprises you!