Mirassou site construction update

The Preserve Belwood Neighborhood Association has been working to get the Union School District to reconsider the land use at the Mirassou site, and they are making progress. The new proposal is for just 12 homes, and the lot sizes are more in keeping with the neighborhood, 11,000 to 13,000 SF. Robson Homes is the selected contractor. Want to provide your input? Please attend the meeting – details below.

 

Mirassou site new plan for homes - Robson

Preserve Belwood Neighborhood Association’s Mirassou site: USD Feb 12th at 6 pm

Mirassou Site Update sign in field of flowersWe are on the email list for this group. There is a new Request for Proposals by the Union School District. The Preserve Belwood Neighborhood Association sent a reminder note out about the meeting, which will be held on Monday February 12 at 6PM at the Union School District Office (5175 Union Ave, San Jose, CA 95124).

“The next Union School District Board of Trustees meeting will be held on Monday February 12 at 6PM at the Union School District Office (5175 Union Ave, San Jose, CA 95124).  The USD board has received their responses to the RFP for the development of the Mirassou property.  There will be a presentation by the potential developer at this board meeting.  We would like to have a great presence of Belwood neighbors at this board meeting to show our interest in the Mirassou property development.

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All information for USD board meetings can be found at https://www.unionsd.org/about/board-of-trustees.  The final agenda for this meeting will be posted on Friday February 9 at 5PM.”

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Sent out this afternoon regarding tonight’s meeting:

 

1.  Tonight’s USD board meeting will be the standard formal board meeting where the attached slides will be presented.  There is a  public comments part of the agenda, but there will not be an opportunity to interact and get questions answered.
2.  There will be a community meeting on February 22 at 7PM at the Belwood Cabana where Robson will be in attendance to present the plans and interact with the community.
3.  As requested by homeowners, Robson will also meet individually with homeowners who are directly impacted by the development plans to try to work out any concerns.
All information for USD board meetings can be found at https://www.unionsd.org/about/board-of-trustees

Earlier info:
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Racoons wreaking havoc with lawns in Belwood and east Los Gatos

Racoon Lawn damage Has your yard been hit by racoons yet? For the last month or two, many Belwood and nearby residents have been awakening in the morning to damaged landscaping, particularly front lawns.  One home owner phoned the Los Gatos Monte Sereno Police to complain about his vandalized front yard. But this time, it’s not human caused damage.

On several social media sites, neighbors vent that they have been victims of wild pigs or boars.  But that’s not it – at least not for most of us.  Boars do far more destruction and they are further in the hills, though perhaps if you are in the east Los Gatos foothills around Santa Rosa, or in parts of Almaden near open space that could be a risk.

Although sometimes the damage is quite extensive, involving a large percentage of one’s front lawn, the guilty parties are usually hungry racoons.  Crows may be assisting too, but they don’t create problems on as large of a scale.

They are after a meal in the form of tasty lawn grubs.  Grubs find their way into the soil to eat the roots of the grass, and those grubs seem to be the best eating in town for some of the local wildlife.

If that’s not enough,  squirrels like to bury food in lawns, too (someone used to give out peanuts in the shell near us – the squirrels kept burying them in our lawn – I’ve watched them!).

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The Bacigalupi family of Los Gatos – some history

We happen to live on Bacigalupi Drive in Belwood of Los Gatos, a lovely street you might walk to get to Belgatos Park. A classmate of mine at Saratoga High School was a Bacigalupi and I have noticed that one of the old buildings in downtown Los Gatos is the Bacigalupi Building (it houses Mountain Charley’s, I believe – it is in the La Canada or Hofstra block near the corner of Main and North Santa Cruz).  So I wondered, who were these people with the hard to  pronounce name? (I can say it, but I speak some Italian!)

The Bacigalupi Family of Los Gatos

The Bacigalupi Family c.1922 – click to visit the Los Gatos Local History Research Collection and see a larger image and info on this family

The Hooked on Los Gatos project was a collaborative project by the Library and History Museum which appears to have since become the Los Gatos Local History Research Collection. This collection includes page after page of online resources, including all the photos in their archives relating to the Bacigalupi clan. Clicking on each image leads to more information.  For instance, here I found information on James A. Bacigalupi, Sr.

I was very impressed to learn that he was the first president of the Bank of Italy, and then worked with A.P. Giannini to form the Bank of America. He may not be the most famous Los Gatan, but he’s certainly a big deal! To the right, this photo features Mr. Bacigalupi with his family, in approximately the year 1922. Click on the image to visit the original photo on the Local History Research Collection page, see a larger image and learn more about the family in this image.

As you probably know, the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake did a great deal of damage to many of the older, historic buildings in downtown Los Gatos.  The La Canada (Hofstra) block was no exception.  The Los Gatos Chamber of Commerce reported on its “walking tour” page (which has since disappeared, but thankfully has been archived) after the quake, that block was restored by the Bacigalupi, Farwell, Brady and VanDalsem families, so we can thank them for their continued love of our town and its history. (On a side note, if you’re interested in a Los Gatos walking tour don’t despair! The old walking tour has been swapped with a high-tech model: LOST Gatos the walking tour App.)

 

 

 

2018 real estate sales in Belwood, Belgatos, Surmont & nearby

Hello neighbors,

Today I pulled the sales info for our corner of east Los Gatos and thought you’d like to see how the year shook out for the real estate market here. There were 21 closed sales of single family homes in 2018.

2018 Belwood Area Homes Sold

The first sale listed above with a closing the first week in January of  course went under contract in 2017.

There is also one pending sale which is scheduled to close escrow later this month, but went pending in 2018.

Additionally, there were 3 properties which went on the market but did not sell – they were canceled, expired, and / or withdrawn.

What are the odds of selling success?

The odds were pretty good for home sellers here in 2018: of 24 properties listed in 2018 (not the first sold, but including the pending, 21 total), 88% did sell.  This includes the large estate style homes and properties with views as well as fixers and houses on busier roads.

Why is it that not every home sells in a strong seller’s market? Each case is different, of course, just as every seller and his or her property is unique.  There are a few usual culprits, though, most often being price, but other challenges can be present as well. You can learn more about why some houses get listed but do not sell on my Valley of Heart’s Delight blog: https://sanjoserealestatelosgatoshomes.com/why-didnt-my-san-jose-home-sell/

What do we expect for the 2019 real estate market?

It’s all about supply and demand. Right now, demand is decent and supply is low. Here’s a look at the inventory of single family homes for sale in recent years by month, first in town and then for the county.

Inventory of single family homes for sale in Los Gatos 95030 & 95032 from Jan 2012 – Jan 2019:

Inventory of homes for sale in Los Gatos 95030 and 95032

In town (not including the Los Gatos mountains area), Los Gatos has extremely low inventory.  I ran the numbers and this is lower than any other January since 2002, the longest back that the MLS will let me go. Locally, that bodes well for those looking to sell in Los Gatos. (Currently there are NO homes for sale in the Belwood, Belgatos, Surmont, or nearby areas of LG.)

What about the broader area?  Most of the county has looser inventory than we do in LG. Have a look:

Inventory of single family homes for sale in Santa Clara County Jan 2012 – Jan 2019:

Santa Clara County inventory of single family homes for sale as of Jan 1 2019

I think it is really important to view this month’s inventory for the county not just in relation to January 2018 (“inventory is up 8% from last year, oh no!”) but in the context of all the recent years since we’ve been in recovery from the Great Recession. Yes, inventory IS up from last year for Santa Clara County, when the first 6 months of 2018 saw prices shooting up like a geyser due to highly restricted inventory and ongoing demand. Most of 2017 and early 2018 were off-the-charts into overdrive. From early 2012 through 2016, we had a market that was appreciating at a good pace – too fast for some buyers, who opted to become permanent renters rather than to participate. Current inventory levels are very low relative to 2012 and later.

A return of some of the normal patterns?

Inventory Los Gatos Jan 2016 to Jan 2019 chart

Inventory Los Gatos 95030 & 95032 2016-2019

Inventory tends to rise throughout the first half of the year, so I am expecting that to happen again in 2019. To the left, see a chart displaying the inventory of homes for sale in Los Gatos 95030 & 95032 from Jan 2016 to today. This is a pattern we usually see – though of course, it’s not a rule, and it can change.

Prices also tend to rise in the early part of the new year as inventory does not keep pace with demand, and I see no reason why that would not happen again.

Equally important is to understand that in the 2nd half of any given year, prices often soften. Home sellers sometimes believe that “summer is the right time to sell”, so get their homes on the market then. But activity from buyers slackens after the spring buying season, so in many years, inventory is higher than demand – so prices level off or even decline.

In 2018, prices in LG and the county did decline dramatically from the spring peaks, perhaps in the 12-15% range, generally.

Economists tell us that they expect the first half of 2019 to be decent to good, but not as wild a ride as early 2018. (Milder appreciation, 3-5%?)  Some believe that the second half of 2019 will be much softer. A real estate correction is expected sometime between now and 2-3 years from  now. We do believe that locally, in Silicon Valley, we are at or near the top of this real estate cycle.  For those wishing to sell and move out of the area, 2019 could be a good year in which to do that. It’s impossible to pinpoint the exact top or bottom of the market, though. That is something we only know when it’s passed, just like with the stock market.

 

Related reading:

Silicon Valley real estate market reports (updated the 5th-10th of each month)

Altos weekly market report for Los Gatos 95032

Altos weekly market report for Los Gatos 95030

Altos weekly market report for the Los Gatos Mountains, 95033

Gorgeous Belgatos view home!

Come home to a stunningly remodeled Belgatos view home, and enjoy sweeping vistas of Silicon Valley from all the main living areas of the home! 211 Westhill Drive, Los Gatos, is offered for sale at $2,288,000 and features 4 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms. 3112 SF of living space: 2856 Square Ft (appx.) + office (appx 256 SF)  on a lot of 13,939 SF. So many extras, such as solar power, dual pane windows, plantation shutters, fan lights, but above all, a scenic setting, a comfortably large house, in a great Los Gatos neighborhood next to Belgatos Park.

Below is a sampling of photos – please see ALL images and detailed info on the virtual tour site:
http://www.tourfactory.com/1838948

Open house schedule:  Sept 9 and 10 from 2 – 4 pm, Wed Sept 13 9:30am – 12:30pm, and Saturday Sept 16 2-4. Please stop by!

Beautiful home with valley views on Westhill Drive in east Los Gatos

This house was thoughtfully designed with the living room, dining room, kitchen, and family room all enjoying the views. The bedroom wing is tucked behind the octoganally shaped living room, and they overlook the yard and pool.

211 Westhill Drive - unique living room with octoganal shape, high ceilings, wood burning fireplace

Beautiful Brazilian cherry hardwood floors grace the living areas, hallway, and bedrooms, creating a clean and contemporary feel to the home.

Spacious formal dining with plenty of function in the elegantly framed built in cabinets.

Plantation shutters, dual pane windows, lovely crown and baseboard provide a timeless feel.

Slab granite counters and stainless steel appliances make for an appealing modern kitchen.

The kitchen is open to the family room and includes stainless steel appliances, slab granite counters, and a vaulted ceiling with recessed lights. Not shown here is the breakfast nook and pantry, which look toward the resort like back yard.

The open kitchen and family rooms are surely the heart of the home.

The heart of the home, the family room is drenched in natural lighting with windows on both sides.

Back yard and pool

Your own private resort! In addition to the pool and patio area, there’s another patio and planting bed area along the right side of the house.  Previous owners had used that area as a sports court. There are many possibilities to utilize that space!

Please see the virtual tour for more details and all photos: http://www.tourfactory.com/1838948

 

Exquisitely remodeled home & yard for sale in Belwood – 127 Belhaven Drive

127 Belhaven Dr., Los Gatos, CA 95032Looking for a turnkey home and yard with plenty of space?  One with understated style and a comfortable elegance? The home at 127 Belhaven Drive in Belwood of Los Gatos is remodeled top to bottom and move-in ready! It will be on the Multiple Listing Service and ready to be seen on Monday, February 15th., and is offered at $1,650,000.

The house includes 2448 square foot of living space with 5 bedrooms + ground floor office (could be converted to bedroom if needed), 3 full baths (one on first floor), and all the living spaces you could want:  living room, dining room, kitchen with oversized nook, separate family room, and a garge decked out as an entertainment center with a kid-friendly focus.  Throughout the home there’s a perfect blending of traditionally loved items like hardwood floors, crown molding, baseboard,  French doors, plantation shutters, built in cabinets together with much loved contemporary elements like skylights, dual pane windows, recessed and energy efficient LED lights, insulation, an encapsulated crawl space, and of course remodeled kitchen and baths.

With 10,760 square feet, the nearly level lot has room for everything.  The yard has been professionally designed and landscaped and may well steal your heart!  A big sandbox and amazing, custom built playhouse may well seal the deal!  Extra storage in the side yard, a view of the hills from the expansive front porch – what more could you want?

All of this comes just 3-4 blocks from the side entrance of Belgatos Park.  This charming home is part of the Belwood HOA, which provides a lovely cabaña, pool, and community events.  The nearby Harwood Square Shopping Center includes a good sized Walgreens, Los Gatos, Pizza, Starbucks, and more.

Excellent schools, too:  Noddin Elementary, Union Middle, and Leigh High.

Please stop by one of our open house events:

  • Wednesday, February 17th 9:30am to 12:30pm (broker open but also public open house)
  • Saturday, February 20th 1:30 to 4pm
  • Sunday, February 21st, 1:30 to 4pm

Disclosures will be online soon.  Offers due Wednesday, Febrary 24th by 11am please.

Want more details?  Please see the lengthy list of features here:
http://www.valleyofheartsdelight.com/Property/127-Belhaven-Drive-Los-Gatos-California

Or see the Virtual Tour here : http://www.tourfactory.com/1468742

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Home value appreciation in Belwood, Belgatos, and Surmont areas

Priced Out of the Belwood area marketToday I’m working on an article for another blog of mine on the topic of saving for a down payment and residential real estate appreciation in Silicon Valley.  Long story short, right now, home buyers cannot save as fast as the home prices are going up.  For some, the saving effort is to get to 20% down or more. For others, the goal is to buy all cash.  In both cases, though, the danger is getting priced out of the market while the would-be home owner is putting away money.  For people who wanted to buy 2 years ago but decided to wait and save, that now means either not buying at all or buying in less nice home or area than they were targeting.

This is certainly true for home buyers wanting to get into Belwood of Los Gatos and nearby.  Let’s look at our corner of Los Gatos and take a sampling of what has happened since 2000 (a “boom year”) for a typical 2400 square foot house on a typical 9,000 to appx 10,000 square foot lot (in Belwood, Belgatos or Surmont).  For this, we will consider homes sold in 2000 and homes sold within the last 12 months.  I ran the numbers this afternoon on MLS Listings, our local multiple listing service provider.

1-1-2000 through 12-31-2000: a home of about 2400 SF on a 9,000 – 10,000 SF lot averaged a sale price of $860,000 (prices ranging from a low of $750,000 to a high of $950,000).  A 25% down payment would have been $215,000 and the loan amount would have been $645,000, using that average number. Many buyers would have purchased with 20% down, and some with 30% or more, though.

Fast forward to today and the last 12 months leading up to today – approximately 15 years later.

6-9-2014 through 6-9-2015: same sized home and lot averaged a sale price of $1,512,000 (prices ranging from a low of $1,350,000 to a high of $1,660,000).  This does not include pending sales, of course – just those which have closed escrow.

Home prices have almost doubled in that time. (more…)