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.
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Additionally, there were 3 properties which went on the market but did not sell – they were canceled, expired, and / or withdrawn.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:
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:
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 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.
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:
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!
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.
Beautiful Brazilian cherry hardwood floors grace the living areas, hallway, and bedrooms, creating a clean and contemporary feel to the home.
Plantation shutters, dual pane windows, lovely crown and baseboard provide a timeless feel.
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 heart of the home, the family room is drenched in natural lighting with windows on both sides.
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
Looking 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:
Or see the Virtual Tour here : http://www.tourfactory.com/1468742
Today 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. Continue reading
“Free” is a good price for everyone, and in Los Gatos, there’s an abundance of free music every summer with the three series, each on different days of the week: Music in the Park, Jazz in the Plazz, and Vasona Vibrations (plus the Fiesta de Artes weekend)!. Each year I compile a combined list of these three series in chronological order. I invite you to have a look and print it out! You can find the entire list at my Live in Los Gatos blog:
Believe it or not, it’s time to register your kids for the Belwood Dolphins Swim Team. Registration for the 2015 season will be open February 1st through February 28th for RETURNING SWIMMERS AND NEW SWIMMERS. Please go to the team web site at www.belwooddolphins.com and click the “Registration” tab to register online and to find more information.
If you have any questions about registration, please use the online “contact” form on the Dolphins’ website.
Go Belwood Dolphins!
Has your yard been hit 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 is giving out peanuts in the shell – the squirrels keep burying them in our lawn – I’ve watched them!).
The first photo is of our family’s front yard and it was taken in early September. The second one is of our next door neighbor’s place, and it was taken about a week ago.
Most of the time, the racoons creep out in the middle of the night, but not always. A couple of days ago, our hungry hunters came back between about 6pm and9pm. It must have only barely been dark!
So what can you do about it?
In my real estate practice, recently I showed a home with a lawn grub problem. The home owners there laid down something like a soft plastic chicken wire atop the lawn and similar landscaping. It did seem to work in terms of keeping the critters out, but it may not do anything at all for the grubs which are the Siren call to them.
One grub solution is beneficial nematodes. These are a type of roundworm used to kill the grubs without using pesticides. This approach may work for some but I’m reading comments online that this has not been so successful for many who’s attempted to quash the grubs this way.
There are anti grub pesticides available as well. Sunset Magazine advises that the best thing to do is to dig into your lawn and get some of the grub worms to take to your local nursery to identify the culprit, as different treatments will be more successful with one type of grub than another.
No matter how you treat them, you do want to get rid of the grub worms, as a serious infestation will not only be unsightly, but eventually will kill the lawn.
Real estate sales this year in the east Los Gatos areas including Surmont, Belgatos, Belwood of Los Gatos and homes close to Harwood but within the Los Gatos town boundaries have been small in number due to the extraordinarily tight inventory levels. Below are the closed and pending sales as reported in the MLS for this calendar year so far.
Of the nine closed sales, 5 sold for more than list price – most or all of these were multiple offer situations. The other four had a variety of situations: one was bank owned, one needed several hundred thousand in finishing work (there was no kitchen, there were no bathrooms, etc.). The one on Alerche sold “off market” and “off mls”.
Interested in buying or selling a home in or near this pretty corner of Los Gatos? Please give me a call or send me an email today!
Sometimes the search engines cause more harm than good when they begin to label Los Gatos neighborhoods for us. In the case of Surmont, as well as Heritage Grove, Belwood and Belgatos, that is certainly the case.
Bing has published a map with the wrong answers. So let’s set it right for the good people trying to figure out what is where. This mislabeled map puts Surmont across both where it does belong and neighboring Heritage Grove. It has Heritage Grove north of Strathmore neighborhood (which is correctly placed). Belwood and Belgatos seem to be either one and the same or north/south of each other.
Of 5 named neighborhoods, one of them is correct.
So let’s set the record straight.
Where is the Surmont neighborhood of Los Gatos?
Surmont starts with Westhill Drive and runs through approximately halfway between Old Orchard and Belblossom. These homes are a little older than those in Belwood and Belgatos. Many of them are custom or semi-custom, and a few have large lots with views. The streets include Westhill Drive, Surmont Drive, Surmont Court, Old Orchard Drive and Campos Verde.
Where is the Belgatos neighborhood of Los Gatos?
Belgatos begins with the end of the Surmont subdivision and continues up to Belgatos Road. Like Surmont, some of the homes along Westhill have bigger lots and views. These seem to be custom homes built to take advantage of valley vistas. Other houses down on the flatter area look to be semi custom in many cases. Streets found here are part of Westhill, part of Belblossom, part of Belvue, and part of Belgatos.
Where is the Belwood neighborhood of Los Gatos?
Belwood of Los Gatos runs approximately between Belgatos Road and Harwood. Some of this area was added about 10 years later (part of Bacigalupi Drive and Jamie Court behind it) and they are not part of the original Belwood subdivision. This area has optional dues and may use the pool if paying that year. The rest of Belwood pays lower dues but it’s not option. The newer stretch also has smaller lots, mostly about 8,000 SF lots instead of 10,000 SF lots. Please see the HOA’s website, BelwoodHomes.org, to get more precise boundary information for Belwood and the pool. Westhill continues into this area, though the homes appear more semi custom than Belwood generally. Most of the streets begin with “Bel” as in Belridge, Belcrest, Belglen, Belwood Gateway.
Where is the Heritage Grove neighborhood of Los Gatos?
Heritage Grove is a newer (for Los Gatos) subdivision just off of Blossom Hill Road. The roads there are Regent Drive, Heintz Court, Ayala Court and Ramohs Way. If you’d like more information on this younger, upscale subdivision, please read the following article in my Valley of Hearts Delight blog, which includes a slideshow and a bit of local history:
The Heritage Grove Neighborhood in Los Gatos and the Heintz Open Space Preserve
If you enjoy this blog and would like more information on Los Gatos or the San Jose and Silicon Valley areas generally, please have a look at my other blogs: