2012 Real Estate Report for Belwood, Belgatos and Surmont Areas of Los Gatos

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  One is currently for sale, and 3 more are cancelled, expired, or withdrawn.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.

Belwood area 2012 closed sales numbers - 2012 Real Estate Report for Belwood, Belgatos and Surmont Areas of Los Gatos

Belwood, Surmont & Surmont area 2012 closed sales numbers by price point

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.

Belwood area 2012 days to sell average by price point - 2012 Real Estate Report for Belwood, Belgatos and Surmont Areas of Los Gatos

Belwood, Belgatos and Surmont areas of Los Gatos - 2012 days to sell average by price point

 

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: (more…)

Should you go solar? Ask your Belwood neighbors!

In case you didn’t see the Belwood of Los Gatos “Bellringer” article, I have asked three neighbors with solar installations to tell us about their experiences. This won’t be a sales pitch – just neighbors telling other neighbors about their experiences.

The panelists are Zeny Seid, Roger Kent, and Evan Culp, all on Bacigalupi Drive.

They will sit at the front of the room and field questions from anyone who wants to come.

I have invited a couple of solar firms to be available for those who would like to talk to them, but the panelists are all just Belwood residents like you and me.

Please do come. I am sure you have questions (like I do) about whether or not solar’s a good idea. This should be a chance to learn a lot from people who have been through all those questions.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or suggestions.

Fire in Belgatos Park near Bacigalupi and Westhill Drives, believed started by 3 kids, contained within an hour by fire department

A fire was set, apparently by three kids, in Belgatos Park this afternoon. (Whether by accident or on purpose remains to be known.)  Homes were evacuated along Santa Rosa and flames got terribly close to houses on Westhill Drive, but fortunately no residences were harmed by the blaze.  Fire fighters arrived by land and air very quickly, and within an hour, the fire was under control.

Bacigalupi Fire 500 - Fire in Belgatos Park near Bacigalupi and Westhill Drives, believed started by 3 kids, contained within an hour by fire department

Fire in Belgatos Park near side entrance on Bacigalupi Drive. Photo by Trish McCauley trish.mccauley@gmail.com

At the time of its eruption, I was in central San Jose at a listing presentation.  When I got out, around 4:30pm, I checked messages and had a text from my friend and wonderful pet-sitter, Trish McCauley, who alerted me to the situation. She also took a couple of photos.  At left is one she took from Bacigalupi Drive at the intersection with Belwood Gateway.

Luckily, though, the word got out about the fire via social media, too:

For those of you who are on Facebook, there’s a group called Belwood Area Residents with great info shared. Pauline Wilson broke the news there at 3:33pm today.  Photos posted by Dave Klenske of the work going on to contain the fire by air and the smoldering fire too. If you are on FB and a resident, join the group if you haven’t done so already and have a peek at his pics: http://www.facebook.com/groups/105901399446505/

Mention was also made on the Nextdoor site for the neighborhood too by Kate Carr – many thanks for spreading the word!  (If you haven’t joined, please do!)  Http://www.belwood-belgatos.nextdoor.com.

(Unless you happen to be connected to someone who sees the fire and alerts you, it’s great to get an update by a large group of neighbors such as we find on Nextdoor and Facebook, so I highly encourage everyone to join both sites.)

Back to our household –  Jim was out at an appointment at the same time that I was, too, but when we converged at home, he and our daughter, Clair, walked up to the park to see what, if anything, was still going on. He spoke with Ranger Dave Gray, who said that 3 kids (appx age 10?) were seen running from the area when the fire started.   Jim also  chatted with a neighbor, who said she saw the kids running away and explained that they were “young teenagers”.

Clair, meanwhile, kindly took a lot of photos for me so that I could share them with anyone else who wasn’t around when everything happened.  Below are the photos she took for this blog.

Belgatos Fire July 23 2012 500 - Fire in Belgatos Park near Bacigalupi and Westhill Drives, believed started by 3 kids, contained within an hour by fire department

Belgatos Park, Los Gatos, Fire July 23 2012 - scorched grassy area by Bacigalupi Drive gate

“Cardboard hill” is a blackened mess right now.

Firefighters cleaning up July 23 500 300x199 - Fire in Belgatos Park near Bacigalupi and Westhill Drives, believed started by 3 kids, contained within an hour by fire department

Firefighters cleaning up July 23 2012 at Belgatos Park, Los Gatos

After several hours of work, the firefighters rolled up hoses and prepared to call it a day.

Firetrucks close up 500 300x199 - Fire in Belgatos Park near Bacigalupi and Westhill Drives, believed started by 3 kids, contained within an hour by fire department

Firetrucks close up at Belgatos Park, Los Gatos

There were multiple fire trucks and other vehicles from the Santa Clara County Fire Department, but also helicopters and planes from the CDF involved today.

Ranger Dave Gray 500 300x227 - Fire in Belgatos Park near Bacigalupi and Westhill Drives, believed started by 3 kids, contained within an hour by fire department

Ranger Dave Gray on the scene at the Belgatos Park, Los Gatos, fire cleanup

 

UPDATE:  Patch Los Gatos reports today that 3 14 year old boys were involved, one of whom started the blaze using lighter fluid.  The teen, a resident of San Jose, was arrested, charged with felony arson and has since been released to his parents.  Read the article here:
http://losgatos.patch.com/articles/fire-at-belgatos-park-burns-3-acres

What’s selling in the Belwood, Belgatos and Surmont areas of east Los Gatos? How’s the market?

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
Regular Active WESTHILL DR  $1,399,000.00   2832 15400 17  
REO Active GEMINI CT  $1,100,000.00   2879 9190 9  
Regular Pending BELVALE DR  $1,149,999.00   2448 10250 13 4/11/2012
Reglar Pending BELWOOD GY  $   949,000.00   1730 11385 8 4/20/2012
Regular Pending BACIGALUPI DR  $1,249,999.00   2746 11500 7 3/22/2012
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.)

Contact Mary Now - What's selling in the Belwood, Belgatos and Surmont areas of east Los Gatos? How's the market?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 Pope-Handy
408 204-7673
mary (at) popehandy (dot) com

Sound of explosion at Belblossom and Westhill, gardener injured, in east Los Gatos

Belblossom police neighbors PGE tiny - Sound of explosion at Belblossom and Westhill, gardener injured, in east Los GatosUpdate: 

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.

PGE Trucks on Westhill - Sound of explosion at Belblossom and Westhill, gardener injured, in east Los Gatos

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.

Belblossom police neighbors PGE - Sound of explosion at Belblossom and Westhill, gardener injured, in east Los Gatos

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.

Investigating behind yellow tape - Sound of explosion at Belblossom and Westhill, gardener injured, in east Los Gatos

Bobcat spotted on Bacigalupi Drive near Belgatos Park in Los Gatos

Bobcats in Belwood - Bobcat spotted on Bacigalupi Drive near Belgatos Park in Los GatosThis last week, a neighbor saw a bobcat come out of the gate on Bacigalupi Drive in Belwood of Los Gatos and head uphill along the road, toward the top of Bacigalupi.  Nearby, another resident’s house cat was killed, presumably by the same bobcat.

Please be aware, especially if you are close to Belgatos Park or any big expanses of open space that wildlife may harm you, your children and your pets and take the necessary precautions.  In addition to bobcats, we also have racoons, possum, and more significantly, mountain lions and coyotes.

See homes for sale in the Belwood, Belgatos and Surmont neighborhoods here, or call/email me for updated info as I sometimes also know about houses coming on the market soon.