Silicon Valley

Where are the Silicon Valley luxury homes? Where are the more upscale Silicon Valley neighborhoods?

Know your neighborhoodsIf you are relocating to Silicon Valley and wish to choose an upscale or luxury neighborhood, where should you begin looking?  Where are the very best areas in or near San Jose?

Here are some quick lists of areas in Silicon Valley areas which enjoy beautiful estate properties:

Luxury Home Neighborhoods in Silicon Valley’s west side

Most of the more expensive parts of Silicon Valley are along the “west valley” areas, and these all enjoy excellent public schools.  If you were to look at a topographical map, they would be the cities, towns and neighborhoods close to the coastal foothills (also known as the Santa Cruz Mountains).  Or if you looked at a road map, most of them would be on the west side of Highway 85. Unless otherwise noted, the districts, cities or towns are all in Santa Clara County.

These “west valley communities” are listed from southernmost to northernmost, extending from southwestern San Jose up into the San Francisco Peninsula.

  • Almaden Valley (part of San Jose)
  • Los Gatos
  • Monte Sereno
  • Saratoga
  • Cupertino (foothills area in particular)
  • Los Altos
  • Los Altos Hills
  • Palo Alto
  • Portola Valley (San Mateo County)
  • Woodside (San Mateo County)
  • Hillsborough (San Mateo County)

These are not the only places to find high end real estate in the South Bay area, though – it’s just that most of them are located along the west valley corridor.

More Luxury Home Neighborhoods in Silicon Valley

More communities which are “exclusive” can be found:

  • The Silver Creek area of San Jose (eastside, within the Evergreen district)
  • Part of the Alum Rock neighborhood near the old San Jose Country Club (also on the east side).
  • The Rosegarden area of central San Jose
  • The Naglee Park neighborhood near downtown San Jose
  • Willow Glen enjoys some beautiful old mansions (between downtown SJ and the west side)
  •  Part of the Mission District of Fremont (Alameda County)
  • Eagle’s Ridge community in Gilroy (south part of Santa Clara County)

Something to be aware of is that many of these areas are served by more than one school district. In some cases, the different school districts can be very different in terms of school performance scores.  In Saratoga, for instance, there are 3 different districts. Two have excellent scores and the third has good scores – but very different numbers!  This can be a surprise to people who relocate to Silicon Valley: so be aware of this quirk if you move here!  (Even if you are not interested in utilizing the schools, know that they are a prime driver in home values and pricing.)

Would you like to learn more about luxury real estate & homes in Silicon Valley? I have some other blogs with posts that you might find helpful

Related posts on the Valley of Heart’s Delight blog:

Luxury Real Estate in Silicon Valley

The Silicon Valley Luxury Home Market (browse listings over $2 million in a few areas)

The Luxury Real Estate Market in Almaden, Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, and Saratoga

Monte Sereno Real Estate and Homes for Sale

Saratoga, CA, Real Estate Market Update

What Type of Home Can You Get for $1,000,000 in Silicon Valley?

Almaden Valley Housing Market by Price Point in June 2010

Real Estate Inventory & Sales in Silicon Valley’s “West Valley” Areas of Los Gatos, Saratoga, Campbell and Cambrian Park

Related posts on the Live in Los Gatos blog:

Fewer Sales, but Higher Prices, in Los Gatos & Monte Sereno

What’s Selling in Los Gatos Now? How’s the Market?

A Five Year View of the Los Gatos Real Estate Market (Jan 2005 to June 2010)

Linguistic Quirks in Silicon Valley

Every area has its linguistic quirks or slang, and the San Jose – Silicon Valley – Santa Clara County region is no exception. Some of it is in the words we use, some of it’s the way we pronounce things, and some of it is just the way we think. If you relocate to the South Bay, you may want to know what some of these mean!

Silicon Valley linguistic quirksPlaces:

The Hill – refers to the Santa Cruz Mountains. Going “over the hill” means going to Scotts Valley, Santa Cruz, or somewhere along the coast.p>

The City – means San Francisco, even though it’s smaller in population than San Jose.

South County – areas such as Gilroy, Morgan Hill, San Martin and Coyote Valley (and outlying areas)

The Bay – is the San Francisco Bay, not the Monterey Bay.

The Airplane Park – this is Oak Meadow Park in the Town of Los Gatos

Read the rest of the post on the Valley of Heart’s Delight blog post,
Silicon Valley Local-Speak: A Guide to Understanding Folks in the South Bay

Rush Hour Traffic in Silicon Valley

Silicon Valley’s rush hour traffic can begin as early as 6:45 or 7 am and last until 9 or 9:30am most workdays.  The evening commute begins to get congested around 3 or 3:30pm with a knot of traffic in place by 5pm and lasting until around 6:30 or 7pm on some roads.

Looking for a reverse commute?  Many commuters do precisely that!

If you work in Scotts Valley (just “over the hill” in Santa Cruz County), living in Los Gatos, Campbell, Cambrian Park or West San Jose will be a reverse commute for you. You’ll be going against the flow of traffic and your commute will be immensely easier.

Ditto that if you work in the south San Jose or Edendale region and begin your commute in Almaden Valley.  Once you get to 85, it will be a breeze!

Work in Gilroy? Living in Blossom Valley or Almaden, you can engineer a reverse commute on the back roads or take Santa Teresa Blvd going south.

Most employees and workers try to carpool, take light rail, or otherwise beat the rush by using tricks of timing or alternate routes to avoid spending twice as much time on the road as necessary.  Many companies have flexible hours – it’s worth investigating to see if you can shorten the length of your time in the car!

Relocation to Silicon Valley can be a bit of a shock to people in terms of the traffic and commute times if they are not accostomed to suburban living (which is most of the valley). Typical commute times are about 30 minutes, though some people have longer or shorter commutes, of course.

Traffic moves toward downtown San Jose primarily along Highways 87, 680 and 280 and toward the Cupertino – Sunnyvale – Mountain View areas along Highway 85 (and 280). Bringing traffic in from the south county is 101.  Other roads getting a lot of use too are 17 and 880 (same road, different stretches), San Tomas Expressway, Montague Expressway, Lawrence Expressway, Santa Teresa Boulevard, Saratoga-Sunnyvale Road, Stevens Creek Blvd. and Almaden Expressway.

Silicon Valley: A Word About the Climate

People coming from out of the area to relocate to Silicon Valley might not know what to expect from the weather in the San Jose, Santa Clara County, or Silicon Valley Area.  What’s it all about?

In a nutshell, this is a “sub tropical” area, or a place that enjoys a “mediterranean climate” that is most heavily influenced by the close proximity of the shoreline and the Pacific Ocean.  Temps are mild, we get little rainfall compared to many parts of the country. More specifically, we usually get about 20 inches of rainfall a year and enjoy 300 sunny days a year. Winters seldom see many hard freezes (but they can happen).

A typical summer day has highs in the mid to upper eighties but very low humidity – so it feels much cooler. Heat waves and heat inversions can run the temps up to the low to mid 100s in the hottest parts of the valley. Luckily it doesn’t happen much, or stay for long! Most people do NOT have air conditioning here unless they are in a newer home or live in the warmer South County areas of Morgan Hill or Gilroy.

A January day might have a high in the 60s or 50s, depending. By February, though, the worst is usually over and it’s even possible to have freak warm days that hit 80 degrees!

Our weather varies from year to year. Some years we get drought conditions and may require water rationing (right now we have been asked for a voluntary cutback of 10%). Other years we get lots of wet weather from the Pacific – temps are warmer but there’s much too much rain: those are the El Nino years. Most often, though, winters aren’t that bad – evenings can be nippy as temps drop into the 20s on the worst nights in December or January.

Because we are on the Pacific, that ocean dominates our weather. Sometimes a freaky cold storm from Alaska barrels down the coast in winter. When that happens, it gets  extremely cold. And once in a rare time – perhaps once a decade – it might even snow! When the white stuff does fall in Los Gatos, Saratoga or San Jose, though, it doesn’t usually stay for awhile. It is so rare that it simply feels like magic. Can you imagine the look of snowfall on a palm tree?

Warm weather – or mild, comfortable weather – is the norm from about spring (varies from Feb – April each year) through most of November. Really December and January tend to be the coolest months, but sometimes cold storms can make winter linger longer and forestall spring a bit.

LiveInLosGatos IMG 0019 Small - Silicon Valley: A Word About the ClimateAnd what of those palm trees?   We have LOTS of types of palms here (Royal Palms, Fan Palms, Date Palms, etc.). They do well here when planted right and well nurtured, but they are not indigenous to northern CA. They are native to southern CA but not here. However, if handled well they usually do fine in our slightly cooler climate.

For me, the palm trees are a sign that the climate somewhere is “mild enough”. I often joke with folks, “if the palm trees can live there, so can I….”

Tools You Can Use When Relocating to the San Jose Area

If you’re moving to San Jose, Santa Clara or Silicon Valley from out of the area, there are a few items you may want to assemble in your “toolkit” as you are choosing a place to live. Some of these you can obtain for free, online or from me. Others you’ll need to purchase.

  • A Barclay’s Locaide will not only give you a detailed view of the area, but it will also outline earthquake faults, flood plains, and other natural hazard zones you might want to know about. You can buy one at most local bookstores or online for $59.95 (see link above)
  • A School District Map of the County with school district boundaies will be a big help to you here, as schools are the #1 thing that drive home values. You can buy one at bookstores or online for about $5
  • A Relocation Guide with community information for our various towns, cities, and neighborhoods will be immensely useful.

    San Jose is a large city, almost 1 million in population, and within it there are many districts, such as Willow Glen, Almaden Valley, Cambrian Park, Evergreen, West San Jose, Japan Town, Naglee Park, Vendome, Rosegarden, Shasta-Hanchett, Blossom Valley, Santa Teresa, Berryessa, Happy Valley, and many, many more! Additionally, there are many other cities and towns and they have their own subdivisions etc. too. So a guide to community information is imperative.  I can email you one on request. If you wish to purchase a book, a good one is the Moon Travel Handbook’s “Silicon Valley Handbook”

It is also helpful to have a knowledgeable Realtor as your resource!  Please call me if you’d like assistance in your move to SIlicon Valley. I’d be happy to help you.

Town and City Boundaries in Silicon Valley vs School District Boundaries

thumb woman reading information sign - Town and City Boundaries in Silicon Valley vs School District BoundariesIn Silicon Valley, or Santa Clara County, we have a relationship between city or town boundaries and school district boundaries that is unusual compared to most parts of the country. They just don’t always line up!

I blogged about this at my Live in Los Gatos blog awhile ago and thought this would be helpful information here for anyone relocating to SIlicon Valley:
http://www.realtown.com/LiveInLosGatos/blog/los-gatos-homes/relocating

So if you are thinking of moving to the Santa Clara Valley, it’s a good idea to get a school district boundary map in hand. Even if you don’t have kids, it’s important to understand that schools drive home values – so it matters to you whether or not you have children!

Thinking of Relocating to Silicon Valley?

If you’re thinking of moving to the San Jose area, or Silicon Valley, you probably have a lot of questions:

  1. What’s the climate like?
  2. How’s the crime?
  3. Are people friendly?
  4. Is there anything fun and interesting to do?
  5. What is the local culture?
  6. Could I be happy there?
  7. How is the cost of living?
  8. Are the schools good?

This blog will attempt to help with these kinds of questions – and others. I invite you to email me your questions and concerns so they can be addressed here!

Microclimates in Silicon Valley

Locals to the San Jose area (Silicon Valley, Santa Clara County) know, and newcomers often do not, that we have mico-climates here. Our weather is mild everywhere, of course – we enjoy a ldquo;sub tropical climate” where citrus grows and palm trees thrive – but it varies a lot nonetheless.

What kind of variation exists in Santa Clara County’s weather?

Consider that our terrain is shaped somewhat like a funnel with the San Francisco Bay on the wide end, and the two mountain ranges making up the sides of the funnel, narrowing at its base (near Morgan Hill).

Together with our funnel shaped valley, the Pacific Ocean and the San Francisco Bay are the major influencers on our climate. The Santa Cruz Mountains are warmer and wetter than the eastern foothills in winter. The Pacific Ocean brings in the rain, fog and winds pulling storms in from the ocean to the valley. Much of the weather stops at or near the coastal mountains, though, and the influence lessens as you go east such that the east foothills are very, very different from the Santa Cruz Mountains. The areas close to the bay get more breezes than those sheltered by smaller valleys or nooks.

In general, the further south you go (Gilroy, Morgan Hill, Almaden Valley), the warmer it gets.  The closer to the bay, the cooler it will be.  Areas in smaller valleys in the hills may get mini heat inversions, which trap heat, and will generally be hotter in summer than areas not so protected.

 

Mary Pope-Handy
Realtor,
CIPS, CRS, ABR, SRES
Sereno Group
214 Los Gatos-Saratoga Rd.
Los Gatos CA 95030
[Silicon Valley, California, USA]
1-408-204-7673
mary (at) popehandy.com
CA BRE # 01153805

CIPS - Certified International Property Specialist
CRS - Certified Residential Specialist
ABR - Accredited Buyer Representative
SRES - Seniors Real Estate Specialist

Helping nice folks to buy and sell homes in Silicon Valley since 1993. Mary Pope-Handy, Realtor, Silicon Valley
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Listings by Price Range
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Trends & Statistics

Click the link below to get real estate data for Santa Clara County, San Mateo County, and Santa Cruz County (together making up about 98% of "Silicon Valley").

Real Estate Market Statistics and Trends for Santa Clara County


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