Market Reports for Three Silicon Valley Counties

Below please find real estate market reports for three Silicon Valley counties where I’m most active: Santa Clara County, San Mateo County, and Santa Cruz County. First we’ll provide the data for single family homes, then condos and townhomes, for each region. (“Silicon Valley” is 95% within Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties, plus a little of Santa Cruz County and a small part of Alameda County. Alameda County uses a different MLS system, and I don’t usually sell there, so am not covering it in my reports.)

Winter 2020-2021: Three Silicon Valley Counties

Santa Clara County Real Estate Market Report for December 2020

First, Santa Clara County – home to San Jose, Cupertino, Sunnyvale, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Los Altos, Santa Clara, Campbell, Los Gatos, Saratoga, Monte Sereno, Milpitas, Morgan Hill, and a number of other cities and towns. This area has generally come up in price about 10% since last year, though in December the median sale price is over 13% higher in 2020 than in 2019! Since the month before, but the median sales price and list price remained close to stable with both up by around 10-12% compared to 2019. Homes took about a half-week longer to sell, in December compared to November, but compared to 2019 they’re flying off the shelves! Of course, it hasn’t been even growth. While 2019 had fairly typical seasonal patterns, 2020 experienced major changes putting pressure on the market stifling spring activity and creating a sustained high demand with severely low inventory. We’re currently at a time where seasonal cooling creates a softer market, but activity is stronger than usual driving both prices and the sales to list price ratio above the averages of 2019 without significant cooling compared to summer or autumn.

Dec 2020 – Single Family Residential Market Report - Santa Clara

And the condominium and townhouse report for Santa Clara County:

This year shows about a 8% rise in sales price for condos and townhomes since last year, and about a 2% dip in median sales price and a relatively stable median list price from last month.

Dec 2020 – Condo _ Townhouse Market Report  - Santa Clara

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What does it cost to buy a 4 bedroom, 2 bath home in the West Valley areas of Silicon Valley?

It can be challenging for people moving to Silicon Valley to get a sense of pricing for home buying. So to compare “apples to apples,” let’s take a hypothetical case of a 4 bedroom, 2 bath home of approximately 2,000 SF house (appx 185 square meters) and see how the cost looks in one area versus another.

Today I compared several cities and areas using the formula: single family homes of 1,800 – 2,200 SF, 3-5 bedrooms, 2-3 bathrooms, on lot sizes of 5,000 SF – 10,000 SF that have sold within the last 60 days. The prices listed are the average from sales in this criteria, so areas with a higher volume of sales will have more stable averages than those with less sales to analyze. DOM means “Days on Market”, the number of days a home was listed as available before pending.

Please note that this is a rough sketch of home prices based on averages taken across large, diverse residential communities. There are many factors that will affect market value beyond these boundaries.

Now, on to the chart.

The Cost To Buy A 4 Bedroom 2 Bath Home In…

I have arranged this chart in descending order by Sales Price. This is usually how I organize the data, and you can see certain markets shifting position, moving up or down the order depending on what’s hot. Since Los Altos had no sales in the last 60 days, I have left it where it was in the last chart but cannot offer any numbers. Scroll down farther to compare this chart against past years.

2020-12-10 60D SFH 4B/2B Cost

Before we get into analysis, here’s a chart from October of 2019 for comparison. Back in 2019 I switched to analyzing the market using a 30 day window instead of the 60 days seen above. This short window of time was due to significant price changes over the course of the year – first dropping in the 2nd half of 2018, and climbing again in the latter half of 2019. You can see a chart from early 2019 down below.

In the past, I’ve done similar studies, but using a larger window of time to even out any aberrations.

In most cases, the most expensive and desirable places have either the best schools or shortest commute location or both. Had I ranked these for school scores, you’d find that Cambrian is fairly high up and a good “bang for the buck” location – though not a super short commute for folks who work in Mountain View (though not so bad for people working in Cupertino). None of these is especially close to North San Jose (Cisco).

Palo Alto is a gorgeous, exciting area with all kinds of wonderful features – beautiful neighborhoods, lower crime, great schools, short commute. It is usually the most expensive area on this list.  But unless you found a successful startup company or inherit a couple of million bucks, it can be hard to buy a single family home there. Many people would like to live in the shadow of Stanford University, but the budget just won’t allow it. What, then?

Please use the list above as a way to get your bearings on nearby areas in the South Bay (southern part of the San Francisco Bay Area). This is not an exhaustive list – it’s just most of the areas closest to Highway 85 or the West Valley Freeway. You can study various cities, downs, and districts within the region at my stats site, popehandy.rereport.com. (Free and you do not have to register unless you want email updates.)

Finally, it should be noted that one of the main drivers of home values is school districts. In the San Jose / Silicon Valley area, the school district boundaries do NOT follow the city or town boundaries. Los Gatos, for example, has 3 different elementary school districts, with varying scores which impact home values.  So too with Saratoga and many other areas, San Jose especially! All this to say that the figures above are only ROUGH GUIDES. When you break it down to micro-markets, the picture changes more. But as a starter guide, I think you’ll find the above info helpful to give you a general idea of how far your money can go in home buying for areas in Santa Clara County from Palo Alto to Blossom Valley.

Want to do a deep dive on any of these areas? Please visit my Valley of Heart’s Delight Blog to learn about them.

Historical Comparisons of Home Prices in the Same (or Similar) Areas

We’ll start off with something fairly recent, a report from April 3rd, 2019 using the same formula the October report from the same year.

April 3rd, 2019:

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Comparing 4 west valley real estate markets

Market comparison_ Los Gatos, Saratoga, Cupertino, and Los AltosToday on the Valley of Heart’s Delight Blog,  I looked at the real estate markets for Los Gatos, Saratoga, Cupertino, and Los Altos.

All four of these areas are known for good public schools, proximity to the coastal range, and a nice way of life. All but Cupertino have a quaint downtown area, and those three communities each have about 31,000 residents, while Cupertino is more than double that. For folks relocating to the San Jose area for work, most likely, all four will be considered if schools are a priority.

To see how these 4 highly regarded communities compare in terms of market conditions and what you can buy for your money, please visit:
Market comparison: Los Gatos, Saratoga, Cupertino and Los Altos on the Valley of Heart’s Delight Blog.

 

 

Related Reading:

Silicon Valley neighborhoods

Los Gatos neighborhood videos

How to find the median rental price by zip code

San Jose metro area apartment rental costs

ApartmentList.com puts out a monthly report with data on the rental market here and all over the U.S. Of most interest is the going rate for rentals. This morning I received their update and below are a few of the main points on the rental housing market. The San Jose metro area’s median rent went up 1% over the last year per the article there. They write:

“Currently, median rents in San Jose stand at $2,113 for a one-bedroom apartment and $2,648 for a two-bedroom. San Jose’s year-over-year rent growth lags the state average of 1.1%, as well as the national average of 1.4%.”

San Jose metro area – cost of an apartment rental

San Jose rental costs as compared to other cities / towns in Santa Clara County:

Rental housing graph - San Jose rental data from Apartments.com

Apartment list provides lots of interesting tidbits, such as Cupertino’s rent falling slightly this last year and Los Gatos having the fastest growing rental prices. Do check out the full report using that top link.  It’s interesting to me how much more costly it is to rent in Cupertino than in other competitive areas such as Palo Alto, which also has great schools.

 
Rental Housing Market Trend Highlights:

The median reflects the point at which half sold for more and half for less that price. When the median sale price goes down but the average goes up, it suggests not the homes are losing value, but rather that buyers are purchasing less expensive homes. For the condo and townhouse market, this can happen if the price of houses becomes more in reach. If you can afford a huge townhouse or a smaller house, many house hunters will choose the smaller house. Prices softened here after the peak of May 2018, so likely those on the cusp between the two choices of house or townome/condo opted for the single family home.

How does the rental market compare to other areas?

This chart is from the same source cited above. Here we can see how rental prices stack up in San Jose versus San Francisco (more expensive still) and other major cities – all the rest of which are less expensive. That said, New York City is very close to San Jose, just a hair behind.

Graph: housing -  San Jose metro rental costs versus other large cities

To learn more, see the full report here:
 
(Note: images in this article are used with permission by ApartmentList.)

2019 Predictions for the Silicon Valley Real Estate Market

Search House Magnifiing Glass - 2019 predictions for the real estate marketThis morning I read a comprehensive article assessing the real estate market in California and several key markets within it. Normally I do not publish a post here suggesting that people read analysis elsewhere, but this is an exception, as it includes 2019 predictions that most home owners or home buyers would find of interest.

Some of the 2019 predictions are along the lines of my own thinking, including that we have to see what happens in February to understand the market’s direction, and that it seems that it will continue to be an appreciating market in 2019 (if milder, per many economists).  Also the falling prices have spooked home buyers, so rather than rushing at the 20% off sale, some are waiting for prices to be cut by 65% (I wouldn’t hold my breath) or some other extreme number.

From MangageCasa.com:
California Housing Market Report and Predictions 2018 2019

 

If you’d like to check out the real estate market data in Santa Clara County and other Silicon Valley communities, please visit my main blog site, ValleyOfHeartsDelight.com/blog or SanJoseRealEstateLosGatosHomes.com (the first link forwards to the second).

 

Other reading of interest:

Urban Living Neighborhoods in Silicon Valley and San Jose

Silicon Valley’s Apartment Rental Market

The shock of Silicon Valley housing costs: how little you can buy on a huge income