Home Prices in Gilroy, CA

City Gilroy

Gilroy, CA is not only known as the “Garlic Capital of the World” but it is also known for its robust housing market.

Using the first quarter of 2007 (1Q07) as a high point in,  and the beginning of decline of market values, there are some interesting changes which point to a strong recovery:

The average number of days it took for homes to sell in 1Q07 was 141. Then, in 1Q13 it had dropped to just 36 days, and, 1Q14 days on market slipped up to an average of 45 days. Obviously, homes are again, selling much faster but the pace is slowing.

Gilroy CA’s average sales price for single family residences (SFR) in 1Q07 was an amazing $785,763!  By 1Q13 prices dropped to $544,965. In the year since, the average prices continued to increase: 1Q14, the average was $605,845.

Another indicator of a recovered market is the ratio of sales price to listed price. In 1Q07 the average was 97.7%; in the first quarter of 2013 it was 98.7% and in the 1st 3 months of this year it averaged 96.2%.  Again, 2014 is still improving but it seems at a slower pace.

Relatively speaking, Gilroy had the least significant drop in prices of the other South County neighbors: Morgan Hill and Hollister. Gilroy’s drop 1Q07 to 1Q13 was 30.6% while Morgan Hill’s was 32.5% and Hollister saw a 43% drop in that time frame.

So, what do you think values are going to do here in South County in the near future?

(data: MLSListings)

Drop PMI from Your House Payment


Since home values have risen over the last 18 months we are often asked: “How do I drop that Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) from our house payment?”

So here is the Good News and the Bad News:

Good:  “The Homeowner’s Protection Act of 1998“: home lenders MUST drop the PMI when the loan balance reaches 78% of the original value.

Bad: “78% of ORIGINAL VALUE” means the price you paid for the home, NOT today’s appreciated value. Additionally, most lenders require that you have a 2-5 year payment history with them before they will consider your request.

Additional ‘Bad’: Even if you have paid extra toward your loan balance the lenders look to the original amortization schedule to determine when you reach 78% in order to drop the PMI.   That typically takes 9 – 10 years.

Once you have 80% equity you can ask the lender to cancel your PMI however, there is no guaranty they will.

While the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) is not governed by the same law they do have a similar ‘78%’ rule with the added proviso that the payment needs to have been made for at least 5 years or your balance is 78% of the original value – whichever comes later.   FHA’s insurance for loans originated after 7/1/2013 however, is permanent.

Good:  You don’t have to wait for the magical date on your amortization table…you can refinance your current loan.  In the South County (Morgan Hill, Gilroy, Hollister, San Juan Bautista) home values rose over 36% in 2013 from 2012.  With at least 20% (new equity) your new loan will not need PMI.  On a $300,000 purchase where you put originally put 5% down to a $285,000 loan, the PMI would cost roughly $220 every month*. Even if you include the closing costs in your refinance loan you will still have a lower payment due to no PMI; probably a savings of $150 or more per month.

In a 5 minute visit I can tell you what YOUR particular numbers will look like.  Text, email or call me.  Let’s get rid of that PMI before another month rolls by.


Near But Far, 22 Acre Morgan Hill Home

Wow! You’ve got to see this VIDEO Tour!

The featured home is literally “Off the Grid” (zero PG&E costs) and sits on 22 beautiful acres in the East foothills of Morgan Hill, CA.  Even the well has it’s own generator.

Although you feel like you are in the mountains, on vacation when on this property, you’re only 15 minutes from Hwy101 and 40 minutes from down town San Jose.  You pass Lake Anderson on the way to and from this home and can see Coyote Lake from this tree-studded parcel.

Call me for your own, on-site, personal tour.  I look forward to your comments.

Gilroy Home Value Trend

We have all watched the sales prices of homes drop over the last 3 years.  The question is: Will that slide continue?

Single family home values in Gilroy dropped by 35.5% from 2007 to 2008.  In 2009 they fell another 18.4% . Townhomes values have likewise dropped: 38.5% from 2007 to 2008 and 29.5% from 2008 to 2009. 

The average sales price of Gilroy homes in 2007 was $796,676.  In 2008 it was $513,913, and $419,228 was the average sales price for 2009.

Townhome sales show a similar pattern: their average sales price was $426,627 in 2007, $262,566 in 2008, and $185,070 in 2009.

However, it appears that the value slide has hit bottom.  A closer look at 2009 average values suggests that we may have bottomed out in 9/09 and are beginning to see a rebound in both single family residence and townhome values.

Morgan Hill & Hollister home and townhomes reflect a similar trend in values although the downward adjustments in value are more dramatic as you go south to Hollister.

(Data: MLSListings)

The Cost of Waiting to Buy

It is getting harder to find homes for those buyers we have been working with for months.  The entry level prices are rising and qualifying for prospective buyer’s  is shrinking.    

After looking at several Hollister homes I heard the frustrated buyer sigh:  “I think we’re just going to wait to buy a home“.  I tried to reason with him regarding rising prices and the likely increase in home loan rates.  He was just too disappointed to hear anything right then.  So, this post is my therapy for today’s weary home buyers. 

Home loan rates WILL go up.  It’s only a matter of when will they start.  All of the attempts to stave off a sick economy cost money and will begin to push rates higher.  As they rise, ‘purchasing power’ drops:                      

Let’s say my buyer waits 6 months and the rates then are up .5%.  His $300,000 loan will cost $92 MORE each month than he could get today.  To qualify then he will have to earn $225 MORE per month for the same loan he could get now.  If his income hasn’t changed his purchasing power will drop by $17,150!

If the rates go up by 1.0% the payment will jump up by $192 per month for the same $300,000 loan he could have gotten today.  $192 PER MONTH!  Yikes!   His income will need to be $460 more per month to qualify for the same loan he could have gotten today.  With no change in income, his  purchasing power will drop by $32,800!

Postponing the purchase of your home doesn’t make cents.  Get a good night’s sleep and go back at it tomorrow.  Afterall, somebody is buying these homes.  Why not you?

Buyers: Take the Leap of Faith & Reap These Benefits

A veteran buyer was looking at looking at some nice homes in Hollister.  There seemed to be a disconnect between their enthusiasm for the homes and making the comment to buy one of them.  It wasn’t that they didn’t qualify.  I had already pre-approved them for much more than they were looking at.  As we talked the light bulb came on!  The transition from their comfortable rent to a significantly higher payment was a quantum leap for them and it was hard to swallow – until…….

I sat them down and shared what many homeowners have learned over the years.  Your accountant can tell you what your new tax liability will be if you buy that tempting home.  In most cases the amount  you will be required to pay in income tax will DROP because of the larger amount paid toward interest and taxes.  Some of us have figured that it is better to reduce our income tax withholding from our paychecks each payday rather than get our refund in a lump sum (with no earned interest) at the end of the year. 

Here is their example:  Sales Price: $650,000; New VA Loan: $591,800; Total Principal, Interest, Taxes and Insurance: $4,210; Income Tax Deduction at a 26% tax bracket: $898/mth; Net “House Payment” after income tax deduction: $3,312. 

Same home, same terms but a house payment that feels like $3,312.  That made the difference.  They will simply need to take a new W4 form to their employers and have them reduce their withholdings by $898 so they will have that much more to take-home each month.  While they still make the actual payment of $4,210 the additional take-home pay makes the leap in house payment more palitable. 

They will break even at the end of the year: they won’t owe much income tax nor will they get much of a refund.  HOWEVER, they will have received their refund during the year to help offset their new, higher payment. 

Everybody was happy and moved forward with what they really wanted to do. 

I love solving problems for people!  Have you done this yet?

VETERANS: Don’t Pay Unnecessary Fees.

Imagine shopping around, from dealer to dealer, for a second car and paying $6,450 for it.  Then, the following week you read on-line that there is a program for a person in your situation where such a car is FREE!  You would not have to pay even $1.00 for that car.  What would you do?  Do you really think that auto dealer is going to refund your money?  Do you think any of them will fess up to not knowing about such a program? 

This is what I deal with often – not in cars but Veteran’s Benefits.  Many so-called VA Lenders fail to ask one simple question of every Veteran. “Do you receive any disability pay from the VA?”  The failure to ask that question costs disabled Vets thousands of dollars unnecessarily.  

Let’s say a Vet buys a $300,000 home and uses their Eligibility for a no-down VA.  If that Vet  receives disability pay, he/she does NOT have to pay the “VA Funding Fee”.  A first time user of their VA Home Loan benefit has a Funding Fee of 2.15% of the VA Loan amount.  So, our $300,000 sales price and VA Loan amount would have a $6,450 Funding Fee as part of the Veteran’s costs.  HOWEVER, if the Lender asks that question and does the proper paperwork for the disabled Vet, the Veteran’s Administration will waive that $6,450 VA Funding Fee.  Good news for the 267,318 disabled CA vets (3,268,045 nationally).

It’s who you know that makes all the difference in the world”.  That is true. But even if your Uncle Bob is an auto dealer, if he doesn’t know that your situation has benefits we have to tweak the slogan: “It’s not just who you know but what they know that counts”.  

Do you know of any such situations?  I’d love to hear from you.

BUYERS! Get on Board!

‘Houston…the Eagle has landed’.  I enjoyed recently the celebration of the Lunar landing.  Let’s change the wording to fit our times: “Buyers, we’ve landed, and are now lifting off”

Home values in San Jose, Morgan Hill, Gilroy, Hollister and San Juan Bautista “have landed” at the bottom of their value slide and are beginning to “lift off” that bottom.  We are not going to see these prices again for a very, very long time, if ever again. 

Here’s the affect of waiting to buy a home: A home listed today for $350,000 and goes up 5.0% in value will then be worth $367,500.  A buyer who waited and then buys this home will need $985 MORE CASH and $268/mth MORE INCOME to qualify for this same home. 

If the  interest rate is at 6.0% (vs. the 5.0% used above) when the buyer decides to purchase this increased-value-home, their income will need to be $843/mth. HIGHER to qualify!

Some prospective home buyers may be calling out: “Houston, we’ve got a problem“.  The erosion of their purchasing power may make them permanent renters. 

My crystal ball recommends that those who want to buy a home climb on board NOW while they can.  What does yours forcast?

2 Bonuses to Your Housing Budget

Greatly Reduce Your Homeowner’s Insurance Premium

Talk to homeowners and most will tell you they have never had a claim against their homeowner’s insurance.  So, their deductible remains low and their premium stays high.

We were in this group until one day we started talking about reducing our housing expenses.  We asked ourselves how much we could afford to pay should we have a claim.  The amount was higher than our homeowner’s deductible.  We called our insurance agent for a quote with a new, higher deductible.  WOW!  It was a big savings!  we sharpened the pencil and began shopping for insurance with a sizable deductible.   We ended up reducing our insurance premium by nearly $500 a year ($1,300 down to $820).  And guess what?  We still haven’t had a claim.

Get Your Tax Refund in Every Pay Check

Did you get an income tax refund this year?  Last year?  Why not get your refund in every paycheck?  Here’s how:  Ask your tax preparer what your actual tax liability is and divide that by the number of your pay periods (52, 26, 12 etc.).  Ask your preparer for a new W4 form.  Then stroll into your Human Resources office and announce that you want them to ONLY withhold $X for Fed. Taxes and $Y for State Taxes (the amount of your actual tax liability per pay period).  A few employers will allow you to withhold a percentage for Fed. and another for State.  Most will struggle with how many exemptions you have to claim to achieve the dollar amount.  Fill our your W4 and happily hand it over to HR.  No matter how they end up doing it you will bring home much more of your check every payday!  For example, if you got a $2,600 tax refund and get paid every week you could take home $50 MORE EVERY WEEK or $215 MORE EVERY MONTH!  At the end of the year you break even – you won’t owe any additional taxes and YOU have had your refund left in your pocket every payday during the year.  Pretty cool!  (Be sure to coordinate this with your tax preparer).

Let’s see, what could you do with another, say, $255 CASH each month?