Real Estate

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LESS LUX ... Fewer high-priced homes on the market generally means fewer high-priced sales, a truism borne out in January by local statistics. Silicon Valley's luxury housing market (think $2 million or more) began 2016 with slightly lower sales than in January 2015, according to a new report by Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage. The figures are based on Multiple Listing Service data of all homes sold in Santa Clara County. Forty-eight properties changed hands last month, down 4 percent from the 50 sales in January 2015. Last month's total was also down sharply from December's 98 sales, although a significant drop from December to January is not unusual, as more buyers try to close before year end, the report states. The median sale price of a luxury property last month was $2,395,000, down 12.1 percent from a year ago. January's median was also down 7.8 percent from December's, due in part to the mix of homes that sold. More tidbits from the report:

• The most expensive sale in Silicon Valley last month was a six-bedroom, six-bathroom approximately 6,600-square-foot home in Los Altos that sold for $4.8 million;

• Palo Alto boasted the most luxury sales with 10, followed by Los Altos with eight, Saratoga with seven, San Jose with six, Los Gatos with five and Mountain View with four;

• Homes sold in an average of 46.7 days on the market, up from 42.3 days a year ago and 36.7 days the previous month;

• Sellers received an average of 103 percent of their asking price, up from 102 percent last year and the previous month.

NO WATER, NO PROB ... Landscape designer Kim Raftery and certified arborist Kevin Raftery will be teaching about plants that are beautiful, drought tolerant, easy to grow, and have little or no disease and pest problems on Feb. 27, 9:30-11:30 a.m. The class, "Plants for Sun and Shade," will be held at Elizabeth F. Gamble Garden, 1431 Waverley St. Kim Raftery has been designing gardens for 18 years and has her own business, Raftery Garden Design. Kevin Raftery teaches at Foothill College. The cost is $25 for members, $35 for nonmembers, and the class size is limited to 30. Info and registration: 650-329-1356.

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Short story writers wanted!

The 33rd Annual Palo Alto Weekly Short Story Contest is now accepting entries for Adult, Young Adult (15-17) and Teen (12-14) categories. Send us your short story (2,500 words or less) and entry form by March 29. First, Second and Third Place prizes awarded in each category.

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