Los Gatos plans to add double the amount of required housing units by 2040

Another grim report about housing in Santa Clara County

After two decades of being one of the slowest growing towns in the south bay, Los Gatos plans to add 3,783 new housing units to the town by 2040, which is almost twice the town’s state-mandated goal.

Under the 2023-2031 Regional Housing Needs Assessment,  one goal of the planned increase in housing is to make Los Gatos more accessible to non-white, low income residents. The Los Gatos 2040 General Plan will allow for more duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes, cottage courts and townhomes. These are generally more affordable than single-family homes, according to the plan, and are lacking in Los Gatos.

Low-density neighborhoods could see growth as high as 12 housing units per acre, which is significantly more than the current maximum of five units per acre. In contrast, nearly all of the new housing added to Los Gatos in the last decade were single-family homes, which has led to 71.5% of all housing in the town being such homes according to town data.

These single-family homes do not come cheap, with 2019 census data showing that the median price for a home was about $1.69 million, according to census data. The data also shows that forty percent of the town’s households earned more than $200,000 annually that same year. Additionally, housing prices have only been going up according to REDFIN, who reported in March 2021 that Los Gatos’s home prices are now selling for a median price of $2.1 million.

Some residents worry new housing could impact traffic in the town, create congestion in the town and deplete limited resources like water and energy. To combat some of these concerns, Los Gatos is preparing an environmental impact report due to be released later this summer.

This conversation is taking place in cities across the south bay. In a similar debate in San Jose, residents are divided on the allowance of more multi-family homes to accommodate lower income residents and residential hopefuls. For more information on that debate, see here.