Los Gatos’ Demographics

Population: 31,087
Households: 12,701
Housing Units: 13,637
Source: California Department of Finance, Table E-5

Employed Residents: 15,137
Source: ACS 2019 5 year estimates

In 2020, 72.3% of Los Gatos’s population was White while 0.9% was African American, 14.8% was Asian, and 7.9% was Latinx. People of color in Los Gatos comprise a proportion below the overall proportion in the Bay Area as a whole.
Source: 2020 Decennial Census

Rate of population growth, 2010 to 2020: 5.7%
Rate of housing unit addition, 2010 to 2020: 4.5%
Source: California Department of Finance, Table E-5

Over the same period, Los Gatos grew more slowly than Santa Clara County, which had a 9.2% population increase, or the nine-county Bay Area region, which had a 8.6% population increase.

The number of new homes built in Los Gatos and Santa Clara County has not kept pace with demand, resulting in longer commutes, increasing prices, and exacerbating issues of displacement and homelessness.

 

Housing Types in Los Gatos

It is important to have a variety of housing types to meet the needs of a community today and in the future. In 2020, 59.6% of homes in Los Gatos were single family detached (generally the most expensive type of home), 13.0% were single family attached, 9.0% were small multifamily (2-4 units), and 17.9% were medium or large multifamily (5+ units). Between 2010 and 2020, the number of single-family homes increased more than multi-family homes. In Los Gatos, the share of the housing stock that is detached single family homes is higher than the average of other jurisdictions in the region.
Source: California Department of Finance, Table E-5


Jobs & Housing in Los Gatos

Jobs: 20,228
Employed Residents per Household:  1.25
Jobs per Employed Resident: 1.34
Jobs-Housing Balance Ratio: 1.48
Source: ACS 2019 5 year estimates

Note: Jobs-Housing Balance is a measurement used by planners that assumes that a balanced community is one where people can both live and work. This ratio compares the number of jobs in a community to the number of housing units.

Jobs-Housing Fit: 6.52 low wage jobs per low-cost rental unit
Source: Jobs from LEHD Origin-Destination Employment Statistics 2019; households from U.S. Census, American Community Survey B25056, B25061

Note: Jobs-Housing Fit measures the mismatch between wages and housing affordability as the ratio of low-wage jobs (less than $3,333/month) to the number of low-cost rental units (less than $1,500/month). In Los Gatos, there are more than 6 low-wage workers competing for each affordable home.


Renting in Los Gatos

Percent of population that rents: 35.1%
Source: ACS 2019 5 year estimates

Median Monthly Rent (1 bedroom apartment): $2,459
Rent Change Year over Year: +12%
Source: Zumper, January 2022

Cost Burden in Los Gatos

Cost-Burdened (30% – 50% income spent on housing)
Renter Households: 20% of renter households (841)
Homeowner Households: 28% of homeowner households (2,218)

Severely Cost-Burdened (more than 50% of income spent on housing)
Renter Households: 22% of renter households (941)
Homeowner Households: 12% of homeowner households (947)
Source: ACS 2019 5 year estimates

Note: Current standards measure housing cost in relation to gross household income: households spending more than 30 percent of their income, including utilities, are generally considered to be overpaying or “cost burdened.” Severe cost burden occurs when households pay 50 percent or more of their gross income for housing. The impact of high housing costs falls disproportionately on extremely low-, very low-, and low-income households, especially renters. While some higher-income households may choose to spend greater portions of their income for housing, the cost burden for lower-income households reflects choices limited by a lack of a sufficient supply of housing affordable to these households.

Homelessness in Los Gatos

2019 Homeless Count: 16 Persons, all unsheltered
Source: 2019 Homeless Point In Time Count


Overcrowding in Los Gatos

Total Rental Homes: 4,242
Overcrowded Homes: 90
Severely Overcrowded Homes: 184
Percent of Rental Homes, Overcrowded: 6%
Source: ACS 2019 5 year estimates

  • The U.S. Census defines an overcrowded unit as one occupied by 1.01 persons or more per room (excluding bathrooms and kitchens). Units with more than 1.5 persons per room are considered severely overcrowded.

Note: Overcrowding increases health and safety concerns and stresses the condition of the housing stock and infrastructure. Overcrowding is strongly related to household size (particularly for large and very-large households) and the availability of suitably sized housing. Overcrowding impacts both owners and renters; however, renters are generally more significantly impacted. 


2014-2022 Regional Housing Needs Allocation 

Every eight years, the Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) process is used to assign each city and county in California their “fair share” of new housing units to build. These units of housing are intended to accommodate existing need and projected growth in the region. The RHNA process is critical because it requires all cities and counties to plan for the housing needs of their residents, regardless of income, in an effort to plan for future growth and ease the Bay Area’s acute housing crisis. 

Many cities and counties regularly fall short of their RHNA targets, as the Bay Area’s housing crisis continues to grow. Each spring, jurisdictions are required to provide an Annual Progress Report to show how effective their efforts have been in achieving housing development targets by income level. The table below shows Los Gatos’ progress.

Los Gatos’ 2015-2022 RHNA Permit Progress as of 12/2021
Affordability LevelRHNA TargetPermits IssuedProgress to Target
Very Low Income2014924.4%
Low Income11232.7%
Moderate Income13212090.9%
Above Moderate Income174339194.8%
Total61951182.6%

Permitting progress as of December 2020. Source: HCD 2020 Housing Element Annual Progress Report Permit Summary.

2023-2031 RHNA Allocation

In January of 2023, about a year after local jurisdictions are given their final RHNA numbers, the local planning process will culminate in the Housing Element. This is a pivotal document that serves as a Constitution for land use planning and accounts for how and where the jurisdiction will accommodate allocated housing units. It must identify adequate sites for the full RHNA and all types of housing, including emergency shelters, rental housing, and ownership housing, and commit to policies and programs aimed at removing barriers to housing production, addressing racial and economic segregation and disparities in access to resources, providing for the unique housing needs of residents in protected categories, and protecting residents vulnerable to displacement.

Los Gatos’ 2023-2031 RHNA by Income Level
Very Low Income Low IncomeModerate IncomeAbove Moderate IncomeTotal Allocation
5373103208261,993

Source: ABAG Approved Final RHNA Plan: San Francisco Bay Area, 2023-2031 (Dec 2021)


Current Affordable Housing Stock

Los Gatos 2020 Affordable Housing Inventory
Extremely Low-IncomeVery Low-IncomeLow-IncomeModerate IncomeTotal UnitsAffordable % of Total Housing Stock
15298373502.6%

SOURCE: Units reported in the Housing Element Annual Performance Report that received building permits in 2019 were added to the unit counts in the previously reported 2018 Base Year table.  This methodology necessarily means that any ELI units, if any, are included in the VLI category since that is how HCD has required production data to be reported.  The RHNA data on new units relies on self-reporting by jurisdiction and can include units for which building permits were issued that never got built.  The percentage of the total housing stock in the community is based the California Department of Finance’s Table E-5.

See more information on our affordable housing assets page.

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs)

All California cities and counties are mandated to permit ADUs and JADUs according to state law. The Legislature further updated ADU and JADU law effective January 1, 2021 to clarify and improve various provisions in order to promote the development of ADUs and junior accessory dwelling units (JADUs). These include allowing ADUs and JADUs to be built concurrently with a single-family dwelling, opening areas where ADUs can be created to include all zoning districts that allow single-family and multifamily uses, modifying fees from utilities such as special districts and water corporations, limited exemptions or reductions in impact fees, and reduced parking requirements. Please see the Accessory Dwelling Unit Handbook (PDF) for more information for local government bodies and homeowners interested in adding an ADU or JADU to their property. Our partner, the Housing Trust of Silicon Valley has kicked-off a major initiative, Small Homes, Big Impact to support ADU development throughout Santa Clara County, including outreach and education, and potential new financing mechanisms.

Los Gatos ADUs Permitted: 2017 – 2020
2017201820192020Total% of Countywide Total
44328281034.5%

Affordable Housing Policies

Housing Element Policies

The Housing Element of Los Gatos’ General Plan includes a number of policies in support of its affordable housing efforts.

  • Affordable Housing.  General policies supporting a variety of housing types, including a mix of rental and ownership products, and fully utilizing available funding to finance affordable housing development.
  • Homelessness.  Support for the County’s Continuum of Care plan and Destination: Home’s Housing 1000 campaign to provide housing opportunities for the homeless, including emergency shelter as well as transitional and permanent housing.
  • AHOZ Zoning District.  The Town created a new zoning district, called, Affordable Housing Overlay Zone (AHOZ), with higher densities, relaxed development standards and incentives to encourage affordable housing production (incentives include financial concessions, reductions in required parking and setbacks, increased allowed lot coverages, waiver or deferral of building plan-check and inspection fees as well as construction mitigation fees. In 2018, the Council voted to reduce the sites within the AHOZ from 5 to 1.
  • ELI Housing.  Town staff meets periodically with affordable housing developers to provide technical assistance; provides expedited application processing; identifies funding opportunities; and offers potential incentives similar to those offered in the AHOZ district. 
  • Density Bonus. The Town offers a density bonus of up to 100 percent for developments that include housing for seniors, the disabled and/or low-/very low-income households.

Additional Resources

Photo: Open Doors, MidPen Housing

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