The highest-priced ZIP in San Francisco was 94123, spanning the Marina, Cow Hollow and parts of Pacific Heights. Its median price, $2 million, placed only 38th nationally. That was tied with Redwood City’s 94062 — up two spots from last year, despite a 3% dip in its median.
Of the nation’s top 35 ZIP codes, seven were in Santa Clara County (two in Palo Alto, two in Los Altos, and one each in Los Gatos, Stanford and Saratoga), four in San Mateo County (Atherton, Portola Valley, Burlingame, Menlo Park) and three in Marin County (Ross, Stinson Beach and Belvedere-Tiburon).
The main reasons California and especially the Bay Area dominate the ZIP list are high incomes and inadequate housing supply. “Incomes in the Bay Area are very high. The unicorns (private companies with $1 billion-plus valuations) are paying enormous amounts of money to engineers out of school. I don’t know if that’s going to last forever,” said Richard Green, director of the University of Southern California Lusk Center for Real Estate. “Another reason incomes in the Bay Area are so high is that people with low incomes have left.”
As for supply, “if you look at new construction in California, there just isn’t a lot. Even if you compare it to Portland (Ore.) and Seattle, on a per-capita basis,” the San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego metro areas are not building as much.
The report, posted Monday, tries to rank the top 100 ZIP codes, but because of ties the list came to 125 this year. That compares to 117 last year, when 48 Bay Area ZIPs made the list.
This year’s report covered transactions closed between January 1 and Nov. 5 including single-family homes, duplexes, condos and co-ops. It ignored ZIP codes with fewer than three transactions. It excluded Contra Costa as a Bay Area county; we included it.
After Atherton, the most expensive ZIP codes nationwide were 11962 in New York’s Suffolk County, at $4.3 million; Santa Monica’s 90402, at $4.15 million, and 90210 in Beverly Hills, with a median price of $4.08 million.
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It’s important to note that ZIP codes usually don’t align with city limits or neighborhood boundaries. They may combine higher-priced with lower-priced areas. For example, 94115 includes both Pacific Heights and parts of the less-tony Western Addition. With a median price of $1.75 million, it ranked 58th on this year’s list. Burlingame’s 19th-ranked 94010 gets a boost from high-priced Hillsborough.
Atherton spans two ZIP codes. If you look exclusively at homes within its city limits, the median home price there was a whopping $8.1 million in the first half of this year, according to separate data from CoreLogic.
Atherton has surged far ahead of its high-priced peers. It’s zoned entirely single-family, has a minimum 1-acre lot size, plenty of flat land and a streamlined permitting process. That and its proximity to Stanford University, downtown Menlo Park and Silicon Valley, has led to the destruction of merely large homes for the construction of monster mega-mansions in recent years. Warriors guard Stephen Curry and his wife, Ayesha, bought a home for $31 million there, the highest price paid for a house in the Bay Area this year.
Although the Bay Area continues to dominate the PropertyShark rankings, it hasn’t been immune to a slowdown in housing prices. Of the 46 Bay Area ZIP codes that were on its list both this year and last, 25 went down in price, 19 went up and two were unchanged, according to a Chronicle analysis.
Percentage-wise, the two biggest gainers were in Marin County. The median sales price in 94970, surrounding Stinson Beach, soared by one-third to $2.8 million. The median price in 94957, centered in Ross, jumped 31.4% to $3.35 million; it catapulted 13 places in the national rankings to 10th.
The biggest price decline was in 94043, the Mountain View ZIP code that is largely commercial and includes Google headquarters. The median price there fell 11% to $1.47 million. San Carlos’ 94070 had the next biggest drop, falling 8.9% to $1.73 million.
In a separate report issued Monday, the California Association of Realtors noted that the Bay Area has posted year-over-year price declines for nine consecutive months and 10 of the last 11.
The median price paid for an existing, single-family home in October was $940,000, up 6.8% from September but down 2% from last year. It was the only region in California with a year-over-year decline last month.
The report does not include condos, new construction or transactions not reported on a Multiple Listing Service.
Price performance in the Bay Area ranged from a 9.3% increase year-over-year in Solano County to a 4.3% decline in Santa Clara County. Prices declined 1.8% in San Mateo County and 3.6% in Marin. They rose in all other Bay Area counties. San Francisco’s median price rose to $1.65 million, up 7.1% from September and up 3.1% year over year.