October 30, 2011

Updated: For Halloween Weekend, Here’s a Scary Treat for You from Burbed!

imageOoops, my bad.  It’s a trick.  It’s a trick!

You see, Forbes has their new list of the 500 Most Expensive Zip Codes out, and it’s time to see how much of the Real Bay Area (RBA) can Occupy The Forbes Zip List!  Since this series is a perennial Burbed favorite, we’re going to devote the next five hundred weekend posts to lovingly analyzing every single aspect of this new set of delicious demographic domicile data.

Today: The Top 50 Most Expensive Zip Codes

Hey wait, come back!  This is going to be really good!  We’re going to see which zip codes gained or lost ground since last year!  Maybe some of them get kicked out of the RBA for this!  This is a Burbed exclusive, too, Forbes didn’t bother doing any analysis of their own list changes.

imagePlus this year’s Forbes feature has the top 50 places show the most expensive house so we’ll link to each listing, plus what you can get for a mere million. That means nothing in the RBA except one crapshack in Los Gatos despite their featuring 20 different “expensive” zips.  Ha ha!  Our expensive zips are so Special we don’t let any stinking one million dollar properties in!

We also love to catch Forbes in mistakes, so if there’s something more expensive they missed, or if they otherwise screwed up like last year, we’ll be sure to let them know with as much obnoxious chortling good-natured ribbing as possible.  It’s going to be awesome!

Updated: And the TRICK is on Forbes for a Burbed Treat!   They have screwed up very, very badly.  Badly enough that I’m wondering if their (bad, really bad) mistakes made it to the print version of this feature.  If anyone has a copy, please let us know in comments.

I’ve grabbed the Days on Market (DOM) from the big table as Burbed readers Divasm and nomadic point out every single zip had a DOM of 200.  That’s highly unlikely.  Nice going, Forbes!  I can’t wait to see if your other numbers disagree too!  (Yes, they’re fvcked.)

I’m also putting a break in right after the first entry, because this article is not one of our shorter pieces.  And now, here they are!  Every Northern California entry in Forbes Top 50!

#2: Atherton 94027

  • Median Home Price: $4,295,000
  • Median Price Change: +7.1% ⇑
  • Average Days On Market: 200 162
  • Inventory: 162 41
  • Rank Last Year: #2 (no change)  Exclusive BURBED content, Not on Forbes!
  • Most Expensive Home: $20 Million (52 Tuscaloosa Avenue)

imageOh little town of Atherton
How high we see thee lie
Above thy rich and floodless ditch
You burst with equitie
Yet in they dark streets shineth
No mortgage meltdown mess
The hopes and quips of other zips
Are met in thy address

Oops, Tuscaloosa now listed for $18.9 million.  Sorry about that!  Are you Astonished?

Also I found this $24M home, listed a month ago.  Guess they missed it when putting their article together, since it ran a couple of weeks ago.  But Homes of the Rich found it too.

More after the break!  Much more!

#4: Hillsborough 94010

  • imageMedian Home Price: $3,499,000
  • Median Price Change: +18.7% ⇑
  • Average Days On Market: 200 156
  • Inventory: 156 71
  • Rank last year: #20 (up +18 spots )
  • Most Expensive Home: $43.9 Million (835 Chiltern Rd)

Way to go, Hillsborough!  Now I have to redo that Real Bay Area map, because you weren’t quite securely within its borders.  You still do sit suspiciously close to an airport, though.

Chiltern is actually listed at (stop me if you’ve heard this one before) $43,888,000.  The next most expensive active listing is $25 million.

#18: Los Altos Hills 94022

  • Median Home Price: $2,797,000
  • Median Price Change: -8.3% ⇓
  • Average Days On Market: 200 189
  • Inventory: 189 34
  • Rank last year: #18 (no change)
  • Most Expensive Home: $19.5 Million (8030 Natoma Road)


Wait, I don’t understand.  Prices only go up in the Real Bay Area… right.  Goodbye, Los Altos Hills.

Yay, a typo!  The house is actually 28030 Natoma Road, but the price is correct.  There’s only one picture of the house at all, and nothing inside, and it’s essentially being sold as a tear-down.  It’s been listed for four years.  This is the crappy low-res photo that Forbes ran in their slideshow.

Another house just up the street at 27861 appeared in the Astonishing Homes feature last weekend; that was the one that actually sold.

Next most expensive listing is $10,888,000.  And is the inventory really 189?  Really?  Update: No.  Have you noticed the pattern with Forbes screw-up on the numbers yet?

#23: Monte Sereno 95030

  • imageMedian Home Price: $2,522,500
  • Median Price Change: +53.1% ⇑
  • Average Days On Market: 200 242
  • Inventory: 242 26
  • Rank last year: #84 (+61 spots )
  • Most Expensive Home: $5.6 Million (16036 Greenwood Rd)

Are 5’s lucky?  This house is listed for $5,550,000.

So did Monte Sereno have a terrible 2010?  It’s now more expensive than Los Gatos but it wasn’t last year.  The median price sure went up a lot.  The two cities share the 95030 zip (and I wonder about that 242 in the inventory).  Update: As well I should have.

Los Gatos 95030 made the Top 50 but not this high.  Look where Monte Sereno was last year.  Whoah.

#24: Los Altos 94022

  • Median Home Price: $2,522,000
  • Median Price Change: -17.3% ⇓
  • Average Days On Market: 200 104
  • Inventory: 104 22
  • Rank last year: #94 (+70 spots )
  • Most Expensive Home: $19.5 Million (544 Cherry Ave at $5.3M is shown.)


Looks like Los Altos can keep its big brother up the hill company… out of the RBA.  Yet it somehow moved up 70 spots… uh, how is this even possible?

Did Forbes screw up yet again, confusing Los Altos and Los Altos Hills, just like last year?  Do cities in New York Metro not ever share zips, because this seems to get them a lot.  I guess they can blame Altos Research, then.

This actually is the most expensive home in Los Altos.  For now.  The price is really $5,285,000 which has the benefit of one eight.  And two fives.  Is five the new eight?

However, the Los Altos and Los Altos Hills medians are different!  Guess Forbes got somebody to pay attention.

#26: Big Sur 93920

  • imageMedian Home Price: $2,495,000
  • Median Price Change: NA
  • Average Days On Market: 200 351
  • Inventory: 351 24
  • Rank last year: NR (Did not appear on Top 500)
  • Most Expensive Home: $10 Million (46820 Clear Ridge Rd  is $6.4M)

WTF?  This zip wasn’t on the list at all last year, and I don’t mean not on the Top 50, I mean not on the Top 500.  Did they finally sell a house or two because Route 1 reopened?  Are there really 351 houses for sale in Big Sur?  I didn’t think there were 351 houses in the entire town; there’s no entry in City Data for them (not even in towns under 1000 residents).  Update: Of course not.

Ah, City Data lists the zip as “Monterey County.”  It’s probably shared and that inventory is all the homes, not just Big Sur.  And I may have been joking about “did they sell one house” it’s 100% true: one house sold.  In all of 2010.  The reason the zip wasn’t on the list last year?  No sales at all in 2008 or 2009.  That’s right.  Zero.  Yeah, way to go Forbes, this is one statistically robust dataset.

I’m not sure where the ten million dollar property is, but this is a good candidate, currently $8.5M.  Both listings include lots and lots and LOTS of land, land, land.

#31: Woodside 94062

  • Median Home Price: $2,300,000
  • Median Price Change: +3.2% ⇑
  • Average Days On Market: 200 157
  • Inventory: 157 57
  • Rank last year: #41 +10 spots )
  • Most Expensive Home: $47.5 Million (Address Undisclosed with MAWBUL KAWLUMS!!!!!)

imagePardon me if I disclose the address: 700 Kings Mountain Road.  Burbed readers demand to know where the MAWBUL KAWLUMS are.

Be sure to check out the cover photo over on Redfin if you think there’s too much fuchsia in this photo.

Wow, we’re going to have to feature this one soon.  Wow.  It has an “expansive motor court.”  Does that mean an onsite No-Tell Motel?  Here’s a preview of some Burbed Mawbul KawlumVision.


Inventory: 157?  Really?  Doesn’t that include the homes in Emerald Hills, Redwood City?  Heck, when I type “Woodside” into Redfin, I get 73 results (for houses only) and that includes not only Redwood City but Portola Valley?  Huh?  Update: You already know.

#36: Palo Alto 94301

  • imageMedian Home Price: $2,199,950
  • Median Price Change: +27.1% ⇑
  • Average Days On Market: 200 85
  • Inventory: 85 21
  • Rank last year: #73 (+37 spots )
  • Most Expensive Home: $6.2 Million (1932 Emerson Street)

Palo Alto has also come up in the world, as the only zip in the Top 50 with Walk Scores in double digits.

This house describes itself as “Perfection.”  It is indeed: for a Burbed listing.  They’ve been trying to sell it since 2007.

#39: Portola Valley 94028

  • Median Home Price: $2,176,500
  • Median Price Change: -13.3% ⇓
  • Average Days On Market: 200 147
  • Inventory: 147 32
  • Rank last year: #31 (-8 spots )
  • Most Expensive Home: $20 Million (5050 Alpine Road)


Portola Valley, you are not only being kicked out of the RBA, for losing spots on the rank list you won’t be allowed in for visits.

Does this place look familiar?  It should!  It was featured on Burbed a year ago.

Just because the seller requested that all public comments be removed from this listing doesn’t mean I should deprive you of them.

They don’t seem too serious about selling this place, do they?  I mean, the second most expensive home is listed for $7,750,000.  I know.  This place is Special.

Bunus: This home was sold as a foreclosure.  In 1995.

#40: Los Gatos 95030

  • imageMedian Home Price: $2,169,950
  • Median Price Change: -5.4% ⇓
  • Average Days On Market: 200 148
  • Inventory: 148 67
  • Rank last year: #38 (-2 spots )
  • Most Expensive Home: $20 Million (16450 Aztec Ridge Drive)

Monte Sereno really pwn3d you, Los Gatos.  They get to keep your RBA key fob, too.

Hey, we just featured this place!  Take that, Monte Sereno!

Bunus Million Dollar property: 5321 Twin Falls Road, $1.06M.  800 sf.  This is the only extra property in Northern California at all in the slideshow.  Other zips can manage million dollar listings, but not us.  We’re too Special.


This is on 125 acres.  But Redfin can’t find it.  Can you?  It was a Buddhist retreat, so I suggest you think about where it isn’t.

#42: Tiburon/Belvedere 94920

  • Median Home Price: $2,119,816
  • Median Price Change: -35.4% ⇓
  • Average Days On Market: 200 178
  • Inventory: 178 93
  • Rank last year: #8 Belvedere (-34 spots ) and #53 Tiburon (+11 spots )
  • Most Expensive Home: $22.3 Million (One Cliff Road)

imageOccasionally we get some complaints about that RBA map, asking why Marin isn’t on it.  This is why.  Down 34 spots and up 11?  That’s a net loss of 25, right? Merging Tiburon and Belvedere into one entry (they share the zip, but were listed separately last year) isn’t making comparisons all that fair.

In a nice reverse, Redfin wouldn’t disclose the address of this property while Forbes did.  Also it has meditation rocks.  Maybe they also used to own that retreat above?

The next most expensive listing is for $21.9 million (and more importantly, was featured on Burbed), so perhaps this one isn’t quite as “alone in its class” as it claims.  Also I call “this was shopped” on the moon above.  I can tell by the pixels.

One more note on Tib/Bel.  A recent post on Redfin forums suggest that the police there are a little… aggressive… about checking out transient visitors.

#47: Saratoga 95070

  • imageMedian Home Price: $1,925,000
  • Median Price Change: 16.5% ⇑
  • Average Days On Market: 200 146
  • Inventory: 146 139
  • Rank last year: #83 (+36 spots )
  • Most Expensive Home: $17.5 Million (22020 Mount Eden Road)

Do you see that, Marin County?  This is how to stay in the RBA: prices only go up!

Note to Forbes: It’s 22030 Mount Eden.  You’re welcome.  This one’s been looking for a buyer for a couple of years, probably right after they finished it at the ideal time to sell a house: 2008.

There’s also another house listed for the same exact price right here.  Maybe you could pick both of them up in some kind of BOGO deal.

#49: Kentfield 94904

  • Median Home Price: $1,900,000
  • Median Price Change: -0.6% ⇓
  • Average Days On Market: 200 120
  • Inventory: 120 20
  • Rank last year: #62 (+13 spots )
  • Most Expensive Home: $8.8 Million (12 Madrone Way)

imageMarin, stop whining.  So another zip moved up a few spots.  Big deal.  Nobody cares.  You don’t have Google, or Facebook, or Apple, or even Netflix!  Instead, you have Autodesk.  And Fireman’s Fund.  Plus you guys have San Quentin.

And, you have this house that doesn’t even list for $8.8 million, which would be lucky.  No, it lists for $8.75 million, which is not lucky at all.  Plus room for nine cars.  Not eight.  What can you expect from a place with two fours in the zip code?

But nice one asking so much money for a house that doesn’t even have an entire acre to itself.  That was really cute of you, but we’re still not going to let you into the RBA for a long time.

The Scariest Thing About This Article

Other than this local bubble blog catching Forbes with their pants down big time, do you know what the scariest thing is about this article?  There are 450 more zips to go, and I’m going to list every single one in Northern California.  Boo!

And Have a Happy Halloween!

Comments (15) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:15 am

15 Responses to “Updated: For Halloween Weekend, Here’s a Scary Treat for You from Burbed!”

  1. wahnny Says:

    Regarding finding the location of the Los Gatos property on Twin Falls Rd …

    Redfin shows a parcel number of 562-18-018 . If you enter that number into,


    you will see Google Map of the property with boundary lines.

  2. PKamp3 Says:

    What’s the correlation of home price and cawlums in the Bay?

    I noticed that cawlum vision missed that giant misplaced junker of a column in Kentfield. Talk about not matching the architecture…

  3. Divasm Says:

    It’s a lot of interesting data pertaining to rich people, which is all Forbes does these days apparently. Oh, and for some reason you have 200 for every Average days on market above?

    I looked at the article itself and was surprised to find that out of the 60+ cities within commute distance of the Bay Area, Mountain View didn’t make the list! I know it has a ghetto area but…how is it the home of Googleplex didn’t make it?

    Or should I call it Mountainview, as the article does when naming the home of Altos. Perhaps that’s why it’s missing, that whole 2-word thing is super confusing.

    I remember when I was growing up thinking that I wanted to live in Los Altos when I bought a house, because my friends who lived there all had nice houses. Seemed like a modest dream at the time – it wasn’t Manhattan for crying out loud, it was Los Altos – but who knew what a huge dream that turned out to be!

  4. SEA Says:

    “What’s the correlation of home price and cawlums in the Bay?”

    My guess: The density of cawlums goes up with the increase in “Facebook Effect.” In other words, flippers really should install extra cawlums instead of planting azaleas.

  5. nomadic Says:

    I’m wondering about that universal 200 DOM too.

  6. madhaus Says:

    Yeah I noticed that 200 DOM a lot and I suspect they just plugged it in when they didn’t look it up, or somebody goofed bigtime collecting this info. If you look at the big table, DOM does vary.

    I think I’m going to go to that table and copy in the DOM from there, and assume that the individual pages for each zip are screwed up. Way to go, Forbes! While I’m at it, I’ll make the article have a break so this doesn’t dominate the front page, since it’s a very long piece.

    One of the zips in the 51-99 list has completely bogus data, but it didn’t occur to me that they all might be bad in one item. Here I am joking about catching their mistakes but these are actually pretty serious. I can’t find an easy way to comment on the articles either, I’d be better off letting Altos Research know that either they or Forbes (I suspect the latter) has seriously munged things.

    Finally, one change I’d consider making, but might leave for another article, is actually looking for million dollar properties in this tier.

  7. Divasm Says:

    It’s true, it seems like messing up data consistently could be a major issue – especially in their “100 most powerful/richest/disgustingly wealthy People” listings, right? You’d think they’d vet better.

  8. sfbubblebuyer Says:

    My neighborhood has dueling million dollar houses, right now.

    Two houses, both priced at 1.05 million, right next to each other. Who will flinch first and drop the price to a more realistic 900k or lower? And will they then be assaulted by their neighbor for ‘ruining the comps!’

    Oh, it’s 94062, so it’s KINDA pertinent to the post… but not really. We know it’s really RWC.

  9. SiO2 Says:

    Nice work Madhaus!

    Something seems funny about these median prices. E.g. Saratoga at 1.925 and LG and 2.169 and 2.522 seems high. The SJ Merc’s weekly RE section usually has Saratoga around 1.5 and LG a bit less. Perhaps Forbes made another error. Either, this is only SFH, excluding townhouse/condo. Or, this is the mean, not the median. Perhaps the mean is higher due to the $5m+ outliers.

    And a nitpick:
    If Hillsborough went from #20 to #4, it’s up 16 spots, not 18.

  10. A. Lewis Says:

    Love it! Long posts with lots of details. And KawlumVision! Can’t wait to see the rest. Go madhaus!

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