November 27, 2011

Our Biggest Fan of This Series is Thrilled There’s Another Installment!

imagePoor Mr. Zip.  The United States Postal Service put him out to pasture in 1986, when they introduced the ZIP+4 postal codes.  But he was a familiar sight in the 1960s, urging everyone to include the new ZIP (Zone Improvement Plan) postal codes when sending mail.

Mr. Zip might not be around to nag you on addressing envelopes, because he’s in retirement.  Mr. Z writes to say he hopes this series will go on forever, because he can’t play Name That Code all the time.

imageToday we bring you yet another installment of all the Northern California cities on Forbes’ Most Expensive Zip Code list.  It features data crunched by local favorite Altos Research (and mangled by Forbes; you’d think after I’ve linked to them four different times and noted in each article that their data has a systematic error in every single entry, maybe somebody there would fix it, but NOOOOOOOO).  Anyway, here’s what you may have missed while writing code or hanging out on a sunny sidewalk waiting to collect a faceful of pepper spray.

imagePrevious Entries in the Most Expensive Zip Code Series:

imageNow, we’ll take the Fifth!  Fifth Tier, that is; the Top Half of the Bottom 200!

Let’s see which cities can still scrape together a property median wishing price just under $850K.  Remember, we correct the mistakes as we find them, and we added the comparison to last year’s list.  That’s the kind of original work you’ll only find done by obsessive-compulsive bloggers who think zip codes are fascinating.  Well, Mr. Zip certainly agrees!

image#304: San Mateo 94402

  • Median Home Price: $849,292
  • Median Price Change: NA
  • Average Days On Market: 200 114
  • Inventory: 114 81
  • Rank in 2010: 236 (-68 spots )
  • Most Expensive Home: $13 Million

Now I am beginning to think that the people at Forbes were just making stuff up for that “Most Expensive Home” field.  $13 million.  In San Mateo.  The most expensive place I could find sold for $3.3 mil in June, including the gated entryway.  It’s just like what you get in mid-level condoplexes, including calling itself an ESTATE (complete with the CAPITAL LETTERS).

Ah, but that living room does look spacious enough to hold a very small charity ball.  More goodness from Mr. Zip after the break!


image#319: Yountville 94599

  • Median Home Price: $832,000
  • Median Price Change: -2.4%
  • Average Days On Market: 200 165
  • Inventory: 165 22
  • Rank in 2010: 298 (-21 spots )
  • Most Expensive Home: $1.65 Million

So far I am 0 for 2 on finding these purported expensive listings.  There’s some land for $1.95 million in an adjoining zip code (Napa) but since it’s been sitting unclaimed for a couple of years I suspect that value isn’t quite in the land.

imageThis place on Yountville Cross Road is the most expensive one I could find in the Yountville zip, and it can be yours for a princely $899K.  The price would more than double if you put this house on the same size (1/3 acre) lot in the good zip in San Mateo.

Mr. Zip butts in to mention that the image on the left is the earliest version of him extant.  Yes, he was originally brought in to promote the Big Evil Banks, not the Big Evil Post Office and their Communist Plot to make us number our cities.  (No, I’m not joking about that.  There really were people who thought postal codes were an attempt to destroy the American Way of Life.  It took more than 12 years for zip code compliance to reach the 85% level.)

image#348 (tie): Danville 94526

  • Median Home Price: $799,000
  • Median Price Change: -2.9%
  • Average Days On Market: 200 104
  • Inventory: 104 106
  • Rank in 2010: 346 (-2 spots )
  • Most Expensive Home: $3.9 Million (489 El Alamo)

Finally, an expensive home that wasn’t yanked off the market, leaving me scratching my head wondering if it ever existed!  This 8 year old property’s been listed almost a year, plus it was on the imagemarket a year ago August as well, guaranteeing that whatever the market value ought to be, $3.9 million is definitely the wrong answer.

Not only that, I found an even more expensive property in the same zip for $4.998 million!  Any guesses what either of these places will end up changing hands for?

We also have another tie for this rank, and it’s another showdown between the East Bay and the North Coast.  Danville may be disqualified on a technicality for having three different non-consecutive zip codes in this series, though.  I’m fairly sure that’s a violation of some Federation Directive.


#348 (tie): Bodega Bay 94923

  • Median Home Price: $799,000
  • Median Price Change: 5.5%
  • Average Days On Market: 200 whoa, stopped clock right twice a day!
  • Inventory: 200 33
  • Rank in 2010: 360 (+12 spots )
  • Most Expensive Home: $2.75 Million $2.5 Million (943 Seaeagle Loop)

imageWith this “1st time on market stunning estate” waiting for that perfect buyer for more than 450 days, we were actually able to find it for you.  And if this 8.5 acre spread is insufficiently impressive, how about this 750 acre parcel for $4.45 million?

Congratulations, Bodega Bay.  You’re the very first place on this list to actually have a DOM of 200 when Forbes set every single place (yes, all 500) to that number.  For that feat alone Burbed grants you victory over your Least Bay rival.  Also Danville loses for never having had a Hitchcock movie set there.


#366: Millbrae 94030

  • Median Home Price: $784,244
  • Median Price Change: -9.5%
  • Average Days On Market: 200 85
  • Inventory: 85 76
  • Rank in 2010: 291 (-75 spots )
  • Most Expensive Home: $1.6 Million $1.38 Million (1270 Manzanita Drive)

imageWhen I imagine what a one and a half million dollar plus property ought to look like, a 2000 square foot house on an 8000 foot lot like this is exactly what I came up with.  The listing information in NOTHING BUT CAPITAL LETTERS is just the icing on the cake that is Millbrae.

You may remember when one of our readers said it far better than I ever could.  I hope Burbed reader Divasm has something special to add about this stunning example of seven digit ask for mid-six digit style.


#370: Sunnyvale 94087

  • imageMedian Home Price: $782,312
  • Median Price Change: -3.7%
  • Average Days On Market: 200 75
  • Inventory: 75 93
  • Rank in 2010: 331(-39 spots )
  • Most Expensive Home: $1.8 Million

You would think if there were a house selling in my favorite zip code for $1.8 million that I would know about it.  This is the best I could do, a $1.55 $1.45 million listing in the part imagewith Cupertino schools.  If you’re willing to go a little lower I found a Persian Palace in a really transitional neighborhood with Santa Clara schools and mawbul kawlums mammals!  And for the same $1.45M as the one in the photo above, on the same street as the mawbul McMansion, there’s a house Burbed has already featured!

I haven’t even looked to see what’s in this price range in the Sunnyvale School District!  That’s the great thing about this zip code: if your school district really ticks you off, you don’t have to move very far to get another one.

I am wondering if the $1.8 million mystery listing might be this house in Los Altos, which inexplicably showed up when I asked Redfin for the 94087 zip code.  It once was listed for $1.8 million, but two reductions later it can be yours for just $1.68M.

Seriously, though, buying the most expensive house in Sunnyvale is like buying a Toyota Avalon with the luxury trim package.  Why not look in Cupertino and buy the Lexus instead?

image#371: San Francisco 94105

  • Median Home Price: $780,027
  • Median Price Change: -5.4%
  • Average Days On Market: 200 116
  • Inventory: 116 138
  • Rank in 2010: 318 (-53 spots )
  • Most Expensive Home: $6.8 Million SOLD for $5 Million (188 Minna Street #38E)

imageThere are no houses for sale in this South of Market zip code, but you can find apartments for sale.  This “Luxury, Condominium” at the St. Regis is 2750 square feet and has an incredible two bedrooms and two and a half baths.  You know how the “value is in the land” for some properties?  Well in this one, the value is in the view, because even a knockdown five million seems excessive for a 2/2.5.  imageAnd wait until you see the fees!  $225 a month for leasing two parking spaces and a whopping $2622.43 for HOA!

But on the bright side, you can get room service!  Try that in Sunnyvale!  Heck, try to find a restaurant open after 10 pm in Sunnyvale (9:30 Mon-Thurs).

If you really want to spend a fortune on room service without the costly hotel bills, this 23rd floor unit is available for only $3.95 million.

image#393: Homewood 96141

  • Median Home Price: $759,000
  • Median Price Change: NA
  • Average Days On Market: 200 148
  • Inventory: 148 29
  • Rank in 2010: Not Ranked
  • Most Expensive Home: $7 Million (5100 West Lake Boulevard)

This lakeside vacation zip is just south of Tahoe City, but as far as Redfin is concerned, nothing is for sale in Homewood.  That’s very curious, because both Zillow and Trulia show property listings here.  Maybe Larry Ellison bought the town out on Redfin.

imageHere is this house on Zillow, so you can enjoy the photos.  It not only has a half acre of lakefront lot, it’s on State Highway 89!  Oh, I almost forgot, it has a name, too: Villa Lago.  (I think that’s Italian for Lake Estate.  Original!)  Plus it has exclusive rights to two (count ‘em, two!) buoys.  It also has “semi-exclusive rights to a private, shared pier.”  Private but you have to share it, for seven million dollars.  Sign me up!

This “exquisite retreat” has been relisted for the third time since June 2010, with no price reductions.  Purchased in 2007 for $7 million; the current owners have already cut the price to only $6,995,000.  What do you want them to do, bleed out all their equity?image

Moving On: No Longer in Fourth or Fifth Tier

imageThat’s it above for the Fifth Tier of Bay Area and Beyond zip codes; there were surprisingly few.  But here are a whole bunch from 2010’s results that are no longer on the 201-400 list.  The number that have completely vanished altogether is astounding.  Are we talking instant equity opportunities?

The bigger question: why has Northern California become so much less Special than it was last year?

image#211: Cupertino 95014. Now in the Third Tier Toilet at #188.

#212: Burlingame 94010.  Leapfrogged Cupertino to #144.

#220: San Francisco 94115. This is Pacific Heights!  If Forbes says it dropped all the way to #476, then clearly the error is Forbes’.

#227: Larkspur 94939.  Now #142.

#238: San Francisco 94118.  Dropped all the way to #449.  Seriously, Forbes, that’s just whack.  Would you take out the danged condos already?

image#253: Mountain View 94041.  This might be one zip away from Google, but it doesn’t appear on the Forbes list at all.  For shame.

#255: Inverness 94937.  Must have fallen into Tomales Bay, because it’s not on the list, either.

#263: San Francisco 94117. I see no ** 941117 ** here.

#265: Berkeley 94708.  Must be Occupied by riff-raff now.

image#266: Santa Cruz 95060.  Dude, seriously?

#267: San Anselmo 94960. 404.  No, really!  They’ve dropped to #404!

#278: San Francisco 94133.  Left its heart.  And its ranking.

#287: Jenner 95450.  Keeping Up with the Kardashians cost its position on the list.

#295: San Francisco 94121.  The cement condo overshoes pulled it down to #462 this year.

#297: Glen Ellen 95442.  Advanced to #185.

#301: Montara 94037.  Buried by Devil’s Slide.

#310: El Granada 94018.  Took a grenade for Half Moon Bay.

image#319: San Jose 95138.  Now appearing as #417!

#322: Granite Bay 95746.  Swept away by avalanche.

#332: Berkeley 94707.  Somebody have a word with Occupy Oakland.

#334: Kensington 94708.  Sent back to Old Blighty with no return address.

#336: San Carlos 94070.  What’s the 411?  No, seriously!  It’s #411!

#348: Greenbrae 94904.  Guess somebody broke up with this –brae too.

#349: San Mateo 94404.  See Foster City 94404, now appearing at #459!

image#352: Soquel 95073.  Make me laugh.

#354: San Francisco 94109.  The Western Addition has been subtracted.

#361: Penngrove 94951.  Do you feel lucky?  Because this town is now #443 on the list.  You just missed a triple bullet!

#364: Salinas 93908. Can’t. Stop. Laughing.

#372: Pacific Grove 93950.  Grover no show.

#377: Moraga 94556.  Whoa.  Remember what I said about Penngrove above?  Meet #445.

image#384: Hayward 94542.  You.  Must.  Be.  Joking.

#384: Hayward Hills 94542.  You’re killing me!

#386: San Francisco 94111.  Sorry, SF, if you ever want to be on this list again, please tear down all your multifamily homes.

#387: Mountain View 94040.  Sunnyvale makes the list, but Mountain View doesn’t?  What’s wrong with this picture, especially when this part of Mountain View has Los Altos schools?

#388: San Francisco 94122.  You know how it goes.

image#394: Aptos 95003.  Since when do Aptos and Scotts Valley share a zip code?  Because Forbes thinks Scotts Valley is 95003 and is ranked #479.  I think they pulled something like this last year mixing up Pleasanton and Danville, but at least those two cities were next to the same freeway.  Now we have a beach town confused with a mountain town.  Woo-hoo Forbes!

#395: Castro Valley 94552.  Right.  Want to look at Moraga, above, and explain how this place ever made it on the list?

image#399: Clarksburg 95612.  Took the last train.  Uh, wait.

#400: El Grenada 94019.  Shared with Half Moon Bay last year, El Grenada was disappeared along with so many other cities sharing postal codes without benefit of clergy.



I solemnly swear I have never played this game, or even seen it before.


Next time: Should we just run the entire Bottom 100, or should we break it up into four groups of 25?  I know what Mr. Zip would suggest!

Comments (37) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:03 am

37 Responses to “Our Biggest Fan of This Series is Thrilled There’s Another Installment!”

  1. The Gilroy Alex Says:

    Mr. Zip even made an appearance in The Fabulous Furry Freak Bros. comic, as Zippy The Zip Code Zapper, running in a political race against Oat Willie and a couple others I forget.

    How about we name this …. Server Crash Sunday?

  2. ms Says:

    Around Parrott Drive/csm, san mateo nestles up to hillsborough. Maybe the $13 mil house has a hillsborough mailing address.

  3. madhaus Says:

    If it has a Hillsborough mailing address, then is it “in” the 94402 zip code? Is it even “in” San Mateo?

    When I lived in Emerald Lake Hills (Redwood City) we shared the zip code with Woodside, and letters addressed to me in Woodside instead of RC would be delivered. Can you pull that address upgrade in San Mateo as well?

  4. SEA Says:


    “The actual city in 94402 is…


  5. ms Says:

    Ah, but this little gem insists its in Hillsborough

    It’s San Mateo.

  6. SEA Says:


    “ZIP Code™ Matches in HILLSBOROUGH, CA

  7. ms Says:

    94010 also covers the frontage road just west of 101 in Burlingame.
    That zip is Hillsborough?
    Geez, you learn something new every day…

  8. SEA Says:

    One needs to be careful with injections and surjections:

    “Actual City name in 94010
    Acceptable City names in 94010

    94010 includes both Burlingame and Hillsborough, and Burlingame can always be used, no matter where in the zip the address is located.

    If you use Hillsborough, then you should use 94010, since that is the only acceptable zip for that postal city name.

    Of course postal addresses and zip codes often have little to do with incorporated boundaries.

  9. ms Says:

    So can you use Hillsborough as long as you’re in 94010?

  10. madhaus Says:

    Hey ms, that NeighborCity site you linked to offers some “comparables” for the Parrott house. All of them are in Redwood City.

    94402 is a funny zip code. I didn’t do the map thing this year (because my readers were threatening to storm the site) but take a look at this Bing map of the zip (from Forbes list last year, and included in this article).

    see article, sorry

    Whoever designed this one wasn’t big on keeping things contiguous.

  11. Divasm Says:

    Ah, that lovely house in Millbrae is of course being sold by none other than Stanley Lo the Green Banker,who is one of the leading agents in that area, although you’d swear he was a Vegas act gone bad by that photo, no? He’s pretty infamous in San Mateo Real Estate for being a fan of dual agency, there’s definitely some weekend article fodder there.

    Also, wanted to mention that there’s a Redfin Bay Area forum thread that’s currently discussing the phrase “RBA” in some confusion. Half the folks use it as though it’s a given and the other half keep asking where the hell it came from. Pretty amusing, check it out, it’s called Gripe,

  12. SEA Says:

    #9- Yes, that’s correct.

  13. ms Says:

    SEA, look what else is 94010:


  14. SEA Says:

    #11- That is great! I especially like message 48,

    Patently absurd.

    When I worked for an S&P 500 web engineering firm (based in SF — 3 offices, in Market/California, Mission/Potero Hill, and Harrison), I lived in Emeryville and was able to commute to work no problem. In fact, I could get there faster than my coworkers who lived in the western burbs of SF (Richmond/Sunset)

    I’m not even sure what this link is trying to say… I’ve read the whole thing, and can’t tell. Is this a joke? Or revisionist history?

    I mean, there’s something wrong when the “real bay area” is comprised of counties and communities that don’t even border the bay, while the ones that are right on the bay don’t count as “real bay area.”

    Is “RBA” defined as only places where home values haven’t dropped? If it is defined by good schools, then I’d like to point out the number of blue and purple tags in Pacifica, Alameda, Burlingame, and San Mateo… and interestingly, another Burbed post shows strong house values in many of those communities I mentioned (such as Berkeley, and Pacifica… plus Marin, San Rafael, and a few other east bay locations.)

    There is a different term for what is being described here as “RBA” — it’s a term that’s been around a lot longer, and is a lot more accurate. It’s called “Silicon Valley”

    I’m not sure when “Bay Area” came to mean “Silicon Valley, but to any sane person… it doesn’t. If you are referring to “where the tech jobs and good schools are”, why not just call it Silicon Valley like everybody else in the country does?

    EDIT: Never mind, I see that RBA is really just a big joke. If I type the phrase “real bay area” into Google, the only references that come up are Burbed. So it’s a fictitious term invented by one or two people to mean whatever they want it to mean. No wonder for the confusion… “

  15. ms Says:

    Hey Big D,
    A lot of Millbrae is Orangeburg (paper mache) sewer pipes tied in to neighbor sewer pipes in front before going to the street.
    Once your sewer goes out, you have to fix it to the street and untie from your neighbor. If you don’t, the city will lien you and your next door neighbor to do this.
    Be glad you went elsewhere.

  16. ms Says:

    RBA isn’t where the tech jobs are. RBA is basically where you’ll hit a 8-point buck in your Escalade on the way home and then get Caltrans to do a study of why deer get hit on 280.

  17. ms Says:

    I’m looking at this Stanley’s site.
    What does he actually do value add wise?

  18. Divasm Says:

    I’m not sure exactly what you’re asking but word on the street is that he specializes in working with Asian buyers looking to invest in RBA real estate.

  19. SEA Says:

    “RBA is basically where you’ll hit a 8-point buck in your Escalade on the way home and then get Caltrans to do a study of why deer get hit on 280.”

    Of course those driving Escalades in the RBA are probably rentards; they were mesmerized thinking about being an owner in the lovely land of RBA with deer, even if the Escalade is going to be repossessed next month.

    They need not worry about hitting deer in their native lands, since they all have been poached.

  20. ms Says:

    #18: These Asian buyers I saw live here for the most part; citizens for the most part.

    #19: Younger ‘tards move to SF in search of the elusive party. They take googlebus/applebus/genetechbus to work. I remember when applebus meant something different, too. Oh well.

    40-plus tards move to nice quiet countryside that they enjoy until they hit a deer on 280.Which will happen expeditiously.

  21. SEA Says:

    A couple maps:

  22. SEA Says:

  23. SEA Says:

    Also San Mateo:

  24. SEA Says:

    All those 94303 addresses in EPA? Palo Alto is a proper postal city:

    “Actual City name in 94303
    Acceptable City names in 94303

  25. ms Says:

    The wasp waist of 94402 is around ECR/19th (I think).
    Everyone thinks it’s Hillsborough on one side and crappy San Mateo on the other side.
    Stand corrected, now….

  26. The Gilroy Alex Says:

    I lived for about a year in Westchester, CA. Now, Westchester is actually just the name a particular 1950s housing tract, the actual city is Inglewood. Same zip code. But if you are white, you never-ever put Inglewood on your mail, you put Westchester. If someone asks, you never-ever say you live in Inglewood, you live in Westchester. Because that’s where you live. It’s the white enclave. I tried putting Inglewood on my mail, with the “Westchester” zip, and no problems.

    No this was not in the 1890s, it was in the 1990s.

  27. ms Says:

    If I may vent,
    I went over to a house in 94401 today, a short 3/2. The house is pulled off Redfin but the realtard’s sign is still flapping around.
    The house is pulled, duh, because it has a NOTS on
    it plus tenants with a lease prior to NOD.
    But of course, still have your little realtor “guest book” there to sign. And of course, leave your little remax sign out there flapping when the house isn’t even for sale anymore.

  28. ms Says:

    Gilroy Alex,
    I knew a teacher in Inglewood. Big teacher union guy. Didn’t the district get taken over by the state?

  29. madhaus Says:

    Divasm, thanks very much to the link to the Gripe thread over on Redfin. I followed up. I did like the outrage from the one poster who took RBA seriously and was aghast to find it was a site-wide joke.

    SEA, those are really nice maps, you can even see that teeny little slice of Hillborough in the 94402 zip.

  30. ms Says:

    don’t feel bad.
    One day, some dude from a phone you have bought this house in Not Really and I came consequently to live in Sort Of.

    The RBA is pretty accurate. Not my fault he went to Not Reeally.

  31. The Gilroy Alex Says:

    #28 – I have no idea, I last lived there in 1992.

    And, this just in via the radio, a car just hit a deer on I-280 near Alpine Road.

  32. ms Says:

    concerned citizen called CalTrans and then got more gold stars on the radio.She lives in rba.

    Meanwhile, we’re paying $320,000.

  33. SEA Says:

    There are also the San Mateo residents in the 94010 zip code.

    Maybe we need to develop a dilution factor for various zip codes. 94303 is infested, but 94301 is clean.

  34. ms Says:

    Oh, sea,
    those in 94010 always say they live in Hillsborough,
    If you wanna be enemies with them, you can make ’em admit it’s just San Mateo after all

  35. SEA Says:

    Finding a property in the RBA is like selecting the right spouse: Pick correctly and there will be rewards. Pick wrong, and it’ll be very costly. During good times, there are plenty of seemingly good candidates. Suddenly when times get bad, one quickly finds out if the selection was right.

  36. ms Says:

    I’m going through a divorce.
    It went exactly like you said.

  37. Millbrae Condo Dreamin’ | Says:

    […] because it needs some Burbed love.  Simply mentioning it in passing because its zip code was the 366th most expensive in the county will not do for keeping Millbrae in our […]

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