November 13, 2011

The Beatings Will Continue Until Morale Improves: The Third Tier Zip Codes

What will it take to make the zip code series stop?  Lots and lots and lots of quality submissions!  So until you send in your best guest post EVEH, we’ll be running these wonderful lists and photos for the next few hundred Sundays or until we run out of data, by which time Forbes (if they’re still a going concern) will have the 2012 list ready.  But look on the bright side.  No more annoying maps like last year!

Today we look at all the Northern California entries in Forbes Most Expensive Zip Codes 2011: The Top 100 of the Bottom 400.

Previous entries in this year’s series:

Quick recap: Forbes messed up their data even worse than usual this year, plus many areas on last year’s list have completely disappeared without explanation.  We add in the comparison to last year’s rankings and find the “most expensive” house (if it’s findable) that Forbes mentions for each entry.  While Forbes doesn’t seem that interested in hearing from their readers (registration is required), Altos Research, who did the number-crunching, loves talking data.  They’ve responded to a couple of my concerns here.

Here we go, numbers 101-200, which are now under the Million and a Half Median!  How Low do we have to go to sink under a million?  Remember, this is the Third Tier, so Real Bay Area (RBA) bragging rights are gone (except for some exceptions).

#106: Alamo 94507

  • imageMedian Home Price: $1,396,000
  • Median Price Change: -7.8%
  • Average Days On Market: 200 134
  • Inventory: 134 102
  • Rank in 2010: #101 (-5 spots )
  • Most Expensive Home: $11.8 Million (322 Lark Lane)

This high-end (for the East Bay) location south of Walnut Creek is stuck in atop the third tier right where it belongs, just a few spots above Newport Beach.  This luxury home that looks more like an administration building kind of says it all.  Free architectural clue: It’s the windows that make this place a façade fail.

A new $13.8 million property has come on the market since the Forbes article ran, and it has a more traditional (and attractive) look, in the classic “Let’s build a French country estate in Contra Costa County” style.

Plenty more to enjoy after the break!  In fact, we promise the very next one is a Burbed favorite, so click on through.

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Comments (7) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:08 am






October 24, 2010

The Bottom 400 of the Top 500 Most Expensive Zip Codes, Part 4 of a Series that Will Never End. Ever.

We can thank Forbes Magazine’s The Most Expensive Zip Codes for selecting the prestige postal zones and then managing to mess them up.  So far we’ve caught them describing one town while showing houses from another, forgetting the difference between a zip code and a town boundary, mixing up their data sets, and showing a zip code 10 miles and $2 million away from what they labeled.

Since we don’t concern ourselves with other parts of the country where prices go down, homes need maintenance, streets get busy, and airports allow planes to land while children are sleeping, we’ve been looking at the Bay Area zips only.  In case you want to refer to the previous articles, you can click over to:

  • The 25 most expensive zip codes in the entire country, featuring Atherton, Belvedere, Los Altos Hills and Hillsborough!
  • The next 25 zip codes, not quite as Special.  Portola Valley, Los Gatos, Woodside, and other places too far away from Google to matter make their appearances.
  • The 50 after that, at cut-rate prices compared to the first 50.  These entries in the Corridor of Not Quite include Los Altos, Saratoga, Monte Sereno, and Palo Alto.

Again, data crunched by Altos Research, info prepared (not always perfectly) by Forbes, criticisms (I’m starting early today) entirely home-grown at burbed.  The very first entry on Forbes’ Page 2 list is one of our own!  We may not be in the Real Bay Area (RBA) anymore, but remember, these zip codes are still more expensive than at least 44,000 others!

image_thumb[1] #101 – 94507 Alamo

Median Home Price: $1,513,739
Median Price Change: -11%
Average Days On Market: 139
Inventory: 113 properties
Median Household Income: $139,997

I just said we weren’t in the RBA anymore.  It’s never a good sign when the very first listing is in the East Bay.  That 11% drop isn’t surprising anybody.

Besides, pretty soon the home price medians are going to drop below a million and a half, and then where would we be?

Right.  In the East Bay.

image_thumb[3] #106 – 94946 Nicasio

Median Home Price: $1,484,615
Median Price Change: 5%
Average Days On Market: 176
Inventory: 13 properties
Median Household Income: $76,194

You should have heard of this town before.  It was featured in burbed because of this listing.  Jerry Garcia’s house has been holding up this zip’s entire market.

Clearly Alamo and Nicasio are for two different demographics.  Alamo is for people earning good money now.  Nicasio is for people who already earned good money and want to get away from the people in Alamo still earning.  Then they can chillax and just enjoy it.  The money, I mean.  I’m still getting my head around trying to fill the closet in Jerry’s master bedroom.

Unfortunately, by not keeping enough cash coming into town, the residents of Nicasio let down the team.  Yes, the median home price is under one and a half million now.  Who knows what kind of vagrants and transients are living in those houses?  It’s not surprising one of them joined a rock band.

image_thumb[5] #120 – 93921 Carmel

Median Home Price: $1,412,704
Median Price Change: -9%
Average Days On Market: 153
Inventory: 84 properties
Median Household Income: $53,750

The income is down even more here at the other end of the Bay Area.  The Monterey Bay Area.

Carmel is a touristy little town that is expensive to live in, doesn’t sell anything useful to residents, and has a beach nobody can use since parking is between impossible and utterly impossible.  You shouldn’t have taken your time reading this.  They just ticketed your car.

Does that little bit right outside the zip environs, lower right corner, really say Trailer Park?

image_thumb[7] #120 – 93921 Carmel-By-The-Sea

Median Home Price: $1,412,704
Median Price Change: -9%
Average Days On Market: 153
Inventory: 84 properties
Median Household Income: $53,750

This is only a test to see if you’re paying better attention than Forbes did when they put this article together.

Yes, it is entirely possible that two cities can share a common zip code.  We’ve had many examples of it in the first hundred entries.

But what are the odds of the same zip code, the same ranking, the same data, and the same map just sitting there for two cities with practically the same name, and nobody noticed a damned thing?

image_thumb[9] #121 – 92603 Irvine

Median Home Price: $1,406,399
Median Price Change: -9%
Average Days On Market: 120
Inventory: 227 properties
Median Household Income: NA

Irvine has entered the building!

No, I have not taken leave of my senses.  I know that Irvine is not in the Bay Area, Real or otherwise.

But Irvine’s real estate issues have been so instructive, and the seminal Irvine Housing Blog so important to anyone trying to make sense of what happens when bubble
s pop.

And as much as there have been problems with the real estate market up here, one of our zip codes doesn’t have 227 properties in inventory, and so far we’ve avoided Mello-Roos taxes, too.  There’s a good reason we’ve avoided Irvine’s problems.  It’s because they’re not making any more land up here.  And that’s because they’re making it all down there, complete with Mello-Roos!

We now return you to our regular Bay Area real estate presentation, already in progress.

image_thumb[11] #125 – 93923 Carmel

Median Home Price: $1,384,643
Median Price Change: -7%
Average Days On Market: 191
Inventory: 298 properties
Median Household Income: $67,315

Now if i am reading this map correctly, this zip code includes Carmel and Carmel Highlands, but not Carmel-by-the-Sea or Carmel Valley.  Or the other part of Carmel that is covered by a simple street map and includes all the high-priced art galleries and jewelry stores.

This zip also has a bigger inventory than Irvine’s.  Thanks for making us look bad, Carmel, when everyone at IHB clicked over to read this.  You’re making all of us look really pathetic to those Southern Californians.  We might have to ask you to move over there, permanently.  You and your 298 unsold properties.  Maybe when you get they’re you’ll be placed in a Mello-Roos district, too.

(I thought those 298 listings had to be a mistake on Forbes’ part, but it isn’t.  Entering this zip into Redfin yields 270 listings.  And just because the zip covers around 200 square miles isn’t going to get it off the hook.)

image_thumb[13] #131 – 94104 San Francisco

Median Home Price: $1,365,346
Median Price Change: 3%
Average Days On Market: 162
Inventory: 11 properties
Median Household Income: $14,609

Finally!  A zip that makes you really sit up and take notice.

A zip that not only includes a bunch of ginormous skyscrapers (well, ginormous as long as we don’t go comparing them with anything in Los Angeles, or Chicago, or Manhattan), but has the brass rivets to say LOOK AT ME.  The median home price here is $1.36 million and the median income is $14,609.  That’s right!  It would take the average resident here a hundred years to buy the average residence.

Only a zip code with serious chutzpah could issue a message like that, a message that says, “Want to buy here?  Sorry.  You’ve been Priced Out Forever.”

image_thumb[15] #132 – 94965 Muir Beach

Median Home Price: $1,364,462
Median Price Change: 7%
Average Days On Market: 34
Inventory: 3 properties
Median Household Income: $76,808

This tiny town is located right where California Route 1 cuts overland to the Pacific and heads north up the coast (that line mislabeled 1 is actually US 101.  I’m watching you Forbes.  Always watching.) This tiny town has about six streets.  Muir Beach shares a zip with Sausalito, which ought to be showing up at some point.

Muir Beach.  Like Bolinas, only closer and more expensive.  Water meters not included.

image_thumb[17] #134 – 94574 Saint Helena

Median Home Price: $1,354,277
Median Price Change: -5%
Average Days On Market: 186
Inventory: 102 properties
Median Household Income: $60,964

Looks like it takes half a year to sell a typical property in Saint Helena.  That means they named the place well.

Saint Helena was the second and final place that Napoleon Bonaparte was exiled to, and he died five and a half years later.  And there isn’t anywhere nearby called Elba, because that would mean you could escape.  Although you can at least drink heavily.

Able I was ere I bought in St. Helena.

image_thumb[21] #147 – 95452 Kenwood

Median Home Price: $1,294,385
Median Price Change: 46%
Average Days On Market: 152
Inventory: 19 properties
Median Household Income: $58,421

Honey, I shrank the zip code.

I had to.  When it took up about 20% of the page, the only thing I could find was State Highway 12 and Mt Hood Regional Park.  I figured Kenwood was somewhere between Santa Rosa and Fairfield but wasn’t quite sure which was closer.

And St. Helena is in convenient exile distance.  I suppose I should find something nice to say about the place because the prices are up 46%, but seriously, unless you’re cultivating 200 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon or really want the Smothers Brothers as neighbors, you should be looking a little closer to Facebook HQ.

image_thumb[23] #150 – 94705 Oakland

Median Home Price: $1,283,731
Median Price Change: 28%
Average Days On Market: 217
Inventory: 3 properties
Median Household Income: $68,112

Somebody is playing a joke, but I can’t figure out who the joke is on.

We started today’s batch of runner-ups to the runner-ups in the East Bay.  Not only are we going t
o finish there, we’re going to finish in one of the least RBA-like cities in the East Bay.

Then again, the zip includes a bunch of UC property in Berkeley, so that’s kind of cheating.  Plus the Claremont Hotel.  I bet the Claremont Hotel would sell for more than $1,283,731.

And the zip is up… twenty eight percent.  With the same kind of unobtanium inventory we saw in Muir Beach.  That’s it.  I’m out of here.  I know when I’m licked.

Next installment: The Most Expensive Zip Codes in the Richmond Flats between Cutting Boulevard and Solano Avenue.

Comments (10) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:04 am

October 14, 2010

I’m Shopping Around for Something to Do that No One Will Like

That’s a Jerry Garcia quote, but he wasn’t talking about his house.  Maybe someone will like it (the house, not the quote).  Maybe you could own it.  But unfortunately the previous owner sold all the Garcia fixtures to raise money for charity.  So you cannot have The Jerry Garcia Toilet.

55 El Mirador Dr Nicasio, CA 94946
$3,995,000

image

Beds: 5
Baths: 6
Sq. Ft.: 7,189
$/Sq. Ft.: $556
Lot Size: 10.47 Acres
Property Type: Residential, Detached, Single Family
Style: Spanish/Mediterranean
Stories: 2
View: Canyon, Forest/Woods, Hills, Mountains, Panoramic, Ridge, Valley
Year Built: 1989
Community: Nicasio
County: Marin
MLS#: 21025911
Source: BAREIS
Status: Active
On Redfin: 32 days

Former Estate of Jerry Garcia. Gated, private – situated on top of a sunny ridge with beautiful views. 5bd/5 full and 2 1/2 baths, 6 car garage, Artist Studio that was Jerry’s, pool w/ waterfall, organic garden, children’s playground, Fabulous for entertaining in this exquisite mediterranean estate with access to the outside grounds from most rooms. Close to SF.

Jerry Garcia

Jerry Garcia, the lead guitarist of The Grateful Dead, owned this house at his death in 1995.

Alas, the estate doesn’t even have a Deadhead name like Terrapin Station or (Crap) Box of Rain.  And while the current owner claims to have lots of stories about Garcia and the remaining members of the band, none of them were included in the listing.

And do check that listing out, as it is so overflowing with houseporn you’ll doubt Jerry ever had anything to do with this place.  Here’s just a sample of the purple prose that awaits when you read the property features:

The Master Suite is elegantly appointed with dark teak flooring, wood-burning fireplace, Fortuni chandelier, four door access to a paver deck overlooking the pool and back patio offering views to the East and South. This elegant sleeping area has two entrances. The Master Bath brings together function and form with his and hers sinks marble tops Elgin fixtures, and ample mirrors. Further in are private toilet and bidet with telephone accessibility. The master also offers full length glass enclosed Sauna with one-way glass enclosure to the outside grounds. The walk-in marble shower is also fully enclosed and contains two facing shower heads enclosed in a marble finish and with length size bench. The water pressure would make a power washer jealous. The Master Closet is a room in and of itself. One would be hard pressed to fill this closet and itis a room that has to be seen to understand how true that is.

It is easier to fill a large closet if you own a lot of crap.  Perhaps the agent doesn’t understand how true that is.  So, you think the above language is overdone?  There’s also clunky language:

Along with the stunning architecture and overall design of the house itself, the grounds boast impeccable landscaping.  Its rolling lawns, along with mature palm trees mix spectacularly with the surrounding native forest. Its 73,000-gallon swimming pool and enormous spa are complemented by palms, lawns, and rose gardens adjoining a spacious sun drenched patio area beneath sunlit skies during the day and moonlit skies at night.

It’s a good thing this isn’t one of those ordinary properties that has moonlit skies during the day and sunlit skies at night.  I hate when that happens.

But the agent got one thing right.  Two photos of the hot tub,  (George HW Bush wrote an apology to Marin County residents, saying he’d never use the phrases “Marin County” and “hot tub” in the same sentence again.)

This is the perfect place to celebrate Proposition 19 passing, in a Marin County hot tub, formerly owned by Jerry Garcia.

Comments (6) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:23 am