October 31, 2010

The Most Expensive Zip Codes – The Series You Hate, The Cities You Loathe

Welcome to Part 5 of the least popular series ever on burbed, ever.  You’re welcome.  Forbes thanks you too, since we’re making fun of their mistakes when they wrote an article on the 500 most expensive zips, and hired Altos Research to do their data crunching.

Here are the first four parts for you masochists who can’t get enough numbers, maps, and boring fascinating statistics.

Today we’re going to cover the zips ranked 151-200.  But to reduce the complaining just a tiny bit, we’ll leave out anywhere that isn’t within reasonable commuting distance to the Googleplex.  Actually if I left out everywhere more than 10 miles from Google we’d only have four cities today, which might not be such a bad thing.

image #151 – 94306 Palo Alto

Median Home Price: $1,270,424
Median Price Change: 4%
Average Days On Market: 67
Inventory: 69 properties
Median Household Income: $82,314

At least this time we’re going to start much closer to where the jobs are.  This is a very important zip code.  If you remember this article, 94306 is the only zip code that’s left in the Real Bay Area (RBA) anymore, if you define RBA as the place where prices don’t go down.  So despite being the #2 zip in Palo Alto (94301 came in at #73 on the list), it’s #1 in the RBA.  It’s also last in the RBA, because none of the other zips qualified at all.

The real reason 94306 went up while prices everywhere else collapsed is because it’s the cheap section of Palo Alto.  This area, formerly the city of Mayfield, featured small homes on small lots which people now tear down and put in oversized mini-mansions that loom over the remaining bungalows.  Unfortunately, real estate statistics are oblivious to such trends, such as someone paying money to remodel or replace a house.  Instead you see crazy price increases and think the neighborhood is red-hot rather than full of sawdust and paint fumes.  If the sale price stats subtracted out the money paid for construction, there’s a good chance 94306 would have dropped as much or even more than the other zips around it.

#160 – 94549 Lafayette

Median Home Price: $1,225,110
Median Price Change: -4%
Average Days On Market: 88
Inventory: 126 properties
Median Household Income: $101,555
Ignored Because: In the East Bay

#170 – 94941 Mill Valley

Median Home Price: $1,185,211
Median Price Change: NA
Average Days On Market: 106
Inventory: 197 properties
Median Household Income: $91,283
Ignored Because:  Model for Hill Valley in Back to the Future

#171 – 94563 Orinda

Median Home Price: $1,184,089
Median Price Change: -5%
Average Days On Market: 101
Inventory: 101 properties
Median Household Income: $119,832
Ignored Because: In East Bay, even closer to Oakland than Lafayette

image #173 – 94303 Palo Alto

Median Home Price: $1,175,241
Median Price Change: -5%
Average Days On Market: 59
Inventory: 34 properties
Median Household Income: $64,256

It’s a pretty safe bet that the median home price hasn’t been contaminated by East Palo Alto (which shares this zip code), but take a look at that median household income.  It’s about $20,000 less than 94306, which has a fairly similar set of residents (in the Palo Alto part of the zip, anyway).

While the zip shares with the Oaklandesque East Palo Alto (hey, at least it brought you IKEA), it also has some nice areas in midtown as well as the West Marine on San Antonio Road.  (Remember, yachties spend like drunken sailors because they are drunken sailors.)

Since 94303 has just everything in the whole city that hugs US 101, that isn’t helping matters.  Some of the lower-cost Eichlers in South Palo Alto that get torn down and replaced by monster houses are in 94303, too.  Hope they put in triple-pane windows like they did at Gables End.

#175 – 94965 Sausalito

Median Home Price: $1,173,479
Median Price Change: -11%
Average Days On Market: 149
Inventory: 84 properties
Median Household Income: $76,808
Ignored Because: Has stupid song written about it

#179 – 94705 Berkeley

Median Home Price: $1,152,174
Median Price Change: -1%
Average Days On Market: 70
Inventory: 30 properties
Median Household Income: $68,112
Ignored Because: Shares zip code with Oakland, lousy state-funded college

image #184 – 94025 Menlo Park

Median Home Price: $1,134,946
Median Price Change: -9%
Average Days On Market: 88
Inventory: 179 properties
Median Household Income: $89,572

When you realize that this zip stretches from the foothills near I-280 all the way to the slums of Belle Haven, that median home price is rather impressive.  Not every city the size of Menlo Park has to make due with a single zip code.  Palo Alto has four distinct zips, and Redwood City has five.

And while a ranking of 184th most expensive zip code in the country is clearly not good enough for the RBA, perhaps Menlo Park could petition the
postal service to split the city into East and West postal zones, in hope of the western half aspiring to the RBA.

Nah, prices down 9%.  Forget it.

image #185 – 94062 Redwood City

Median Home Price: $1,133,462
Median Price Change: -5%
Average Days On Market: 97
Inventory: 111 properties
Median Household Income: $96,677

Ha ha!  What was I just talking about above?  Redwood City is nowhere as high on the snootiness index as Menlo Park, and yet by having several zip codes, they managed to get one of them to qualify for the Forbes list.  And this is the one zip that shares with Woodside, which is quite a bit higher in the rankings (#41). 

Oh, speaking of Woodside, you’ll never guess what Forbes says their median household income is.  That’s right. $96,677.  Nice going, Forbes.  That means the Woodside median should be higher and the Redwood city number lower, but you managed to miss yet another muck-up.

This part of Redwood City includes the Emerald Lake Hills area, which is a delightful mix of new construction and bizarre old places featuring old cars in the front yard.  You know how some places in Atherton look like Greenwich, Connecticut?  Well, Emerald Lake Hills looks like Appalachia where half the residents won the lottery.

#193 – 94515 Calistoga

Median Home Price: $1,102,625
Median Price Change: -17%
Average Days On Market: 140
Inventory: 67 properties
Median Household Income: $44,320
Why Ignored: Can’t take place named after bubble water seriously

#194 – 94610 Piedmont

Median Home Price: $1,094,846
Median Price Change: -51%
Average Days On Market: 64
Inventory: 7 properties
Median Household Income: $49,066
Why Ignored: Not only down 51%, but completely surrounded by Oakland.  Completely.  Rival zip 94611 is #74 on list.  I also call BS on Forbes for that median household income.  It’s probably mixed up with the part of OAKLAND this zip shares with.  Oakland, it’s full of Oakland.

image #199 – 95032 Los Gatos

Median Home Price: $1,079,587
Median Price Change: -1%
Average Days On Market: 111
Inventory: 183 properties
Median Household Income: $93,118

It’s the home of Netflix!  Woo-hoo!

The second-best zip in Los Gatos (95030 came in at #38), this zip features delightful estates in the foothills and higher, as well as ho-hum tract houses in the flats near freeways.

Now, take a look at that median home price, above.  It’s barely over a million smackeroos, and we’ve almost hit the 200 mark.  That means the next installment (if there is one) will feature houses in “expensive zip codes” that are under a million dollars dollars for a median price.

Think about that for a moment.  Where we live is so Special that we think of houses under a million dollars as not particularly worth commenting on.  At least most of the zips we’ve shown so far are above the average price for a house in this area.  But as we work our way down that list of 500 zips, we’re going to start to see some very ordinary places that are still more expensive than 44,000 other zip codes in the entire country.

Coming Soon: burbed guest editor forcibly retired for not stopping worst series ever, assailed by mob with pitchforks and torches.  Plus, Part 716 of Bing Maps Galore!

Comments (6) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:01 am

October 9, 2010

The Most Expensive Zip Codes, Second Tier

In a previous installment, we looked at the Bay Area zips on the 25 most expensive zip codes piece in Forbes magazine.  But how could we leave the other 475 of the top 500 alone?  (Other than all those TL;DR comments.)

Here’s what’s local that made the list, between 26-50.  Try to guess if any of your favorites made it.  Feel free to comment on any of these zips if you’re familiar with them, or even better if you aren’t.  Maps courtesy of Forbes.

image #30 – 94957: Ross, CA

Median Home Price: $2,519,269
Median Price Change: 1%
Average Days On Market: 120
Inventory: 26 properties
Median Household Income: NA

I’ve heard of Ross!  I think the San Francisco Chronicle used to put it in the local weather stats because it got so much more rain than anywhere else in the entire Bay Area.

And no, this is not Fort Ross.  This is a zip in central Marin County (that’s for those of you who can’t read a map or never left your town).


image#31 – 94028: Portola Valley, CA

Median Home Price: $2,509,962
Median Price Change: 5%
Average Days On Market: 112
Inventory: 38 properties
Median Household Income: $164,479

Yay, back to the Real Bay Area!  And PV might be the only zip code, anywhere, to be shaped like the Roadrunner’s head.  If that doesn’t explain why their median income is so honking high, I don’t know what will.




image #38 – 95030: Los Gatos, CA

Median Home Price: $2,293,268
Median Price Change: 39%
Average Days On Market: 105
Inventory: 53 properties
Median Household Income: $117,564

So far the Bay Area listings have either danced around the Stanford campus, or were located in Marin County.  Los Gatos is the first one within shouting distance of San Jose.

Los Gatos has two more zip codes.  Any suspicions when we’ll be seeing them?  (No peeking.)



image #41 – 94062: Woodside, CA

Median Home Price: $2,228,269
Median Price Change: -8%
Average Days On Market: 152
Inventory: 63 properties
Median Household Income: $96,677And back to San Mateo County we go!
Don’t let the Post Office fool you.  94062 includes a slice of Redwood City, some of it practically on El Camino Real.  And if you haven’t ever driven El Camino all the way to SF, you may not know that in Redwood City, ECR is really, really, really close to 101.



image #49 – 94528: Diablo, CA

Median Home Price: $2,111,588
Median Price Change: -20%
Average Days On Market: 133
Inventory: 16 properties
Median Household Income: NA

OK, who let the East Bay into the club?

I swear, you let a couple of them show up in burbed and next think you know they’re appearing on expensive zip code lists.  Fortunately, the market is reminding those upstarts why East is East, Best is Best, and never the twain shall meet.

Down 20 percent, yowza!

More good news.  The top 50 zip codes do not include a single flyover state.  Most are in California and New York, a couple in New Jersey, Greenwich, CT came in at #27, and somehow one in Miami Beach popped up. The only other West Coast zip not in California is Medina, Washington (#42).

Yes, we have 450 zip codes to go, but at after #50,we could stop providing these useless maps.  Or we could make them twice as big.  Anyway, please comment on these or any other expensive zip codes.  And if you hate, hate, hate this series, feel free to whine, whine, whine.

Next installment: The Also-Rans, part 37.

Comments (67) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:04 am

March 16, 2010

What to do if your house won’t sell? Raise the price!



Beds: 5
Baths: 4
Sq. Ft.: 6,350
$/Sq. Ft.: $362
Lot Size: 13 Acres
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Style: Contemporary
Stories: 3
View: Green Belt, Mountains
Year Built: 1995
Community: Skyline Area
County: San Mateo
MLS#: 80944254
Source: MLSListings
Status: Active This listing is for sale and the sellers are accepting offers.
On Redfin: 181 days
Secluded Estate yet only 2 minutes from Highways 35 and 84 * * * Huge home with 5 bedrooms * * * 6.5 baths * * * Media Room * * * Office * * * 3 decks viewing the Redwoods * * * Master Bedroom Suite with deck and hot tub * * * 12 acres * * * 1600 square foot game room * * * Security Gates

Thanks to Burbed reader Nate for this find!

Now let’s be clear, this is a very nice house. You don’t need interior pics to tell you how nice it is. You just know it is going to be very nice.

The reason why Nate wanted to call this?


The pricing strategy of this house is genius. It’s no wonder the person currently living in it earned it. Amazing use of reverse psychology. The house can’t sell? Make it even more desirable by raising the price!

Now, let’s face it – this won’t work for everything in life… but if there’s one thing this kind of strategy will work for, it is undoubtedly Bay Area real estate. Why? Because it’s perfectly believable!

Comments (111) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:47 am

July 23, 2009

Affordable housing in Woodside – this house is cheap!

633 Southdale Way, Woodside, CA 94062 – Zillow
633 Southdale Way Woodside CA 94062

For Sale: $695,000


3 beds, 1.0 baths, 1,140 sq ft
Seller Facts:

* 3 beds
* 1.0 bath
* 1,140 sqft
* Lot 37,897 sqft
* Built in 1937

Knoll top setting in Emerald Hills area of Woodside. House is in very poor condition and needs lots of work before it can be used. Do not enter property without appt.

Thanks to Burbed reader Herve for this find. It’s Herve week!

I always get confused – is Emerald Hills in Redwood City or is it in Woodside? Most online maps say Redwood City.

It’s a big difference! If this is indeed in Woodside, then the affordable housing problem is solved. Just look at this deal!

If this house is in Redwood City, then… uh… maybe not. It’s still a pretty good deal and its consistent in condition with many other houses in the city.

Any area experts what to help clarify the territory?

Comments (20) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:49 am

July 21, 2009

Amazing sky views in Woodside. Fantastic realtor photos.

515 EASTVIEW Way, Woodside, CA 94062 | MLS# 80925593
515 EASTVIEW Way Woodside, CA 94062

Price: $1,650,000
Beds: 3
Baths: 2
Sq. Ft.: 1,350
$/Sq. Ft.: $1,222
Lot Size: 1.32 Acres
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Style: Ranch, Contemporary
Stories: 1
View: Valley
Year Built: 1938
Community: Emerald Hills Area
County: San Mateo
MLS#: 80925593
Source: MLSListings
Status: Pending Without Release
On Redfin: 46 days
Trust Sale, present as is condition. Solid older home, fenced horse property; barn. Home needs updating but in good condition. Near multimillion dollar homes. One point 3 acres fenced. Room for trailer, rv parking.

Thanks to Burbed reader Herve for this find. It’s Herve week!

Let’s face it… all around the world, it is a well known fact that Woodside is unique in so many ways. The (future) home of Steve Jobs, many other CEOs and rich people – it’s proof that the Real Bay Area is truly magical.

Just look at the sky in this photo. It’s a combination of two things:

1. That the amazing aura of so many wealthy people can clear up clouds, and produce a perfectly blue sky. If you had just ordinary people, it wouldn’t look like that.

2. Amazing photography skills by Realtors. Only a licensed, 3-6% earning Realtor can capture a moment like this.

Looking at this photo simply brings tears to my eyes. My god is the Real Bay Area beautiful. So beautiful. Thank you Realtor for helping the world see it!

Comments (29) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:40 am

March 24, 2009

Cheap house in Woodside – with room for your aupair!

It’s Herve week at Burbed! I’m catching up on all the listings that Herve had sent me. Here’s the second one!

Woodside, CA 94062 | MLS# 80839612
Undisclosed Woodside, CA 94062
Price: $1,100,000

Beds: 6
Baths: 4
Sq. Ft.: 4,500
$/Sq. Ft.: $244
Lot Size: 1.5 Acres
Property Type: Attached Single Family
Year Built: 1999
Stories: 3
View: Mountains
Neighborhood: Old La Honda Road Area
County: San Mateo
MLS#: 80839612
Source: MLSListings
Status: Active
On Redfin: 147 days
Unsold in 90 days
Bank Owned! 18 Room Woodside Estate with views of the Redwood Trees and year round creek runs along the 1.5 secluded acres. Victorian architecture enhances each of the unique rooms. The main home is accented with gorgeous hardwood with rose accents, beveled glass windows, master suite with office or nursery and a large wrap around deck. Second unit is perfect for aupair or live in.

Wow. This is Burbed’s second house in Woodside. I’m sure some terrible fate must’ve befallen the original owner.

But, his loss is your gain. At just $244 per square foot, you can live in a true mansion with 18 rooms. The location is undisclosed, so it is perfect as a hideaway. I bet Bernie Madoff wishes he lived here instead of at an easy to get to co-op in Manhattan.

Even better, I bet you could build some tunnels and some caves. During the day, you are an extravgant, Woodside mansion living executive at a chip fab. At night? You come out to fight crime in East Palo Alto.

If this fantasy doesn’t sell it for you, I don’t know what does.

(Note: Butler not included.)

Comments (15) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:51 am

March 9, 2009

Burbed’s first Woodside house! Just $299,000!

512 MAPLE Way, Woodside, CA 94062 | MLS# 80909209
512 MAPLE Way Woodside, CA 94062
Price: $299,000


Beds: 2
Baths: 1
Sq. Ft.: 900
$/Sq. Ft.: $332
Lot Size: 5,000 Sq. Ft.
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Style: Cabin
Year Built: 1945
Stories: 1
Neighborhood: Emerald Hills Area
County: San Mateo
MLS#: 80909209
Source: MLSListings
Status: Pending Without Release
On Redfin: 6 days
DRIVE BY ONLY! PLEASE DO NOT DISTURB OWNER! Offers if any to be presented Friday February 27. House in need of many repairs. Cannot add on to existing house. Rebuild only in same footprint. Septic located in neighbor property with easement. No septic inspection or any inspections.

Thanks to Burbed reader Herve for Burbed’s first Woodside house! And what a house it is! Just $299,000!

Here’s what Herve had to say:

Build a 4-story high house and you get 3,600 sq ft of pure joy.

And the Zestimates is $910K. What do I hear? Oh, it’s the sweet melody of instant equity…

No kidding! The Zestimate really is $909k! Is it any surprise? After all, this is Woodside. Notice that this was on Redfin for 6 days only and already it was Pending Without Release.

You gotta be quick on the trigger here in the Real Bay Area!

Comments (37) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:06 am