Let’s say you want to live in one of the country’s most exclusive zip codes.
Laguna Beach sounds pretty nice, right? The OC enclave’s dramatic seaside cliffs and postcard-perfect sunsets have attracted everyone from Warren Buffet to a disgraced Chinese insurance company executive. And the top end of the Laguna Beach market couldn’t be hotter: Last month, a hedge fund manager set an Orange County record by paying $70 million for an 18,000 square-foot mansion in the city’s Abalone Point area, a neighborhood so exclusive it was named after a shellfish that’s going extinct.
Or maybe you like Southern California’s weather but are more into canyons and highly-reviewed farmers markets? Take a look at Calabasas, where one custom-built Italianate mansion just hit the market for $30 million.
On the East Coast, some of the most expensive zips pertain to Sagaponack, New York, the Gatsby-esque Hamptons village where the Charlie’s Angels producer Jenno Topping and her star, Drew Barrymore, have snapped up properties; Fisher Island, that sunburned billionaires’ hideaway off Miami Beach; and Greenwich, Conn., because old money has to park somewhere.
But what can you do if you want to live in a rich zip but your income happens to be more used-car than Kardashian?
Real estate data site Point2Homes, using PropertyShark’s most recent analysis of the country’s most expensive zip codes, published your ideal resource — a compilation of the least expensive home listings in each of the country’s 100 most expensive zip codes.
Point2Homes’ analysis turned up a wide range of results.
In some cases, in a trend that reflects many hot markets’ ongoing inventory woes, the cheapest home on the market in a rich zip was actually more expensive than the zip’s median 2021 sale price.
That was true in various zips in California–and, yes, the Golden State dominates the rich-zip list, if you didn’t already guess. Among the leaders are Newport Beach and the Bay Area municipality of Los Gatos–and the most puzzling data came from the Santa Barbara County area of Summerland, where this year’s median sale price is $2.1 million but the cheapest current listing is $10.6 million, for a sprawling one-story spec property with a price tag that seems to lean heavily on its ocean views.
In some rich zips, though, the cheapest available properties are … actually pretty cheap.
Here’s a closer look at a few:
7888 Dune Drive. Avalon, N.J.
The press has referred to Avalon, a Jersey Shore town where the median sale price is $1.7 million, as “the chicest beach” in the mid-Atlantic and “the place to see women in diamonds and designer swimwear.”
That may be true, but you probably won’t find too many five-carat necklines lounging around this no-frills condo building. The unit that made Point2’s ranking is 450 square-foot one-bedroom that was listed for $299,000. Its listing photos suggest something of a Holiday Inn vibe, with light tile floors and a photo on the wall depicting a pleasant beach scene. Definitely not fancy — but not too shabby, either. The unit just went into contract, according to Redfin.
1 Peck Avenue, Rye, New York
Rye, New York has a median sale price of $1.9 million. The coastal Westchester County town is famous for Frank Lloyd Wright’s 6,000 square-foot Max Hoffman house, which fashion designer Marc Jacobs bought for $9 million in 2019.
This is definitely not that house. But it is a one-bedroom apartment in a 73-year-old complex that appears to have decent landscaping. The kitchen looks small but kind of charming, and the living room has beige carpeting and walls that appear to be painted two different colors? The 800-square-foot unit is also a five-minute walk to the train station; after five months on the market, its price was recently reduced to $179,000.
9849 Portola Drive, Beverly Hills, Calif.
Yep, this is 90210, probably the most famous zip code on the planet — and the location of this year’s priciest L.A. listing, for a $250 million new construction project on Cedarbrook Drive.
If you’re a typical Beverly Hills buyer, you’re looking at a tag of $4.1 million. Boring. With this listing, you can join the hallowed zip of the stars for a fraction of the cost — $1.3 million. That price gets you an olive green, 1,200 square-foot house with ample outdoor deck space. The two-level home was built into the side of a canyon and went up in 1928. It may not be the nicest looking property in the neighborhood, but at least you know it’s got staying power. The listing called the house, which also recently went into contract, “a tranquil retreat” and “the best value you will find in Beverly Hills P.O.” Seems fair enough.
30802 South Coast Highway, Laguna Beach, Calif.
It turns out you can live in Laguna Beach! And this property actually took the ranking’s overall top spot — the cheapest asking price for a property in one of the country’s top 100 most expensive zip codes. The asking price? Just under $150,000, or about 6 percent of its zip code’s median sales price.
And what does a 94 percent discount get you? How about a 680-foot, four-year-old “one bedroom cottage” with sunset views and resort style amenities? Some people might say “mobile home” instead of “cottage,” but you’ll be too busy frolicking by the beach to care about semantics. The complex, tucked into a hillside, also has a small but clean-looking pool, a gym with at least three pieces of exercise equipment and a common room with an electric fireplace. The unit’s exterior is painted an inviting light blue, and it also has a small outdoor space.
Another bonus? It’s on the opposite side of town from Bill Gross’s mansion, so you won’t even have to hear that annoying Gilligan’s Island music.