California claims lion’s share of 100 priciest zips

LA also ranks as most “exclusive” city

California has 63 of 100 most expensive zip codes. (iStock, AboutZipCode)
California has 63 of 100 most expensive zip codes. (iStock, AboutZipCode)

Just how expensive is housing in California? The state is now home to nearly two thirds of the country’s priciest zip codes.

The statistic comes from a report published this week by the website RealtyHop. RealtyHop, a listings site that targets investors, analyzed residential listings across the United States between the beginning of the year and mid-October, calculating each zip code’s median listing price.

Of the country’s 100 most expensive, 63 were located in the Golden State. Eight were in the City of Los Angeles, the most of any city.

“It’s actually not surprising,” said Shane Lee, a data scientist with RealtyHop. California’s dominance on the list was largely driven by money from both the entertainment industry and the tech industry, Lee added, along with the state’s weather, coastline and varied natural amenities.

The top-market data also offers another indicator that home ownership is getting out of reach for many Californians, both financially and, now, geographically.

Lee said the state’s dominance in the top 100 rankings might even increase in coming years, as residents who are pushed out of the most expensive zip codes move farther out and, potentially, drive up prices in other California cities.

“You’re not just looking at Los Angeles or the Bay Area –– people are moving to Riverside, to Sacramento, to Stockon,” Lee said. “Generally speaking, all these places are becoming less and less affordable.”

Recent initiatives passed by the state legislature and championed by Gov. Gavin Newsom are expected to add inventory, but not enough in the near term to solve a chronic housing shortage that’s been decades in the making and remains a key factor in the state’s affordability crisis. One recent report predicted California’s median home sale price will come in just under $800,000 for 2021 and rise to $834,000 for 2022 — more than double the current national median.

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The very top end of the market, of course, is something else entirely.

According to RealtyHop, the country’s most expensive zip code this year belongs to Atherton, Calif., a small town in the San Francisco Peninsula, where the median listing price was $9 million. Second was Fisher Island, Fla., the ultra-exclusive barrier island just south of Miami Beach ($6.4 million), and then Sagaponack, New York, in the Hamptons ($6 million).

California zip codes took six of the next top seven spots, including Beverly Hills’ famous 90210 (fourth, also at $6 million); Montecito’s 93108 (fifth, at $4.8 million); and Marin County’s 94957 (eighth, at $4.2 million).

While the City of L.A. accounted for eight of the top 100 spots, Newport Beach, in Orange County, represented six. SoCal zip codes in San Diego, Hermosa Beach and Rancho Palos Verdes also made the list, among others.

San Francisco had two zip codes on the list. Other Other Bay Area zip codes were in Sunnyvale, Mountain View and San Carlos ––all in Silicon Valley.

After California, New York State came a clear second in the report, accounting for 20 of the 100. Six of those zip codes were in New York City, including 10013 and 10007, in lower Manhattan; and 10069, in the Upper West Side. New Jersey had five of the top 100, and Connecticut had three.

Only nine states besides California and New York made the list, and two of the country’s most populous states, Texas and Florida, only accounted for a combined three. No zip codes in the Midwest made the cut. Apart from Florida, only one zip code in the Southeast, for Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina, cracked the rankings.

And the country’s most expensive zip codes have also been getting more expensive: The median list price across the top 100 was $2.5 million, up from $2.3 million in 2020.

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