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Most expensive Bay Area neighborhoods, ranked

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Site insists that 72 percent of nation’s most expensive ZIP codes reside in California

An aerial photo of Palo Alto, including historic Stanford buildings. Lisandro Luis Trarbach

Which Silicon Valley ZIP codes are expensive? All of them. Which is the worst? If you have to ask, you can’t afford it.

But if you want more robust analysis than that, you’ve got plenty of options.

Forbes released their list of the nation’s most expensive ZIP codes last month, for example, and naturally the Bay Area was all over it.

The money mag ranked Atherton’s 94027 ZIP (which covers the entire city) the third priciest nationwide, averaging $7.2 million a home. To the shock of no one who has ever been to Atherton.

Atherton Caltrain

Forbes dubbed Los Altos Hills (94022) eighth priciest, averaging just over $6 million. Burlingame (94010) gets 16th place with just over $5 million. Woodside (94062) finishes in 20th place with $4.7 million.

San Francisco only rose as high as 61st place on Forbes list, with the Marina District’s 94123 ZIP—just over $3 million.

All told, there were not many surprises. Then along comes real estate site PropertyShark with a year-end list of their own, insisting Forbes did it all wrong.

Looking only at sales data instead of asking prices, the real estate site came up with a shockingly different list.

How different? Forbes’ most expensive ZIP in Manalapan, Florida landed in 4,252th place on PropertyShark. Wow.

PropertyShark has it that 72 of the nation’s top 100 ZIPs are in California. And of course it reads like a directory of every Silicon Valley town, A through Z.

It’s normal for different analyses with different methods to yield different results. You rarely see a divide quite this stark, though.

Just for our own edification, we took the most expensive Bay Area ZIPs on both lists and looked at their average sale price on Redfin for all of 2016:

  1. Atherton, 92027 ($6.09 million; #3 Forbes, #2 PropertyShark)
  2. Palo Alto, 94301 ($2.93 million; #48 Forbes, #8 PS)
  3. Ross, 94957, ($2.82 million; N/A Forbes, #13 PS)
  4. Los Altos, 94022 ($2.8 million; #46 Forbes, #9 PS)
  5. Portola Valley, 94028 ($2.8 million; #51 Forbes, #10 PS)
  6. Los Altos, 94024 ($2.62 million; #68 Forbes, #15 PS)
  7. Los Gatos, 95030 ($2.3 million; #89 Forbes, #25 PS)
  8. Stanford*, 94305 ($2.28 million; N/A Forbes, #39 PS)
  9. Burlingame, 94010 ($2.23 million; #182 Forbes, #22 PS)
  10. Palo Alto, 94306 ($2.22 million; #143 Forbes, #23 PS)
  11. Saratoga, 95070 ($2.22 million; $85 Forbes, #28 PS)
  12. San Francisco, 94123 ($2.06 million; #61 Forbes, #24 PS)
  13. Tiburon, 94920 ($1.89 million; #54 Forbes, #31 PS)
  14. San Francisco, 94118 ($1.82 million; #128 Forbes, #37 PS)
  15. Menlo Park, 94025 ($1.8 million; #134 Forbes, #38 PS)

(*Note that Stanford’s sample size of only a little more than a dozen homes sold isn’t particularly useful or reliable, which is probably why it didn’t make Forbes’ list.)

In general, the Redfin list cleaves more closely to PropertyShark’s evaluations than to Forbes’, both in terms of placement and dollar values.

But since not every publicly sold home lists on Redfin, it’s not an exhaustive analysis.