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Empty Atherton lots cost more than most San Francisco homes

Even some of Pacific Heights’ most pricey properties can’t compare

A grassy, tree-lined lot in Atherton.
97 Santiago Avenue
Courtesy Pac Union

The empty lots at 97 Santiago Avenue and 83 Camino Por Los Arboles in tony Atherton are worth more than a five-bedroom house in the same city. In fact, both are among the ten most expensive properties in this infamously expensive city listed on MLS aggregate sites.

The 1.43 acre Santiago Avenue lot listed Monday for a staggering $6.9 million, joining its 1.36 acre cousin just down the block on Camino Por Los Arboles (described as a flag lot), which has been asking more than $9.9 million since January.

And of course, there’s nothing on either property except for grass. The owner submitted plans for a new $4 million-plus home on Santiago Avenue but evidently was never able to actually build.

Of course, the value of vacant property in Atherton, one of America’s richest and most exclusive cities, lies in what the buyer can later build on it.

83 Camino Por Los Arboles
Courtesy Alain Pinel

Homes on similar sized lots in the Silicon Valley town are on sale now for prices upwards of $11 million. Less expensive Atherton houses sit on lots an acre or less in size; although, those homes have the natural selling advantage of being built and ready for move-in.

In 2014, the average acre of land in California was worth about $39,000, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

The average Atherton home, on the other hand, sold for about $6 million at the end of 2016 on sites like Trulia, although note that the small number of homes for sale in the first place make averages difficult to gauge.

If nothing else, all of the winter rains have clearly done these lots some good, as each appears brimming with so much green as to be almost bioluminescent.

97 Santiago