Atherton is named for Faxon Dean Atherton, a wealthy trader from Chile, who purchased 640 acres and established the first large estate in the area. The completion of the railroad in 1863 attracted other prosperous citizens of San Francisco, hoping to escape the summer fog. The Town was incorporated in 1923, and adopted stringent zoning regulations.
|Average household income:||$223,611|
|Number of homes:||2,546|
|Lowest sale price 2017:||$1,851,000|
|Highest sale price 2017:||$19,900,000|
|Average sale price 2017:||$5,754,405|
As a result, Atherton retains the pastoral atmosphere enjoyed by those nineteenth century residents, with majority of properties in this exclusive zip code exceeding an acre. No sidewalks, an abundance of heritage oaks, and a ban on commerce, plus equal access to San Francisco and San Jose have made Atherton one of the most expensive addresses in the country. Atherton has been consistently ranked by a national magazine as one of the top five most affluent cities in the country.
2017 in Review | Atherton
Residential property values in Atherton declined for the first time in 3 years, not because of lack of demand but rather because of the increase in number of homes that sold for less than $5 million and the fewer number of very high-end sales as reported in the previous two years.
Demand was still very strong as evidenced by the fact that 39% of the sales were for more than list price. Plus, homes sold much more quickly in 2017, taking on average 47 days to sell. This is the lowest average days on market in current records since 2001. In 2016, the average was 73 days and in 2015 it was 52 days.
The average sale price of a home declined by $2,521,787, or 30%, to $5,754,405 as compared with the average in 2016, which was $8,276,192. The average sale price in Atherton in 2015 was $7,227,000 and in 2014 was $5,622,373. It is important to note that last year’s average price is still 74% higher than it was in the recession low in 2009 when it was $3,311,604.
The median sale price in 2017 also declined by 21% to $4,750,000, a drop of $1,252,500 as compared to 2016 when it was $6,002,500. The median sale price was $5,950,000 in 2015 and $4,420,000 in 2014. During the recession low in 2009, the median price was just $2,790,000, so last year’s median price is 70% higher.
In 2017, prices were the highest in the third quarter when the average price spiked to $6,270,060. In 2016, the average sale price quarterly record was $9,693,549.
Though Menlo Park has its share of luxury properties, its character remains essentially modest. Charming, custom homes on pretty lots line quiet streets. The downtown business district offers a picture of suburban life as shoppers stroll beneath the trees, stopping for a sidewalk coffee, or an ice cream cone. Originally growing up around the train station, built in 1866 and a registered historic landmark, the City of Menlo Park was incorporated in 1927.
|Average household income:||$107,860|
|Number of homes:||11,957|
|Lowest sale price 2017:||$500,000|
|Highest sale price 2017:||$7,800,000|
|Average sale price 2017:||$2,341,474|
The name was taken from the sign “Menlo Park, 1854” which was painted on the gate erected by two early settlers who emigrated from Menlough in Ireland. Today, the excellent school system and the strong sense of community have made Menlo Park a highly desirable place to work and live. Menlo Park is also headquarters for much of the venture capital money fueling the Silicon Valley economy.
2017 in Review | Menlo Park
Once again, the average sale price of a home in Menlo Park reached a record high with an increase of $171,836 to $2,341,474. This represents an increase of 8% over the average sale price in 2016, which was $2,169,638. Contributing to this increase was a record high sale for an individual home at $7,800,000.
Menlo Park’s average price has steadily increased every year since the recession low in 2009 when it was $1,242,293. The average price in 2017 represents an increase of 88% since 2009.
In 2017, the median sale price in Menlo Park climbed by $275,000 to a record high of $2,100,000, representing a 15% increase. In 2009, the median price was $1,097,500 and it took 4 years to recover when it rose to $1,510,000 in 2013. Since that year, the median price has increased 39% and has almost doubled since the recession in 2009 when the median price dropped to $1,097,500 – a 91% increase in median price in 8 years.
With prices increasing like this, it’s no surprise that the strong demand resulted in many Menlo Park homes selling with multiple offers and for more than list price. In fact, 201 homes, or 52%, sold for more than list price and by as much as 46% more. Homes also sold quickly with an average days on market of 25, the same as in 2016. Half of all sales occurred in 13 days or less holding steady with the previous year.
In Portola Valley, named for the Spanish explorer Gaspar de Portola, oak-studded meadows open onto vistas of San Francisco Bay and the unspoiled Coast Range. The area’s first settlement was the logging town of Searsville, founded in the nineteenth century. Farming and cattle ranching were the primary industries until the 1920’s.
|Average household income:||$167,227|
|Number of homes:||2,294|
|Lowest sale price 2017:||$1,240,000|
|Highest sale price 2017:||$16,500,000|
|Average sale price 2017:||$3,496,770|
After World War II, the valley began to be developed, typically with modest, ranch-style homes on large lots. Long a preferred address of Stanford University professors, Portola Valley has made well-staffed, well-equipped public schools a top priority. The town was incorporated in 1964, with the goal of maintaining the rural ambience of the community, and preserving open space. Today, Portola Valley is known for its unpretentious lifestyle and small-town atmosphere.
2017 in Review | Portola Valley
In 2017, the average sale price of a Portola Valley home reached a new record high at $3,496,770. This is an increase of $425,079 over the average sale price in 2016, which was $3,071,691 and represents a 14% increase. Since the recession, the lowest average price was in 2010 when it was $1,849,640. This is 89% lower than the average price in 2017. There were no sales in 2017 for less than $1,240,000.
Last year, the median price of a home in Portola Valley was $2,999,500, also a record high price. This is a $292,000 increase over 2016, which was $2,707,500. This represents an increase of 11%. Every year since 2009, when the median price was $1,650,000, the median price has increased reaching its current record high in 2017 and climbing 82% in value.
The fourth quarter of 2017 had the highest average price of the year with the only two sales in excess of $10 million each closing in the fourth quarter. The median price was the highest in the second quarter when there was only one sale for less than $2 million and six sales for $4 million or more.
Strong demand for homes in Portola Valley was clearly evidenced by the number that sold for more than list price. Of the 76 sales, 42 sold for more than list price, which represents 55%. One home sold for 67% more than list price and 14 homes sold for double-digit percent increases over list price.
During the past year, the average days on market to sell a property in Portola Valley was 32 days, down from 34 days in 2016 and up just slightly from the record low 30 days in 2015. This is the fastest homes have sold in current records dating back to 2001 when the average days on market were 60+ and some years reaching 80 days. Half of all sales in 2017 occurred in just 12 days or less.
The number of closed escrows in Portola Valley increased from 64 sales in 2016 to 76 sales in 2017 – a 19% increase. The greatest number of sales in the past 10 years was in 2014 when there were 84 and the lowest was in 2008 with 52 sales.
Woodside, as the name might suggest, began as a logging town centered around the Woodside Store. Beginning in the 1830’s, the local sawmills supplied the first growth redwood lumber used to build much of old San Francisco. As early as 1852, a regular stagecoach ran between San Francisco and Woodside, which by that time had developed into a community of farms, cattle ranches and vineyards.
|Average household income:||$186,359|
|Number of homes:||2,465|
|Lowest sale price 2017:||$561,000|
|Highest sale price 2017:||$18,800,000|
Average sale price 2017:
The forested seclusion of the area attracted well-to-do San Franciscans, who began constructing often-elaborate county estates, some of which still exist. Woodside was incorporated in 1956 with the purpose of limiting development and preserving the bucolic character of the Town. Today, most of the parcels in central Woodside are a minimum of three acres. Horses are a common sight, and there are several equestrian facilities, as well as miles of trails.
2017 in Review | Woodside
Following the record high price in 2016, the average sale price of a home in Woodside pulled back to $3,021,096 fueled by the number homes that sold for less than $2 million. Of the 69 sales, 32 of them, or almost half, sold for less than $2 million and 7 sold for less than $1 million, all contributing to the decline in average. On the higher end of the market, there were six sales for more than $6 million and two sales for more than $11 million.
While the average price in 2017 was $1,024,928 lower than the high of $4,046,024 in 2016, a 25% decline, it is still 52% higher than the recession low in 2009 when the average Woodside price was $1,986,344.
With so many homes selling for less than $2 million, it’s no surprise that the median price of a property in Woodside also declined. The median price of $2,300,000 was $425,100, or 16%, lower than the record high set in 2016 at $2,725,100. However, since the most recent low in 2009 when the median price was $1,555,000 after the recession, in 2017 the median price was 48% higher.
Although prices were lower, homes also sold much more quickly in 2017 with an average of 52 days on market. This compares to 74 days in 2016 and ties with 2015 as the lowest number of days on market in current records dating back to 2001. There were 5 years during that time that the average days on market exceeded 107.
In 2017, the number of sales declined from the 73 closed escrows in 2016 to 69 in 2017. This represents a 6% decline. In comparison, in 2009, there were only 41 closed escrows, which represented the lowest total since I began writing my real estate review in 1999. The highest number of sales in recent years was in 2004 when there were 108 sales and most recently in 2013 and 2014 when there were 106 and 107 sales, respectively.
There were many homes in all price ranges that sold for more than list price in 2017. Of the 69 homes sold, 21, or 30%, sold for more than list price and by as much as 20% more.