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.
|Number of homes:||2,546|
|Lowest sale price 2020:||$2,000,000|
|Highest sale price 2020:||$35,250,000|
|Average sale price 2020:||$7,897,835|
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.
2020 in Review | Atherton
In 2020, the total number of closed escrows in Atherton (per the Multiple Listing Service) totaled 85, the highest number since 2014. There were 17 homes sold in the first quarter, only 11 in the second quarter at the onset of the pandemic, 25 in the third quarter, and 32 in the fourth quarter.
Following record high average prices in 2019, and a 45% increase in 2018, the average price fell in 2020, dropping 10% to $7,897,835. This is only the second time in the past 5 years that the average price has fallen below $8 million. Keep in mind that any properties sold in Atherton off-market are not part of this review.
Quarterly prices steadily declined in 2020 as shown in the quarterly average chart. The first quarter was the highest at $8,670,353, then falling to its lowest point in the fourth quarter at $7,231,656. The record high quarterly price was reached in the second quarter of 2019 at $10,606,955.
The highest end of the market was particularly strong with 23 homes sold for more than $10 million on the MLS, compared to 19 in 2019. The highest priced sale on the MLS was $35,250,000; the highest price on the MLS in 2019 was $25,000,000. The fourth quarter had 9 sales for more than $10 million (earlier quarters had between 4 and 6 sales), however, the fourth quarter also had the greatest number of sales, many of which were for less than $5 million resulting in the lowest quarterly average price.
The median price of an Atherton home in 2020 increased 6% to $6,350,000. This compared to a median price of $6,000,000 in 2019 and $6,650,000 in 2018 when it reached its record high.
Far fewer homes sold over list price than in years past but there were still 18, or 21%. There were 7 homes, or 8%, that sold at list price and 60 homes, or 71%, that sold for less than list price.
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.
|Number of homes:||11,957|
|Lowest sale price 2020:||$700,000|
|Highest sale price 2020:||$14,750,000|
|Average sale price 2020:||$2,701,594|
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.
2020 in Review | Menlo Park
The average sale price in Menlo Park reached a record high of $2,701,594 in 2020. This represents a 5% increase compared to 2019 when the average price was $2,569,818. The high end of the market was strong with a record high sale for an individual home at $14,750,000; the previous high, set in 2019, was a sale at $10,700,000. There were 9 homes that sold for more than $6 million. Menlo Park average prices have increased 130% since the recession low in 2009 when it was $1,173,879.
In 2020, the median sale price in Menlo Park also reached a record high of $2,400,000. This represents a 9% increase and a 142% increase since 2009 when it fell below $1 million. Keep in mind that any properties sold in Menlo Park off the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) are not part of this review.
The number of closed escrows in Menlo Park, including single-family homes and townhomes/condos was 350, the lowest number on records dating back to 2004. There were 62 closed escrows in the first quarter, 78 in the second quarter, 107 in the third quarter, and 103 in the fourth quarter.
As shown in the quarterly average chart, the third quarter of 2020 saw the highest average price at $2,916,177, the highest quarterly record since the first quarter of 2018 when it exceeded $2.8 million.
Only 141 homes, or 40%, sold for more than list price in Menlo Park, a far lower percentage than in recent years. In 2019, 46% sold for more than list price and in 2018, 65% sold for more than list price.
Due to the pandemic, days on market were suspended on the Multiple Listing Service between March 19 and May 16, thus the actual days on market differs from the available statistics, which is what we are reporting on. Homes sold more quickly in 2020 with an average days on market of 24 compared to 30 days in 2019.
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.
|Number of homes:||2,294|
|Lowest sale price 2020:||$1,225,000|
|Highest sale price 2020:||$17,000,000|
|Average sale price 2020:||$4,150,339|
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.
2020 in Review | Portola Valley
The number of closed escrows in Portola Valley increased dramatically to 92 sales in 2020 from 54 sales in 2019. This was the highest number of sales on records dating back to 2004. There were 7 sales in the first quarter, 26 sales in the second quarter, 33 sales in the third quarter, and 26 sales in the fourth quarter.
In 2020, the average sale price of a Portola Valley home reached a dramatic record high exceeding $4 million for the first time and increasing 17% to $4,150,339. This was 125% higher than it was in the recession low of 2010 when the average price was $1,847,374. Contributing to the increase were 3 homes that sold for more than $10 million, including one for $17 million.
The median price in 2020 also reached a record high, increasing 15% to $3,500,000 and exceeding the previous record of $3,300,000 set in 2018. The 2020 median price was 112% higher than what the median price was just 11 years ago when it was $1,650,000 in 2009. Keep in mind that any properties sold in Portola Valley off the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) are not part of this review.
The third quarter of 2020 saw the highest average price of the year when it reached a record of $4,734,342. Two of the three sales for more than $10 million occurred in the third quarter. The previous quarterly high was in the first quarter of 2019.
Only 21 Portola Valley homes, or 23%, sold for more than list price, about the same as in 2019 but far fewer than the 48% in 2018. 10 homes sold for list price and 61 homes sold for less than list price.
Due to the pandemic, days on market were suspended on the Multiple Listing Service between March 19 and May 16, thus the actual days on market differs from the available statistics, which is what we are reporting on. Homes sold more quickly in 2020 with an average days on market of 43 compared to 58 days in 2019. There were 21 homes that were on the market for more than 60 days.
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.
|Number of homes:||2,465|
|Lowest sale price 2020:||$800,000|
|Highest sale price 2020:||$22,500,000|
Average sale price 2020:
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.
2020 in Review | Woodside
Woodside number of sales and prices reached record highs in 2020. The number of sales, at 79, was up 22% compared to 2019, and the highest on record since 2015. Sales were split somewhat evenly by quarter, compared to the other cities in this report, with 16 sales in the first quarter, 20 in the second quarter, 19 in the third quarter, and 24 in the fourth quarter.
In 2020, the average sale price of a Woodside home reached a dramatic record high of almost $5 million increasing 34% to $4,938,185. This was 149% higher than it was in the recession low of 2010 when the average price was $1,986,344. Contributing to the increase were 8 homes that sold for $10 million or more, including 2 for more than $20 million.
The median price in 2020 also reached a record high, increasing 12% to $2,850,000 but not reaching the record of $3,262,500 set in 2018. The 2020 median price was 83% higher than what the median price was just 11 years ago when it was $1,555,000 in 2009. Keep in mind that any properties sold in Woodside off the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) are not part of this review.
Only 13 homes, or 16%, sold for more than list price compared to 18% in 2019 and 31% in 2018. 5 homes, or 6%, sold for list price and 61 homes, or 77%, sold for less than list price.