Much like the traditional market, the U.S. luxury sector is cooling down and still recovering from record-low inventory. Yet, even amid a downward trend in median sale prices, price tags in the country’s most exclusive zip codes look like an extra zero got added by mistake. And if you thought properties on the affordable side sell fast, competition in the ultra-luxury markets is in a league of its own.
Point2’s sister division, PropertyShark, just released its annual ranking of the 100 most expensive zip codes in the U.S. The report highlighted the record-breaking price tags in some of the country’s ultra-exclusive zip codes against the national backdrop of declining median sale prices. The insights led our analysts to a follow-up question: Which of these luxury markets are red-hot, despite the eyebrow-raising figures?
Here’s what we found out when we analyzed median days on market (DoM) and the share of properties recently sold above the asking price in the most opulent zip codes in the United States:
- In 46 of the country’s 100 priciest zip codes, properties lasted less than a month on the market.
- In 8 high-end areas, homes were sold in 10 days or less — including the 94022 in Silicon Valley’s Los Altos, as well as Mercer Island, WA,’s unique 98040.
- High-end residences in 98039 in Medina, WA, were sold in just 1 week, despite a median sale price of almost $4,400,000.
- Compared to last year, properties sold faster in half of the country’s most expensive zip codes; In 33109 of Miami Beach, FL, September data shows homes purchased 116 days quicker than the same time in 2022.
- Inventory plummeted in most of the most affluent zip codes in the past year; The for-sale stock in 92861 and 92657 — two zip codes in California’s coveted Orange County — declined by about 60%.
- Bidding wars are here to stay in most of the priciest enclaves: In 23 of the country’s most expensive zip codes, more than half of the properties were sold above asking price; In San Jose, CA, most of the homes sold in 95130 (96%) and 95129 (85%) went above asking price.
Million-Dollar Estates Sell in Just 1 Week in Gates’ & Bezos’ Washington Area
The run-of-the-mill buyer might not line up for the uber-luxury homes, but the housing market in the most exclusive zip codes is far from stagnant. “Despite the uncertainty, stubborn inflation, interest rate gyrations, and continual struggles with inventory and supply chains worldwide, local and regional conditions have sustained the luxury property market. In fact, things are better than many had expected despite supply and demand being out of balance in many places”, says Doug Ressler, manager of business intelligence at Yardi Matrix.
In fact, the most recent data from September shows that, in 46 of the country’s priciest zip codes, listings sold in just 30 days or less. While many of the fastest-selling zip codes are wealthy areas in California, the most sought-after high-end zip code appears in the addresses of Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates – which is enough to form an idea about how affluent the 98039 in Medina, WA, is. The median sale price here reached $4,388,000, yet properties rapidly sold in seven days.
Of course, famous for its clusters of residential luxury markets and climbing prices, California entries dominated the list of most high-end zip codes. San Jose’s 95130 and 95129 saw homes flying off the market in eight to nine days, regardless of the impressive median sale price, which hovers around $2 million. Also lasting nine days on the market were properties in Los Altos’ 94022 (median of almost $4 million); Cupertino’s 95014; Sunnyvale’s 94087; and 98040 in Mercer Island, WA.
Bidding Wars at Home in Priciest Zips; Competition for Dwindling Inventory Leads to Homes Selling Faster Than in 2022
In more than half of the 100 most affluent zip codes, residential properties are selling faster than they did last year. While in some areas, they fly off the market just one or two days sooner, the differences are more pronounced in others.
For instance, the housing market in the lavish 33109 of Miami Beach, FL, is not exactly red-hot, but September data shows that homes here sold 116 days faster this year than last year. More precisely, listings stayed active for 216 days, which might be a result of the $5.5 million median sale price combined with the 8% uptick in inventory — and/or perhaps the lack of land access that might give potential buyers pause. Similarly, properties in the serene 11976 in Water Mill, NY, sold 40 days quicker than they did last year, despite a 22% hike in the median sale price to reach $4.5 million.
Granted, the luxury market is still finding its feet following record-low inventory as the for-sale housing stock remains tight across the country. Further adding fuel to the competition fire is the fact that the majority of the country’s most expensive areas saw their for-sale inventory either drop or stagnate since last year. For example, the number of properties available dropped dramatically since last year in the 06878 of Riverside, CT (56%), much like it did in Newport Beach’s 92657 and other wealthy California zip codes.
Not only are homes selling like hot cakes in some of the country’s priciest areas, but buyers of means are also willing to cover the high price tags — and then some. While bidding wars are nothing new in the luxury sector, paying above asking price has become the norm for those looking to secure their opulent residence. In 23 of the country’s priciest zip codes, 50% to 96% of the properties sold were purchased above their respective asking prices. For comparison, about 33% of the homes sold nationwide went above the initial asking price.
California Snapshot: Asking Prices More Like Guidelines in Popular, Wealthy Silicon Valley Zip Codes
It comes as no surprise that the aptly named Golden State counts the majority of the 100 most exclusive zip codes in the U.S. To that end, six of the top 10 priciest ZIPs in the entire country are in California.
Judging by the breakneck speed at which residences are sold, the most popular high-end zip codes are clustered across Santa Clara County (known for its tech community). Listings here, at the heart of Silicon Valley, sell in less than two weeks, including 94022 in Los Altos; 94040 in Mountain View; the 95032 in Los Gatos.
Clearly, the California housing market is one of the most competitive nationwide, despite homes in some of its most wealthy zip codes selling much slower (the time a property in Stinson Beach’s idyllic 94970 spent on the market was 94 days). It's so competitive that there is a wave of online tutorials teaching prospective buyers how to win in bidding wars in the state’s most in-demand markets. In fact, recent September data showed that almost all of the homes sold in San Jose's 95130 were sold above the asking price. The situation was similar in nearby 95129, where 85% were sold over the asking price – almost as much as in Sunnyvale’s 94087 and Cupertino’s 95014 (where, as a side note, the cost of living is more than 130% higher than the U.S. average).
As for the most expensive zip code in the whole country, the 94027 in Atherton doesn't draw intense buyers’ interest, despite its great location that puts it in proximity to tech hubs and Stanford University. Here, properties stay on the market for about two months, which might have less to do with the eye-watering $8.3 million median sale price, and more to do with restrictive zoning laws and snail-paced new development.
New York Snapshot: Days on Market Vary in Highest Concentration of Pricey Zip Codes
According to PropertyShark, New York state added five more zip codes to the list of priciest in the country, making it to 22. With eight of these in New York City alone, this was the highest share of pricey zip codes in the U.S.
From Brooklyn to the Hamptons, listings sold in wealthy New York Zips lasted anywhere from about two weeks to almost 200 days on the market, according to the latest September data. That was the case of the ultra-exclusive celeb spot of Water Mill's 11976 (median sale price $4,500,000). Likewise, homes sold in 11968 in Southampton and 10007 in New York City stayed on the market way past 100 days, whereas homes in 10580 in Rye were purchased in just 15 days (60% of them for more than the initial asking price).
In New York, the highest median sale price went to the 11962 of Sagaponack at $8,075,000 following a 40% increase in the past year. But listings here spent about six weeks on the market — almost as many as in East Hampton’s lavish 11937.
Come hell or high water on the housing market, luxury sells. With the high-end for-sale inventory still at historically low levels, it’s interesting to see how this will affect affluent buyer’s standards. Doug Ressler says: “Traditional buyer preferences for waterfront luxury will continue, while the newer trend of living close to green areas — an evolution of the post-pandemic need for private space — has fueled luxury living further inland near parks and golf courses.”
Point2, a division of Yardi Systems Inc., covers real estate trends and news. Point2 studies are based on internal data, public records, governmental sources, online research and other reliable third-party agencies.
- The 2023 edition of the 100 most expensive zip codes in the U.S. includes a total of 122 zip codes due to multiple ties. Only zip codes that registered a minimum of three residential transactions were considered.
- 2023 median sale prices in the most expensive zip codes were sourced from sister division PropertyShark, which reviews all residential transactions closed between January 1, 2023, and October 20, 2023, for condos, co-ops, and single- and two-family homes.
- Median Days on Market, Share of Listings Sold Above Asking Price, and Listing Inventory are as of September 2023 and were sourced from Redfin.
- The following zip codes were eliminated from this analysis due to lack of data: 21056 in Ghibson Island, MD; 94528 in Diablo, CA; 11932 in Bridgehampton, NY; 07723 in Deal, NJ; 93921 in Carmel By The Sea, CA; 02199 in Boston, MA; 93920 in Big Sur, CA; 07620 in Alpine, NJ; 94305 in Palo Alto, CA; 11963 in Sag Harbor, NY; 02535 in Chilmark, MA; 11765 in Mill Neck, NY; 11930 in Amagansett, NY; 11959 in Quogue, NY; 02554 in Nantucket, MA; 93067 in Summerland, CA; and 11975 in Wainscott, NY.
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