America's most expensive enclaves: the big climbers and fallers of 2021

Market Trend

America's most expensive enclaves: the big climbers and fallers of 2021

America’s most exclusive home markets got even more expensive in 2021, and new numbers from PropertyShark show just how much.

All 10 of the nation’s priciest ZIP codes surpassed $4 million in median sale price. That’s a first, according to the real estate data firm’s latest report. Thirty ZIP codes each exceeded a sale price of $3 million — another record.

In all, median sale prices declined in only 12 of the 127 priciest areas in the United States, signaling a nearly uniform increase in the cost of entering America’s most expensive communities. Price growth exceeded 25 percent in 23 top-dollar ZIP codes.

California continued to dominate the list, with areas in the state accounting for 70 percent of the ZIP codes analyzed.

For its analysis, the company crunched numbers on sales of detached homes, condos and co-ops from Jan. 1 through Oct. 22 of this year. The report excluded package deals.

Here are three big takeaways from the report.

1. Exclusive Bay Area town holds onto nation’s top spot

The most expensive place to live in the United States remains Atherton, a California town halfway between San Francisco and San Jose that routinely posts the highest home prices in the country.

The median sale price in the 94027 ZIP code reached nearly $7.5 million — a record high, according to PropertyShark. The next-closest ZIP code trailed Atherton by nearly $2 million.

That makes five consecutive years that Atherton has led the nation’s ZIP codes in median sale price.

The town’s home market didn’t even need a blockbuster year to keep its comfortable lead. Home prices there only rose 7 percent year over year.

Nearly 2 in 5 of the nation’s 127 priciest ZIP codes all reside in the Bay Area, according to the report.

2. Hudson River properties fall back to Earth on Manhattan’s Upper West Side

Last year was a rough time for Manhattan real estate — but not in a specific corner of the Upper West Side that hugs the Hudson River, according to PropertyShark’s numbers.

As the new realities of the pandemic set in last year, property values in the 10069 ZIP code jumped 42 percent. This made the community around Manhattan’s Riverside Park South the nation’s 22nd-priciest ZIP code in 2020.

But now that dramatic price runup appears to have been a pandemic-related anomaly, with prices falling back down to $1.7 million in 2021. That’s a 39 percent decline from last year.

For the first time in PropertyShark’s dataset, no area in New York City made the list of the nation’s Top 20 priciest ZIP codes.

3. Miami island community makes comeback into Top 5

The community of Fisher Island, just south of Miami Beach, has been here before.

The median home price in this 33109 ZIP code rose 66 percent over the past year, pushing Fisher Island from the nation’s 23rd-priciest area last year to its fifth most expensive in 2021.

This dramatic rise makes Fisher Island the highest-ranked Florida ZIP code since 2017, when the same community exceeded a typical sale price of $4 million.

Today, roughly half of homes in this community are selling for $4.5 million or more. Homes in the exclusive community face outward toward the water, surrounding a golf course in the small island’s center.

For a full list of America’s 127 most expensive ZIP codes, see the full PropertyShark report.