With home prices setting record highs month after month—reaching a remarkable nationwide median of $405,000 in March—just about all homebuyers are grumbling these days that they can’t get a break.
But if you’ve ever wondered just how high prices can go, it’s time to stop talking in generalities and get specific. In real estate terms, this means homing in on the five digits known as ZIP codes.
As “Beverly Hills, 90210” made all too clear, certain ZIP codes serve as glittery epicenters of wealth, with block-to-block megamansions that only the richest could fathom buying. And even if you’d never even think of settling down in such posh environs, it’s still fascinating to get a glimpse of where the richest 1% live—and what they pay.
So where are these hoity-toity enclaves hiding today? To find out, the data team at Realtor.com® sifted through our listings data to identify the most expensive ZIP codes in the nation in March, according to our most recent median list price data. (Each ZIP code had to have at least 15 active listings to make the cut. We limited our list to one ZIP code per state to ensure geographic diversity.)
Much like the rest of the country, real estate prices in America’s most expensive areas have been hitting record highs, too—only these highs hover in the eight- or even nine-figure range.
“All of these places have been expensive places for a number of years,” says Frank Nothaft, chief economist at CoreLogic, a real estate data firm. However, “the red-hot housing market has pushed prices up even further.”
Expensive ZIP codes tend to fall into one of two camps: They’re either prime, pretty pockets near big cities (think New York City or L.A.) where the wealthy like to own homes or resort communities where the ultrarich go to ski, play golf, or relax on the beach. Nice beaches.
For an eye-opening look at where the rich and famous live today—and the price tags attached—check out our list of the most expensive ZIP codes of 2022.
Median list price: $15 million
Located 25 miles south of San Francisco and mere minutes from Silicon Valley, Atherton is awash in tech money and notable residents, including Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, former HP CEO and President Meg Whitman, financial executive Charles Schwab, and Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry.
What truly sets this town apart in the San Francisco Bay Area is its zoning laws. Lots are permitted only for single-family homes—no row houses or high-rises allowed—with a minimum size of 1 acre. That’s downright huge for such a pricy area and all but guarantees that only the wealthiest can afford a home here.
Furthermore, no commercial zone exists within town limits, so there are no shops, restaurants, or Trader Joe’s disrupting the tranquility of Atherton’s tree-lined streets. With most homes featuring fences and security walls, each feels like its own gated community, separate from the rest of the world.
“Atherton is the most expensive ZIP code in the country because they have designed themselves to be that way,” housing advocate Jordan Grimes explained in a recent Guardian article. “They aren’t literally a gated city, but they are metaphorically a gated one and they have done that by zoning. Many, many cities in the country do zoning in this way, but Atherton is what you could say the most successful.”
In fact, one listing this past year could break Bay Area records if it sells for its asking price of $100,000,000: a five-bedroom, five-bath compound that served as the summer retreat for the Fisher family, the founders of the Gap. Listed for the first time in 50 years, the estate encompasses a luxurious 8 acres with two homes, a pool, tennis court, and much more for anyone with deep enough pocketbooks. Only time will tell who that lucky buyer might be.
Median list price: $8 million
There’s a reason Sagaponack is the most expensive ZIP code on the East Coast. Located in the tony Hamptons, just a 2.5-hour drive (or much less by helicopter) to New York City, Sagaponack has still managed to maintain the aura of a quaint, picturesque beach town—just one with tons of money.
Unsurprisingly, a number of celebrities, artists, and executives call (or have called) Sagaponack home. They include author Truman Capote, musician Billy Joel, former first daughter Caroline Kennedy, billionaire real estate developer Axel Stawski, and actress Drew Barrymore.
The most expensive home currently for sale here is an $18 million, eight-bedroom, 10.5-bathroom modern beach house designed by master architect Steven Harris. The 6,000-plus-square-foot home is situated on 1.3 acres and features floor-to-ceiling glass walls that emphasize indoor-outdoor living. Adding to the extravagance, the home comes with a heated pool plus spa, pool house, and spectacular views. For the eco-conscious, it offers solar panels, geothermal heat, radiant floor heating, and a generator.
Median list price: $6.1 million
Telluride has been called “the New Aspen” with an impressive roster of celebrities frequenting its slopes, including Tom Cruise, Oprah Winfrey, Kevin Costner, Jerry Seinfeld, and Bill Murray.
Set in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado’s southwest corner, 65 miles from the nearest major airport, it’s also considered one of the state’s best and most remote ski destinations, with a tranquility wealthy folks are willing to pay big bucks to preserve.
“Our county has 1,300 square miles and not one stoplight,” says Robert Stenhammer, a real estate agent with Telluride Real Estate Corp. Plus, “county zoning laws put a cap on our supply of [housing] inventory.”
Due to such restrictions—which work to curb massive commercial developments—Telluride will never become an overdeveloped tourist trap like other resorts, and that’s its selling point.
“We are and always will be a smaller boutique resort and historic town, which have fueled the surge in demand in our market,” Stenhammer explains.
Homebuyers looking to soak in the panorama of soaring peaks and cascading waterfalls would be in luck if they purchase this Telluride mansion currently listed for $23 million. This newly constructed home, boasting six bedrooms and 5.5 bathrooms, was formed by three horizontal glass pavilions wedged into the mountainside, making the most of the scenery right outside its doors.
Median list price: $5.5 million
With famous residents including swimmer Michael Phelps, boxing legend Muhammad Ali, and the Kellogg family, Paradise Valley is surrounded on three sides by stunning mountains (Mummy Mountain, Camelback, and Piestewa Peak) and enjoys an average of 294 sunny days a year. (The average for the rest of the country is 205.)
Warm weather, low taxes, and private and spacious lots (typically 1 acre or larger) all help explain why during the COVID-19 pandemic, this small town of 14,000 experienced a wave of millionaires from California and New York—both retirees and newly minted work-from-home folks—moving to Paradise Valley permanently.
“In the last 10 years or so, we’ve seen more people turn Paradise Valley into their primary home,” says Walt Danley, CEO and president of Walt Danley Christie’s International Real Estate. “Instead of just being snowbirds and coming here when it’s cold back home, this is home.”
Known as the quieter, more private option to nearby Scottsdale and Phoenix, with multiple golf courses, Paradise Valley offers buyers an architecturally diverse selection of homes rigged with amazing outdoor living spaces.
“You can drive down the street, and there will be a beautiful Santa Barbara right next to a glass and steel contemporary,” Danley says. “There’s a wide variety of beautiful homes.”
Danley’s most recent home to go into contingency is a grand Tuscan-style estate that sits on 4.27 acres with stunning views of the Camelback Mountain. Complete with a gated entry, the 15,736-square-foot home boasts seven bedrooms and 14 bathrooms and comes with a guesthouse and a casita. It was listed for $22.5 million.
Median list price: $5.4 million
Since leaving the White House, former President Donald Trump quickly picked up his bags and moved to his “Winter White House,” his exclusive Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach. Located on a barrier island separated by the Intracoastal Waterway, this playground for the rich and famous has seen its fair share of famous full-time and part-time residents, including Billy Joel, Howard Stern, Princess Alia Al Hussein of Jordan, John F. Kennedy, and more billionaires than you can count on both hands.
Luxury buyers are also flocking to Palm Beach to enjoy Florida’s lack of an income tax and lower-than-average property taxes. The market is so hot that the Trump family recently raised the price of an oceanfront mansion across the street from Mar-a-Lago from $49 million to $59 million. This eight-bedroom, 8.5-bathroom property on a 63-acre lot was once owned by Donald’s sister Maryanne Trump Barry, who then sold it to an entity connected to Donald’s son Eric Trump.
Median list price: $5.3 million
Another stunner separated by the Intracoastal Waterway although much farther north, the town of Stone Harbor is only three blocks wide, adding to its small-town charm. Stone Harbor makes up the southern portion of Seven Mile Island in Cape May County, and is a popular resort destination for beachgoers around the Mid-Atlantic region.
Famous denizens include singer Taylor Swift, who spent summers in Stone Harbor from the age of 2 to 14, calling it “a pretty magical place to grow up.”
The most expensive home for sale right now is a nearly $7 million showpiece that includes seven bedrooms and 7.5 bathrooms with a massive deck complete with ocean views. The 3,800-square-foot home features an interior and exterior sound system to enjoy on one of your five covered porches and sun decks. If a dip in the ocean isn’t your style, don’t worry, the home comes with an oversized, in-ground pool, complete with an outdoor kitchen and cabana.
Median list price: $5 million
Greenwich is to New York City as Atherton, CA, is to San Francisco and Silicon Valley: a serene, wealthy enclave where financial managers and corporate executives go to fulfill their need for space, privacy, and peace. Nicknamed “the Hedge Fund Capital,” Greenwich is under an hour away from the Big Apple, by train or car, for those who need easy access for work, restaurants, or a little 5th Avenue retail therapy.
Despite a new real estate tax that went into effect in 2020 imposing a 2.25% tariff on residential properties exceeding $2.5 million, buyers are not shying away from this town’s multimillion-dollar compounds. It has drawn some famous names over the years, including actress Glenn Close, director Ron Howard, puppeteer Jim Henson, singer Diana Ross, Goldman Sachs CEO John Weinberg, and IBM CEO Louis V. Gerstner Jr., among countless others. Plus, the pandemic fueled another wave, with thousands of New Yorkers moving to Connecticut between March and July 2020. Roughly 1,300 of them moved to Greenwich.
The most expensive house for sale in Greenwich right now is a $40 million, six-bedroom, 8.5-bathroom, French Normandy estate situated on a 27-acre lot. The home boasts an indoor pool, outdoor boathouse, gazebo, plus a professional Har-Tru tennis court, which means it’s made out of a billion-year-old metabasalt surface that never cracks and will last for as long as you’re able to play a match or three with your wealthy neighbors.
Median list price: $4.8 million
The small town of Vineyard Haven, in the vacation haven island of Martha’s Vineyard, has come a long way from its origins as a fishing village and bustling seaport. Today, the harbor is filled with private yachts and is within walking distance of the town’s cultural district famous for its art galleries and boutiques featuring local handcrafts.
Accessed by ferry (or helicopter if you’re so inclined), the town’s exclusivity and privacy are what keep the prices high and the rich and famous seeking their next vacation home on the island. The list of residents is a who’s who of the rich and famous. “Deadwood” creator David Milch sold his waterfront compound for $7 million in 2019. Actress Amy Brenneman and her husband, director Brad Silberling, paid $4.3 million for a five-bedroom waterfront home. Other famous residents include “60 Minutes” correspondent Mike Wallace, Pulitzer-winning writer Geraldine Brooks, singer Carly Simon, and news correspondent Diane Sawyer.
The median listing price in this 1.6-square-mile town is up 28% year over year, and in 2021 it boasted Massachusetts’ most expensive home for $30 million. The 10-acre property includes two separate homes and features 620 feet of private beach with views of the Elizabeth Islands. It was recently taken off the market in February 2022, but rest assured there are plenty of gorgeous alternatives.
Median list price: $4.3 million
It’s hard to believe you’re still in the United States when you live in the bucolic town of Kilauea, located on the pristine North Shore of the small tropical island of Kauai, HI.
Famous for its majestic ocean and mountain views, Kauai is also known as the least developed of the Hawaiian islands, with a remote location making it the ideal landing spot for celebrities and the uber-rich.
Famous inhabitants include NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and martial arts expert and actor Chuck Norris. But perhaps the most famous is Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who stirred up controversy when he began purchasing pieces of land in and around Kilauea starting in 2014. Today, Zuckerberg owns more than 700 acres of prime Kauai real estate with exclusive access to 2,500 feet of white sandy beach.
Yet so far, Zuck has not snapped up one 11,708-square-foot compound in Kilauea that was listed in 2017 and again in 2019 for $70 million, setting a record as Hawaii’s most expensive listing to date. While it didn’t sell and the listing was eventually removed, take heart: This lush 15-acre, Balinese-inspired masterpiece is available for rent for $14,000 a night during off-peak seasons and $20,000 a night during holidays.
Median list price: $4 million
There’s a reason why Ski Magazine dubbed Sun Valley the No. 1 ski destination in North America two years in a row. This affluent pocket of Idaho offers epic slopes, with an authentic Western experience and top-notch dining and shopping available in nearby Ketchum.
It’s what has made the Sun Valley area the seasonal home for celebrities and the uber-rich since American novelist Ernest Hemingway began visiting in the late 1930s. An avid outdoorsman, Hemingway fell in love with the natural landscape, famously completed his novel “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” and spent his final years here. Other famous residents have included actor and former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, actor Tom Hanks, and billionaire Warren Buffett.
If skiing isn’t your thing, Sun Valley is also known for its active arts community made up of over 30 different arts organizations, with many art galleries catering to the wealthy and discerning art collector.
“Given the quality of experience that the greater Sun Valley area provides, we have been undervalued for years compared to markets such as Telluride, Aspen, and Jackson Hole,” says real estate agent Nick Maricich, of Windemere Real Estate. “We’re just beginning to catch up.”
The most expensive property listed for sale in Sun Valley is an $11.8 million, five-bedroom, 7.5-bathroom luxury estate that incorporates natural stone elements. Bordered on all sides by open space, the 8.8-acre property offers total privacy and spectacular views.
“Given supply and demand factors, it would be surprising if prices didn’t continue to go up here, both in the luxury sector and in the middle-income sector,” Maricich adds. “Regardless of prices moving up or down nationally, I would expect Sun Valley to continue to climb the list of most expensive communities in the country.”