These are the 20 wealthiest towns in the US

isabella avenue atherton

20. Paradise Valley, Arizona — The town is close to Phoenix and is the hometown of the actors Emma Stone and Dick Van Dyke, with an average income of $300,521.

20. Paradise Valley, Arizona — The town is close to Phoenix and is the hometown of the actors Emma Stone and Dick Van Dyke, with an average income of $300,521.

19. Rumson, New Jersey — Rumson has shot up the rankings this year. The area climbed a staggering 19 places with an average income of $303,542.

19. Rumson, New Jersey — Rumson has shot up the rankings this year. The area climbed a staggering 19 places with an average income of $303,542.

18. Westport, Connecticut — Climbing one place this year, Westport is situated on the Long Island Sound and the state’s Gold Coast. It has an average income of $304,439.

18. Westport, Connecticut — Climbing one place this year, Westport is situated on the Long Island Sound and the state's Gold Coast. It has an average income of $304,439.

17. University Park, Texas — University Park, a suburb of Dallas, maintains its ranking from 2018. It’s home to Southern Methodist University and has an average income of $304,898.

17. University Park, Texas — University Park, a suburb of Dallas, maintains its ranking from 2018. It's home to Southern Methodist University and has an average income of $304,898.

16. Great Falls, Virginia — Within commuting distance of the District of Columbia, Great Falls is also — perhaps unsurprisingly — close to Great Falls Park with excellent views of the Potomac River. The town has fallen two places this year and has an average income of $309,599.

16. Great Falls, Virginia — Within commuting distance of the District of Columbia, Great Falls is also — perhaps unsurprisingly — close to Great Falls Park with excellent views of the Potomac River. The town has fallen two places this year and has an average income of $309,599.

15. Larchmont, New York — This coast-hugging town is in Westchester County and is home to the “Black Swan” event author Nicholas Nassim Taleb. Larchmont has risen nine places in this year’s ranking and has an average income of $313,586.

15. Larchmont, New York — This coast-hugging town is in Westchester County and is home to the

14. West University Place, Texas — Dropping three places in this year’s ranking to 14th place is West University Place, Texas. A suburb of nearby Houston, the town has an average income of $330,459.

14. West University Place, Texas — Dropping three places in this year's ranking to 14th place is West University Place, Texas. A suburb of nearby Houston, the town has an average income of $330,459.

13. Winnetka, Illinois — The setting of the much-loved Christmas movie “Home Alone,” Winnetka stays in 13th place in the 2019 rankings, with an average income of $331,231.

13. Winnetka, Illinois — The setting of the much-loved Christmas movie

12. Old Greenwich, Connecticut — Old Greenwich dropped five places in this year’s ranking, but the coastal town is still one of the richest places in the US. It has an average income of $336,692.

12. Old Greenwich, Connecticut — Old Greenwich dropped five places in this year's ranking, but the coastal town is still one of the richest places in the US. It has an average income of $336,692.
Village of Indian Hill is a suburb of nearby Cincinnati and has an average income of $338,267.
11. The Village of Indian Hill, Ohio — Located in Hamilton County, Ohio, the Village of Indian Hill is a suburb of nearby Cincinnati and has an average income of $338,267.

10. Glencoe, Illinois — Sat on the north shore of Chicago on Lake Michigan about 25 miles from the city is Glencoe. One of the biggest climbers in the rankings for 2019, after placing 15th last year, the town has an average income of $339,883.

10. Glencoe, Illinois — Sat on the north shore of Chicago on Lake Michigan about 25 miles from the city is Glencoe. One of the biggest climbers in the rankings for 2019, after placing 15th last year, the town has an average income of $339,883.

9. Bronxville, New York — About 15 miles from Manhattan, Bronxville has fallen a place in the 2019 rankings. The Westchester County town has an average income of $340,448.

9. Bronxville, New York — About 15 miles from Manhattan, Bronxville has fallen a place in the 2019 rankings. The Westchester County town has an average income of $340,448.

7. Highland Park, Texas — Just 4 miles north of downtown Dallas, Highland Park is an affluent suburb of the city with an average income of $358,994 for 2019. It’s also the hometown of Claire Underwood, the fictional president of the United States in “House of Cards.”

7. Highland Park, Texas — Just 4 miles north of downtown Dallas, Highland Park is an affluent suburb of the city with an average income of $358,994 for 2019. It's also the hometown of Claire Underwood, the fictional president of the United States in

6. Short Hills, New Jersey — Not far from New York City, Short Hills was pipped to fifth place by Hillsborough, California, in 2019. With an average income of $367,491, the town is the only representative from New Jersey in the top 10.

6. Short Hills, New Jersey — Not far from New York City, Short Hills was pipped to fifth place by Hillsborough, California, in 2019. With an average income of $367,491, the town is the only representative from New Jersey in the top 10.

5. Hillsborough, California — Climbing one place from last year is Hillsborough. With an average income of $373,128, the notoriously hilly neighborhood is only 17 miles from San Francisco.

5. Hillsborough, California — Climbing one place from last year is Hillsborough. With an average income of $373,128, the notoriously hilly neighborhood is only 17 miles from San Francisco.

4. Los Altos Hills, California — Located in Silicon Valley and home to tech giants such as the Google cofounder Sergey Brin and the Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Los Altos Hills has an average income of $386,174.

4. Los Altos Hills, California — Located in Silicon Valley and home to tech giants such as the Google cofounder Sergey Brin and the Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Los Altos Hills has an average income of $386,174.Getty

3. Cherry Hills Village, Colorado — The Denver suburb is home to former NFL quarterback John Elway. A short ride from some of the best skiing America has to offer, the town has an average income of $394,259.

3. Cherry Hills Village, Colorado — The Denver suburb is home to former NFL quarterback John Elway. A short ride from some of the best skiing America has to offer, the town has an average income of $394,259.

2. Scarsdale, New York — Just a short train ride from New York City, Scarsdale’s average annual household income is $417,335. Famous residents include Daniel Och, the founder of the hedge fund Och-Ziff Capital Management.

2. Scarsdale, New York — Just a short train ride from New York City, Scarsdale's average annual household income is $417,335. Famous residents include Daniel Och, the founder of the hedge fund Och-Ziff Capital Management.

1. Atherton, California — Home to tech executives such as Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg and Google’s Eric Schmidt and just a short ride from Palo Alto and San Francisco, Atherton has an average household income of a staggering $450,696. The town is No. 1 for the third year in a row.

1. Atherton, California — Home to tech executives such as Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg and Google's Eric Schmidt and just a short ride from Palo Alto and San Francisco, Atherton has an average household income of a staggering $450,696. The town is No. 1 for the third year in a row.

This Silicon Valley Suburb Snags Richest Spot in U.S. for Third Year

Atherton, CA

(Bloomberg) — Atherton, California, is America’s richest place for the third year in a row. Its residents made an average of $450,696 in 2017, a $7,293 increase from the prior year, according to the annual Bloomberg Richest Places index.

Billionaires who have called Atherton home include Google’s Eric Schmidt and Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg. Both Google and Facebook Inc. have headquarters within 10 miles of Atherton, which is nestled inside the nation’s tech hub dubbed “Silicon Valley.” Stanford University is just two miles down the road from the town.

Atherton Mayor Bill Widmer said the tree-lined streets and lot sizes of at least one acre offer the residents privacy.

“We value a semi-rural environment,” said Widmer, who moved to Atherton in 1996. “There are few sidewalks and many places don’t have street lights.”

Scarsdale, New York, a wealthy suburb north of Manhattan, moved up to the No. 2 spot on this year’s list as its residents enjoyed a $30,000 increase, on average, in annual household income from the prior year, pushing Cherry Hills Village, Colorado to the No. 3 spot. Top school districts are one reason why residents choose to live there.

“We moved here as many did because of the outstanding school system,” said Scarsdale Mayor Dan Hochvert, a 40-year resident. “That is one of the primary drivers.”

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION

Accessibility to a city center is also a key characteristic of all three. Just like Atherton is accessible to San Francisco and Scarsdale is a train’s ride away from New York City, Cherry Hills Village is a 15 to 20 minute drive to both Downtown Denver and the city’s tech center.

“It happens to be located kind of beautifully,” said Steve Blank, a managing broker at Sotheby’s International Realty in Denver.

Big wigs living in Cherry Hills Village include Super Bowl-winning quarterback Peyton Manning and Denver Broncos General Manager John Elway.

WEALTH CONCENTRATION

More than half of the top 100 richest places in America were either in the tri-state area — New York, New Jersey and Connecticut — or California. Still, a number of Midwest and Southwest areas made the cut and a handful even are in the top 20.

The bar to make it among the top 100 places was raised to $209,000 in annual income from $198,000 a year earlier. Four places made their top 100 debut this year including two in California: Tamalpais-Homestead Valley in Marin county and beach city Del Mar; Jericho in New York’s Long Island and Medina, Minnesota.

Wealth is further concentrated specifically in six counties: Westchester, Bergen and Fairfield counties outside of Manhattan, Cook county of Chicago, Los Angeles County and Montgomery county in Maryland, bordering Washington D.C..

Rounding out the top ten are Los Altos Hills and Hillsborough in California, Short Hills, New Jersey, Highland Park in Texas, Darien in Connecticut, Bronxville in New York and Glencoe, Illinois. Glencoe, a suburb seven miles north of Northwestern University, climbed five spots to land the last spot in the top 10 for the first time.

BIG MOVERS

Rumson, a wealthy corner of Monmouth County, New Jersey, ascended 19 spots into the top 20. It’s residents who commute to NYC can choose from two different ferry services that are within a 15 minute drive. Bernardsville, another New Jersey town, jumped 31 spots and the average income increased $30,000 to $231,336.

Florida moved down the exclusivity list. The same four places in Florida made the top 100 list but three of them ranked lower this year versus last. Indian River Shores, near Vero Beach, dropped out of the top 50 as the average annual income decreased by $20,000.

 

METHODOLOGY

Bloomberg evaluated inflation-adjusted household data for all U.S. “places”, as defined by the Census, with a minimum of 2,000 households and ranked them based on average household income. Nearly 6,250 met the criteria.

Average household income excluded households without any type of income. Displayed are the top 50.

Weekend Happenings Around The Bay Area Feb 8-11

 

SOLD: $7million…Robert Redford’s Wine Country Retreat In St. Helena, Calif.

*SOLD

Actor and director Robert Redford is listing his 10-acre wine country retreat in St. Helena, Calif. for $7.5 million.

Mr. Redford bought the 10-acre estate through a trust in 2004. He was attracted to the home’s European-style architecture and its setting, with views of Napa Valley, mature trees and hiking trails that lead to nearby Meadowood Resort, where he and his wife are members. “The property is very private, quiet and serene, yet just a 5-minute drive to the town of St. Helena,” he said in an email. “We have enjoyed both the solitude the home provides along with the close proximity to the Napa Valley and all that it has to offer.”

Called Danza del Sol, the property includes a 5,255-square-foot, three-bedroom, 3½-bath home that sits on a knoll at the end of a gated drive. Oak trees shade the terrace, and a path leads past roses to the pool which looks out at the rolling hills. Nearby is a hot tub and a vegetable garden with raised beds made of the same stone-retaining walls found throughout the property. “As soon as we moved to the home, we planted an orchard and enhanced the landscaping, which has matured and provides us with outdoor spaces to enjoy and connect with the natural surroundings,”

Mr. Redford and his wife, painter Sibylle Szaggars Redford, remodeled the home and built a 907-square-foot art studio with clear glass garage doors that open to a stone terrace. “I will miss my art studio, a place I designed and provided me with inspiration to create many paintings. I will also miss the trees, the garden, the pool and the organic warm feel of the house!,” Mrs. Redford wrote in an email. There is also a 500-square-foot workshop and a 960-square-foot detached garage.


 Steven Mavromihalis and Chuck Sawday of Pacific Union International have the listing.
 Actor and director Robert Redford is asking $7.5 million for his 10-acre estate in St. Helena, Calif., called Danza del Sol.
 Mr. Redford bought the wine country retreat in 2004. He was attracted to the home’s European-style architecture and the setting, with views of Napa Valley, mature trees and hiking trails that lead to the nearby Meadowood Resort, he wrote in an email.
 ‘The property is very private, quiet and serene, yet just a 5-minute drive to the town of Saint Helena. It sits above the historic and scenic Silverado Trail and is close to its many wineries and wonderful restaurants. We have enjoyed both the solitude the home provides along with the close proximity to the Napa Valley and all that it has to offer,’ wrote Mr. Redford.
 ‘It has been a great place to entertain our friends and family throughout the year: outside in the summer and fall, inside at the cozy dining area and living room by a fire in the winter,’ Mr. Redford wrote in an email.
 The 5,255-square-foot home sits on a knoll at the end of a gated drive.
 They converted part of the garage attached to the main house into a gym. There is also a detached garage.
 Oak trees shade the terrace.
 The pool has stone-retaining walls on one side, and the other side looks out at the rolling hills.
 Mr. Redford and his wife, painter Sibylle Szaggars Redford, remodeled the home.
 ‘I will miss my art studio, a place I designed and provided me with inspiration to create many paintings. I will also miss the trees, the garden, the pool and the organic warm feel of the house!,’ Mrs. Redford wrote in an email.
 The 907-square-foot art studio opens to a stone terrace.
Pacific Union International / Compass had the listing.
Mr. Redford and his wife, painter Sibylle Szaggars Redford, are selling because they have decided to move to the Bay Area ‘to be closer to family.’PHOTO: WIREIMAGE

The couple is selling because they have decided to move to the Bay Area “to be closer to family,” wrote Mr. Redford, 82. Mr. Redford won the Academy Award for best director for “Ordinary People” in 1981. His most recent film is “The Old Man & the Gun” which was released in September.

Form and Functionality In This Beach side Residence

 

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They selected architect Matthew Woodward and his team of Patrick Maitland, Nicholas Papas and John Deuchrass for the project.

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They wanted a functional and technologically advanced home for their young family that includes the parents plus one daughter and two sons.

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But they also wanted a home that not only meets their daily needs but also functions as a place for relaxation, rest and entertainment while taking full advantage of the views, the site and the lush nature around it.
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In addition, they wanted to future-proof their home to the extent possible. Matthew Woodward tells The Cool Hunter more about this: “The clients required a house that was ‘future proof’ in respect to allowing flexibility in spatial organisation, facilitating potential advances in electrical and audio visual technologies, solar improvements etc.”

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Woodward also says that this was not easy. “This was incredibly challenging given the nature of the build being exposed off form concrete construction, and containing large spans of glazing. You only have one chance to run services and cast them in place! Extra conduits were installed, redundancy in power capacity facilitated, and zones structured to allow for various modes of operation.” 

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 “Lots of diagrams, visual studies, and photomontages were produced throughout the design and construction process in order to review the impact of our decisions. It was very much a collaborative process with our clients as they were heavily involved in the decision making. I can’t recall how many iterations of the entry ‘portal’ were created and quickly discarded!” 

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Passive solar heating and cooling are now inherent within the design through careful site- responsive planning, considered location of openings, external shading devices and thermal mass. A rooftop solar array assists to offset electricity demand, and rainwater is harvested for use throughout the house and around the site.=The painstaking preparations and close collaboration with the client has produced a gorgeously harmonious home with an elegant, yet surprisingly compact overall appearance.

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Curved forms repeat in the staircase, railings, skylight and even furnishings. The house is completely void of distractions in terms of materials and colors. And the views from the home are the artwork that the residents will never regret emphasizing in their brief. 
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Possibly the most exquisite home ever offered for sale in San Francisco, yours for $45 Million

 

This $45 million San Francisco home could shatter the city’s real-estate record — take a look inside the gorgeous complex
If it sells at asking price, it will shatter the city’s current real-estate record of $38 million. Courtesy of Jacob Elliott

The compound features an infinity pool, six bedrooms, eight bathrooms, and a four-car garage.
San Francisco is notorious for its overpriced housing market— 60% of tech workers now say they can’t afford homes— and nowhere is that more evident than in a new $45 million listing in Russian Hill.The home straddles two hillside lots and has six bedrooms and eight bathrooms, in addition to an array of terraces and wellness features, including an infinity pool, a wellness center, and a Japanese water-filtration system.

 

Here’s a look inside the 950 Lombard compound:

The compound sits on over a third of an acre, which includes 100-year-old olive trees and an outdoor kitchen.

And includes a four-car garage, which is entered through a tunnel on the side of the hill.

The property takes up two lots and the home itself is a modern mix of concrete structures and bright, open spaces.


 

 


If it sells at asking price, 950 Lombard will become the most expensive home ever sold in San Francisco, displacing the current record-holder, which sold for $38 million in 2017.

For Sale: Inside look into Shaq’s $22 million Florida lakeside residence

 

shaq florida mansion
Shaq bought the home for a little less than $4 million in 1993.

The 12-bedroom, 35,000-square-foot house sits on three acres in the exclusive, gated golf community of Isleworth, which is about a 30 minute drive from Orlando.

O’Neal, who retired in 2011 after making more than $286 million over the course of his basketball careerbought the house in 1993 for a little less than $4 million, according to Realtor. He put it on the market in 2018 for $28 million and later dropped the price to $21.9 million.

The Florida home is in the exclusive Isleworth community, a 600-acre golf-club community bordering a lake that’s full of grand cypress and oak trees, and lavish estates.

Here’s a look at the mansion O’Neal is selling after 26 years.

Retired NBA star Shaquille O'Neal is selling his lakeside mansion in Windermere, Florida, for $22 million.
Shaq bought the house in 1993 for a little less than $4 million.

The house sits on the shores of Lake Butler, in exclusive Isleworth, a gated golf community about a 30-minute drive from Orlando.

The house sits on the shores of Lake Butler, in exclusive Isleworth, a gated golf community about a 30-minute drive from Orlando.
The house sits on nearly 700 feet of prime lake frontage.
The house sits on nearly 700 feet of prime lake frontage.
A private pier with two covered boat slips stretches out onto Lake Butler.
A private pier with two covered boat slips stretches out onto Lake Butler.
“Designed with lake views in mind, this unparalleled Isleworth Estate stands alone for its beauty, privacy, amenities and sheer scale,” the listing reads.
Built in 1990, the 12-bedroom home spans more than 35,000 square feet.
The grand foyer features a curved double grand staircase and polished marble floors.
It leads into the estate's two-story great room, which spans 1,170 square feet by itself.
The formal dining room can seat 16 people.
The home's master bedroom has a mirrored wall, a gilded ceiling, and expansive views of the lake.
The master bathroom suite is a bath lover's dream ...
... and it's bigger than many people's bedrooms.
The master suite also includes a spacious walk-in closet.
The home has a spacious chef's kitchen with professional appliances.
The soundproof home theater can seat at least 10.
The house includes its own cigar bar and lounge ...
... complete with a walk-in cigar humidor, plenty of wine storage ...
... and panoramic views of the lake.
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As you might expect from one of the most famous NBA players of all time, the house has its very own 6,000-square-foot indoor basketball court with the words
There's also a
... which has space for at least 17 cars.
The listing photos show a room full of memorabilia from Shaq's basketball career.
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The mansion also includes a recording studio ...
... and a game room.
Outside is a 95-foot-long swimming pool that’s 15 feet deep.
Outside is a 95-foot-long swimming pool that's 15 feet deep.

 

 

 

source: katie warren BI

The most expensive cities to live in around the world in 2019- Top 10 and number 6 may surprise you

 

San Jose California
San Jose, California is one of the most expensive places in the world to settle down.
 Sundry Photography/Shutterstock
  • The 15th Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey has revealed the most expensive cities to live in around the world.
  • The study looked at 309 housing markets in Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Ireland, New Zealand, Singapore, the UK, and the US.
  • It uses the “mean multiple” approach — the median house price divided by the median household income.

The most expensive cities to live in around the world in 2019 have been revealed in the 15th Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey.

The study analysed 309 housing markets (and 91 major markets with populations over a million) in eight countries — Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Ireland, New Zealand, Singapore, the UK, and the US.

To produce the ranking, it looked at data from the third quarter of 2018 using the “mean multiple” approach — the median house price divided by the median household income.

The survey shows that the most “severely unaffordable major housing markets” are currently in Australia, New Zealand, and China.

Scroll down to see the 10 most expensive cities to live in around the world in 2019, ranked my mean multiple in ascending order.

10. San Francisco, California, US — 8.8

10. San Francisco, California, US — 8.8

9. Auckland, New Zealand — 9.0

9. Auckland, New Zealand — 9.0

8. Tauranga-Western Bay of Plenty, New Zealand — 9.1

8. Tauranga-Western Bay of Plenty, New Zealand — 9.1

7. Los Angeles, California, US — 9.2

7. Los Angeles, California, US — 9.2

6. San Jose, California, US — 9.4

6. San Jose, California, US — 9.4Sundry Photography/Shutterstock

5. Santa Cruz, California, US — 9.6

5. Santa Cruz, California, US — 9.6

4. Melbourne, Australia — 9.7

4. Melbourne, Australia — 9.7kitsada wetchasart/Shutterstock

3. Sydney, Australia — 11.7

3. Sydney, Australia — 11.7

2. Vancouver, Canada — 12.6

2. Vancouver, Canada — 12.6

1. Hong Kong, China — 20.9

1. Hong Kong, China — 20.9

BAY AREA TO LAKE TAHOE CURRENT MARKET REPORT

For the most part, home price appreciation across the Northern California regions in which Compass operates was moderate in the fourth quarter of 2018 compared with the same period in 2017, with only single-family homes in the Lake Tahoe region posting a double-digit-percent gain. Prices were unchanged for single-family homes in Contra Costa County and San Francisco, while Sonoma County and Sonoma Valley saw annual depreciation. The other regions put up single-digit-percent year-over-year price increases.

Below, Pacific Union Chief Economist Selma Hepp offers a brief synopsis of fourth-quarter real estate activity in each of Compass’ Northern California regions. The accompanying links lead to the full report for each area, where you can access the latest regional and community-specific market data and statistics to help you make a better, more informed homebuying or selling decision.

Contra Costa County

Contra Costa County housing market activity in 2018 generally showed a slight improvement from the previous year, although fourth-quarter sales were disappointing there, as well as across the entire Bay Area. Sales were particularly slower for homes priced below $3 million, while activity for those over $3 million continued to show steady growth and almost doubled compared with last year’s fourth quarter.

At the same time, the inventory declines that persisted throughout the previous 15-plus months finally reversed in the fourth quarter, with most price ranges posting 10-plus-percent increases except for homes priced between $2 million and $3 million. Buyers of homes priced between $1 million and $2 million saw the largest increase in options compared with last year.

Despite more inventory, buyers took a step back in the fourth quarter and were much less likely to engage in bidding wars or pay more than the asking price than they were in the past. Buyer reluctance led to more price reductions, and three in 10 homes sold for less than asking price, up from two in 10 last year. The median sales price was unchanged from the fourth quarter of 2017.

Looking Forward: More inventory and less competition may draw some buyers back into the market, along with the relatively more favorable mortgage rates seen in recent weeks. Still, affordability challenges remain, as do concerns over the housing market’s direction, both of which are holding back potential buyers.

Click here to read the full Q4 2018 Contra Costa County real estate report.


East Bay

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While the East Bay‘s housing market activity in 2018 showed a slight overall increase from the year before, the final quarter ended with a slower pace of sales compared with last year. Nevertheless, while overall sales trended lower, sales of homes priced between $1 million to $2 million maintained their 2017 momentum, while all other Bay area regions saw a decline in that price range.

The East Bay also saw improved inventory compared with the fourth quarter of 2017, but mostly for homes priced below $2 million. Higher-priced inventory continued to trend below last year’s levels.

Despite more homes for sale, buyer fatigue settled in, and they were notably more reluctant to engage in bidding wars, leading to a decline in the number of homes that sold for more than asking price. As a result, sellers were more likely to reduce their asking prices, with three in 10 homes selling at a discount compared with only one in 10 homes last year. The pressure on median home price growth eased and returned to a normalized level.

Looking Forward: The East Bay benefits from access to transit and jobs, and the region’s relative affordability is reflected in the steady sales of homes priced between $1 million and $2 million. Nevertheless, a notable jump in mortgage rates in the second half of the year, as well as market uncertainty, may continue to create buyer caution.

Click here to read the full Q4 2018 East Bay real estate report.


Marin County

While 2018 home sales activity in Marin County generally maintained a steady momentum, the pace of sales slowed in the fourth quarter, with most price ranges posting fewer transactions than at the same time last year. However, sales of homes priced between $2 million and $3 million posted a solid gain compared with the fourth quarter of last year.

Meanwhile, the inventory of homes for sale finally showed a steady increase in the second half of the year, following a year and a half of annual declines. Most of the housing-supply gain was for homes priced below $2 million, although higher price ranges also showed improvement.

However, buyer trepidation intensified amid uncertain political and economic events, financial market volatility, and trade-war concerns. Buyers were far less likely to engage in bidding wars — particularly for more affordable homes — and paid slightly smaller premiums compared with the fourth quarter of last year. More sellers sold their homes below asking price, and although price reductions were more common than they were last year, Marin County sellers fared relatively well in that regard compared with some other Bay Area housing markets. Consequently, appreciation reversed from a rapid increase seen earlier in 2018, ending the year with median prices 9 percent above 2017.

Looking Forward: While the jump in mortgage rates early in 2018 and the aforementioned uncertainties held back some buyers, recent weeks showed favorable trends, which may help restore confidence.

Click here to read the full Q4 2018 Marin County real estate report.


Mid-Peninsula

The year 2018 was a wild ride for buyers and sellers in the Mid-Peninsula. While the year started with strong buyer competition, rapid price growth and a severe lack of inventory, the fourth quarter was characterized by a reversal of those trends, and sales activity slowed from the same time last year, particularly for homes priced below $2 million. Overall, 2018 sales were up slightly from 2017, with activity above $2 million driving most of the increase.

Inventory in the region also showed a solid year-over-year increase — mainly for homes priced below $3 million, while the inventory of higher-priced homes trended below last year’s fourth quarter.

Buyer sentiment, which started 2018 enthusiastically, changed in the middle of the year, leading to more price reductions and longer times on the market, particularly in the last quarter. Buyers were also less willing to engage in bidding wars, with five in 10 homes selling for premiums compared with seven in 10 last year. As a result, the double-digit-percent median price growth that marked the first half of the year normalized in the fourth quarter and returned to its long-term average.

Looking Forward: More inventory and less buyer competition may draw some house hunters back to the market, along with the relatively more favorable mortgage rates seen in recent weeks. Still, affordability challenges remain, as does buyer concern over the housing market’s direction, which could curtail activity in 2019.

Click here to read the full Q4 2018 Mid-Peninsula real estate report.


Napa County

While Napa County’s 2018 housing market activity improved from 2017, fourth-quarter sales slowed compared with the same period last year. Nevertheless, diminished overall activity was mostly due to notably fewer sales of homes priced between $1 million and $ 2 million, while lower-priced sales showed a relatively smaller decline and sales of homes above $2 million posted a solid increase. Napa County’s fourth-quarter decline in sales was relatively smaller than in any other Bay Area region.

Inventory improved in the fourth quarter following an extended period of no annual increase in the number of homes for sale. While inventory growth was widespread across price ranges, the supply of homes priced between $2 million and $3 million continued to trend lower. The number of homes for sale priced higher than $3 million showed a relatively higher increase than in the rest of the Bay Area.

However, buyer reluctance characterized the quarter, and shoppers were less willing to engage in bidding wars. Fewer homes sold for more than asking price compared with the same period last year, particularly homes priced below $2 million. As a result, sellers were also more likely to sell their homes below original price.

Looking Forward: Typical seasonal conditions, along with more market uncertainty, may hamper home sales in the first quarter. However, demand should remain steady, as Napa County’s relative affordability makes it attractive to Bay Area buyers, and the recent drop in mortgage rates may also help boost interest.

Click here to read the full Q4 2018 Napa County real estate report.


San Francisco

While San Francisco maintained housing-market momentum throughout 2018, with a total 9 percent increase in sales of single-family homes and condominiums compared with 2017, fourth-quarter activity slowed year over year. Slowing sales were widespread across price ranges except homes priced above $3 million, which continued to trend higher than last year.

At the same time, inventory improvements seen across the Bay Area were also evident in San Francisco, with more single-family homes and condominiums for sale compared with the fourth quarter of 2017.

Buyers remained more enthusiastic than elsewhere in the Bay Area, with both single-family homes and condominiums commanding premiums. In San Francisco, over half of homes sold for more than asking price, with single-family homes selling for average 12 percent premiums and condominiums selling for 5 percent premiums.

Even so, more sellers reduced their initial asking prices, leading to an increase in the number of homes that sold at a discount, from about 12 percent last year to 20 percent in the fourth quarter. Still, San Francisco saw fewer price reductions than elsewhere in the Bay Area.

Looking Forward: San Francisco homebuyers remain determined, brushing off financial-market volatility and other uncertainties. With recent improvements in mortgage rates and stock performance, buyers should continue to forge ahead in early 2019.

Click here to read the full Q4 2018 San Francisco single-family homes real estate report.

Click here to read the full Q4 2018 San Francisco condominiums real estate report.


Silicon Valley

Similar to other Bay Area regions, Silicon Valley‘s fourth-quarter housing market ended the year with fewer homes sold compared with the same period last year. Declines in sales activity were consistent across all price ranges. At the same time, while there were pockets of continued inventory decreases, Santa Clara and San Mateo counties saw relatively larger increases in the number of homes for sale than did other Bay Area regions, although most of the increases were in southern Santa Clara County and for lower-priced homes.

Still, the enthusiasm with which Silicon Valley buyers entered 2018 — and which drove bidding wars and median price growth at double-digit-percent rates — waned in the fourth quarter, as buyer fatigue set in. Buyers were notably less likely to engage in bidding wars, and the share of homes that sold for premiums decreased by half. Also, sellers were more likely to reduce their asking prices, particularly in areas with more-affordable homes. The rebalancing between buyers and sellers resulted in the normalization of median home price growth, which returned to historical averages and suggests a better equilibrium between buyers and sellers moving forward.

Looking Forward: The improved balance between buyers and sellers, along with moderating price growth, should help attract potential buyers despite concerns over financial and political uncertainties. Also, the improvement in mortgage rates and continued solid job growth should be solid drivers of demand in the following quarter.

Click here to read the full Q4 2018 Silicon Valley real estate report.


Sonoma County

The year 2018 in Sonoma County reflected a spirit of rebuilding, while fourth-quarter housing market activity was affected by similar buyer concerns as in other Bay Area regions. Sales activity declined in the fourth quarter compared with the last quarter of 2017, with the most notable drop for homes priced above $3 million and those priced between $1 million and $2 million. Sales of homes priced between $2 million and $3 million trended above last year.

In addition, inventory continued to climb in the fourth quarter, with the largest gain for homes priced below $1 million. However, despite more affordable inventory to choose from, buyers remained on the sidelines, weary from the rapid price growth seen at the beginning of the year. The bidding wars seen immediately following the October 2017 wildfires waned, and sellers were more likely to unload their homes at reduced prices, especially for more affordable homes, which saw a large increase in the share that sold at a discount, jumping from 15 percent in last year’s fourth quarter to 45 percent this year.

As a result of the rebalancing between buyers and sellers, the median sales prices declined slightly from the last quarter of last year, although the overall median price for 2018 was still 7 percent above 2017.

Looking Forward: Rebuilding efforts will continue to drive Sonoma County’s housing market, although more inventory and less market competition will help potential buyers who have been waiting in the wings.

Click here to read the full Q4 2018 Sonoma County real estate report.


Sonoma Valley

Fourth-quarter housing market activity in Sonoma Valley ended the year on a slower note compared with the same period last year — much like the rest of the Bay Area, with fewer home sales across all price ranges. Slower sales activity reflected a similar sentiment seen across the region, mostly concerns over financial uncertainty and higher mortgage rates.

However, unlike the rest of Sonoma County or other Bay Area regions, Sonoma Valley did not post an inventory gain in the fourth quarter, continuing the extended trend of year-over-year declines.

Buyer fatigue settled in after the strong growth in prices seen earlier in the year, and shoppers were less likely to engage in competitive bidding. As a result, sellers were more inclined to reduce their initial asking prices, leading to lower median home prices in the fourth quarter compared with the same period last year. Overall 2018 median prices, though, were still above 2017 levels.

Looking Forward: Sonoma Valley remains a favorable market for both primary homebuyers and second-home buyers due to its proximity to San Francisco and other Bay Area job centers. Higher mortgage rates may impact the median price, although it’s important to note than many Sonoma Valley luxury home sales are all-cash transactions, which bodes well for that segment. A lack of inventory and shaky consumer sentiment remain challenges to the overall market.

Click here to read the full Q4 2018 Sonoma Valley real estate report.


Lake Tahoe/Truckee

Much like in the Bay Area, fourth-quarter home sales activity in the Lake Tahoe region slowed compared with the same period last year. The decline in sales activity was twice as large for homes priced below $1 million than those priced higher than $1 million, possibly as buyers of lower-priced homes are more sensitive to the increases in mortgage rates that characterized the second half of 2018.

Nevertheless, Lake Tahoe’s housing market also continued to see declining inventory, unlike trends observed in the Bay Area. Diminishing inventory pushed the median sales price for single-family homes up by 12 percent from the fourth quarter of 2017 while condominium prices cooled slightly.

Buyers did, however, show some restraint as concerns over external factors — such as financial and economic uncertainty and political issues — strengthened in the fourth quarter.

Looking Forward: Activity in 2019 will reflect much of the consumer sentiment seen elsewhere in the region, and buyers may take longer to come to the table. However, the recent weeks’ declines in mortgage rates may help soothe any homebuyer hesitance.

Click here to read the full Q4 2018 Lake Tahoe/Truckee single-family homes real estate report.

Click here to read the full Q4 2018 Lake Tahoe/Truckee condominiums real estate report.

Bonkers $150,000,000.00 Million Dollar Bel-Air Estate Return To Market


Billionaire, a 38,000-square-foot spec house in Bel-Air, is back on the market for $150 million. (Berlyn Photography)
In Bel-Air, an extravagant mega-mansion doubling as a monument to opulence just got a whole lot cheaper. The spec house, which listed for a quarter of a billion in 2017, is back on the market for $150 million.

Once the nation’s priciest listing, the estate’s towering price tag has now been shaved twice. Developer Bruce Makowsky trimmed it last year to $188 million. With the latest price cut of $38 million, he’s just trying to be realistic.

“I don’t think anybody’s ready to spend $250 million on a house,” Makowsky said. “At $150 million, it gets opened up to a much wider audience.”

Dubbed Billionaire, the home has just about everything but a buyer. Across four stories and 38,000 square feet, there are 12 bedrooms, 21 bathrooms, five bars, three kitchens, a candy room, a 40-seat movie theater and a four-lane Louis Vuitton bowling alley.


Two wine cellars are stocked with Champagne, and an auto gallery is filled with a $30-million fleet of exotic cars and motorcycles — including a Bugatti, a vintage Allard and a custom Rolls-Royce. A Hobie Cat sailboat sits on a deck outside. A helicopter tops the roof.

The backyard is anchored by an 85-foot infinity-edge pool with a swim-up bar. In addition, there are 17,000 square feet of entertainment decks that take in 270-degree views from downtown to the ocean.

Should it sell for $150 million, it’ll be the most expensive home ever sold in Los Angeles County — by far. The current record belongs to an oceanfront property in Malibu’s Carbon Beach that hotelier Peter Morton sold last year for $110 million.

Makowsky said his offering is much nicer, but if the market dictates the most someone will pay, he wants to bring Billionaire down to a range where it can reasonably sell. That level of wealth exists, he said.

“People are spending $70 million on a private jet or $250 million on a yacht like it’s nothing,” he said. “Those aren’t their primary homes.”

He added that the $38-million price cut is an adjustment to the global market. As the dollar strengthened compared with the euro and the British pound over the last year, it boxed out potential international buyers — a market Makowsky hopes to attract.