Forbes 500 Most Expensive Zip Codes

October 12, 2011

by Mike Simonsen


Forbes 500

Forbes 500 most expensive zips.

The 2011 Forbes 500 is out!  Each year we work with our friends at Forbes to help them compile the most expensive real estate markets. Forbes likes their lists.

They come to Altos, because we can pull the data together, and Forbes has a particular way they like to run the methodology. For example, for this list we blend together condos and single family homes into one “price.” The benefit of this approach is that it gives a view of a super-high-end luxury markets that have lower-price condos that you could get into. The ski towns in particular fit this description. Because there are some cheaper condos available in Aspen, it slides down the list a bit. The downside of this approach is that if you go into Aspen with only $2.5 million to spend on your ski house and you don’t want a condo, you’re going to be disappointed with your selection.

I’m happy with how this year’s list turned out and with the reporting by Morgan Brennan over at Forbes. Check it out and see where your neighborhood lands!

See the Forbes 500 Luxury Real Estate Markets.



Minerva October 14, 2011 at 3:23 am

Wow, Forbes is a very credible source and being one of its sources is really great for Altos! And what makes the zip codes of these available and for sale houses really expensive is the neighborhood that surrounds it also. :D Those are really big names!

madhaus at burbed November 8, 2011 at 12:31 pm

We did a Northern California treatment of the Forbes list on Burbed. So far there are two articles (Top 50 in N Cal and 51-100 in N Cal). This Sunday we will run our third entry in the series, N Cal zips 101-200. Our readers couldn't be more thrilled (that's sarcasm).

There are a number of problems with the Forbes detail (closeup on each zip) data, they seriously screwed the pooch with it. I am going to assume that's Forbes' error, not Altos Research. The data in the big tables appears reasonable, but the detail data has every single DOM (Days on Market) field as 200, and every single Inventory field as what should have been Days on Market.

There are zips on the list that should have had an asterisk, at least, because the data were based on extremely few sales. In particular, I call your attention to Big Sur, based on exactly one sale for the entire year. I found this out because I added a comparison to last year's rankings in my articles and couldn't find several of the zips for both years. Some of these are big cities that shouldn't have disappeared, though. Has the methodology changed between 2010 and 2011? I suspect your adding condos to the mix might have mixed things up quite a bit and dropped condo-heavy areas down a lot in favor of suburbs that discourage them. There is also an issue with zips shared by multiple entities. Many such places are missing this year.

Guess Forbes isn't as credible as we thought since they're so indifferent to their bad results they don't even want comments unless you register with them and don't provide another way to communicate.

Here is the link to read all articles in this series, both this year and last year:

If there's anything I surmised incorrectly about how you produced your data for Forbes let me know and I will correct the articles.

madhaus at burbed November 10, 2011 at 4:00 pm

Thanks, Mike. I am curious why so many zips are MIA this year. Where is Piedmont? Are they SOL for splitting the zip with Oakland? Like Duarte (the surprise #1 last year, completely missing from the list now), there is no sign of the very high-priced enclave of Piedmont (completely surrounded by the mostly low-priced City of Oakland. Please look at the newer article (last Sunday) for the list of missing zips from 1-100 in NoCal. There will be more added in this Sunday's entry.

Thanks for your note on active inventory versus closed sales. If you spend some time reading Burbed, you'll find we have a special place in our hearts for sellers who are convinced there's a buyer out there who will pay their asking price, no matter how delusional it is.

Grant Freer November 25, 2011 at 2:49 am

Hi Mike,
Its an interesting list for sure, but looking at South Florida luxury real estate markets in particular, especially the Island of Palm Beach, Boca Raton zip codes and Delray Beach, some of the data must have got lost in the translation as it gravitated its way over to Forbes – for example, it is misleading to suggest that there has been no median price change percentage when those of us on the ground are seeing things quite differently. Furthermore, if you take a detailed look at zip code 33432 in Boca Raton for example, the numbers really do need to be examined on a property type basis as well and not simply on a general level.

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