Morgan B Â rennan, Forbes Staff Â
I write about real estate markets, outrageous homes and cities.
The most expensive home listed for sale inÂ Manhattanâ€™s 10065 ZIP code hasnâ€™t even been built yet. On a vacant lot at 34 East 62nd Street, developer Janna Bullock is planning to build a six-level Modernist limestone townhouse designed by architect Preston Phillips. It will have a subterranean indoor pool, a glass-enclosed elevator and a waterfall-bedecked private courtyard â€” a townhouse with â€œno comparables,â€according to the $40 million listing. Except there are, and lots at that.
The pricey blueprint joins about two-dozen eight-figure single-family mansions that dot the tree-lined streets of this Upper East Side ZIP code, including anÂ over-the-top man caveÂ created by billionaireÂ Alexander Rovtthatâ€™s on the marketÂ for $21 million. The area, which runs east from Central Park past ritzy Park Avenue apartment houses to the East River, and north from 60th Street to 69th, is home to such plutocrats as David Rockefeller,Rupert Murdoch,Â Ronald Perelman,Â Robert BassÂ and Sumner Redstone. Add more than 50 condo units with price tags running to seven figures or higher, and the median asking price for homes in 10065 is $6.5 million. All those â€œcomparablesâ€ land the Upper East Side enclave in the top spot onÂ Forbesâ€™ annual list of the Most Expensive ZIP Codes.
This is the first time that a Big Apple neighborhood has topped our list.Â It pushed 2011â€™s priciest ZIP code, Alpine, N.J., 07620, to No. 2, followed in third place by another usual suspect: Atherton, Calif., 94027.
Alpine is a discreet New York City suburb where the median home price is $5.75 million, street addresses are regularly scrambled on GPS and residents include celebrities like Stevie Wonder and Sean â€œDiddyâ€ Combs. Atherton, a tony town in Silicon Valley, boasts a roster of billionaires including Eric Schmidt, Charles Schwab and Meg Whitman, who help sustain a median home price of $4.9 million.
Altos limited the search to ZIP codes where 10 or more residences were listed for sale, including short sales and bank-owned foreclosures on the market. Homes bundled into REO bulk sales were excluded. To smooth out any wrinkles caused by a weekâ€™s unusual activity (like, say, an expensive home coming to market in an area where luxury properties are rare), Altos used a rolling average for the 90-day period.We compiled our list with the help ofÂ Altos Research, a Mountainv View, Calif.-based company that tracks housing data. It pulled pricing information for more than 22,000 ZIP codes across the U.S. for June 28 to Sept. 28, drilling down to the 500 most expensive. Altos calculated the median asking price for single-family homes and condominiums, weighting the price based on the mix of local property types. We did not include co-ops (which may have pushed some of the fancier ZIP codes near Central Park in Manhattan lower on our list).
Since our list is based on asking prices rather than tax assessments, it may not be completely representative of the communities featured â€” for example, neighborhoods that have become swanky in the past few decades could contain pockets of longtime residents in more modest homes. Rather, our list is a snapshot of each marketâ€™s current activity. â€œIf you enter these markets as a buyer today, this is what you would experience,â€ says Michael Simonsen, chief executive of Altos Research, â€œand if you are going to sell, this is your competition.â€
In some cases a ZIP may appear more than once on our list if itâ€™s shared by two or more towns. For example, Los Altos Hills (No. 7) and Los Altos (No. 63) share 94022.
The main factor driving listing prices in Americaâ€™s most expensive ZIP codes this year is a lack of inventory. â€œIn general, across the board inventory is down by a third,â€ says Simonsen. In Northern California markets, levels are down even more dramatically.