News


Atherton tops most expensive real estate list

 

For the second year in a row, Atherton topped the list for most expensive residential real estate in the country, according to real estate website PropertyShark.

Atherton topped the list of the 100 priciest ZIP codes, with a median home sale price of $6.7 million in 2018. The town's median home sale price increased 35 percent from last year, when it was $4.95 million, according to PropertyShark.

Silicon Valley is home to 30 of the country’s priciest ZIP codes. The region has the highest concentration of expensive ZIP codes on PropertyShark's list, which was released Nov. 19.

Midpeninsula cities on the PropertyShark list

1 - Atherton 94027, $6.7 million median sale price

6 - Palo Alto 94301, $3.75 million

7 - Los Altos 94022, $3.5 million

8 - Portola Valley 94028, $3.3 million

9 - Los Altos 94024, $3.25 million

28 - Menlo Park 94025, $2.36 million

35 - Redwood City 94062, $2.15 million

50 - Mountain View 94041, $1.85 million

51 - Mountain View 94040, $1.84 million

66 - Mountain View 94043, $1.65 million

78 - Redwood City 94061, $1.57 million

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Comments

5 people like this
Posted by Confused
a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Dec 1, 2018 at 4:28 pm

I am shocked our neighbors to the north (Town of Woodside) is not on the list. Certainly surprising considering menlo Park, Mountain View, and RWC all made the list. Someone please explain why this is, or if the list is incorrect


4 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Dec 1, 2018 at 9:18 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

Confused:

who cares?


17 people like this
Posted by Confused
a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Dec 1, 2018 at 10:18 pm

Menlo vote

I was simply voicing a question I had out of curiosity and concern. No need to be hostile/rude


11 people like this
Posted by Tom
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Dec 2, 2018 at 8:30 am

Confused:

This list is for zip codes rather than town boundaries. The zip code for the majority of Woodside is 94062 and is shared with a portion of Redwood City. 94062 is ranked as #35 on this list and subsequently includes most of not all of Woodside even though it’s listed as Redwood City. Using zip codes as boundaries doesn’t always paint an accurate picture.


1 person likes this
Posted by Confused
a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Dec 2, 2018 at 8:58 am

Thanks Tom for the clarification. That makes a lot more sense now, and I agree that it’s misleading that the ZIP codes are attached to town names some of which are incorrect


11 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Dec 2, 2018 at 1:06 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Why is it that the Town with the most expensive real estate in the entire country does not have the funds in hand to build a new Town Center?


8 people like this
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of Atherton: other
on Dec 2, 2018 at 1:38 pm

I can think of a couple of possibilities:

1. Atherton residents aren't taxed enough. Yeah, that's it. Wait a second..my property tax bill is due in a few days. It's really high.

2. Atherton is over-spending its money elsewhere, such as on police salaries and pensions, and the police union is financing the election of candidates to decide what the pensions and salaries should be.

#2 sounds more like it.


8 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Dec 2, 2018 at 3:51 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

It is interesting to note that NONE of the five Atherton Town Council members have been elected to their current terms of office except by a vote by themselves.


Like this comment
Posted by Tom Turner
a resident of Portola Valley: Los Trancos Woods/Vista Verde
on Dec 3, 2018 at 12:16 pm

Tom Turner is a registered user.

How about Los Altos Hills. Zip 94022


Like this comment
Posted by Tom Turner
a resident of Portola Valley: Los Trancos Woods/Vista Verde
on Dec 3, 2018 at 12:17 pm

Tom Turner is a registered user.

How about Los Altos Hills. Zip code 94022


Like this comment
Posted by Tom Turner
a resident of Portola Valley: Los Trancos Woods/Vista Verde
on Dec 3, 2018 at 12:18 pm

Tom Turner is a registered user.

Tom Turner, Los altos Hills. How about us at zip code 94022


Like this comment
Posted by Atherton Resident
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Dec 3, 2018 at 12:45 pm

Atherton ranks #1 but has not drainage system, lacks funding for a library and city hall. I am unsure what my taxes pay for? Property tax on 2500 homes at an average of $6.7 million should be enough money to support basic infrastructure and MORE and still have a yearly balance on the books for a rainy day. The town continues to add taxes yet I see little improvement in and around the town services. What exactly are are my taxes being used for? Peter Carpenter maybe you can tell me, you seem to be an agitator and curious enough to find out ...


5 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Dec 3, 2018 at 12:53 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The only way for a California public agency to control its expenses and liabilities is to carefully limit the number of employees on its payroll. Each employee costs their salary plus their benefits plus the true annualized costs of their pension benefits.

Atherton has a first class police force but Atherton pays twice as much per capita for police services as does Woodside and three times as much per capita as does Portola Valley - both of whom contract with the Sheriff for police services.

The claim is that this is what the residents want - it would be interesting to put that issue on the ballot and see what happens.


Like this comment
Posted by Atherton Resident
a resident of Atherton: West of Alameda
on Dec 3, 2018 at 2:14 pm

Peter what is the fully loaded cost of the police department (salary, benefits, pension)?
I cannot imagine this single department is breaking the budget for the city. From speaking to a few of the officers over the years Atherton is cushy job and the last stop before retirement. Do we need so many officers to stop V's on bikes running stop signs?


30 people like this
Posted by It's a non-town
a resident of another community
on Dec 3, 2018 at 2:21 pm

No real community per say. Not even a grocery store(!) I guess if you want to live out some lonely years in a huge empty place surrounded by people rabid about sticking to themselves and not being involved, it's your kind of (non) town. We only lasted 5 years before we moved back to a community. It's a happier existence for us in general. Some may love it, but not for us.


3 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Dec 3, 2018 at 2:26 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Peter what is the fully loaded cost of the police department (salary, benefits, pension)?"

Great question to ask the Town Manager or the Town Council.

"I cannot imagine this single department is breaking the budget for the city."

The police budget is probably more than 50% of the total budget.


Like this comment
Posted by Hal Louchheim
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Dec 3, 2018 at 3:07 pm

I wonder what percentage of homes are have not bee resold since Prop 13 and still are taxed at an incredibly low rate... In short, the calculation is not: Property tax on 2500 homes at an average of $6.7 million.

(Full disclosure, I currently live across the Creek from Menlo Park into Santa Clara County.)


2 people like this
Posted by Public budget
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 3, 2018 at 3:09 pm

Atherton annual revenue 15.7M
- amount from property tax 9.98M
- 2500 residences
Which implies an average of $3999 in property tax per residence.
Call me naive, but that's not very much for the value of those homes.
I'm paying far more property tax than that, but I bought my home in the last decade.

Project expenditures 11M

The budget is worded in such a way I haven't yet found how much goes to Police, Fire, Schools, etc.
They did say Police have an increase of over 400K year-over-year, but doesn't say what that total is.

Maybe someone else can find it an explain?
Web Link


4 people like this
Posted by budget
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 3, 2018 at 3:19 pm

Annual expenditures

7.2M for Police
2.0M for Public Works
1.27M for Building dept
etc

39 total employees

So yes, 55% of spend goes to the Police.

And Property Taxes are really LOW for many people.

Of course no-one wants their taxes raised, but there comes a time when if you want things, you have to pay for them somehow.


8 people like this
Posted by Fun with numbers
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 3, 2018 at 3:24 pm

One more fun number for you.

If all the homes were being taxed at 1%, with an average value of $5million, then the town would be bringing in $125 million in property tax every year.

Thanks Prop 13.

Could build a new community center every year!

Atherton could have their own schools, rather than sending their kids to other locations.


4 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Dec 3, 2018 at 4:47 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Which implies an average of $3999 in property tax per residence."

The Town of Atherton receives 10.6% of the property taxes so the average tax payment is over $40,000.


3 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Dec 3, 2018 at 4:51 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Which implies an average of $3999 in property tax per residence."

The Town of Atherton receives 10.6% of the property taxes so the average tax payment is over $40,000.


5 people like this
Posted by Atherton Resident
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Dec 3, 2018 at 4:52 pm

Fixed this for you
Homes are being taxed at 1.0942 % average home price of $6.7 mil regardless of Prop 13 (Average home price per article - I dont have to explain average certainly)
General Tax Rate is 1%
So 2500 homes at an average of $6.7 mil = 167,500,000,00

Tax Breakdown
1% - General Tax Rate
.0018% Mid Pen Reg
.057%8 Las Lomitas Bond
.0365% Sequoia Union Hi
.0175% SM JR College Bond
1.1136 % Tax Total I just looked at my property tax bill since I just paid it.


Additional Taxes / Bond Measure
Las Lomitas School Special Tax
Storm Fee
Sequoia UHSD Maint
SFBRA Measure AA
SMC Mosquito Abatement District
West Bay Sanitation

Thats a far cry from $3999 per residence per one of the comments




5 people like this
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of Atherton: other
on Dec 3, 2018 at 5:21 pm

Posters here state it's Prop 13 leading to Atherton not having enough cash to pay for a town center, and not the police department taking over 80% of the budget.

But if it were Prop 13's fault, no town would have the money for a town center. Prop 13 is not unique to Atherton.

Try again.


Like this comment
Posted by Callie
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Dec 3, 2018 at 7:45 pm

Answer to Peter Carpenter’s question: A major reason that Atherton can’t afford a new town center is that the Town’s property taxpayers subsidize the MP Fire Protection Districts expenses for other parts of the fire district. The MPFPD receives more property tax revenue from Atherton property taxpayers than the Town itself does.

And there’s realistically nothing the Town can do about that.

Carpenter of course is well aware of this, so it puzzles me why he raises this rhetorical question. Maybe he’ll tell us what he proposes.


3 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Dec 3, 2018 at 8:02 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The Town's residents, who are not "belong" to the Town, pay more to the Federal government, the State, the County and the school districts than do other taxpayers who own less valuable properties.

The Town knows exactly what its revenues are and the Town chooses to spend those revenues all on its own - don't blame other better managed agencies for the Town's own decisions.


3 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Dec 3, 2018 at 8:42 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Callie -
How much more do Atherton residents pay in taxes to the Federal government than they receive in services from the Federal government?
How much more do Atherton residents pay in taxes to the State government than they receive in services from the State government??
How much more do Atherton residents pay in taxes to the County government than they receive in services from the County government?
How much more do Atherton residents pay in taxes to the school districts than they receive in services from the school districts?
How much has Atherton's failed attempt to steal revenues from the taxpayers of the Fire District cost the taxpayers?


5 people like this
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of Atherton: other
on Dec 3, 2018 at 9:20 pm

Peter, another red herring. Atherton isn't the only community paying into the MP fire district. All members of the MP fire district pay into it via property taxes. It isn't the only city subject to Prop 13. It is the only city that doesn't have money to build city offices. Those interested in why should focus on what's different about Atherton (extremely high cost of police), not what's the same (MPFD membership, Prop 13, etc.).


7 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Dec 3, 2018 at 9:58 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Peter, another red herring"

Correct. Most towns have a pond with goldfish but Atherton has a pond filled with red herrings. They toss one out whenever they need to distract, in a Trumpian fashion, from their latest difficulty. Can't fund a new Town Center - pull out a red herring from the pond and blame the Fire District.


Like this comment
Posted by County facts
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 4, 2018 at 1:10 pm

San Mateo county budget claims 20% of property taxes go back to the cities, though it doesn't list the specific distribution. Anyone have the specifics on how much property tax revenue is actually collected by the county for each city?

Prop 13 does limit tax payments to the value at time of purchase or forced assessment, so most residents are not paying 1% of the current value. In fact, most are probably paying the value as of 10+ years ago, which is a fraction of today's market value. So yes, prop 13 has a huge impact on tax revenue available to the city and county.

....A different red herring is to claim you are overtaxed, unless you bought in the last few years of crazy inflaction.


4 people like this
Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Dec 4, 2018 at 3:36 pm

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

Why hasn't anyone mentioned Sales Tax? How many Athertonians will be paying 9 3/4% sales tax in Redwood City thanks to Measures RR and W? A recount of Measure W would likely cut the tax by 1/2%. That would only take pocket change for most Athertonians, with a good chance of recouping that if successful. You've got 5 days after the final canvass of the vote to ask for a recount.


Like this comment
Posted by College of San Mateo
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Dec 5, 2018 at 9:00 am

These high prices mean high commissions, income opportunities for (hard- working) realty sales agents. New real estate Principles and RE Practice classes for San Mateo county ( and bay area) residents are signing up now at CSM. Open to everybody, CSM is one of our local non- profit, public community colleges. RE Principles 100 Tuesday nights, RE 110 Practice Wednesday nights. Fully accredited. 650/574-6165 Admissions to enroll today. (Class and licensure info: RealEstateCSM@gmail.com)


Like this comment
Posted by peninsula resident
a resident of Menlo-Atherton High School
on Dec 5, 2018 at 9:35 am

Callie wrote:
"The MPFPD receives more property tax revenue from Atherton property taxpayers than the Town itself does."

Peter Carpenter responded:
"How much more..."
"How much more..."
"How much more..."
"How much more..."
"How much more..."

Uh oh, now you've done it, you've riled up Peter by making a statement on fire department revenues that's grounded in reality. :)

(The new fire department buildings are very pretty, by the way).

In fairness, cities/fire dept/public schools/counties have no say on how much revenue they get from property taxes. But to also be fair, Prop 13 plays NO ROLE WHATSOEVER on how property tax revenue is doled out. So those of you who like to bash Prop 13 whenever a government agency has less money than they'd like, you're really displaying your ignorance in public view. Please get educated.

Atherton's issues with building a new town center are very straightforward:

1: Atherton gets virtually no revenue from sales taxes.

2: Atherton's revenue is lower than every nearby town except Woodside.

3: IMHO the scale of the town center is likely larger than the town can afford (in fairness, they're trying to consolidate the dilapidated 'portable' structures and avoid buying new ones to save money, in addition to replacing seismically unsafe buildings with a safe one. But the budget's the budget).

4: Construction costs have skyrocketed over the last 4+ years.

While I believe a new town center is vital, it may make sense for the town to wait for the next economic downturn (statistically speaking, it's likely not far off), at which point Atherton would have construction companies begging and competing for the business.


Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of Atherton: other
on Dec 5, 2018 at 10:13 am

peninsula resident, your comments make a lot of sense. In fairness, you need another numbered item about how Atherton spends far more per capita on police services than these other cities as well. That is, like it or not, a factor.

Regarding your excellent suggestion, I fear, however, the current council is going to plow ahead without regard to how the "smart" way to play this would be. They have too much ego invested in the project at this point.


4 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Dec 5, 2018 at 10:35 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The next time the Town goes out for bids they will probably get bids higher than the last time around even for a smaller project given the huge increase in demand for construction workers due to the huge number of homes, schools and businesses in the recent fires.

The window of opportunity for this project was four years ago (when the Fire District started the new Station 6 project) or after the current economic boom collapses.


2 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Dec 5, 2018 at 7:37 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" Please get educated."


Atherton residents pay far more taxes to the Federal government than they do to the Town of Atherton.

Atherton residents pay far more taxes to the State of California than they do to the Town of Atherton.

Atherton residents pay far more taxes to San Mateo County than they do to the Town of Atherton.

Atherton residents pay far more taxes to the school districts than they do to the Town of Atherton.

The Town of Atherton receives more property taxes per resident than does any other nearby town.


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