The Priciest Zip Codes to Live in This Year

Trista - November 27, 2021

Would you be able to guess the top priciest cities in the United States of America? Sure, you assume places like New York City and Hollywood will make the list. However, that just goes to show how badly you should enlighten yourself with this informative list. There are thousands of little towns across the nation, and some don’t share socio-economical issues with other tax brackets. Check out some of the most elite towns in the country according to Architectural Digest and Property Shark. Indeed, you know many of them come from obvious states like California but take a peek into what it is really like to live in the most costly zip codes in the USA. Please keep in mind some cities are so glamorous that there are multiple zip codes in one area that made the list. Although you might see Newport Beach a few times, different zip codes qualify on this elite list! Maybe you want to make these areas your residence one day — soon!


26. 10007 — Manhattan, New York County, New York

Surprisingly, only two zip codes in New York City made the top 25 priciest zip codes to live in. That is, based on the median sale price of a home. Not surprisingly, one of those two is in Manhattan’s financial district,. It is just steps away from the famous (or infamous) Wall Street. In the zip code of 10007 (which is only a few blocks, given the exceptionally high population density), people paid a median price of $3.125 million for a home. Keep in mind that most homes in Manhattan are not palatial. They are rather two- and three-bedroom apartments (if they are not studios fit for just one person.

Many people who work in the financial district of Manhattan commute from farther away. Sometimes they have a two-hour travel time just to get to work in the morning. Why? Because the living costs are so high. Those wealthy enough to live in the financial district almost certainly work in a high-level office inside one of the financial firms or the New York Stock Exchange that line Wall Street. It has an iconic statue of a golden bull to indicate the purpose of this prime strip of real estate. Following the Occupy Wall Street protests a decade ago, the artist added a young girl facing off with the bull to show that the strength of the financial firms is limited.


25. 95070 — Saratoga, Santa Clara County, California

Move over, New York City! Manhattan’s financial district seems to be getting replaced by areas around Silicon Valley as some of the most expensive places to live. This is not surprising, given the public disapproval of big banks and the growing importance of the tech industry. Many of the sites on this list are adjacent to Silicon Valley. These towns are desired places to live by some of t he top earners in high-ranking tech companies with headquarters. 95070, part of a small town in Silicon Valley known as Saratoga, has become affluent this year. In fact, it is so elite that people buying a home there paid a median price of $3.15 million.

Some places, such as New York City, have expensive real estate but sometimes average prices in consumer goods, such as groceries. (That is, if you go to the right grocery stores, of course). A 2018 study indicated that this prime piece of real estate by other measures is one of the most expensive places in the entire country. That makes the town not just costly in terms of real estate. Residents can expect to pay top dollar for just about everything. Saratoga has been named one of the most well-educated small towns in the country. Plus, over 70% of households in the entire town earn over $100,000 per year.


24. 21056 — Gibson Island, Anne Arundel County, Maryland

Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay evokes images of a quieter lifestyle. Here, you can paddle more than drive and take life at a much slower pace. Long home to fishers trying to eke out a living from the water, the area’s notoriety for tranquility and a more peaceful lifestyle has made it popular among wealthy people, as well. In 2021, people buying a home on Chesapeake’s Gibson Island, in the 21056 zip code, paid a median sale price of nearly $3.2 million. That is a pretty penny for that cherished waterfront property. This price reflects a dramatic rise over the previous year. Why? Because the median sale price for a home was $1.625 million just a few years back.

Many long-time residents of Chesapeake Bay have been priced out due to the area’s soaring popularity. There are still other locales where people with incomes closer to average can afford to live, work, and play. Perhaps when the tumultuous events of 2020 caused many people to relocate away from cities as they had time to contemplate their direction in life. Those who could afford headed to Gibson Island, causing property values to skyrocket. Others who can pay the price to live in the area have a near-endless supply of seafood. They have plenty of opportunities to get out on the water and enjoy nature at their own pace. And, of course, there is a near-palatial mansion.


23. 10013 — Manhattan, New York County, New York

The second New York City zip code to make the list of most expensive places in the country to buy a home was 10013. This rich zip code is part of the affluent neighborhood of Tribeca. People hoping to buy a piece of New York real estate in this corner of Manhattan paid a median price of over $3.2 million in 2021. It is the site of the Tribeca Film Festival — indeed a claim to fame in its own right. However, Tribeca is part of the culturally diverse and artistically active area known as Greenwich Village. Residents of Tribeca have virtually limitless opportunities. They can easily get to their Manhattan offices and mingle among some of the best artists in the country.

Many residents do not even need to go to the office, as they are artists who can afford to live in this hot spot. Greenwich Village never lacks visitors, whether tourists from other parts of the country (or from the different parts of the world) or residents of New York City and the surrounding areas. They want to stop to enjoy the artistic vibe. Sure, Broadway near Times Square is where the most select theatres are located. However, many theatres in Greenwich Village regularly hold shows of similar quality. There are museums and cultural events throughout the year. That includes the Tribeca Film Festival. Let’s not forget to mention it has some of the best restaurants in the country.


22. 90272 — Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California

Many of the places on this list are in California. Why? It possibly reflects a trend in which wealth has been moving away from the Northeast and out West, towards Silicon Valley and, of course, Hollywood. Los Angeles has a dual reputation. One side features a long history of traffic gridlock and air pollution that occasionally turns into the dreaded smog. Double that with extreme poverty, high levels of drug use, and gang activity. On the other side is the glitz and glamour. LA has world-class beaches frequented by A-list celebrities. You can catch famous faces who work in Hollywood and are regularly featured in supermarket tabloids.

The wealthiest zip codes in Los Angeles reflect the later, glammed-up version of the city. The median sale price of a home in the 90272 zip code at a mind-boggling $3.25 million in 2021. This zip code is part of the prestigious Pacific Palisades area. It is located 20 miles from downtown and a much quieter, secluded area than the bustling (and sometimes gritty) areas. That is where people with more average incomes live. Pacific Palisades is full of celebrities looking for a more private lifestyle than they can find in places like Beverly Hills. Why? Because the paparazzi have little access to this exclusive neighborhood.


21. 90265 — Malibu, Los Angeles County, California

Malibu, also part of the Greater Los Angeles Metropolitan Area, is home to world-class beaches. You can probably find these infamous beaches on television shows and movies. Malibu is a town with fewer than 15,000 residents and is located about 30 miles from downtown Los Angeles, making it an ideal location for the area’s high earners to retreat to a coastal enclave. In 2021, people who bought a home in Malibu’s 90265 zip code paid a median price of $3.25 million. Just imagine what the monthly payments would be, including interest, if that figure was rounded out to a 30-year mortgage! However, the people who can afford these homes don’t generally need traditional mortgages. You know, like the rest of us.

In addition to Barbie and Ken (who live in their Malibu Mansion), the town of Malibu is home to many Hollywood celebrities. They can enjoy unlimited access to the area’s 27-mile stretch of scenic beaches. In fact, the city of Malibu is basically a strip. Most residents live within a few hundred yards of the Pacific Coast Highway. It runs right through the area. There is little surprise that the town is not more rounded out, given that the primary reason people flock to this corner of Los Angeles County is the beaches. Most people live within walking distance to the water. Visitors to the area are likely to catch a glimpse of celebrities who live there.


20. 92661 — Newport Beach, Orange County, California

Orange County is part of the Greater Los Angeles Metropolitan Area. Newport Beach is one of the wealthiest enclaves of Orange County. Three zip codes from this town of about 85,000 made the list of the priciest zip codes for 2021. Homes in the 92661 zip code come in at a median sale price of just over $3.92 million. The area was not always as wealthy as it is today, as Newport Beach was once home to numerous maritime industries that attracted blue-collar workers. Today, though, the waterfront is almost exclusively used for recreation — and apparently, residents pay top dollar for that access.

Today, pretty much the only maritime jobs in the area are those that support the recreational pastimes of this area, such as running the ferries that go to the outlying islands or taking people on whale-watching tours farther out. Catalina Island is a popular place to take day trips, and the area is a popular destination for swimming, surfing, parasailing, and other beachfront activities. Residents enjoy the warm Mediterranean climate, but be forewarned if you plan on heading to Newport Beach: sunscreen is a must, as UV levels can hit maximal levels during the summer months.


19. 92657 — Newport Beach, Orange County, California

Another super pricey zip code in 2021 was also in Newport Beach, with homes in 92657 coming in at a median sale price of $3.365 million. This zip code includes the area of Crystal Cove, a state park with 180 bird species and miles of beaches. This coastal city is, of course, popular for swimming because of the gorgeous beaches that stay sunny throughout most of the year. The historical Newport Harbor used to support maritime industry, but now the area is a recreation haven. Balboa Island is also in Newport Beach, and draws many tourists. Residents and visitors alike can enjoy the natural beauty of this area alongside the proximity to downtown Los Angeles.

Newport Beach is located right next to Laguna Beach, another ritzy and popular coastal area. From 2004 until 2006, MTV followed around young teens in Laguna Beach to create a reality show about rich kids, and their overall lifestyle in the rich coastal city in California. Are you amazed by these pricey zip codes? Keep reading for more expensive zip codes only the super rich can afford as an address.


18. 92067 — Rancho Santa Fe, San Diego County, California

This next item on the list of priciest zip codes in 2021 is also in California. However, it is in neither Los Angeles nor Silicon Valley. Rancho Santa Fe is a census-designated area in the San Diego Metropolitan Area. It has a population that hasn’t gone far above 3000. Almost entirely residential with just a few shopping centers, residents of Rancho Santa Fe enjoy the easy access to San Diego. There is also the solitude of living in what is essentially a giant gated community. In 2021, homes in the 92067 zip code of Rancho Santa Fe cost a median price of just under $3.4 million.

With easy access to the bustling city of San Diego, residents of Rancho Santa Fe (also known as The Ranch) can enjoy the world-class beaches. Not only that but they can enjoy the charming old downtown, numerous universities, and cultural institutions. They can also hop across the border to Mexico. Alternatively, visitors can get on an Amtrak train to go to LA within just two to three hours, or anywhere up the Pacific Coastline within a day. And, of course, with the ability to afford homes that are well into the millions, you can guarantee that the residents of Rancho Santa Fe will be traveling business class.


17. 94028 — Portola Valley, San Mateo County, California

Portola Valley is a small town in Silicon Valley, near San Francisco, with only about 4000 people. Most of the residents are the elite of the tech companies that power the area’s economy. The area’s geography would certainly dissuade many people from buying a house there. Why? Because it is bisected by the notorious San Andreas Fault. This fault is responsible for the significant earthquakes in California. Yet some people are willing to live dangerously. Not only that, but they pay top dollar to live in this exclusive area. The median home price for the 94028 zip code in 2021 coming in at a whopping $3.4 million.

As with so many of the other zip codes on this list, 94028 is part of a small town adjacent to a major economic center. Residents have the opportunity to come home to a palatial mansion after working in their Silicon Valley offices. Alternatively, especially following the upheaval of 2020, many are probably working from their home offices instead of commuting every day. Visitors may enjoy a pleasant one-day visit to Portola Valley. As they travel through the San Francisco area, they can enjoy hiking the expansive trail network. Plus, visitors love touring the historic Old West buildings that are now national landmarks.


16. 94970 — Stinson Beach, Marin County, California

Most beaches in the San Francisco area are rocky, beautiful to look at, but not particularly appealing for someone who wants to sunbathe or get into the water. Stinson Beach, about 30 minutes from the Golden Gate Bridge, is fronted by a sandy beach (one of the cleanest in the entire state), near the Muir Woods National Monument and Muir Beach. Hiking trails from the small town go all the way to San Francisco. No wonder this coastal town of just 632 people is a favorite spot among the elite of Silicon Valley. In 2021, the median sale price of a home was $3.5 million!

The town has a temperate climate, with winter temperatures averaging in the forties and fifties and summer temperatures maxing out in the upper seventies. Of course, climate change has been upending the predictable weather patterns that many Californians have long enjoyed. Other environmental crises — including drought and coastal erosion — are also concerns for residents of this seaside town. Still, given that many of Stinson Beach’s residents work in the tech industry, they can undoubtedly help pioneer solutions to make their own companies more sustainable. Not only that but to promote ways of ending our dependence on the fossil fuels driving climate change. Will you ever live in any of these fancy zip codes?


15. 92662 — Newport Beach, Orange County, California

Yes, we already discussed Newport Beach. However, the zip code of 92662 is also part of Newport Beach, the third zip code in the city to make the list of most expensive places in the country. 92662 is part of Balboa Island, an exceptionally wealthy spit of land off of the mainland of Newport Beach. The island was originally a field of mud surrounded by swamps, but dredging removed millions of tons of silt to make the area suitable for habitation and modern development. Today, it is surrounded by a concrete boardwalk and walking trail and is accessible by ferry, driving over a bridge, or walking across a public dock.

In 2021, the median sale price for a home on Balboa Island came in at $3.57 million. These figures mean people living there are only accessible to the ultra-wealthy of the Los Angeles area. Yet there is a caveat — Balboa Island has a very high population density, with 3000 residents on just 0.2 square miles of land. Most homes are built on tiny lots, with the average size just 30 feet by 85 feet. Further driving up the cost of property on the island is the fact that some lots are being doubled up and sold as a pair so that people can build a large home and still have a yard.


14. 90742 — Huntington Beach, Orange County, California

Just the name Huntington Beach, a city of about 200,000 in the Greater Los Angeles Metropolitan Area, bespeaks a thriving surfer culture, and for good reason. The city is flanked by a stretch of beach that is 9.5 miles long. Furthermore, the waves that draw in surfers are enhanced by the way ocean currents move around nearby Catalina Island. The waves are consistent enough for surfers to hit them throughout the year, giving Huntington Beach the nickname “Surf City.” There are areas of Huntington Beach that are more affordable to middle-class families. Nevertheless, the 90742 zip code is one of the most expensive in the country. In 2021, the median sale price of a home was $3.625 million.

Quite understandably, Huntington Beach has the draw of a surf-friendly beach and easy access to Los Angeles, with downtown being just 35 miles away. The city is also investing in making the downtown area more pedestrian-friendly, which will bring in more visitors who enjoy revitalized downtowns. The town has long been supported by oil. However, in October 2021, an oil spill leaked over 120,000 gallons of oil. It led to miles of the beach being closed off. The environmental impact of the oil industry, especially following the oil spill, may cause property values to dip. Yet, the 90742 zip code may remain in a bubble whose affluence alone keeps it from popping.


13. 11976 — Water Mill, Suffolk County, New York

Few places on the East Coast made the list in 2021. However, Water Mill, a town in New York, was one of them. This historic town of just 1600 people sits on Long Island. It boasts the first water mill in New York, built in 1644 and giving the city its name. In fact, the town is full of historic features, including a town green (common to towns in New England that were founded during the colonial era) that features an old windmill. Additionally, the town has exquisite beaches and easy access to New York City. That means it a popular destination for A-list celebrities. Jennifer Lopez and Richard Gere ring a bell? They are just a few who have owned property or taken trips to visit Water Mill.

In a historic town full of old farms, beachfront views, and mega-mansions, you can expect that homes cost top dollar. In 2021, homes in Water Mill — which has just one zip code, 11976 — sold for a median price of $3.745 million. For people who work in Water Mill, as opposed to the rich and famous who earn their money elsewhere, the income level is relatively modest, with the median income for a dual-income family coming in at just $84,272. That amount is certainly enough for a comfortable, middle-class lifestyle unless you live somewhere with insanely high property values. Keep reading to discover more rich zip codes.


12. 94301 — Palo Alto, Santa Clara County, California

Palo Alto, part of the San Francisco Bay Area, was founded by Leland Stanford, who also founded Stanford University. Stanford was meant to be an Ivy League school on the West Coast, comparable to the elite schools on the East Coast such as Yale, Dartmouth, Harvard, and Duke. Today, Stanford regularly churns out tech gurus who earn high incomes at companies in Silicon Valley. Part of Stanford is located in Palo Alto, and the city of 65,000 is one of the most well-educated in the entire country. Many of its residents work for Hewlett-Packard, Tesla, Skype, Ford Research and Innovation Center, or any tech companies headquartered there.

In addition, Palo Alto was the incubator of other major tech companies. That includes Google, Apple, Facebook, Pinterest, Logitech, PayPal, and Intuit. The city is undoubtedly a necessary stop for tech geeks visiting Silicon Valley. Besides, the area also has many environmental features that visitors and residents can enjoy. Of course, living in Palo Alto comes at a price. The median sale price of a home in the 94301 zip code going for $3.8 million. Without a significant scholarship, broke college kids trying to put themselves through the prestigious Stanford University may need to get creative about finding a place to live. They might have to commute from a different location. College students can always try to find a part-time job at Google.


11. 94024 — Los Altos, Santa Clara County, California

Los Altos has long been at the heart of the tech industry and central to the growth of the companies that call Silicon Valley home. If the name “Los Altos” rings a bell for Apple lovers, there is a good reason — Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak built the first 50 Apple computers in a garage there. Moreover, there is reason to appreciate Los Altos for Facebook fans, as in 2004, Judy Fusco rented a home there to Mark Zuckerberg. At “Casa Facebook,” he and his associates grew Facebook from a paltry following to 200,000 to 2.5 million.

Los Altos today is a beautifully manicured town outside of San Francisco. It serves as a commuter location for some of the wealthiest people in Silicon Valley. The population is around 30,000. That means it is enough to function like a small city in its own right. However, Los Altos is more a neighborhood than a city. The town has very few economic opportunities itself. Why? Because strict zoning laws prohibit commercial development in all but a very few locations. Residents have to pay for the luxuries of Los Altos, as the median sale price of a home in 2021 in the zip code 94024 was $3.85 million.


10. 98039 — Medina, Kings County, Washington

Medina is a wealthy residential enclave that sits just across the water from Seattle, home to tech giants such as Microsoft. In fact, Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft and one of the wealthiest people in the world, has a home in Medina; the median sale price of homes in the elite 98039 zip code was a whopping four million dollars in 2021. The town has only about 3000 residents, and given the whopping property values and proximity to tech powerhouses, it is a leader in high-tech security. Medina is patrolled by 24-hour security cameras that take a picture of every license plate entering the town limits, and the data is stored for 60 days.

Given the high security of Medina, visitors to Seattle may not be too inclined to stop by and see if Bill Gates is home. Still, residents of Medina have plenty to enjoy, as Seattle is home to the original Starbucks (perfect for coffee lovers!) and historic shopping districts. However, it also has theatres and world-class outdoor recreation. People who can afford to live in this super-elite zip code have the best of everything. They can enjoy one of the country’s premier cities and then head home to one of the most secure and private places in the world.


9. 94022 — Los Altos, Santa Clara County, California

Here we are still in California. And yes, this zip code is in Santa Clara County, still — and even Los Altos! Like we said, some of these ritzy counties have more than one zip code in the same town that made this list. You know that a small town is luxurious when it has a population of 30,000 and has two zip codes in the top 25 for the country. If you are searching for affordable zip codes, these are not it.

The zip code 94022 had a median sale price of homes in 2021 that was upwards of four million dollars. Just do a quick Google search of this zip code and you will see that realtor sites shoot out homes for millions and millions of dollars. Four mill was just the median price — you can easily find one for double or triple that rate. Keep reading for more of the priciest zip codes in 2021. And let’s be honest, most of these zip codes were the priciest last year, and will remain the same for the next several.


8. 90402 — Santa Monica, Los Angeles County, California

Nothing says the LA dream life quite like Santa Monica, a seafront town on the outskirts of Los Angeles full of celebrities and the site of multiple movies and television shows. One of the zip codes in Santa Monica, 90402, is one of the wealthiest in the country, with the median home price coming in at just over $4 million in 2021. The town may be a natural hotspot for celebrities, as it has beachfront access with one of the most famous boardwalks in the world while being a short distance to Hollywood. The town also has a favorable climate, with temperatures averaging in the sixties and seventies year-round (though temperature spikes are not uncommon) and very few rainy days.

Given environmental challenges associated with sea-level rise and beach erosion, the city of Santa Monica is at the forefront of developing sustainable solutions to help mitigate the effects of climate change. The city plans to be carbon neutral by 2050. Furthermore, it aims to divert 95% of all waste away from landfills (in favor of recycling and composting) by 2030. To reduce one of the biggest challenges that plague LA — stalled traffic that results in a thick layer of smog — the city has invested in developing bicycle infrastructure, which helps reduce the number of cars on the road. Despite all of these positives, there are dozens of gangs that are active in Santa Monica.


7. 93108 — Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara County, California

Santa Barbara is a small city, with fewer than 90,000 people recorded in the 2020 census. Yet, it has something for everyone. The University of California at Santa Barbara is a renowned research university. There are also several smaller liberal arts colleges. Historic sites dating back to before California became part of the United States. Modern cultural institutions have plenty to offer. An Amtrak line provides easy access to sites up and down the California coast. It runs from San Diego to Los Angeles to San Francisco and beyond. However, anyone who wants to move to Santa Barbara, including college students who wish to attend one of the city’s universities, better be prepared to pay.

The zip code 93108 is one of the priciest in the United States, with the median home price coming in at $4.1 million in 2021. This enclave is part of an area known as Montecito, which is home to numerous celebrities. The city has a thriving and diverse economy for the 99% who can’t afford to live in Montecito, with many tech, aerospace, and defense companies having operations there. Not only that, but the universities, tourist industry, and the government provide other employment. Residents do not lack employment opportunities or recreation, be that from the natural mountains and beaches surrounding the city or from the manufactured cultural institutions.


6. 90210 — Beverly Hills, Los Angeles County, California

The very zip code 90210 evokes glitz and posh style, given that it is the name of a television show about the rich and famous. Moreover, before 90210, the Clampetts family of country bumpkins struck black gold and became the Beverly Hillbillies. Beverly Hills is a city in Los Angeles County home to many celebrities, as it is right next door to Hollywood. Furthermore, the city has a median home sale price to match its glitzy resume, at $4.125 million. Surprisingly, this number is a decrease of over a million dollars from 2020.

Beverly Hills is quite hilly. However, most residents live out in an area known as “the flats,” from which they have expansive views of the landscape. This prime piece of real estate may be far out of reach for all but the top 1% of the top 1%,. Yet, tourists routinely stop in Beverly Hills with star-studded eyes, hoping to catch a glimpse of celebrities. The neighboring areas of Bel-Air and Holmby Hills, combined with Beverly Hills, form Los Angeles’ “Platinum Triangle.” Many tourists visit LA to see this rich and famous area — and the rich and celebrities that call it home. Continue reading to learn about the top five most expensive zip codes in America.


5. 33109 — Miami Beach, Miami-Dade County, Florida

Miami Beach, a resort enclave of Greater Miami, is located on barrier islands that are both natural and manufactured. This rich zip code has been one of the most sought-after beach resorts in the country for over a century. Despite the large population of Miami, the wealthy town of Miami Beach is just shy of 90,000. That means it is more of a small town with the skyscrapers and infrastructure of a big city. The median home price in Miami Beach skyrocketed 66% over the previous year to hit $4.475 million, owing to a combination of historic architecture and modern jet travel. In turn, that has enabled millions of tourists to visit the beaches of South Florida every year.

One of the most sought-after neighborhoods of Miami Beach is the Art Deco Historic District. It is on the National Register of Historic Places for having the most Art Deco architecture throughout the world. When tourists began flocking to Miami Beach, city developers began bulldozing the historic Art Deco buildings. They were hoping to replace them with high rises that would attract more tourists. A preservation effort in the 1970s led to the remaining Art Deco buildings being preserved. Now many tourists flock to Miami Beach to visit the district. Will Smith did not mention the Art Deco buildings in his 90s rap about Miami. Nevertheless, they are worth visiting.


4. 94957 — Ross, Marin County, California

Are you searching for affordable zip codes? This is isn’t one of them! Ross is a small town on the northern outskirts of San Francisco. It is home to many of the wealthiest people in Silicon Valley. The town has only about 3000 residents. They enjoy the small-town feel alongside proximity to San Francisco and the prestigious offices of Silicon Valley. The median home price to upwards of $3.7 million. There may not be many attractions in Ross — besides its charming tree-lined streets and beautiful views — to draw tourists. However, San Francisco does not lack cultural institutions and fun places to visit. There are also redwood forests, beautiful coastlines, and fun beaches a couple of hours away.

San Francisco is one of the cities with something for everybody. It has world-class museums, some of the finest restaurants in the country, and fantastic architecture that has no equal. Those who want to see a live show can visit the Palace of Fine Arts Theatre. People traveling with children (or who are young at heart!) can head to the Walt Disney Family Museum. There are cable cars and historical tours for exploring the bustling downtown area. Do you want a break from the cityscape? This rich zip code has miles of hiking trails that go through woods and hug the coastline.


3. 11962 — Sagaponack, Suffolk County, New York

Sagaponack is a small village on New York’s Long Island, with a population that barely tops 300. Yet, it has some of the highest property values in the country, with the median selling price of a home at a whopping five million dollars in 2021. Colonists first settled this tiny enclave in 1653 but, due to its small size, did not incorporate it until 2005. The renowned Sag Harbor is just to the north, and the similarity in the names Sagaponack and Sag Harbor is not a coincidence. The original Native Americans who inhabited the area were known as the Shinnecock, and the name Sagaponack (abbreviated Sag) is Shinnecock for “land of the big ground nuts.”

The proximity to New York City, combined with the tranquility of remote areas of Long Island, has long drawn well-known writers and businesspeople to Sagaponack, driving up the property values. Yet despite the affluence — or perhaps because of it, as high property values mean long-time residents can easily get driven out — the median income for Sagaponack is relatively low, at only $54,048 for an individual and $78,707 for a family. There are even some people who live below the poverty line. Residents of Sagaponack enjoy easy access to the beaches of Long Island, which are facing erosion due to climate change and other environmental concerns.


2. 02199 — Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts

Back Bay is the most prestigious neighborhood in the historic city of Boston. People specifically built it to house the city’s socialites in the late 1800s. The community is lined with brownstone townhouses. It contains the tallest skyscraper in Boston. Have you ever heard of the John Hancock Tower? How about the culturally significant Boston Public Library? Wealthy shoppers flock to the affluent Newbury Street fashion district. The area is famous for its breathtaking view of the Charles River. Anyone wondering where the area’s architecture stems from needs to look no further than Boston Architectural College, located in Back Bay.

In 2021, the median sale price of a home in the 02199 zip code of Back Bay was $5.5 million. This price is second only to the wealthiest zip code of Silicon Valley. The super-elite who choose to make this neighborhood their home have plenty of historic buildings to enjoy. That includes Trinity Church, which has been named one of the finest buildings in the entire country. There is also the Old South Church. They have easy access to the best that Boston has to offer. Residents are close to Harvard College, the Massachusetts State House, and landmarks from the Revolutionary era. Did we mention transit to New York City is just a couple of hours?


1. 94027 — Atherton, San Mateo County, California

With a population that barely touches 7000, this small town in California regularly tops the list of most expensive zip codes and the highest per-capita income in the United States. Moreover, Atherton is famous for precisely that reason — that it is so wealthy. The average pay is over half a million dollars, and mansions regularly sell well into the millions. In 2021, the median sale price for a home was $7,475,000. Recently, the famous basketball player Stephen Curry bought a 10,000-square-foot mansion in Atherton for $31 million. The limited number of homes in this area constantly drives the price up, similar to a real-estate bubble, but maybe not exactly.

Atherton is just a 20-minute drive from some of the most prestigious offices in Silicon Valley, including Google and Facebook. This proximity makes Atherton one of the most desired places to live among the top executives at these companies. They have the comfort and security of a small town, some of the best-funded public schools in the country for their kids to attend, and the opportunity to mingle with others whose incomes are in the stratosphere constantly. This small enclave in San Mateo County will likely remain a favorite among the wealthiest people in the country for the foreseeable future. Are you surprised by these costly zip codes?