Marin among 33 Bay Area cities with $2M-and-up home values – Marin Independent Journal

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The list of Bay Area cities where the typical home value tops $1 million is no longer remarkable — most qualify. The real badge of honor these days? The $2 million home club.

That status has been reached by 33 cities in the nine-county Bay Area, according to the Zillow real-estate data firm. The list includes a number of towns on the edges of the Bay Area that have seen home values climb as remote work has made them a more attractive option.

The “typical” home value, as defined by Zillow, is calculated by looking at the middle third of homes and then taking the average of those home values.

By that standard, Marin County has five communities on the list. Belvedere ranks fifth in the region at $4.45 million, according to the Zillow data. Ross is ninth at $3.89 million. Stinson Beach is 11th at $3.7 million. Tiburon is 16th at $3.04 million; Kentfield 17th at $2.71 million; and Larkspur 26th at $2.2 million.

A bicyclist rides by the post office in Ross, Calif. on Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018. (Alan Dep/Marin Independent Journal)
A bicyclist rides by the post office in Ross, Calif. on Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018. (Alan Dep/Marin Independent Journal)

Leading the region are Atherton in San Mateo County at $7.68 million; Los Altos Hills in Santa Clara County at $5.94 million; Hillsborough in San Mateo County at $5.31 million; and Los Altos in Santa Clara County at $4.47 million.

One of the newcomers to the list is Danville, a town of 43,000 south of Mount Diablo where the median price has risen to $2 million from $1.2 million in 2016.

Jennifer Youngblood’s parents bought a home in Danville in 1970. The price then was $37,500.

It’s in that same home where, 30 years later, Youngblood and her husband, John, raised their two children, now 18 and 21.

Plenty in the town has changed — the schools have been torn down and renovated as the population has nearly doubled. The hills where high schoolers would go cow tipping are now home to multi-million dollar mansions. The active train tracks Youngblood would walk along on her way to school have since been decommissioned and transformed into a 30-mile-long paved trail for hikers and bikers extending from Pleasanton to Martinez.

John and Jennifer Youngblood and their daughter Hope, 18, at their home in Danville, Calif., on Thursday, June 20, 2024. Youngblood has raised her family, including son Luke, 21, in the same house she grew up in. (Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group)
John and Jennifer Youngblood and their daughter Hope, 18, at their home in Danville, Calif., on Thursday, June 20, 2024. Youngblood has raised her family, including son Luke, 21, in the same house she grew up in. (Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group)

“I feel lucky that my parents made that investment so many years ago,” Youngblood said. “We’ve just watched the property values increase.”

Without her parents’ house, Youngblood isn’t sure she would have been able to afford the same quality of life in Danville. “If you’re not a dual-income household making at least $300,000, it’s off the table to live here,” she said.

Real estate agent Kevin Cox said prices skyrocketed during the pandemic as buyers sought out communities like Danville with larger lots, and paid less attention to commute times — to downtown San Francisco or San Jose from Danville, it’s a 45-minute drive without traffic. Among the cities on the list, Danville had one of the highest growth rates, with values jumping 7% in a year.

Another factor pushing up home values? “There’s not really any more places to build here,” Cox said.

Many of the towns in the $2 million club have retained their status as wealthy enclaves by making it nearly impossible to build there. Woodside, where the typical home is valued at $3.8 million, famously declared itself a mountain lion habitat to try to get out of a new state law that allows developers to build up to four dwellings on single-family lots.

In Lafayette, with a typical home value of $2 million, residents went to battle with a developer for 12 years over a 315-home development that had to clear two lawsuits, a ballot referendum and over 100 public hearings to move forward.

In Atherton, tech executives and venture capitalists and basketball star Steph Curry banded together to fight the city’s plan to add 348 new residences.

The number of cities with values over $2 million could soon get longer, too. The median price for single-family homes sold across the nine-county Bay Area was $1.46 million in May — the fourth straight month of price increases.

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