Sitting along gorgeous forested hills, covered with magnificent estates, Atherton is highly coveted for those three factors always hot in real estate: location, location, location. Just 30 miles south of San Francisco and less than 20 minutes away from the headquarters of Google, Facebook and most of the other major tech companies in Silicon valley, it’s not surprising that Atherton was featured in the 2016 Forbes list of most expensive zip codes, placing third, after winning the top spot just two years prior.
Market data and statistics
Single Family Homes
|Number of Sales||70||76||101|
|Average Days on Market||75||52||57|
|Average Sales Price||$8,276,192||$7,227,000||$5,474,454|
|Median Sales Price||$6,002,500||$5,950,000||$4,435,000|
|Median Price Per Sqft||$1423||$1201||$1096|
|% of List Price Received||98%||101%||102%|
|Number of Sales||1||0||1|
|Average Days on Market||8||17|
|Average Sales Price||$1,250,000||$885,000|
|Median Sales Price||$1,250,000||$885,000|
|Median Price Per Sqft||$603||$427|
|% of List Price Received||115%||104%|
Atherton was first incorporated as a town on September 12, 1923. Atherton was originally known as Fair Oaks and was used as a stop on the California Coast Line of the Southern Pacific Railroad between San Jose and San Francisco. This stop served as a convenience for the owners of the large estates who lived just north of Menlo Park. As with the majority of the San Mateo peninsula, this land was part of the Rancho de Las Pulgas, a Spanish land grant. The new town was named Atherton to honor Faxon D. Atherton, a trader from Massachusetts who spent several years in Hawaii and Chile. Thomas Lark, his friend and business associate, had written to him that “there is education available for your children and a dignity of living on landed estates down the San Francisco peninsula that is convenient and accessible.” In 1860, Atherton purchased 640 acres for $10 per acre, and he eventually built his home, “Valparaiso Park.”
Atherton has been noted for its early famous occupants and landowners. Early landowners of these large estates include former mayor of San Francisco Thomas H. Selby, John T. Doyle, James C. Flood, Joseph A. Donohoe, and James Thomas Watkins. The government was established with Edward E. Eyre acting as the first mayor. Early residents of Atherton wanted a town that would be divided into large parcels and would not contain any businesses to maintain a sense of seclusion. As the large estates were subdivided, remnants of early Atherton were preserved by maintaining a minimum of a one-acre lot size.
Atherton remains as a celebrity living area and is the primary residence of prominent businesspeople such as Meg Whitman of HP, Eric Schmidt of Google, and Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook. The Town of Atherton is considered to be among the most prestigious places to live in the world, with the median sales price just over $6,000,000 in 2016. Rated the third most expensive zip code in the United States in the 2016 Forbes rankings. Atherton residents have the privilege of living in a peaceful community adorned with trees lined streets and estate like residences.