What is the Real Cost of Living in Atherton?

Atherton, a small town in the heart of Silicon Valley, is synonymous with luxury and exclusivity. Known for its affluent residents and high-end Atherton homes, the town presents a unique blend of suburban tranquility and upscale living. This article delves into the real cost of living in Atherton, offering insights for those considering making this prestigious locale their home.

Atherton Housing Market Dynamics

Atherton's housing market stands out not only in California but across the United States, with the median cost of homes reaching $7,571,414. This places Atherton homes among the most expensive in the nation. The town is characterized by large, single-family homes, and a high proportion of these homes have four or more bedrooms, more so than 98% of communities in America. Most of these homes (80.7%) are owner-occupied.

However, vacant housing is an issue, with 14.64% of the housing stock classified as vacant, as many foreign buyers simply “land bank” properties. Appreciation rates for homes in Atherton have been tracking above average for the last ten years. The cumulative appreciation rate over this period has been 101.24%, ranking in the top 30% nationwide. However, in the most recent year, Atherton's appreciation rate has been 0.22%, lower than most communities in America, with a quarterly rate showing a decrease of -0.63%, one of the lowest in the country. Despite this, Atherton's annual appreciation rate is higher than 70% of other cities and towns in California​​​​​​​​.

Broader Cost of Living Considerations

The BestPlaces Cost of Living Index for Atherton is 250, meaning the total cost of housing, food, child care, transportation, health care, taxes, and other necessities is 150% higher than the U.S. average, yet 66.8% lower than the average for California. A typical home in Atherton costs significantly more than the national and state averages.  To live comfortably in Atherton, a family requires a minimum annual income of $1,419,840. This figure highlights the substantial financial requirements for residing in this affluent area​​​​.

Luxury Lifestyle in Atherton

Atherton is renowned for its heritage trees, park-like settings, and picturesque streets. Each lot in Atherton is typically around one acre, adding to the community's serene and exclusive atmosphere. This environment has consistently ranked Atherton as one of the most sought-after and expensive addresses in the country. The town's proximity to downtown Menlo Park, Palo Alto, and Redwood City, along with its excellent private schools and community facilities like the Menlo Circus Club and Holbrook-Palmer Park, further enhance its appeal. Atherton has successfully preserved its charming character as a world apart, right in the heart of Silicon Valley​​​​​​.

Taxation in Atherton

Understanding the tax implications is crucial when considering the cost of living in Atherton. The average property tax rate in Atherton is 1.14%, which is slightly lower than the county average of 1.25%. The average homeowner in Atherton pays approximately $56,254 in property taxes, a significant amount compared to the county average of $11,405. These taxes contribute to the overall cost of living in Atherton and are an important consideration for potential homeowners and investors

Demographic Trends

Atherton's population trends provide additional context to its real estate market. In 2022, Atherton's population was 6,898, a 1.03% decrease from 2021. Over the past 20 years, the population has decreased by 265, with the highest population recorded in 2009 at 7,497. This trend indicates a decline in the population, with the highest number of residents in 2020 at 7,165 and the lowest in 2022 at 6,898​​​​​​​​.

Weighing the Cost Against the Lifestyle

Atherton offers a unique lifestyle that blends luxury with the serenity of suburban/rural living. While the cost of living is significantly higher than the national average, it is compensated by the quality of life, the prestige of the location, and the investment value of Atherton homes. Those considering a move to Atherton should weigh these factors carefully, taking into account their personal and financial circumstances.

Guidance from Marc Bryman

For those looking to navigate the complexities of the Atherton real estate market, expert guidance is essential. Marc Bryman, a seasoned real estate professional, offers in-depth knowledge and personalized services to help you make informed decisions about purchasing or selling property in Atherton. Contact Marc Bryman to explore your options and take the first step towards selling or existing or purchasing a new home in Atherton.

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Marc has been responsible for more than $900M in transactional and joint venture revenue since he began his real estate career in New York City in 1998. Work-Play-Live-Invest! Contact him today.

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