What $5 Million Will Get You in the California Housing Market – GOBankingRates

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Californians know just how expensive it is to buy a home in their state. 


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As of Nov. 30, 2023, the typical home value in the Golden State was $746,055, compared to a national value of $346,048. It’s remarkable to recognize that the value of California is more than double the price of the country as a whole. 

Still, the state has a disparity in price from city to city. Which California areas have the priciest typical home value? GOBankingRates found the 20 most expensive home markets in California, according to Zillow’s November 2023 data. Leading the list of 20 are Atherton ($7.3 million typical home value), Beverly Hills ($5.5 million), Los Altos Hills ($5.1 million), Montecito ($5.1 million) and Hillsborough ($5 million). 

While we’re California dreamin’, let’s go all out and see what $5 million can buy in the state. GOBankingRates identified some homes currently for sale in the $4.5 million to $5 million range, and here’s a sampling to give you a look at the amenities and luxuries that come with a mega-priced property. 

Beverly Hills

  • List Price: $4,995,000
  • Year Built: 1954
  • Square Feet: 3,322
  • Lot Size: 0.42 acres
  • Price Per Square Foot: $1,504

What You Get: This California mid-century modernist home in the Coldwater Canyon area includes four bedrooms, four bathrooms, a circular driveway, a two-car garage with a workshop and a swimming pool nestled in a park-like setting with older trees. The property underwent a major renovation about 20 years ago while maintaining its original appeal. This home was last offered for sale in 2001. The property taxes come to nearly $60,000 per year.

Los Altos Hills

  • List Price: $4,950,000
  • Year Built: 1964
  • Square Feet: 3,411
  • Lot Size: 1.02 acres
  • Price Per Square Foot: $1,451

What You Get: Los Altos Hills sits about 20 miles from super-expensive San Jose, but this community is even pricier, with a typical home value of more than $5.1 million in 2023. This home offers five bedrooms and three bathrooms, all on a single story, with a formal dining room and enclosed sunroom overlooking the pool – great for entertaining. Your guests can make themselves at home in the detached accessory dwelling unit. It has its own bedroom, bathroom, and living room. Mature trees give the property a private setting. The large driveway and three-car garage provide ample parking. Plan on property taxes of about $60,000 annually. 

Montecito

  • List Price: $4,995,000
  • Year Built: 1980
  • Square Feet: 4,269
  • Lot Size: 1.08 acres
  • Price Per Square Foot: $1,170

What You Get: The Montecito area of Santa Barbara County is a home for entertainment royalty – mogul Oprah Winfrey and multiple Daytime Emmy-winner Ellen DeGeneres live there – and British royalty. Prince Harry, his wife Meghan Markle, and their two children also reside in Montecito, where the prices are fit for a king. Homes above $10 million are not uncommon, and some estates also sell for $30 million – or more. This more modestly priced five-bedroom, four-bathroom property has a classic Spanish design, from the tiles to the archways, and it sits on a lot with spectacular mountain views. One of those bedrooms and one of the bathrooms are located in the guest house. Wander along the walking paths, jump in the pool, or head to the nearby beach. Property taxes run just over $62,000 a year. 

Hidden Hills

  • List Price: $4,997,000
  • Year Built: 1977
  • Square Feet: 2,458
  • Lot Size: 1.31 acres
  • Price Per Square Foot: $2,033

What You Get: Montecito doesn’t have the market cornered on celebrities. Madonna, Justin Bieber, Drake, a bevy of pro athletes and members of the extended Kardashian-Jenner clan are among the people who at one time, at least, lived in tiny Hidden Hills, which is just 1.7 square miles, according to Forbes.[x] For just under $5 million, you can buy this four-bedroom, three-bathroom, single-story ranch home in the gated Hidden Hills community. It’s been freshly painted, with the bright walls giving you a blank canvas for decorating touches. Outside, the recently upgraded paver driveway leads to a two-car garage and a private backyard with a barbecue area, dining patio and pool. The shared community area includes pickleball, tennis courts, and horse trails. Add about $58,500 per year for property taxes.

Rancho Santa Fe

  • List Price: $4,995,000
  • Year Built: 1994
  • Square Feet: 5,623
  • Lot Size: 1.94 acres
  • Price Per Square Foot: $888

What You Get: Rancho Santa Fe once was part of a Mexican land grant in the fertile agricultural region of San Diego County. The community is inland, about seven miles from the beach, and many homes sit on larger lots. This five-bedroom, six-bathroom home is a gated and fully fenced estate with a resort-style backyard, complete with a pool, spa and summer kitchen with bar seating. The home is perfect for entertaining, with a chef’s kitchen and a family room with a bar and veranda. Guests can stay over in a private, lower-level suite with a kitchenette. Property taxes, as with other featured properties on the list, are almost $60,000 per year.

Monte Sereno

  • List Price: $4,995,000
  • Year Built: 2023
  • Square Feet: 3,900
  • Lot Size: 0.26 acres
  • Price Per Square Foot: $1,281

What You Get: This is your chance to buy a new-construction home with this open-concept property just blocks from downtown Los Gatos. The home has four bedrooms and four bathrooms spread over a 3,100-square-foot single-level main floor and an 800-square-foot private apartment downstairs. The 18-foot ceilings give the main level a grand feel, and the home sits on a private cul-de-sac. Property taxes run about $61,000 per year.

Malibu

  • List Price: $4,995,000
  • Year Built: 1971
  • Square Feet: 4,189
  • Lot Size: 1 acre
  • Price Per Square Foot: $1,192

What You Get: If Malibu is good enough for celebrities such as Julia Roberts, Leonardo DiCaprio and Lady Gaga – all of whom have called the area home, according to Velvet Ropes – then it’s worth a look with your $5 million budget. What will you get for that amount? This house is a four-bedroom, four-bathroom contemporary property in the gated exclusive Ramirez Canyon area. The expansive glass windows provide a view of the natural surroundings, including the ocean, from the upstairs primary suite. The property is divided into two buildings, one with the main house and the other with a bonus room and bathroom. Outdoors, you’ll find two patios and the property is a mile from the beach. If you want to head there, use the underground tunnel access to Paradise Cove Beach. Expect to pay about $58,500 for property taxes.

Newport Beach

What You Get: Newport Beach is one of the gems of Orange County, and this home in the city’s Cliff Haven neighborhood sparkles. The six-bedroom, five-bathroom home was updated in 2019 with additions such as wide-plank oak floors and custom built-ins. The gourmet kitchen boasts chef’s appliances, a walk-in pantry, and a wine refrigerator. Outside, the smaller lot has a pool/spa combination as well as a 315-square-foot guest house. One of the fun features of this property is the rooftop deck with views of the bay and Pacific Ocean. Property taxes add about $53,500 a year to your expenses. 

Woodside

  • List Price: $4,890,000
  • Year Built: 1995]
  • Square Feet: 8,150
  • ]Lot Size: 2.90 acres]
  • Price Per Square Foot: $600

What You Get: This custom home has five bedrooms, five bathrooms and plenty of space for a big family to roam inside and out. Everything is outsized, from the three fireplaces to the three-car garage to the nearly three acres of land. Raising horses on the property is permitted. Add about $55,000 annually for property taxes.

Saratoga

  • List Price: $4,998,000
  • Year Built: 1973
  • Square Feet: 4,522
  • Lot Size: 1.09 acres
  • Price Per Square Foot: $1,105

What You Get: Start with four bedrooms and five bathrooms for this estate in Saratoga, located in Silicon Valley. It’s close to downtown Saratoga, as well as hiking and biking trails. The open-concept home has a chef’s kitchen and a junior suite to complement the primary suite. The large grounds offer a gazebo and a basketball court. Property taxes top $60,000 a year. 

Palo Alto

What You Get: The front porch welcomes you to this five-bedroom, five-bathroom home, located in a top school district and just a few miles from Stanford University. A chef’s kitchen, an office/bedroom, a formal living room, and a great room occupy the main level, as does an en suite bedroom with a private entrance. Pick fresh fruit from the trees in the yard or relax under the covered patio. You’ll pay just over $60,000 in property taxes.

Methodology: For this piece, GOBankingRates found the 20 most expensive home markets in California, according to Zillow’s November 2023 data. With these cities isolated, GOBankingRates then searched Zillow and Redfin to find all homes currently for sale in the $4.5 million to $5 million range. All data was collected and is up to date as of Dec. 13, 2023

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