A Guide to Bay Area Real Estate

The San Francisco Bay Area is known for its iconic Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars, thriving tech economy, and an overall sense of community. However, while the city itself has a lot to offer tourists and residents alike— San Francisco real estate garners a hefty price tag.

Because San Francisco real estate is so exclusive, determining which Bay Area community is right for your lifestyle will be crucial to enjoying your real estate for years to come. Below is everything you need to know if you’re looking for Palo Alto real estate, Los Altos Hills real estate, San Carlos homes for sale, or houses for sale in Redwood City.

Palo Alto

Photo courtesy of City of Palo Alto

Palo Alto is a charter city located in the northwestern corner of the Bay Area. Established in 1894, the city now boasts a population of over 68,000 residents. Since Palo Alto is one of the principal cities of Silicon Valley, it’s well known as one of the most expensive zip codes in the United States. The city’s residents are among the most educated and highest earning in the entire country.

Palo Alto real estate is currently in a seller’s market, which means homes are in high demand, and there’s not enough to go around. Because of this, houses typically spend just 38 days on the market, and they sell, on average, about 3.5% above the asking price. Since the median list price is around $3.1 million, you can expect to pay around $3.5 million for a home.

Los Altos Hills

Known for its affluence and wealth, Los Altos Hills is a gorgeous Bay Area community that is known as one of the most affluent towns in the nation. Residents of this city typically earn a median household income of around $244,000 per year—about four times higher than the statewide median income. Notable names in the tech community call Los Altos Hills home, including Google CEO Sundar Pichai. The city is strictly residential, with no retail shops or commercial buildings. To maintain the town’s deliberate rural feel, each home is required to sit on at least one acre of land.

Despite its expensive cost of living, Los Altos Hills real estate is deep within a seller’s market, with houses spending just 35 days on the market. Homes in this area are selling about 17.3% above the asking price, which means you can expect to pay around $5.9 million for a house.

San Carlos

San Carlos is a Bay Area community located in San Mateo County. Named after the first ship to sail into the San Francisco Bay back in 1769, San Carlos offers a dense suburban feel. The city currently has a population of around 30,000 residents and offers plenty of parks, coffee shops, and restaurants.

San Carlos real estate is booming, with prices up 21.8% compared to last year. Houses in this community spend anywhere from 8-34 days on the market. San Carlos homes for sale are selling well above the asking price, typically around 9.6%. Since the median list price is around $2.2 million, you can expect to pay around $2.7 million for San Carlos homes for sale.

Redwood City

Photo Courtesy of KQED

Redwood City is located on the San Francisco Peninsula and directly south from San Francisco. It’s home to several major technology companies, including Electronic Arts, Oracle, and Evernote. The city currently boasts a population of over 84,000 residents.

Redwood City houses for sale typically spend around 35 days on the market. These houses, which are trending up 16.7% year-over-year, are selling for about 9% above asking. With a median list price of $1.7 million, you can expect to pay around $2.1 million for a home.


Woodside is a small town in San Mateo County with a population of just 5,300 residents. Still, the town is among the wealthiest communities in the nation—and is home to numerous billionaires. The median household income in Woodside is about $375,000.

Due to its balanced market, Woodside homes for sale are currently selling at the asking price. While the median list price is trending down 7.5% year-over-year, you’ll still find homes listed in the low $5 million range. Houses in this area tend to be huge and sit on expansive acreage.

Menlo Park

Photo Courtesy of The Registry

Menlo Park sits on the eastern boundary of San Mateo County. Residents of this city are among the most educated in the country—nearly 70% of residents over 25 years old hold a bachelor’s degree or higher. The city is the headquarters of Meta (formerly Facebook, Inc) and is where Google was founded. Also, the city’s train station holds the record for the oldest continually-operating station in California.

Menlo Park homes for sale have trended up 19.8% year-over-year, with a current median list price of $2.8 million. Since the area is experiencing a seller’s market, houses are selling for about 7% above asking. The average home spends around 37 days on the market.

Want help searching for Bay Area real estate?

The San Francisco real estate market is extremely competitive and often comes with a hefty price tag. If you’re looking for San Francisco homes for sale or other Bay Area real estate, you’ll need an experienced agent on your side to navigate the local seller’s market.

When you’re ready to purchase (or sell) a San Francisco dream home, contact San Francisco real estate expert Brendan Callahan!

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