Bidding wars: Why multimillion-dollar Bay Area mansions are selling way over asking price

Real Estate

ATHERTON, Calif. (KRON) — It’s a great time to be a seller if you own a home in the San Francisco Bay Area, especially near Silicon Valley where all-cash offers are flowing faster than they ever have before. 

Multi-million dollar mansions are selling for way over the asking price because of intense bidding wars. The Bay Area housing market took a big hit when the COVID pandemic began.

But since then it has not only rebounded, houses are selling for unprecedented price tags to buyers working in the tech industry who emerged from the pandemic’s upheaval relatively unscathed.

Nowhere is the housing market surge more apparent than in Atherton, which was recently ranked by Forbes as the most exclusive community in which to live.

According to data compiled by Compass, Atherton’s median home sales price is $6 million. That’s the highest in the Bay Area, topping San Francisco’s high-rolling Pacific Heights, where the median is $5.6 million, and Hillsborough’s $4.6 million. 

This week, one gated Atherton house at 191 Britton Avenue is on the market for $32 million, according to Zillow. Why is Atherton the king of the castle? 

“You’ve got big homes on big lots, which is unusual. You’re right in between San Francisco and Silicon Valley. And who doesn’t want to say they live in Atherton?” said Michelle Runzler, an agent for David Lyng Real Estate. 

“To be a seller, it’s a fantastic time … better than it’s ever been. There no inventory. It’s May, high peak season. And we (still) don’t have the inventory for buyers. If you want to sell your home you will get top dollars, most likely with no contingencies, and a lot of people are getting all cash. It’s unbelievable. No one has seen anything like this,” Runzler said.

In Los Altos, one David Lyng Real Estate agent listed a house for $2.4 million.

It sold within days for $3.2 million.

In Walnut Creek, a seller asking for $950,000 was flooded with so many offers that she received $1.6 million from the top bidder. 

“For a lot of people who work in tech, their jobs were affected by the pandemic — they worked from home. But financially, they’re still doing OK. Their stock has risen so they actually have cash to spend,” Runzler said. 

Atherton
191 Britton Ave. in Atherton (Photo courtesy Gullixson)

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