Forbes has just released its annual ranking of the country's most expensive real estate markets, broken down by ZIP code. Pricey suburbs of New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles top the list, but that might be down to methodology more than real data. For one, Forbes and its partner in the rankings, real estate stats company Altos Research, only counted the asking prices of houses and condominiums, not the final sale prices, and excluded cooperatives, putting NYC zip codes at a disadvantage. Regardless, there's no arguing with the basic outcome, five spectacularly wealthy areas rife with high-dollar estates. Coming in at #1 is Alpine, N.J.'s 07620 the ritzy ZIP where Oprah was, and then wasn't, window shopping for a $52M mansion. This imposing 34,000-square-foot brick mansion, perched on a 3.18-acre lot, features eight bedrooms, 13 bathrooms, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, home theater billiard room, eight-car garage, and an indoor basketball court. All those luxe features are lying just a half-hour from midtown Manhattan and cost $34M.
? The Silicon Valley outpost of Atherton, Calif. must have come a close second to Alpine, given the absurdly high price of 94027's Villa Eirini: $45M. Completed in 2007, the estate is graced with some over-the-top materials—like the "beveled edge 4-inch thick Bulgarian limestone hand-cut in Greece [that] faces the entire home"—and no fewer than six bedroom suites, but sits on just 1.5 acres of land, which only makes Atherton look all the more expensive.
? Sitting pretty at number three is 11962, the ZIP code for the ritzy Hamptons village of Sagaponack, N.Y. Home to Ira Rennert's $200M personal palace, Sagaponack is also the place where billionaire litterer David Tepper just knocked down a $43.5M beach house to build an even more extravagant pad. Those sums make this $16.75M oceanfront mansion seem cheap by comparison, but this one has legit celebrity connections: it's owned by Billy Joel and designer-to-the-stars Nate Berkus did up the interiors.
? One of the finest estates in Hillsborough, Calif.—the San Fran suburb with the 94010 ZIP code that came in #4 on the Forbes list—Chiltern is a stone mansion that measures 36,000 square feet. While it looks like a much older stately home, the opulent manse was completed in 1992, and that date shows in some of the bathroom finishes and in a Star Trek-style screening room. The rest of the $48.8M spread is at least a reasonable approximation of an English country estate, but for that price we couldn't expect anything less.
? The fifth spot on the list goes to a town with a very famous, and much coveted, ZIP code: Beverly Hills, Calif. Even though the TV drama Beverly Hills, 90210 has long been off the air, the ZIP is probably the best known of these ritzy boroughs. It's fitting then, that it should also provide the priciest property on our list: a massive $55M marble-floored manse. Ostensibly modeled on a European palace, the 27,000-square-foot manor occupies a 2.1-acre lot with a 400-foot driveway and 20-car garage.
· America's Most Expensive ZIP Codes [Forbes]
· Merry Christmas, Real Estate Brokers: Here Comes Oprah! [Curbed NY]
· N.J.'s Priciest House Price Chopped, Seeks Wealthy iPhone User [Curbed National]
· The Quintessential Alpine Estate [Trulia]
· Villa Eirini Estate [Gullixson]
· Billionaire Forced To Pay $2.75 ATM Fee In East Hampton [Curbed Hamptons]
· Fly Over The Country's Largest Home Like Never Before [Curbed Hamptons]
· Piano Man Still Hasn't Found a Buyer for His Sagaponack Estate [Curbed Hamptons]
· Paradise Found [Trulia]
· Chiltern [Christie's]
· 1215 Laurel Lane [Trulia]