San Mateo - The Highlands

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“The Highlands is one of the most architecturally unique neighborhoods on the peninsula”

The Highlands is one of the most architecturally unique neighborhoods on the peninsula, featuring a collection of over 900 homes designed and built in the 1960s by the famed developer Joseph Eichler. Eichler homes are well known for their modern, wide open floorplans, featuring large family and great rooms with eat in kitchens. The homes generally have smaller bedrooms with the exception of the master bedroom, which will usually open to the rear yard and be quite spacious. A common hallmark of Eichler homes are their unique atria in the center of the home, which are surrounded on all four sides by walls of glass from the living areas and hallways. Eichlers are all one level homes, though over the years a smattering of homeowners have added second stories.

The location of the Highlands is a benefit for those who travel frequently for work along the scenic 280 and 92 corridors. It’s about a 25 minute ride with no traffic to downtown San Francisco, and less than 20 minutes to Sand Hill Road in Silicon Valley.

Many of the lots in the San Mateo Highlands are larger than average and are typically 7,000 – 8,000 square feet, which offers plenty of yard space. Quite a few of the homes are on cul-de-sacs or back up to the green open space adjacent to the 280 freeway and across from the Crystal Springs reservoir.

Within the same neighborhood, at the bottom of Bunker Hill Road, there is a small collection of homes by Whitecliff, a developer who built more traditional and spacious two story homes.

The Highlands area is home to Highlands Elementary School, which is always ranked in the top two elementary schools in San Mateo. There is also a community center right in the middle of the neighborhood which is easily accessible for those who live in the Highlands.

To view a detailed google map of the Highlands neighborhood, click here. The MLS area is 433.

The Highlands neighborhood is surrounded by Baywood Park and bordered on one side by Crystal Springs Reservoir. 


Joseph Eichler was a post-war real estate developer who developed distinctive residential subdivisions of mid-century modern style tract housing.  Between 1950 and 1974, his company, Eichler Homes, built more than 11,000 homes in nine communities in Northern California.  The largest of these is The Highlands in San Mateo.

Eichler was a social visionary and commissioned designs for middle-class Americans, many of which were ex-servicemen and women. He wanted to build diverse planned communities featuring parks and community centers. Unlike most builders of the time, Eichler established a non-discrimination policy and offered homes for sale to anyone of any religion or race. In 1958, he resigned from the National Association of Home Builders when they refused to support this non-discrimination policy.