Oakland-Berkeley Housing Market Update May 2017

Discovering El Sobrante, Pinole and San Leandro As Options For Affordable East Bay Living   We all know that inventory is tight, really tight and that multiple offers are so common place in Berkeley that a listing price is merely a suggestion to start the bidding. The median price for a home in Berkeley is $1.1 million. Let’s take a different look at ways to compete in this competitive market if you are looking to be a homebuyer before Fall in the East Bay.   There are opportunities in the market, you just need to expand your horizons at bit. How far? Well, Pinole and El Sobrante are options if you are looking for a bit more inventory and a lower median home price. If you need to commute, there are backroads that can take you from these two northern cities to Berkeley through a beautiful park. Both Pinole and El Sobrante offer benefits for local people looking for local businesses and still are within the commuter circle of the East Bay and San Francisco.   Pinole The median price for single family homes as of April 19th is $470k. Homebuyers who found Pinole in September have already realized a 10% increase in their home value as other East Bay home seekers are discovering this little town. Located 12 miles north of Berkeley and 22 miles from San Francisco, Pinole has a culturally and educationally mixed group of residents and plenty of great neighborhoods. One local resident said It is a very calm city that has small town charm with nice people and you always feel welcome. Pinole has the amenities of a nice town including restaurants, grocery stores, gas stations, banks, good schools, and nearby movie theaters, shopping malls, golf courses, and much more.   El Sobrante El Sobrante has some lovely areas with larger lots, more reasonable prices, and a semi-rural atmosphere. It is slowly evolving into a more sophisticated area,  it is in close proximity to recreational areas such as San Pablo Reservoir and the Briones and Kennedy Grove areas. It is also close to Tilden Park. A big benefit of El Sobrante, versus other towns that are quickly becoming more urban, is the space/land/access to nature than in many other parts of the East Bay. Median home prices have been rising, again, as more homebuyers are looking for affordable housing. The median price of single family home in El Sobrante, according to Trulia, is $420,000.   San Leandro San Leandro is a low key town located about 15 miles from Berkeley. Known for its great weather and central location to Highways 580, 880 and 238, as well as two BART stations, and the Oakland airport, this town has quaint neighborhoods. Residents say they enjoy the proximity to their larger sister cities, but enjoy the parks, the Farmer’s Market at Bayfair on Saturdays, the libraries and lots of places to go biking. The median price of a single family home in San Leandro is $540,000 and is on the upswing in housing prices according to Trulia trends report.   If you are looking for an affordable home, Berkeley Hills Realty has a new listing coming on the market next  week in the $400’s in Richmond in an area called Richmond North and East. Call us for more information if you are interested!   Oakland Now, the good news about Oakland for buyers is that according to both Altos Research and Trulia Market Reports, inventory is increasing and sales price is coming down slightly. Interesting to note, according to Trulia, the median price of a four bedroom home in Oakland dropped 2% year over year, but two bedroom homes increased by 21%. The median price of all homes in Oakland is $606,000. Berkeley Berkeley Hills Realty agents are reporting that homes are still getting multiple offers with over bidding occurring on most homes due to a continued lack of available homes for sale. According to Trulia, the price for a four bedroom home in Berkeley has dropped 13% year over year, much like the Oakland statistics. However, two and three bedroom homes have increased year over year and for all properties, the median price is $1,045,000, a 11.5% increase from 2016. We shall see in next month’s market update if a price softening continues in these two hot markets.   For more information about what is happening across all cities in the East Bay, we encourage you to contact one of our Realtor team members at Berkeley Hills Realty. Read More

Magnificent Berkeley Mediterranean Home of Art Rosenfeld Comes On The Market

When Art Rosenfeld passed away in January at the age of 90, he left behind a legacy of being the “godfather” of energy efficiency and helped formulate the idea that it was better to save energy than it was to create it. His stunning Mediterranean home in Berkeley on Southampton Avenue, which he and his wife purchased in 1960, is a testament to the man who encouraged millions of Californians to turn off the lights and use energy efficient appliances.   In the spirit of Professor Rosenfeld’s passion towards energy efficiency, the 4-bedroom, 2.5-bath, 4,160 square foot (per assessor) home boasts year round living enjoyment. The south facing sun room captures its warmth during the winter and the sunken living room with massive beams features a majestic fireplace for warm seasonal and evening gatherings. With large glass French doors, the living room opens up to a large deck for al fresco dining in the afternoon or under the stars. The adjoining small library/study is perfect for reflection and solitude. The home, built in 1928 (according to BAHA), boasts classic Mediterranean details including high ceilings, an excellent floor plan, large hand crafted mission-style oak doors, a wrought iron chandelier in the entryway, and a commanding staircase. The large picture windows bring the natural light in and frame the stunning views of the Bay, Golden Gate Bridge and distant views of Mt. Tamalpais. The 13,200 square foot lot features mature landscaping around outdoor entertainment spaces. The formal dining room accommodates large sit down dinners and is perfectly located with two doors to the remodeled kitchen. Meticulous planning went into the spacious kitchen remodel. Special features include a large eating area, ample storage with a spacious pantry, leaded glass windows, a side door to the outside and even a special place for a serving cart. The large master bedroom has a dressing room and adjoins the master bathroom with original tile and large windows to enjoy the spectacular views. There are three additional bedrooms on the upper bedroom level and a second bathroom with beautiful original tile from the 1930’s.   A lower level ¾ basement with a laundry area has plenty of potential. It is located next to the two-car garage. The home is situated in a neighborhood with stately homes and is within walking distance of John Hinkle Park, Solano Avenue with its many boutiques and restaurants, and public transportation.   Professor Rosenfeld was recognized with a number of remarkable awards including National Medal of Technology and innovation presented to him by President Barack Obama in 2012. Governor Jerry Brown and his wife, Anne Gust, dined last late Summer on the deck with the Rosenfeld family. Upon learning of Rosenfeld’s passing, Governor Brown said, “Art Rosenfeld helped make California the world leader in energy efficiency. His path-breaking ideas transformed our energy sector from one of massive waste to increasingly elegant efficiency. I will miss him.” Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, under Barack Obama’s first term, called Art Rosenfeld “his hero”.   The home is listed at $2,190,000 with Maya Trilling, Berkeley Hills Realty and she can be reached at 510-524.9888 ext. 18. Read More

January 2017 Housing Market Report for Berkeley and Oakland

The East Bay housing market is pulling out of the “holiday inventory slump”, but is gearing up for the annual “after Super Bowl” jump as sellers start preparing for the spring home market. Sellers have historically found that if they put their homes on the market before March, they have a better chance of getting traffic and offers from the pent up demand of buyers looking for available inventory after a shortage that began in late November.   Take a look at the Altos Research data for Oakland to see that inventory was on the decline starting in the fall. Even with the decline of inventory, the sales prices have remained basically flat over the last few months. According to Trulia, the average sales price in Berkeley is at $1,000,500 with an 8% increase in prices year over year. In Oakland, the median sales price is $625,000, a 14% year over year gain.  The Altos Research chart shows that inventory in Oakland has dropped, but days on the market are rising during the last few months, as more desirable properties quickly left the market, while other properties have stayed on the market longer, looking for buyers. In fact, 482 homes are currently in the pre-foreclosure, auction, or bank-owned stages of the foreclosure process. Here is how the Berkeley market is behaving according to the Altos Research data that tracks real time data: Again, you can see that Berkeley inventory has been steadily declining since November. With so few homes on the market in Berkeley, the price fluctuated with the sale of lower end homes, but the median price has held at $1 million.   In looking at the surrounding cities of El Cerrito, Albany, Piedmont and Emeryville, which on average,  realized a 15% increase in values, year over year, the entire region has relatively low inventory as we head out of the holidays and into the spring market.   In general, our ears on the street are hearing that there is going to be a shift in the market as sellers are considering leaving the East Bay, which will free up inventory for buyers. Check out our blog post next week as we dive into the factors that we believe will bring a change to the 2017 spring market.   Read More

Gem of the East Bay-Tilden Park

Located high in the hills of North Berkeley lies Tilden Park, popularly considered “the Jewel of the East Bay.” Hiking trails with names like Seaview or Skyline wind past creeks, mineral springs, and green meadows, up to the sweeping panorama offered at Inspiration Point. The numerous vistas in Tilden Park inspire and delight and provide respite from the busy city life below.   Encompassing the Tilden Nature Area, most of the park’s 2,077 acres serve as tranquil shelters for native plants and wildlife. Rangers here are serious about preserving this magnificent habitat—they even close South Park Drive to automobile traffic to protect migrating California newts who make their annual trip from dry land to streams and ponds to breed, from the end of October to the end March each year. The attention to preservation results in an abundance of natural beauty. Local residents and visitors alike enjoy the wide variety of recreational activities, including steam trains, a golf course, and an antique merry-go-round.   In an effort that started during the Great Depression, the park is part of a 100,000 acre park system with 1,100 miles of trails, preserved for and by the residents of Contra Costa and Alameda Counties. Many of the roads, buildings, trails and dam were created by the CCC and WPA in the 1930’s and add a historic aspect to this beautiful park.   We recently went on a short hike through Tilden Park to see the flowing waterfall from the runoff from Anza Lake. On the way to the waterfall, we passed under majestic Coastal Redwoods and saw many trees still with vibrant fall foliage. The sound of cascading water coming down the stream in the quiet morning belies the fact that we were only a few miles from the homes and businesses in the area.   Learn more about Tilden Park and the expanse of the East Bay regional park system, the largest in the USA, by watching this insightful and educational video  created by the  East Bay Regional Park District.   Do you enjoy biking, hiking, rollerblading, walking and running? Here is a link to all the interpark regional trails.   One of our favorite things to do during the holidays is bring our children and friends to Tilden Park to ride the  Herschell Spillman Merry Go Round which has been in the park for 60 years. It boasts four rows of hand hewn horses, cats, dogs, chariots and more! The merry go round is located at the intersection of Central Park Drive and Lake Anza Road. During the holidays, the Merry Go Round is decorated with festive lights , Santa greets children and refreshments are available.  The Merry Go Round is open each night until 8:30 through the holidays.   If you are ready to explore and discover the park and all the trails, take part in the 2017 Trails Challenge. To complete the challenge, hike five of the trails – or 26.2 miles of trails – by December 1st, and submit a trail log to receive a commemorative pin, while supplies last. As in past challenges, the honor system applies.  Beginning Tuesday, January 3 you can obtain a free Trails Challenge t-shirt and/or a printed copy of the Guidebook, while supplies last, at select Visitor Centers.   Tilden Park and the entire East Bay park system are treasures to our area. If you are considering a move to this area, we highly suggest you visit! And if you would like information about the neighborhoods and homes for sale in the area, please contact us directly, we would be glad to share our knowledge! Happy Holidays! Read More

December East Bay Housing Market Report

The good news for the East Bay housing market is that prices are holding and 2017 looks to be a great year ahead. Currently, there is very little inventory available across the region, which seasonally occurs. As you may be aware, the Federal Reserve raised the interest rates again and hinted at two more increases in 2017. This could have an impact on the market, as more buyer’s consider getting into the market to take advantage of a fixed rate mortgage to hedge against future rate increases.   According to Altos Research, which tracks real time data, inventory in Berkeley has been falling steadily since October and now is hovering around 50 available properties on the market. In Oakland, inventory is also dropping with 343 properties available while days on the market is rising.   The median price for a home in Berkeley is $1.2 million, which has been rising steadily since last January. In Oakland, the median price is $603,000, a $40,000 average drop since it’s high in October.   Interesting to note in Oakland, a four bedroom home has risen by 10.7% year over year to $935k, but the price of a three bedroom home has dropped 1.9% to $660k. Whereas in Berkeley, a three bedroom home has jumped 22.7% year over year to $1.2 million and the price of a four bedroom home has increased slightly by 6.3% to $1.45 million. In nearby Albany, a four bedroom home jumped by 154% year over year to $1.85 million. (Since Albany is a small city, a large home sale could skew the statistics. There is currently only four homes on the market there.)   In El Cerrito, where the median price of a home is $886,400, the median price has been rising steadily since April with a peak of $900k in November. There are currently about 21 homes on the market.   As we head into 2017, we foresee an increase in interest rates which will motivate buyers to purchase before the rates go up further. It is likely that this will effect the lower tier of the market more than the upper tier.  We see continued competition for buyers in homes under one million with an expectation that competitive offers will drive prices up another 3 – 5%.  The market for homes over two million, however, may continue to slow due to perceived difficulty in accessing home equity for a move-up purchase, and due to a slowing of foreign investment.  The upper market may experience prolonged marketing periods and softening sales. Happy Holidays and if you are in the market for a home, contact us and we can ensure you are ready to go when sellers start to put their homes on the market in January. And sellers, if you are ready to list, we can help you get ready for a strong buyer’s market in early 2017! Read More

November Housing Market Update for Berkeley, Oakland

The housing market in the East Bay is experiencing a usual Fall slowdown in terms of sales, but prices are still holding strong. In Berkeley, the price increased 25% year over year for three bedroom homes to $1.2 million according to the monthly Trulia housing market report. Interesting to note, the median price of a three bedroom home five years ago was $619,000.  Two bedroom homes have increased 11.1% to $852,750 an almost 50% increase from five years ago showing that home values are holding strong as we move away from the recession. According to Altos Research, which tracks real time real estate data, the average days on the market have increased since May, but are hovering at 35 days, which still points to a seller’s market and prices are still on the upswing since January. The Oakland market is cooling down in terms of homes sold, according to Trulia’s Market Update report. Altos Research shows the average days on the market for homes in Oakland are starting to linger longer on the market in the past 30 days and inventory of homes have increased for most of the year, from 172 in January  to 369 properties as of November 7. With more properties on the market selling a little less quickly, sale prices are softening slightly. In general, the median price of a three bedroom home has increased year over year 8.4% to $689,000 from 
$635,500 last fall. Five years ago, three bedroom homes in Oakland were selling for just $250,000. For two bedroom homes, the median price is $545,000 which have increased 6.9% over the past year. El Cerrito has seen a consistent upswing in its median home price to $800,000. For one bedroom homes in El Cerrito, the price increased 38% year over year according to the Trulia Market Report. Some pundits say that the softening market may be due to global and financial uncertainties.  With the election results in, we hope the market can find its balance once again. Read More

November Calendar of Events

Berkeley Events: 7th Annual East Bay Jewel Ball Location: Claremont Club & Spa – 41 Tunnel Road, Berkeley CA Date: Saturday, November 19th, 2016 The American Cancer Society’s presents a Great Gatsby themed Gala. Price: $300 Per ticket/$3500 per table. Website: Holiday Boot Camp Cooking Class in Berkeley: Everything But the Bird Date: Sat, November 5, 2016 Time: 10:00 AM – 2:30 PM Where: Rocket Restaurant Resource – 2940 Seventh Street, Berkeley, CA 94710 Price $130 What will you be cooking? Sourdough, Fennel and Sweet Sausage Stuffing Fresh Cranberry Ginger Chutney Cream of Chestnut Soup Sweet and Russet Potato Gratin Gingerbread Cake with Molasses Cream Website: Social Media Business Strategies Date: Tuesday Nov 8, 2016 Time: 2:00 pm Cost: Free Where: Berkeley Public Library – 2090 Kittredge St. (at Shattuck) Berkeley, CA 94704 Presented by the Alameda County Small Business Development Center this seminar will help entrepreneurs use social media such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter to increase visibility and develop customer loyalty.= Website: 14th Annual Bay Area Firkin Festival When: November 19th from 11:30am-4:30pm, Where: Triple Rock Brewery and Alehouse What: 16 local breweries will be pouring their finest, freshest and strangest cask-conditioned ales, a phenomenon that doesn’t happen often. Breweries will be competing for Best Firkin with never-before-tasted brews, created specially for this event, and attendees will be among the first people in the world to taste them! Cost: $30.00 Website: Berkeley Half Marathon When: November 20th Where: Experience a running tour of our exceptional city starting with iconic Telegraph Avenue, tracing through UC Berkeley Campus, winding through the serene residential streets of North Berkeley, cruising along the waterfront near the Berkeley Marina and much more. Half Marathon at 8:00AM @ Milvia St. at Kittredge St., Berkeley, California 94704 10K Start at 9:00AM @ Page St and 4th St, Berkeley, California 94710 5K Race Start at 9:15AM @ Milvia St. at Kittredge St., Berkeley, California 94704 Choose your distance: The Half Marathon (13.1 miles), the 10K (6.2 miles) and the 5K (3.1 miles). All offer rewarding and fun experiences for runners of all types. Website: Oakland Events: “Jack of All Trades” Indie Craft & Antique Market Location: Jack London Square Date: November 12 Time: 11 am- 5 pm The every 2nd Saturday market features: What: 95+ local vendors (makers, artists, antiques, start-ups and more!) DIY Workshops: over half a dozen workshops from “make your own terrarium” to “make your own leather belts” Local Eats: Not only is Jack London Square home to some of the best restaurants on the water, but the market also features local food startups and food trucks. Live Entertainment: free local bands and musical performances, magicians, and street dancers. Bay Area Bead Extravaganza: When: Saturday November 12 Where: Oakland Marriott City Center What:  Jewelry makers, designers, shoppers…get set for two days of inspiration, creativity, shopping and fun! Price: $10 The Bay Area Bead Extravaganza, the largest bead event in the West, is two days of inspiration, classes/demos, creativity, and shopping fun. Browse 130 booths of unique jewelry-making treasures. For makers there are beads, components & supplies (handmade, upcycled, natural material, stones, glass, metal, and pearls) Classes are November 11th. Website: Black Friday 5K Fun Run When: Fri, November 25 Time: 9:00 AM – 10:30 AM Where: See Jane Run, 5817 College Avenue. Oakland Cost: Free Join us at our Rockridge location for a free 5K adventure run with T-shirt giveaway (limited to first 100 to register), goody bags, prizes, raffles, food and drinks. Organizers will send you on a team adventure through Rockridge/Oakland, gathering goodies, shooting pictures, running / walking stairs, meeting cool people and just having a great running adventure. This is a free event and open to all. Grab your friends and come run off some of that turkey with us. This is open to all levels, genders, ages and abilities. Walkers are welcome. Piedmont Turkey Trot When:  November 24 Time: 8:30 a.m Where: Piedmont High School. 800 Magnolia Ave., Piedmont Cost: $15-25 Website: Gear up before your big dinner with a five-kilometer (3.1 miles) course through some of Piedmont’s most beautiful streets. Meet in front of Piedmont High School bright and early and then run, jog, walk, or stroll with family, friends, and neighbors. Plus, the race benefits the PHS Cross Country and Track Teams.   Albany Plant natives on historic Cerrito Creek at Albany Hill Rain has come — hooray! Let’s get plants into soil so roots get down before summer’s drought. Help wildlife, control erosion — and learn about the exciting history of Native American settlements, Spanish land grants, dynamite making — even a train robbery! All ages welcome. Snacks, tools, and gloves provided. Wear closed-toed shoes with good traction and clothes that can get dirty. Dress in layers, prepared for changing weather. Meet at 10 AM at Creekside Park, S. end of Santa Clara Ave., El Cerrito (3499 Santa Clara). Short walk from AC Transit 72 or 25 or El Cerrito Plaza BART. Heavy rain moves to Sun.Nov. 13, or Sat. Nov. 19 if that is rained out. Click here for full schedule. Alameda County Community Food Bank Food Drive Starting on November 19, the Food Bank needs your help kick starting one of their biggest food drives of the year at Safeway stores across Alameda County. Donate food or consider volunteering to distribute. In 2015, 15,000 volunteers were instrumental in helping the Food Bank distribute more than 30 million pounds of food throughout the County. Want to make a bigger impact? Organize a Food Drive! It’s easy, it’s fun and it helps our community! There is a shortage of donated food and the Food Bank needs your help. Consider a Food Drive at your work, school, church or with your community group. Go to for more information. Berkeley Hills Realty is organizing a food drive! We are a drop off center, so folks can bring by non-perishable food items to our food drive for the Alameda County Community […] Read More

Berkeley Home Sellers Think ‘Staging’

We all know the feeling – the one where guests are due and you haven’t had time to clean the house. You shove all the…well… stuff into the back bedroom and shut the door (you’d lock it if you could). Now imagine that feeling times 10. If you are trying to sell your home this spring, and you have rooms full of that…well…stuff — you’re in for exactly that. You can prevent it all with just a touch of the staging approach for your Berkeley home. Not everyone has $5,000 or more to spend on professional staging, but then again, you can’t offer your home in “lived in” condition and expect to have buyers racing to write you their high-priced offers. There are many staging companies that can work within your budget as well, so, if you only have a few thousand to work with that is better than nothing. And often times, a stager or Realtor can incorporate your stuff to save on costs. Real estate is in large part an emotional selling proposition – beyond their basic housing requirements, buyers want to see themselves living a better life in their new East Bay home. The quickest and easiest way to make that possible is to simply get rid of that same stuff! Here’s an easy example: while a messy home office – one stuffed with papers and files – will cause many potential buyers to think too cramped for me, a well-staged home office helps them imagine their own paperwork in control. To achieve a look that’s clean and simple, box up your files and clean out the dust bunnies. If you have allowed extra furniture to accumulate (like that folding table in the corner that holds last year’s tax records), go ahead and de-accumulate it! Staging of any kind may not be your first choice for how to spend an afternoon, but selling your home is a business transaction, and when you approach the process confident that a little elbow grease will go a long way, your pocketbook will register the difference. If you are, in fact, preparing for this spring’s selling season, contact me to discuss practical strategies for economically handling the repairs, remodeling, and staging that will speed the sale of your home. written by Gina Odom, Realtor Read More
Your message has been sent.
Oops! That doesn't seem right.
Create an Account
Your account has been created.
Check your email for additional account details.
Invite Someone to Your Search
Share your favorite properties and notes, and begin receiving suggestions based on joint activity.
Request a Showing
Your request has been submitted. An agent will be in touch with you shortly to confirm the showing details.
Your Info