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

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

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

East Bay Realtors Unite for Fire Relief Fund for Victims of Ghost Ship Oakland Fire

Berkeley Hills Realty, along with the entire East Bay community is grieving the loss of 36 young lives in the recent massive warehouse Ghost Ship fire that occurred on December 2nd in the Fruitvale District of Oakland. The East Bay artist community makes the region vibrant and eclectic and many lives have been affected by this tragic event. Red Oak Realty, a fellow East Bay real estate company, has a non-profit component called ROOF-Red Oak Opportunity Foundation and quickly created a fundraiser to help those affected by the fire. ROOF started with a matching fund of $2500 and Berkeley Hills Realty stepped in create another matching $2500. From now through December 12th, all contributions to ROOF, will be matched up to $5000 and go to support the communities, first responders and families affected by the fire. “Berkeley Hills Realty has donated on behalf of our Realtor team to this fundraiser as a way to help the survivors of this terrible tragedy. Thank you to Red Oak Realty for stepping in quickly to create this effort for our artist community. We hope others will join us and show our support to those who need our help at this time,” said Berkeley Hills Realty Broker, Tracy Sichterman. If you would like to donate, please go to The local non-profit, Gray Area Foundation for the Arts, has established a fundraiser through for those affected by the fire. The Oakland/Berkeley Association of Realtors, through their Community Funds Program, is also offering a matching donation to help the victims’ families with unexpected costs up to $5000 towards the fundraising goal of the Gray Area Foundation. Our Realtor community is an amazing and caring group of people and we all are sending prayers to everyone affected by the fire. The Local nonprofit Gray Area Foundation For the Arts has established a fundraiser through for those affected by the fire. 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

Just Listed – 5400 Broadway Terrace #301, Oakland

This 2 bedroom, 2 bath corner unit is surrounded with windows, and fabulous design. Upon entering the building you immediately feel as though you have reached your very own oasis. With the sounds of the water features among the ferns and trees you immediately begin to unwind. Once you settle down and turn on some tunes, enjoy a glass of wine while watching the gorgeous views of the bay. Better yet, enjoy your beverage of choice on your private deck nestled in the trees. The open layout features a great space for entertaining. A kitchen with designer finishes like Travertine floors, stainless steel appliances, glass backsplash, a customized kitchen bar with recessed lighting, makes this a perfect space for entertaining. Ample closet space, in unit laundry, beautifully designed bathrooms make this unit a place you will want to call home! The building is secured and located conveniently to stores, restaurants and walking distance to BART. With a Walk Score of 88 it is defined as “Very Walkable,” a location that can’t be beat! Open this Sunday from 2-5pm. Listed at $525,000K; HOA dues at $368.50 month; 1 secured parking space by Gina Odom, Realtor Read More

Check out TOAST wine bar in Rockridge!

Several people have now told me that the new chef at TOAST in Oakland is off the hook – aka exceptional! Her food is “divine”, “really good”, “I’m going back”, are just a few descriptions. Toast has always been one of my favorite places because of their incredible and consistent service and their ever changing wine menu. And, they are baby and dog friendly. What else could you want! Oh that’s right, amazing food. Well, they now have that too. Check it out: And if you’re a dog lover, they have a special evening set aside called the Dog Days of Summer. Super fun. By, Gina Odom pic taken from Read More

Go check out B-Side BBQ!

Here is reason #549 to LOVE the East Bay and especially OAKLAND – B Side BBQ! The food choices here are off the hook. Located in West Oakland (Yup, that’s right in “the hood”), Chef-Extraordinaire, Tanya Holland, who also owns Brown Sugar Kitchen has opened this cool, new joint. What style BBQ is it? Well, I don’t know but it’s good and it even impressed my hubby and he is from Texas. Of course, my daughter devoured the Mac-N-Cheese. Way to go West Oakland! Go check them out at 3303 San Pablo. (*pic copied from Yelp) written by, Gina Odom Read More

New Pop Up Restaurant in Rockridge starring Guest Chefs!

That’s right Rockridge has a new pop up restaurant starring guest chefs! How cool is this going to be? Every two weeks there will be a new chef, new menu, new type of food. I love it! The restaurant will be opening by Oliveto (watch out Gourmet Ghetto….Rockridge is on the culinary rise)! Chefs apply online and everything is provided for them including staff, cashier, and booze. The chef just needs to bring his or her ingredients. First up is the Oakland Fire Department as they will be cooking for a fundraiser from Nov. 4-6th and then followed by a grandmother from Mexico. Oh yum…homemade enchiladas, tamales and menudo. Can’t wait! Check out their website: written by Gina Odom, Realtor Read More
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