By Mykah Larkins


Chances are, by the time you contact a Realtor, you know exactly where you want to live. You’ve read articles about Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto and Oakland’s Art Murmur. You’ve pictured morning walks to your favorite coffee joint and evening strolls to the theater district.  You’ve studied the BART map and determined how quickly you can get downtown. Amid all this diligent research about your dream city, you may have overlooked how easy it is to utilize the next town’s resources. You may also be surprised by the difference in cost.

One street in particular “Santa Fe” traverses 4 different cities; Berkeley, Albany, El Cerrito and Kensington.  The cost of a home on this street will be different dependent on in which city it sits.  Berkeley homes tend to cost more just for the sake of being in Berkeley. Berkeley’s median home price is $921,500.  Albany has a reputation for having good schools and a small town feel. Albany’s median home price is currently $797,500.  Both cities have higher annual tax rates as well as a city transfer tax due upon changing ownership.  Santa Fe also crosses through El Cerrito and Kensington.  Their median home prices are $731,500 and $1,005,000, respectively. Neither El Cerrito nor Kensington have a city transfer tax and both have lower annual tax rates.

There are a few neighborhoods that involve 3 different cities and whether you are interested in the schools or a community center close-by, or if public transportation is a necessity, the prices of the homes will vary within the same neighborhood.  This is another reason it is important when you are looking for a home to utilize the services of a local realtor who is aware of the many resources each neighborhood offers and the costs associated with them.