As Berkeley Hills Realty has noted before, the solid economy, mixed with strong job growth combined with desirability of the East Bay combine forces for a continued strong market.

The most recent housing market data for the East Bay resembles the market snapshot from the same time last year, as buyer demand outpaces supply, keeping the market favoring sellers with over asking prices and days on the market less than 30 days.

The median price of a single family home on average from January 1st to October 21st this year in Berkeley is $1,332,623 compared to $1,318,550 for the same period in 2018 according to statistics from the regional multiple listing service.

For Oakland, the average price year to date is $886,916 compared to $860,374 in 2018. Both cities saw an average of 12 – 15% over list price in 2018 and 2019, with an average days on market hovering around 25 days.

However, with these great numbers comes an ever increasing pressure on residents as the “lifestyle” costs to live in the Bay Area rise and finding a balance becomes more of a juggling act.

A recent USA Today article pointed out that people are moving out of California, and especially the Bay Area, faster than they are moving in. The article states that many are finding refuge in Washington, Texas and Arizona for less expensive homes and tax rates.

In fact, according to C.A.R.’s 2019 State of the Housing Market Study, nearly a third (30 percent) of those sellers who planned on repurchasing said that they will buy their next home in another state outside of California — the highest level since 2005. Older generations were more likely to buy outside of California as 37 percent of Baby Boomers and the Silent Generation planned on repurchasing in another state, but only 30 percent of Millennial sellers planned to do the same.

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“The Bay Area’s strength is also its greatest weakness,” says Jordan Levine, deputy chief economist of the California Association of Realtors. “The area has a strong economy and some of the most innovative companies in the nation, but it’s also a poster child for housing supply issues that haven’t kept up with growth.”

But, let’s talk about a pressing issue affecting the region.

“We are losing residents because it’s too expensive for nearly everyone”, stated Tracy Sichterman, Broker/Owner, Berkeley Hills Realty.  “Most of the sellers I have represented this year have moved out of the state. Working here for 20+ years, I have seen a slow turnover of our neighborhoods. For a college town, Berkeley’s housing market sees far fewer academics and even fewer artists than in decades past.”

Have we changed from a community of thinkers and dreamers to a hotbed of workaholics? “As an artist, I love where I live and still believe in the dream. I want to tell people they don’t have to leave. There are awesome homes just outside of the hot markets. You may need to expand your search area, but I believe it’s still possible to maintain the East Bay lifestyle. And the best rent control has always been homeownership.”

Berkeley was recently named as the number one healthiest places to live in the country and one of the top three best cities to live in America, according to Niche, a group of data scientists who use research analytics to determine best places to live in the country. Berkeley received top rankings for best places to raise a family, get an education, be a young professional and diversity. Who can argue that we live in an exciting, diverse, entertaining and amazing place?

If you want to be part of life here, please contact us and we can show you available homes. If you are looking to retire and wish to remain in the area that we all call home, we can help you stay local and downsize. If you have children that want to be homeowners in the area, let’s see what we can do to help them find a home and remain as part of the vibrant mix we want to see in the East Bay.