7 Best Neighborhoods in the East Bay to Watch in 2024

Best Neighborhoods in the East Bay to watch in 2024

The East Bay is a subregion of San Francisco, just like the North Bay and South Bay. Two counties are encompassed by it; Alameda County and Contra Costa County.

About 2.8 million residents live in the East Bay, where you tend to find more affordable home prices than some other parts of the Bay Area. That being said, there are pockets of affluence and occasional 8-figure homes. 

"Perhaps a sentence about the most affordable vs the most sought-after?" - Sandy Jamison

Here are 7 different areas of the East Bay that deserve your attention.

Cesar Chavez Park in Berkeley

Cesar Chavez Park in Berkeley - via Harris FS

Albany (Alameda County)

In the East Bay, just north of Berkeley is Albany, California. This neighborhood is about 5.5 square miles in size, with about 20,000 residents. Most of the area is residential, with some industries like USDA, shopping centers, and park space.

Convenient central location and an excellent school system are two of Albany’s many highlights. With the East Shore Freeway and San Pablo Avenue, locals can live in Albany but reach employers up and down the East Bay.

Albany Hill at Night

A lovely nighttime photograph from Albany Hill - via David Abercrombie

Homes in Albany, CA are usually 2 and 3-bedroom at most, slightly older, and on smaller lots. Aside from Albany’s single-family homes, there are apartment buildings, condominiums, and townhomes. Most apartment buildings are 3 or 4-story, but closer to the waterfront, Gateview has 15+ story towers with tennis courts and a pool.

Albany has few homes listed, so the market can be competitive and fast-moving. Because of the low supply, median prices can fluctuate quite a lot. In February 2024, our median list price was about $650,000 in Albany, CA.

Berkeley (Alameda County)

Just below Albany is Berkeley, CA a larger city in the East Bay area. It’s several times larger than its northern neighbor, with a population of around 117,000.

Berkeley has become quite iconic and is a great place for young professionals. Around 24% of the residents are between 18 and 24 years old, a much greater portion than many nearby cities. According to a source, it’s also the healthiest city in America. Berkeley locals have access to all kinds of exercise options, like trekking the Diablo Range or strolling the coastline.

Near Essex Street in Berkeley CA

Berkeley, CA near Essex Street - via Harris FS

The properties in Berkeley have a very wide range of stylings. Single-family homes come in all shapes and ages, but the most affordable options seem to be in Northwest Berkeley. Closer to the University of California Berkeley, and up the hillsides in the east, expect less affordability.

Our Berkeley homes for sale have a median listing price of $1,199,500. Areas like Berkeley Hills command some of the highest price tags, owning to the views, exclusivity, and larger lots.

Piedmont (Alameda County)

Piedmont (Italian for “foothill”) has about 11,000 residents at the base of the Diablo Range. It’s within the city of Oakland, with just 1.7 square miles to its name. It’s full of desirable real estate, with fantastic views of the bay because of the hills in the area.

Piedmont’s small population makes knowing your neighbors and community a real possibility - unlike in larger cities. The residents, which seem to be mostly families, have good things to say about the schools. The community appears to be highly educated, with 48% holding master’s degrees, and 36% holding bachelor’s degrees.

The properties in Piedmont range from Mediterranean villas to more classically styled homes, along with several apartment buildings. 

With such a small footprint, not many Piedmont homes hit the market each year. We show less than 10 properties listed, ranging from about $2,000,000 to $14,500,000.  

Moraga (Contra Costa County)

Moraga, CA is further east from the Bay Area’s coast, immersed in nature. It’s just a 20-minute drive from Oakland, surrounded by the Diablo Range’s many peaks. 

For residents who want to spend more time away from cityscapes, Moraga ticks that box emphatically. Sometimes, living in Moraga feels like living in a town inside a national park. Still, it won’t take any of the 16,000 Moraga locals more than a few minutes to reach schools, tennis clubs, restaurants, or the two major shopping plazas; either Rheem Valley or Moraga Shopping Center.   

St. Mary's College in Moraga

Overhead shot of St Mary’s College in Moraga, CA - via Doc Searls

The homes in Moraga are on the large size, with winding peaceful roads of a typical suburban layout. Single-family homes are the norm, but there are plenty of affordable condominiums too.  

This is not a supply-rich area, though you’ll see a nearly even mix of condos and single-family homes on the market. Moraga’s median listing price was $1,187,000 as of February 2024.  

San Ramon (Contra Costa County)

San Ramon, CA is a city inside a valley of the same name. About 86,000 residents live here, near towns like Dublin, Danville, and Blackhawk. 

What is life like for locals in San Ramon? They have access to highly-rated schools, scenic surroundings, and lots of things to do, plus short drives to San Jose or Oakland for even more amenities. 

The city has a thriving downtown area and also, several large business centers where Toyota, GE Digital, Complete Solar, and several others operate.

The median listing price in San Ramon was $1,350,000 in February 2024, with dozens of properties to choose from (mostly single-family homes). 

Lafayette (Contra Costa County) 

Lafayette takes its name from a French officer of the American Revolutionary War. About 25,000 residents live in Lafayette, a fairly mountainous section of land between Walnut Creek and Oakland.

Because of the location, straddling the Diablo Range on either side of State Route 24, Lafayette is quite picturesque. There’s a natural beauty here, and also in San Ramon, that can’t be found within major cities.

Lafayette Scenery

Lafayette scenery - via alexhell

The beauty of some Lafayette properties can’t be downplayed. Plenty of the homes are brand new, with up to 5 bedrooms in some detached homes. There are condos too, which are the most affordable way to own a home in Lafayette.

Median home prices in Lafayette were $1,896,500 in February 2024.

Walnut Creek (Contra Costa County)

One of the most affordable places to live in the East Bay area is Walnut Creek, which also scores points for rental options. 

This area has flourished over the past decade, offering about 70,000 residents tons of nature to explore and amenities to enjoy. The downtown area is full of different cuisines, galleries, and theaters.

Walnut Creek homes are significantly more affordable than other places on our East Bay list. 

The median was just $673,590 in February 2024, with a healthy amount of choices. Single-family homes are most common, with occasional condominiums, both new and older builds.

There are around 2.8 million residents in the East Bay. If you want to use your time efficiently, connect to an East Bay realtor. Let the agent know what your needs are, which hubs you need to be close to, and what kind of budget you want to use. They’ll help you narrow in on the ideal East Bay place to live, much faster than searching the internet will.

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If you have more questions about what to expect from the markets around the Bay Area, don’t be afraid to reach out to us today. Our experts are experienced in all property types and the entire San Francisco Bay Area, and we can help you to find what you need to know today.

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