Hayward, CA: A Hidden Gem in the East Bay

Hayward CA, a hidden gem in east bay

On the east side of the San Francisco Bay Area sits Hayward, CA. It’s one of Alameda County’s largest cities, with over 162,000 residents. That might sound like a lot, but there is plenty of room for more. Let’s see if living in Hayward, CA is worth it.

Downtown Hayward CA

Downtown Hayward, CA - via Eric Fredericks

Hayward, CA has:

  • A beautiful location: On one side, the waters of the San Francisco Bay. On the other, grassy ridges of the Diablo Mountain Range.
  • A strong education system: The Hayward Unified School District has a lengthy list of highly-rated schools. 
  • Lots of outdoor spaces: With the Diablo Range and nearby bay, finding somewhere to work up a sweat or lay down a picnic blanket is easy.
  • A younger population: A little less than a fifth of Hayward is 25-34 years of age and the area has fewer retirement-age residents than other areas. 
  • More affordable homes: The homes for sale in Hayward, CA are generally below the million-dollar mark. Pricing, styling, and property age can vary greatly in Hayward, giving homebuyers ways to keep things affordable. 

The search for a home to buy in Hayward, CA will be easier after January, around mid-to-late February.

Sunset in Hayward CA

A look at the shore from Hayward, CA - via Jay Huang

Where is Hayward, CA and What is Nearby?

Hayward is in Alameda County, California, an iconic portion of America. 

“Heart of the Bay” is a complementary nickname that Hayward has picked up. It sits between San Francisco and San Jose, about a 40-minute drive from both major cities. The Nimitz Freeway can take you in either direction.

Hayward is a 64-square-mile swathe of cityscape that goes from the shores of the East Bay into the Diablo Range foothills. To the north, Hayward is bordered by San Lorenzo, Cherryland, Castro Valley, and Fairview. To the south, there is Union City and Fremont.  

Hayward is directly linked to the other side of the San Francisco Bay via the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge. This means that trips to Venice Beach only take about 40 minutes.

Some History About Hayward, CA You Might Not Know

Now, we call it Hayward, but the area has been through several name changes. It went from “Hayward’s”, to “Haywood”, then “Haywards”, before settling on the name we use today. 

  • The consensus is that William Hayward is the town’s namesake, however, some believe it was named after Alvinza Hayward, a Gold Rush millionaire.
  • Fidel Castro once pastured his cattle in Castro Valley, north of Hayward. 
  • The Hayward’s is the name for a 100-room hotel that was constructed on the grounds, which were sold by Castro.
  • Tomatoes were one of the main crops that the town’s economy thrived on, along with potatoes, apricots, cherries, and apricots. Much like other towns all over the Bay Area and south San Jose, agriculture was vital to their growth.

Hayward City Hall

The Hayward City Hall, via Jed Record

What is There to Do in Hayward?

You’ll always hear about the Japanese Gardens when someone asks, “What is there to do in Hayward?” If strolling through serene gardens is not your pace, Hayward still has options. 

To get active in Hayward, CA, your best bet is the Five Canyons Open Space. This looks like the place where lots of picturesque backgrounds for Windows computers are photographed. There are five miles of trails, including some biking paths. The Hayward Regional Shoreline is another exercise option, without the elevation. The gravel trails are especially beautiful in the morning dew and mist, whether you want to scroll or jog. 

Hayward Shoreline

The Hayward Shoreline - via sfbaywalk

Mission Hills is the local golf course, which opened over 20 years ago. The 9-hole is designed for fun, not necessarily to test each player to the limits. You could have lunch there, but an even better spot would be the TwiningVine Estate in Castro Valley. This is the nearest and most highly-rated estate winery, with surprisingly affordable tasting tours.    

If you want to be entertained without breaking a sweat, there are two Cinemark Century movie theaters in Hayward. Locals can also go for laser tag, mini golf, bowling, and even indoor skydiving. 

What Are Hayward Residents Like?

Most residents in Hayward own their homes, though the percentage of renters is high (57% vs. 43%). 

In terms of Hayward’s level of education:

  • 13% have a Master’s degree or higher.
  • 22% have a Bachelor’s degree.
  • 26% have a college or associate’s degree.
  • 25% have a high school diploma or some equivalent diploma.
  • 17% have less than a high school diploma.

The ages of Hayward residents: 

  • 11% are younger than 10 years old.
  • 9% are between 10 and 17 years old
  • 9% are between 18 and 24 years old
  • 17% are between 25 and 34 years old
  • 14% are between 35 and 44 years old
  • 13% are between 45 and 54 years old
  • 13% are between 55 and 64 years old
  • 13% are 65 years or older.

Downtown Hayward Street

A downtown Hayward street - via Eric Fredericks

Are Homes in Hayward Affordable? 

Hayward’s ideal location and offerings make it a more expensive place to buy a home. You’ll be able to find affordability because, as we all know, some homes are priced more competitively (or under-priced). However, the median listing price is significantly higher than in other areas, both nearby and across the country. 

Compared to nearby Oakland home prices, Hayward is more expensive to buy property. The median listing price in Oakland is $682,000, whereas it's almost $900,000 in Hayward (February 2024).

Compared to Castro Valley, Hayward is significantly less expensive. The median listing price in Castro Valley is $1,238,000, compared to nearly $900,000 in Hayward (February 2024).

Compared to California's list prices, Hayward is a more expensive place to buy a home. In California, the median listing price is $725,000 in December 2023, compared to almost $900,000 in Hayward a few months later.

Compared to the listing prices in America, Hayward is more than twice as expensive., the median listing price in the US was just $410,000 in December 2023, but a few months later it was nearly $900,000 in Hayward, CA.

There’s More to Know About Hayward, CA

An article can’t fit it all. Even for those familiar with Hayward, there a real estate questions that need answers. What trends are forecasted for Hayward? Will the area continue to grow and are there construction developments planned? These answers can come directly from realtors.

Our San Jose team has been buying and selling homes in and around Hayward since 2008. That being said, our combined experience is in the centuries, not decades. Because of this, we achieve higher success rates in an ultra-competitive real estate market. 

More Questions? Follow-up With Us!

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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