Sound Off: Which Bay Area community will emerge next?

  • be532 920x920 Sound Off: Which Bay Area community will emerge next?



Lisa Lange and Kathleen Daly

Photo: Lisa Lange And Kathleen Daly

Rachel Swann

Juan Diego Castro

A: Although it’s difficult to identify a specific neighborhood, we would suggest that the town of Novato, our fastest-growing city in Marin with its extensive new construction and one of our largest towns, is in high demand.

With a median price of $751,000, it is considered one of the more affordable towns in Marin, and that, combined with its high-quality schools, low crime and unemployment rates and access to shopping and entertainment, rank it at the top.

Despite its large size, Novato has the genuine feel and simplicity of a small Americana town.

The seven open-space preserves and 27 parks help give Novato a definite rural feel as well.

The real estate there provides some of the best home values in Marin, although the trade-off is a longer commute to San Francisco.

Summer temperatures are the highest in Marin, but generally a cool coastal influence penetrates inland in the evenings.

Kathleen Daly,

Coldwell Banker,

(415) 925-3205,;

Lisa Lange,

Coldwell Banker, (415) 464-3318,

A: At MEDA’s free first-time homebuyer workshops, we help Bay Area residents prepare to enter the region’s tough real estate market.

As our clients are generally not affluent, we advise them to consider options in the southeast quadrant of San Francisco.

Outside the city limits, hot spots include neighboring South San Francisco and Daly City. Its access to major highways, BART and Caltrain make these areas viable alternatives for those who work or go to school in San Francisco.

There is also much movement toward the East Bay, with a trend of many priced-out San Franciscans heading to neighborhoods in Oakland, such as the vibrant community surrounding Lake Merritt, just a 20-minute BART ride away. This area is bustling with small businesses, farmers’ markets and multicultural events.

With an idyllic climate, an artistic soul and a booming economy, Oakland is definitely a great option for those who cannot afford San Francisco prices.

Juan Diego Castro,

Mission Economic Development Agency,

(415) 282-3334 ext. 101,

A: San Francisco as a whole has exploded with demand, so it is hard to pinpoint just one neighborhood. I do have to say that West Portal has become quite a hot area. Great schools, low crime, a cute little strip of shops, restaurants and easy access to Muni are big draws.

Another area of huge demand is Elmwood and Rockridge in the East Bay. After recently helping a client find something in the area, we saw homes that had 80 disclosures out and homes that went almost 100 percent above the asking price, with cash being king. Great schools and a strip of shops and restaurants went a long way in these areas. This time you can add sunny weather almost all year long to the mix and you can see why these areas have become so popular.

These fringe areas in turn have had an influx of new buyers and cash into their communities, making them better places to live and improving their existing infrastructures to build hot, and new original communities.

Rachel Swann,

Hill Co. Real Estate,

(415) 225-7743,

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