East Bay Real Estate Market: A Guide to Buying and Selling

Aalto Insights Team
Aug 18, 2023

The pandemic-fueled housing market introduced historically low interest rates, bidding wars, and inventory shortages. The real estate market began to cool down in 2022. Still, buyers can find themselves up against challenges as they face inflation and high interest rates. 

The East Bay is a hot spot for real estate, thanks to its close proximity to San Francisco, Oakland, and Berkeley. Those looking to explore East Bay real estate might be wondering what they can expect now. This guide will help you learn about local trends in the East Bay housing market and be prepared to face the market as a buyer or seller.

What Is the East Bay?

East Bay real estate: aerial view of Lake Merritt

The East Bay is situated in the eastern region of the San Francisco Bay Area and consists of Contra Costa county and Alameda county. Combined, the two counties are home to approximately 2.8 million residents spread across its total 33 cites. East Bay real estate offers plenty of neighborhoods and cities to choose from, including: 

As a buyer, you’ll need to decide what neighborhood is right for you. Do you prefer a quiet neighborhood located in the suburbs? If so, then Walnut Creek, nestled in the foothills of the East Bay, might be the right choice for you. Or do you want to live in a walkable neighborhood close to shops and restaurants? Oakland’s walk score of 75 out of 100 might compel you. Answering these questions can help determine what you’re looking for in a home and in a neighborhood.

Home Types in the East Bay

Single-family homes are the predominant housing type in Contra Costa County. In fact, single-family homes comprise 80% of the housing in the county. The East Bay also features varied architectural styles, spanning from new homes to mid-century modern homes to craftsman bungalows. 

Average Home Price in the East Bay

Learning about current housing trends can help you navigate the real estate market, no matter if you’re a seller or a buyer. A seller’s market occurs when housing demand exceeds the available supply, putting the seller at an advantage. Meanwhile, a buyer’s market occurs when real estate inventory is high and houses often sell for less. 

In Alameda County and Contra Costa County, housing inventory has significantly declined with home prices continuing to climb. Homes located in the Bay Area significantly exceed the national average. The median price for a home in Contra Costa County currently stands at $875k while the median price for a home in Alameda County is $1.08 million.

Selling East Bay Real Estate

Educating yourself on the current real estate trends can help inform your decision on whether you should sell now or if it’s better to wait. Here’s some helpful information to keep in mind when it comes to selling a home in the East Bay.

The Real Estate Market Is Competitive 

While a red-hot real estate market can pose challenges for homebuyers, it creates an optimal time for homeowners to list their homes due to the high demand. Home prices in the East Bay have continued to rise due to the limited supply of homes for sale. 

Houses in Contra Costa and Alameda Counties spend about 11-25 days on the market before selling. About 66% of homes on average in both counties sell above asking price.

Get Your Home Ready for the Market

When it comes to listing your home, first impressions count with potential homebuyers. Once you’ve decided that you’re ready to list your home, it’s time to get your home ready to hit the market. This includes thoroughly cleaning and decluttering the interior and exterior of your home.

Virtual staging is a great way to get your home looking its best and offer the ability to add furniture or remove items you don’t want to showcase. Increasing your home’s curb appeal is another great way to attract potential buyers and can be as simple as ensuring the lawn is mowed and upgrading the door with a fresh coat of paint.

Set the Sales Price

Pricing your California home correctly is a balancing act that requires much care and precision. Setting the sales price too high might turn away potential buyers while setting it too low might deter buyers who think there is something wrong. 

When setting the listing price, look at the comparables of similar properties sold in your neighborhood. Looking at comps takes into account a number of components, such as the location, square feet of the home, and number of bedrooms and bathrooms.

Buying East Bay Real Estate 

East Bay real estate: skyline of a city

If you’re ready to start exploring East Bay homes for sale, you might be wondering where to start. Here’s some factors to keep in mind when looking at new homes, so you can be prepared.

Calculate the Costs

When determining your budget for buying a house, consider both one-time expenses and recurring expenses. Here are some one-time expenses to keep in mind: 

  • Down payment: To avoid paying the private mortgage insurance, or PMI, buyers will need to put down at least 20% of the home’s purchase price. 
  • Closing costs: Closing costs typically range from 2-6% of the loan amount and may include loan origination fees, taxes, record filing, and title insurance fees.
  • Move-in expenses: This amount will vary on a number of factors, such as if it’s a local move or long-distance move. You might also want to invest in furnishings or home repairs.

In addition to the one-time fees listed above, don’t forget about these recurring fees: 

  • Mortgage payment 
  • Property taxes 
  • Homeowners insurance 
  • HOA fees (if applicable)

Shop Around Mortgage Lenders

After getting pre-approved for a loan, it’s time to start considering your financing options. There’s a wide variety of loan options available for potential homebuyers, spanning from conventional loans to FHA loans, so be sure to educate yourself on different types of loans so you can get the best option for you. 

When it comes to choosing a mortgage lender, it’s best to shop around and get quotes from at least three different lenders. By doing this, you can get an idea of which lender will give you the best interest rates and loan terms.

Decide If You Want an Agent

Regardless of if you’re buying or selling, deciding who to work with in your real estate journey is one of the most crucial decisions you can make. Some individuals are opting to navigate the real estate market on their own, instead of paying the 5-6% commission that comes with hiring a traditional real estate agent. Those who aren’t interested in working with a real estate agent but still want some guidance might want to consider working with Aalto.

A Platform Tailored to East Bay Real Estate

East Bay real estate: family carrying boxes into their house

From Alameda to Antioch, Aalto is an expert in East Bay real estate. At Aalto, we eliminate the need for you to hire a traditional real estate agent and, instead, work to directly connect buyers and sellers together. By opting to work with Aalto, you’ll be prepared to face the real estate market. 

Those working with Aalto can buy and sell on their terms and timeline, with no contract or commitment required. Sellers can even save up to 80% in fees by working with Aalto. Meanwhile, homebuyers ready to explore new homes can look forward to receiving up to 1.5% cash back at the close of escrow. 

Visit Aalto today to explore exclusive homes in the East Bay you won’t find anywhere else.

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