Now what is it like to live in the hot bay real estate neighborhoods

As the hot housing market continues to cool in much of California, Bay Area communities expecting strong growth in home values ​​appear to be concentrated in North Bay communities, particularly along the coast of Marin County.

The Chronicle analyzed data from real estate listing company Zillow around the Bay Area from January to June 2022 this year, as well as from June 2021 last year, to see which ZIP codes had the fastest average growth in typical home values. Through June 2022, the analysis only considered ZIP codes with a population of 1,000 or more, according to US Census data.

Zillow data spokesman Matt Cramer said the data continued to slow due to the “explosion of home values” linked to the pandemic — as remote workers who no longer connect to urban centers flee to the suburbs and suburbs as prices rise. In the six-month period from January to June, home value growth was less than half the year-over-year growth in nearly all zip codes surveyed, he said.

But several Marin County zip codes — including several established beach vacation spots — have shown their enduring popularity by adding listings for both 2022 and beyond.

Their dominance reflects a shift in buyers’ priorities during the pandemic, said Sarah Kovelczyk and Lotte Moore, realtors of The Compass Group in Marin County. Many were drawn to Marin for the same reasons: access to a better lifestyle, great weather, and great outdoors.

‘Serene’ and ‘Tranquil’: Woodacre

Woodcree, a small community in Marin County’s San Geronimo Valley northwest of Fairfax, saw the Bay Area’s highest 2022 home value growth of 15.4%, from $1.06 million in January to $1.29 million in June.

The outbreak has opened buyers’ eyes to an area previously considered “too remote,” Kovelczyk said. Now buyers are seeing what they can get, and they have no problem with shipping.

She said her group has seen an increasing number of buyers from the more populous parts of southern or central Marin County, whose property values ​​have approached San Francisco. In Woodacres, you can “still find relative value” and find a large home with several acres and “total privacy.”

View of 110 Carson Road in Woodcree, currently listed by Mark Machado of Attain Real Estate.

View of 110 Carson Road in Woodcree, currently listed by Mark Machado of Attain Real Estate.

Courtesy Mark Machado

While Woodcree has a “sleepy country neighborhood” — there’s no gas station, and you have to drive a little farther for groceries — the town is still accessible, Kovelczyk said, and the area is served by top public school districts.

“There’s a learning curve, but 95% of the people who move there know it … and they’re very happy to see how safe it is, how quiet it is,” she says.

Realtor Mark Machado, founder of San Rafael-based Attain Real Estate, says the community is tight-knit and has a friendly “calm, laid-back” feel. The only downside is that homes are on septic and propane systems, which can take some getting used to.

Beach Magnets: Point Reyes Station, Sea Farm

West of Woodcree on the Marin County coast is Point Reyes Station, a popular tourist town that serves as the main entrance to Point Reyes National Seashore. It rose from $1.57 million in January to $1.79 million in June, marking the third-highest growth in home values ​​this year at 14.2%.

The Compass Realtor Group said they’ve seen primarily seniors looking for second homes, perhaps initially in eastern wine country, or Bolinas or Stinson Beach further south, and expanding their search.

30 Knob Hill Road in Point Reyes Station, a home for sale by Compass Agents Sarah Kovelczyk and Lotte Moore.

30 Knob Hill Road in Point Reyes Station, a home for sale by Compass Agents Sarah Kovelczyk and Lotte Moore.

Team Lotte and Sarah, Compass

The main draw for Point Reyes Station is its farm-to-table and artisan culture, Moore said. It also serves as a hub for many activities and attractions, she added – but for residents, this can be a negative as the city is filled with tourists on weekends and holidays.

Coastal Marin County towns such as Point Reyes Station have long been popular day-trip or weekend destinations for area residents looking to enjoy a fast-paced nature and small-town life, Kreamer said. But the pandemic has turned them into places where people want to put down roots. “If they don’t have to go to the office every day, it makes sense that a fair number of people would want to move there,” she says.

Another small coastal community, Sea Farm in Sonoma County, continues to lead the Bay Area and California in home value growth. Earlier this month, a Zillow Data Chronicle analysis showed that seafood had a significant year-over-year increase statewide from May 2021 to May 2022.

The most recent data shows that Marine Farms posted the year-over-year percentage increase in Bay Area home prices through June, at 43.87%, and the region’s second-highest increase from January to June at 15.37%.

Realtors in the area say the building’s uniqueness, proximity to the beach, recently added high-speed Internet service and a private jet line attract good buyers who work remotely.

A home in Sea Ranch sold in August 2021 for $1.8 million.

A home in Sea Ranch sold in August 2021 for $1.8 million.

Kennedy and Associates

Suburban drag

For many, though, it’s about their means and getting the most for their money. Kramer said. In general, buying a home in the city of San Francisco or San Jose is more expensive than in the nearby Bay Area.

Three Tri-Valley ZIP codes in San Ramon and Danville and a ZIP code in Union City saw year-over-year home value growth, each rising more than 24 percent from June 2021 to June 2022. Livermore made a top 15 list of year-over-year home price increases.

“A buyer can definitely get more bang for their buck in some of the outdoor areas,” Cramer said. “If you’re a first-time buyer in the Bay Area, it makes sense to look at places like Livermore or Union City where homes are relatively inexpensive and you can get more space and yard for less. A condo close to the city.”

Many Bay Area homebuyers during the pandemic and last year had more freedom to expand their choices, whether it was location, type of home or other amenities important to their lifestyle.

“What’s happening in the Bay Area is that more people are freer than ever to look for homes that best fit their preferences,” Kramer said.

So those who love nature and want a more peaceful life will look to Marin and Sonoma counties, while families looking for bigger homes, amenities and a backyard might be drawn to suburbs like San Ramon and Danville.


The Zillow Home Value Index measures a region’s typical home value and housing market appreciation based on multiple data sources, including seasonal variations and nearby home values. Home price estimates are not only based on the prices of recently sold homes, but also estimate the value of all homes in the selected area, whether or not they have been sold.

The approach differs from that used by many realtors, as the data comes from a regional realtor and broker database called Multiple Listing Services. The methods may differ and the analyzes may not be directly comparable.

Kellie Hwang is a staff writer for the San Francisco Chronicle. Email: Twitter: @KellieHwang

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