Between the pandemic, the wildfires, and the blanket of smoke we’ve had to live with lately, one would think that the local real estate market would have gone into hibernation, but this has not been the case.  The pandemic has caused many people to re-evaluate where they want to live.  We’ve been spending much more time in our homes— for work, for school, for meals, for entertainment, for exercise, for leisure— so having the right indoor and outdoor spaces for those activities is more important than ever.

Many people working from home are moving to take advantage of lower real estate prices and bigger yards in more remote locations.  While that has meant that some people have left Berkeley for more rural spots, we’ve also seen more people than ever leaving San Francisco for Berkeley.  Overall, there have been more than enough new Berkeley buyers in the market to balance flows out of our area, and we’re still seeing quick sales, solid prices, and multiple offers on many properties.


Berkeley Hills, Summer results:

There were 61 active listings in the hills this summer, which is actually on the high side, but this is because some of what would have been spring sellers delayed coming on the market. There were 101 active listings in the hills for spring and summer together, compared to 115 listings for spring and summer of 2019. This summer, 29 properties sold, in an average of 25 days on the market. Two-thirds of those sales were for more than list price, and those averaged 8% over list.

The median sold price in the hills was $1,440,000, which is down from both this spring (by 4%) and last summer (by 8.2%).  However, sold price per square foot was $778, which is 6.8% higher than the spring, and 1.1% higher than for summer 2019.  When these two measures (median price and price per square foot) move in opposite directions, it means that the mix of properties sold was different between the time periods (in this case, there were more small homes in the data this summer).


North Berkeley, Summer results:

In North Berkeley, there were 36 active listings over the summer, which is  high for this area (last summer there were only 23 active listings), but again, this is because some homes that would have been listed during the spring didn’t actually come on the market until the summer.  There were 30 properties that sold over the summer in North Berkeley, in an average of 19 days on the market. Four out of five of those sales (80%) were for more than list price, and those averaged 18% over list.

The median sold price for the summer was $1,320,000, which is down 1.3% from the spring, but up 2.3% from last summer.  Sold price per square foot averaged $888, which is down from both the spring (by 2.8%) and from last summer (by 5.1%).  There were 6 properties that sold for more than $1000 per square foot, and 4 that sold for less than $700 per square foot.  The lowest was $512 per square foot for a tenant-occupied fixer on Marin.


Because of the pandemic, we’re seeing less demand for condominiums and tenant-occupied properties right now, but in both North Berkeley and in the hills, values for other types of properties are stable, or even up very slightly from last year.  Interest rates continue to be historically low, which should keep the market strong through the end of 2020.