Skip to content

A Home Buyer’s Guide to the East Bay Region of California

People who relocate into the San Francisco Bay Area often spend a lot of time researching the different regions that make up this sprawling metro area. And from north to south, there’s a community for just about every type of home buyer.

But today, we will shift our attention to the east, to explore the popular East Bay portion of the metro area.

Did you know? While we serve borrowers across the state of California, Bridgepoint Funding is located in the East Bay and specializes in helping home buyers in the area.

What Is The “East Bay” Exactly?

In short, the East Bay comprises the cities and counties that lie to the east of San Francisco proper, across the San Francisco Bay.

Map showing the East Bay region and major cities

Specifically, the term “East Bay” refers to the eastern region of the San Francisco Bay Area, encompassing both Alameda and Contra Costa counties. It’s a sprawling area with a diverse geography, ranging from the urban waterfront cities of Oakland and Berkeley to the rolling hills and inland valleys of Walnut Creek and Pleasanton.

This populous region, home to roughly 2.5 million residents, offers a unique blend of cityscapes, natural beauty, and suburban charm.

Major Cities in the Area

Some of California’s most famous cities are located in the East Bay region, including Berkeley and Oakland. Here’s a home buyer’s guide to some of the largest and most populous cities in the area.


Berkeley is an East Bay city known for its intellectual heart (UC Berkeley), progressive vibe, and walkable neighborhoods like Fourth Street and Gourmet Ghetto.

Berkeley’s neighborhoods are prized for their architectural diversity. Here you’ll find tree-lined streets full of well-preserved Victorian homes dating back to the late 19th century.

This city is also known for its progressive spirit and strong emphasis on education. Berkeley has an eclectic mix of residents, an active arts scene, and world-class institutions such as the University of California, Berkeley.

Berkeley also has some of the highest home prices in the East Bay region, as well as the broader San Francisco Bay Area. The median home value in the city has been hovering above the $1 million threshold for nearly two decades.

When this article was published in the spring of 2024, the median home price was around $1.4 million, according to Zillow.


Another major East Bay city, Oakland offers a thriving arts scene, trendy restaurants, and historic architecture.

Downtown Oakland has undergone a renaissance in recent years, an effort that continues to this day. It involves the development of sleek, modern condominiums and loft-style apartments amidst historic buildings and vibrant street art.

Popular neighborhoods in Oakland include Temescal and Rockridge, characterized by their charming bungalows, tree-lined streets, and bustling commercial corridors filled with trendy boutiques, cafes, and restaurants.

Along Oakland’s waterfront, burgeoning communities like Jack London Square and Embarcadero Cove offer waterfront living with stunning views of the Bay, marinas, and waterfront dining options.

As of spring 2024, the median home price in the city of Oakland was $805,000. But prices can vary widely among the different neighborhoods and communities in Oakland.

Other Major Cities in the East Bay

Alameda: A charming island city of about 80,000 residents that offers a relaxed atmosphere, beautiful Victorian homes, and excellent schools. Alameda is a good choice for home buyers seeking a family-friendly environment. It offers a slower pace of life compared to some of the surrounding urban centers. The median home price as of spring 2024 was just over $1.2 million.

Richmond: An evolving East Bay city with an industrial history, Richmond offers waterfront access, breweries, and a multicultural flair. The Point Richmond neighborhood (or simply “The Point”) has a scenic waterfront with walking trails. Richmond’s core offers a mix of historic buildings and new developments. The median price point for the Richmond real estate market was around $783,000 at the time of publication.

Walnut Creek & Concord: These East Bay suburbs offer highly rated schools, spacious houses, and a quieter pace of life. This makes them ideal for families seeking a bit more breathing room by Bay Area standards. Concord is home to Six Flags Hurricane Harbor Concord, a water park perfect for hot summer days.

Major Employers in the Area

As part of the greater San Francisco Bay Area, the East Bay is a highly developed region with many large employers and economic ventures. In addition to the county governments of Alameda and Contra Costa, the largest employers include:

  • University of California, Berkeley with approximately 20,000 employees
  • AT&T Inc. with approximately 11,000 employees
  • The U.S. Postal Service
  • Tesla
  • Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
  • Chevron Corp. (world headquarters in San Ramon)
  • Safeway (world headquarters in Pleasanton)
  • Bank of America
  • PG&E
  • Kaiser Permanente (US headquarters in Oakland)

About the East Bay Housing Market

Even by San Francisco Bay area standards, the East Bay real estate market can be highly competitive for local home buyers.

Inventory has a lot to do with this. Historically speaking, the East Bay region has some of the lowest real estate market inventory levels of any county or region in the state of California.

Here are some recent statistics that reinforce this point:

  • In the spring of 2024, the state of California had an “unsold inventory index” of about three months. Theoretically, that means it would take three months to sell all homes currently for sale, if no new properties came onto the market.
  • During that same timeframe, the East Bay real estate market had a much lower level of supply. Both Alameda and Contra Costa County had an unsold inventory index of around 1.5 months.

Additionally, homes tend to sell quickly within the East Bay real estate market. When measured by the median number of “days on market,” Alameda and Contra Costa are currently the two fastest moving real estate markets in the state.

In short, the East Bay has a high level of demand from home buyers combined with very low inventory levels. The good news is that this helps to maintain home values in the area. The downside is that home buyers often have to compete fiercely due to tight inventory conditions.

As a home buyer targeting the East Bay, you’ll want to have a solid plan in place before you enter the real estate market. This includes researching neighborhoods and market conditions, getting pre-approved for a loan, and working with a market-savvy agent.

Need a mortgage loan? Look no further than Bridgepoint Funding! We’ve been helping East Bay home buyers for nearly 20 years. As a local mortgage broker, we partner with multiple lenders to offer a wide range of home loan options.

Mike Trejo is a Bay Area mortgage broker with 20+ years of knowledge and experience.

Back To Top