Lifestyle

Community spotlight: Albany

  • City is home to Albany Hills, Albany Bulb and Golden Gate Fields.
  • Albany is considered a very walkable Bay Area city.
  • Median home prices have risen by nearly 15 percent in the city during the last 12 months.

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Sandwiched between El Cerrito and Berkeley, the city of Albany is a walkable community where home prices have appreciated rapidly of late.

Comprising roughly 18,500 residents, the city is considered a spot where most errands can be accomplished on foot. WalkScore points to the neighborhoods of West Washington, NOMAR, Garfield and lower Solano as the most walkable, all garnering scores above 85.

The city’s primary location for retail and business is along pedestrian-oriented Solano Avenue.

A number of Albany citizens travel via Interstate 80 on a daily basis to and from San Francisco, as the average commute time for residents sits at nearly 29 minutes. Downtown San Francisco is roughly 14 miles away. The city also lies in close proximity, 3 miles, to the University of California Berkeley.

While a BART station is not located within the city limits, a station lies just to the north in El Cerrito. Additionally, just to the south of the city is the North Berkeley station.

Home values on the rise in Albany

Spanning the past 12 months, home values are said to have risen by nearly 15 percent in the city. According to Realtor.com, the median list price of homes currently on the market sits at $887,000, with the median closing price at $875,000. These two figures suggest that Albany boasts a seller-favorable list-to-sales price ratio and that right now is a good time to sell a home.

As with most close-in East Bay cities median rent is also high in the city, nearly $3,000.

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Things to do in Albany

Albany is home to three Bay Area destinations, Golden Gate Fields, the Bulb and Albany Hill.

The only major horse racing track in Northern California, Golden Gate Fields sits on the shore of the San Francisco Bay and straddles Albany and Berkeley.

A former landfill now largely owned by city, the Albany Bulb is on a peninsula that juts out into the San Francisco Bay. The Bulb is home to various urban art, a makeshift library and a homeless community.

Representing the only high elevation spot in the city, the Albany Hills open space park provides city and bay views.

The city is also home to the Albany City Unified School District, which recently ranked as the 33rd best in the state. GreatSchools gave a “10” rating to two of the district’s elementary schools along with one middle school. The district is considered the city’s largest employer.

Email Erik Pisor