We have many clients who ask that same question. Indeed, it might make sense in this economy.
There is another reason to consider buying, and that is because of lack of on-campus housing for students at U.C. Berkeley. This would make your son's housing needs settled for the four years, and you would not have to do the annual stress-producing task of locating housing for the subsequent school year. Plus, your son would not have to relocate annually.
Does it make financial sense? You might want to consult with your financial/tax advisor.
If you need a realtor in the area surrounding U.C. Berkeley, please let us know and we can arrange for a realtor to assist you.
With best regards,
Fran and Rowena