Home Buying in Petaluma>Question Details

Rewrite28, Home Buyer in Oakland, CA

Retiring to North Bay - Petaluma or Napa?

Asked by Rewrite28, Oakland, CA Tue Mar 5, 2013

I know both towns have changed since I lived in San Francisco 10 yrs ago. In what way would you say the ambience of Petaluma and Napa are different? The latter seems more available in the under $400K range. I wonder why?

Help the community by answering this question:


As Mike mentioned, the more remote location of Napa (in terms of proximity to SF) makes it less appealing to the City-centric crowd which is currently snatching up everything available in Petaluma. This agri-politain community of Petaluma is becoming a hot spot of the Bay Area, thanks to the magical combination of reasonable commute location, still-historically low pricing/interest rates and quality of life offered.

The anticipation of the SMART train system http://main.sonomamarintrain.org/, set to roll out in 2014, is drawing more people from Marin and SF to Sonoma by offering the 101 Corridor, between Cloverdale and Larkspur, a level of connectivity, not previously available.

Petaluma does not have a lot of retirement communities (aside from one on Petaluma Boulevard South and a number of Senior mobile home communities) I have helped a number of retiring people relocate here recently.

In terms of unique charm and value, Petaluma surpasses any town out there, in my opinion.
I hope this has helped to answer your question.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 5, 2013
Here are some more answers on a duplicate thread:

-Kim, Community Manager
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 6, 2013
Thank you - wasn't sure if it had to be posted separately for each area.
Flag Thu Mar 7, 2013
For sure Petaluma is my vote.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 5, 2013
Napa is a bit more isolated and remote than Petaluma. The areas in Napa or Petaluma that are under 400K won't offer much ambiance I'm afraid. If you want to consider a retirement community, with activities and recreation facilities there is Oakmont which is on the outskirts of Santa Rosa but also close to Sonoma and the homes in retirement communities tend to cost less. You might also want to consider Windsor which is appx. 30 minutes north of Petaluma, and has affordable homes in both over 55 and non retirement communities as well. Good ambiance and named as the safest city in Sonoma County.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 5, 2013
Well, if you're just looking for a lower cost retirement, there are probably much less expensive areas than these, so the question really is, what's the perfect balance between cost and "ambience", and having opportunities for your active retirement! There are so many variables, you really need to start making some visits to the areas and talk with people about such issues as weather, activities available, driving distance to places you want to travel, and of course, housing costs. Petaluma has costal fog, Napa will tend to be warmer without the costal fog. Driving to the bay area is different from both area. Prices are on the rise, and homes are usually less away from the commute towns like Petaluma. Up in Santa Rosa, there is more inventory and prices a little less. Make a list of what's important to you including activities, friends and relatives to visit, whether you use an airport a lot (Santa Rosa has their own mini airport with direct flights to SF, SD, LV).
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 5, 2013
Thank you so much. Your suggestions are good ones, and that's great info about the weather too.:-)
Flag Wed Mar 6, 2013
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