You will find a whole bunch of information about my city and I am sure you will be convinced to come check it out! Your price range and criteria will work out fine!
I forgot to mention Pacifica (thank you Rob for pointing it out). Please click on the following link to see some pictures from Pacifica:
Well, you actually have quite a bit of options thanks to the falling real estate market in most of the suburbs. Let's start on the Peninsula where you have South San Francisco, Daly City, Pacifica, and San Bruno all within a 10 min drive of the city. There are definitely bigger homes that would fit your needs under 700k and to be honest the homes there probably have a little more to fall; so deals should be easy to come buy. That being said, you have to ask yourself how the market will recover there?
As for the East Bay, if a 45 min commute is reasonable I would say that Walnut Creek is a good place to buy. The reason I say that is because in general Walnut Creek is a wealthier neighborhood. There seems to be a bigger gap growing between classes and now more than ever it makes sense to buy in wealthier areas where resales will be easier. The market has been hit pretty rough there, but I think there is long term potential.....Just an opinion though
As for the East Bay, if you're willing to endure a 45 min commute
The commute is great --- either by ferry or the express bus. Or take the bus to Oakland and get on BART.
The climate is phenomenal --- almost always sunny, a few degrees warmer than San Francisco.
It's picturesque, historic, charming.
> Population of nearly 80,000 people
> Land area of approximately 12 square miles
> Had the highest concentration of Victorian homes on the west coast with over 3,000 Queen Anne and Italianate homes and structures built before the turn of the 20th century. Many still exist.
> Became an island when the Army Corps of Engineers completed the Tidal Canal (Estuary) in 1902
> Early beginnings as a favorite summer vacation spot, as well as primary residence for new middle class who worked in San Francisco and commuted home to Alameda via local ferries
> Small town atmosphere with quaint neighborhoods on tree-lined streets, vintage homes in various architectural styles that range from mansions on the Gold Coast area, to enclaves of small cottages, Tudor cottages in the park-like setting of Stonehenge, Craftsman and California bungalows. modern townhomes and contemporary homes in Bay Farm, and floating homes in Barnhill Marina across the Estuary from Jack London Square
> Beaches as favorite destination for families. On any windy day, there are many water sports enthusiasts who frolic in the waves with the city of San Francisco serving as an excellent backdrop
> Our very own wine tasting at the Rosenblum Cellars
> Arts and crafts faires
> Antique Faire every first Sunday at Alameda Point
> Outdoor free and live open air concerts in the summer
> Yacht clubs
> Water, water, water everywhere
> Also fondly referred to as "Silicon Island" due to growing number of high tech firms like Wind River Systems who have settled in modern business centers in the area
> Influx of new retail businesses like Starbucks, Borderâ€™s, Old Navy, Bed Bath and Beyond, Trader Joe's and more!
Go to http://www.alamedahomefinders.com/About_Alameda/page_95171.html for additional information
Yes, we have houses that will meet your requirements. Come see us!
One of the key decision while coming to the Bay Area is a decision regarding the acceptable amount of commuting you and your family would like to have. 10 years ago when I was moving to the Bay Area, my wife ran a program (I am not sure what it was), to find a city in radius of 25 mile of SF with great schools (we were comparing it to Westport, CT where we were coming from). Lafayette, Orinda and Walnut Creek in East Bay, Marin, and Sausalito in Marin County and Burlingame in San Mateo County on the SF Peninsula came up among other choices. I remember taking a ride after my arrival to the Bay Area to view these places. I got stuck in the traffic on Hwy 24 on the way from Walnut Creek to SF in the Caldecott Tunnel at 2 PM on Sunday at 2 PM in the afternoon. It was enough for me. I found out everything I needed to know about place I wanted to move to. Peninsula is the place with great public schools and reasonabe traffic conditions (your commute would be against the traffic and there are no bridges or tunnels on the way to SF). I moved to Peninsula and it proved to be a great choice. Considering your price range, I would suggest San Bruno (it has several good schools including Capuchino HS). Another City on the Peninsula you might want to consider is Millbrae with its best public HS in San Mateo County - Mills HS. It is slightly more expensive, but with luck and patience you can find an appropriate place. The commute is great. 15 min to SF in the pick our traffic and you have a choice of two trains, BART and Caltrain and a bus. Going further South - there is San Mateo (There are also Burlingame and Hillsborough on the way to San Mateo, but they are much more expensive. There is a lot of great opportunities in San Bruno there at the present time and plenty of good schools. You have also Caltrain access to SF (you can change on BART in Millbrae). Please don't hesitate to ask any questions you might have. Purely from the real estate prices point of view, South San Francisco and Daly City offer great values at the present time and their are in a close proximity to SF.
You have come to the right place. A great place to look for all that you would like to have is either Novato or San Rafael in Marin County, especially Novato because you will get more house for your price. (Yes! $500K to $700K is now workable here in Marin :-) )
Marin county is one of the most desirable places to live in the world. The reasons are many, good schools, supportive / friendly families, tons of open spaces for hiking, biking needs, accessible to several beaches, national park, national forest, national seashore, wine country all within 30 minutes drive, wonderful parks and recreations for kids/families, close to S.F. to enjoy all the cultural activities this great city has to offer, and three hours to Tahoe (we sometimes do a one day skiing trip on weekends). Just so much to offer. ,
I think you will fall in love with this place once you come and visit.