I've wondered about this too - from what I can gather, it is because Albany's roots are very working class and I'm guessing that the developers originally built housing for that demographic. I think my cousin also mentioned that some of the housing was built long ago as secondary housing for some of the San Franciscans.
I totally agree - great city (schools, retail, feel), but the housing is substandard (small sq. footage, tiny lots, no character/charm/design, and hideously expensive for what you get!!). Most homes that are larger are really smaller homes that often have poorly integrated additions. Bummer!!
The prices in Albany make North Berkeley/Berkeley Hills look like a bargain (well, sort of...) (but of course, you don't get the high-scoring Albany schools....)... more