Couldn't agree more with you, although we are not looking in Berkeley or SF, but rather in Silicon Valley. We noticed that many of the new constructions is what they called "cottage" style. They are basically 1500 sq ft houses sitting on a 700 sq ft of land - what I call "mini rises".
First, these houses don't have a backyard, because that space is taken by the garage. Second, in order for you to move from one room to another, you need to take climb steps. You start with garage, then go up a few steps to a living room, then you need to go up another set of steps to get to the dinning room and kitchen, then a few steps up to a bathroom, and then finally more steps to the bedroom. And these houses are suppossed to be "starter" homes, for families with young children. How could one put their kids in a house full of steps and hazards and no backyard to play in?