oskiosoMD, Home Buyer in Daly City, CA

Moving to the East Bay in the near future: Alameda vs. Castro Valley?

Asked by oskiosoMD, Daly City, CA Thu Oct 31, 2013

I would appreciate advice re: Alameda vs. Castro Valley. My priorities are high quality schools K-12 (prefer public unless private school is nearby & outstanding), neighborhood culture/charm/dining, & safety. I'm looking to purchase a large home, but acreage is not necessary per se. Price is not the biggest factor, but buying a great value/investment, is important of course. If you advise one city over the other, could you please specify which neighborhood/district within the city that I should be targeting? Thank you very much!

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The Medford…, Agent, Fremont, CA
Sat Nov 2, 2013
It totally depends on what you want – you state the following:

Q: My priorities are high quality schools K-12 (prefer public unless private school is nearby & outstanding)
A: Castro Valley schools are ranked higher by API score – Alameda’s average API is 872.64, Castro Valley’s average is 920.33

Here is the link to Alameda County API scores: http://dq.cde.ca.gov/dataquest/Acnt2012/2011Base_Co.aspx?cYe…

Q: Neighborhood culture
A: They are totally different types of communities: Alameda is more upscale urban, Castro Valley leans towards country.

Q: charm
A: Depends on what charms you – personally, I’d give Alameda the edge here – Pacita has some great reasons below. Castro Valley does not really have a quaint shopping area – Castro Valley Boulevard has a LONG way to go to catch up to Park. Alameda has the bay with traditional beach areas, Castro Valley has Lake Chabot, complete with boats of all varieties for rent, picnic spaces, hiking and more. Castro Valley has some neighborhoods with spectacular hillside vistas, parts of Alameda have great views of the bay and SF.

Q: dining
A: Alameda wins hands down, and has greater access to fine dining in SF and Oakland.

Q: safety.
A: In my opinion, Castro Valley wins. Don’t take my word for it, check the links below:

Q: I'm looking to purchase a large home, but acreage is not necessary per se.
A: The larger homes will be in Castro Valley, and will be substantially less expensive as well. In addition, lot size is larger, particularly in the East end of Castro Valley – Palomares Hills and 5-Canyons. Go out into the canyons and you will find acreages as well.

Q: Price is not the biggest factor, but buying a great value/investment, is important of course.
A: You will get a LOT more for your money in Castro Valley. You will also be more centrally located in the Bay Area, but will be further from destinations such as SF and Oakland.
1 vote
Ramesh Ramch…, Agent, Alameda, CA
Sat Jan 11, 2014
Check out http://www.panavista.com/EastBaySnippets
Click on the entry for 2014-01-09. Then go the last jpg.
0 votes
christine.di…, Home Buyer, Napa, CA
Fri Nov 15, 2013
I'm not an agent or affiliated with the industry. I live in Alameda with my family and love it. My husband used to work in Castro Valley, the two are apples and oranges in difference. Alameda is a small town, you can walk everywhere (flat), it's on the bay, gets almost no fog (compared to Berkeley). We love it. It also doesn't get the searing heat of Castro Valley in the summer, even though they're only 15 minutes apart.
0 votes
oskiosoMD, Home Buyer, Daly City, CA
Sat Nov 2, 2013
Thanks everyone for the detailed replies, much appreciated. I may check out both cities, but am leaning towards Alameda based on everything I've learned, thanks again!
0 votes
Give me a call when you're ready to take a tour….I feel like I'm a walking, talking Chamber of Commerce for Alameda. Having been a rolling stone, living in Florida, New York, New Jersey, Texas, and other places in California including San Francisco, Mountain View and Oakland, I can honestly say with total conviction that Alameda is a JOYFUL place. I don't ever want to leave :)
Flag Sat Nov 2, 2013
My name is John Bickley and I own Bickley Re in Alameda. I have been helping buyers and sellers here since 1986. I put out my List all about Alameda each week If you want a copy just give me your e-mail address. Mine is brokers4u@aol.com John
Flag Sat Nov 2, 2013
Pacita Dimac…, Agent, Oakland, CA
Thu Oct 31, 2013
Since I live in Alameda, I'm very partial to my city, and would like to point out the things people love best about this historic, picturesque city

Besides the attraction of highly rated schools and low crime rate…..

Very walkable…city is flat, and all streets have sidewalks.

Many parks that dot the island, and best known is Crown Beach Memorial State Park where we have all kinds of activities --- sand castle building, outdoor concerts.

Lots of Marinas. I blogged about Alameda having the second highest number of boat slips per capita (the first being Marina del Rey) http://www.trulia.com/blog/pacita_dimacali/2013/03/did_you_k…

Lots of Victorians --- second highest number of Victorians per capita

Lots of city activities to delight people --- one of the longest July 4th parades in the country
Free outdoor concerts by the beach every summer
Street festivals like Arts and Wine Faire, Classic Cars
Walking Tours

Restored Alameda Theater with 8 screens, and weekend Alameda's Got Talent onstage before a movie screening

Amazing number of fabulous restaurants (Zagat-rated)

Nice mix of old and new communities

Easy access to public transportation for commuting -- via ferry, bus, and even express bus to San Francisco

Weather…..ahhhh….just glorious! Almost always sunny.

One of the best and largest Antique Faires in the Bay

Wineries and vodka tasting

No contest. Alameda wins!
0 votes
Matthew Smith, Agent, Oakland, CA
Thu Oct 31, 2013
Both are great small town-feel areas with different attributes, some already mentioned. Castro Valley schools may be a little better, especially the areas with the newer, larger homes on the east side like Five Canyons and Jensen Ranch. The homes in Castro Valley are generally newer than most of Alameda (except Bay Farm Island). Downtown Castro Valley has fine shopping.

Alameda's great treasures are the older homes, many of which are well-preserved and fantastic.If you appreciate the home craftsmanship of the late 19th and early 20th century, Alameda is the place! There are two great shopping areas, on Webster and South Shore. South Shore Center has recently been nicely upgraded and is great.

Alameda = more walkable and rideable, more suburban
Castro Valley = slightly better value, larger lots, more hillside views, open space, hiking opportunities

I would recommend checking both areas out and see what appeals to you in person. Both areas are great in their own way.
0 votes
If you think you might want to own a horse or two, you can find the place in Castro Valley with a top school too.
Flag Thu Oct 31, 2013
Alexander Gr…, Agent, San Jose, CA
Thu Oct 31, 2013
Alameda is better.

Alex Greer
Loan Officer
NMLS #1056079

0 votes
Philip kaake, Agent, ALAMEDA, CA
Thu Oct 31, 2013
Hello Oskios,
Both cities have good public schools. You can check out reviews of schools on http://www.greatschools.org however this gives you only the metrics and not always the inside scoop on what is going within given schools. As real estate agents we can give you a good overview of where the most desirable school districts are.
Larger home is a relative thing, different in Alameda than in Castro Valley. CV has larger homes and more planned developments, not knowing what you consider a larger home... Is 2,000 sq. ft. a large home or are you looking for something in the 3500 and up range . Again price is a relative thing; in Alameda you can expect to pay between 750k to a 1 million or a little more for a larger home. As far as Alameda is concerned the east end is where most people want to be since the schools tend to rate higher in this part of town. The Gold Coast is very nice and has a few large homes on the market right now. Castro Valley has nice areas in the hills with some pretty spectacular views, something we don't get in Alameda when a home is not on the water.
They each have a unique flavor and offer some slightly different lifestyle choices. Alameda has neighborhoods that are more walkable and close to shopping and entertainment. For the combination of things your looking for Schools, neighborhood, culture, dining & safety I would take a look at Alameda first. I am a little biased because this is where I live. Either area could suit you well some of this will be subjective according to your tastes.
Please give me a call if you would like to talk with more detail about any of this.
All the best, Philip
510-847-2638 philip.kaake@gmail.com
0 votes
John Bickley, Agent, Alameda, CA
Thu Oct 31, 2013
Alameda is the best as far as I am concerned. Good location, good schools, great downtown areas, best theater in the Bay Area, homes with charm and character and great weather. Property values alot higher than Castro Valley though but well worth it. John Bickley Bickley RE 510 301-9803 and brokers4u@aol.com
0 votes
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