The Best Berkeley Neighborhoods to Own a Rental Property - Article Banner

If you buy a rental property in Berkeley, which neighborhoods deserve to be on your shortlist? 

The neighborhood is a crucial factor you should consider while owning a rental property in Berkeley. It’s because even if you buy a spacious property with all the modern amenities you need. But, it is located in a less desirable area, and you will likely have trouble attracting potential tenants and reselling your home. 

You can select a location considering several aspects, such as cost, proximity to campus, lifestyle, and your children’s needs. For instance, in Berkeley, students studying at the university prefer the convenience of living in Berkeley or nearby communities, such as Rockridge or EL Cerrito. On the other hand, those who enjoy urban living choose San Francisco as an option. 

Depending on your rental requirements, budget and what type of crowd you want to attract, we recommend the best Berkeley neighborhoods to own a rental property as follows.

Top Berkeley Neighborhoods For Students

If you are considering offering rental units to college students, here are the best locations that offer proximity to schools, colleges, and universities.

  • North Berkeley

This is a fantastic place to live and is close to campus. It offers proximity to services such as restaurants, bookstores, supermarkets, public transit and laundromats, and all are usually within walking distance. 

Both single homes and big apartments are available for rent. Also, University Avenue, the area’s southern border, is a diverse and busy commercial street. Those who lived farther north seemed to rank their place as safe and pleasant.

House types: Houses and apartments 

Commute Time: 5-10 minutes walk, 10-15 minutes drive

  • South Berkeley

South Berkeley is another convenient location for students close to the university campus. Since many undergraduate students live in this area, the rents are relatively low. However, some graduate students may find the surrounding a bit hectic and noisy, especially with the hustle and bustle of Telegraph Avenue. 

But, the convenience of the proximity to campus surely outweighs other factors. Farther south along College Avenue is the upscale and tranquil Elmwood district, where rent tends to be higher. Shops, restaurants and cafes fall within a relatively easy walk, bus, or bike ride from the university campus. 

Housing Type: Houses, duplexes, apartments

Commute time: 15-25 minutes by walking, 10-15 minutes by driving.

  • Albany

Many students from the University of California, Berkeley, live in this town that is located just north of Berkeley. It offers apartments, houses for rent, and all the necessary services. For instance, Solano Avenue has plentiful and popular shops, bookstores, restaurants, and movie theaters that run east-west through Berkeley and into Albany. 

Many graduate students live in Albany, including those with University-operated properties in the large complex of University Family Housing, also known as University Village. Albany receives an average safety rating of 3 to 1. Although the closest BART station is near the border in El Cerrito, much of Albany is close to a bike ride or walk to the El Cerrito Plaza BART station. 

House type: houses and apartments

Commute time: 15 or 20 minutes by car, 20 minutes by bus and 30 minutes by bicycle. 

  • El Cerrito

The town of El Cerrito is similar to Albany in terms of rent, services and safety and is located just north of Albany. You can consider 5 or 10 minutes to all commute times from Albany. One of the significant advantages of dwelling in El Cerrito is that the place has two BART stations in Berkeley. 

A 10-minute BART ride from El Cerrito drops you off at campus, two BART stops away. Housing is also affordable in the area compared to Berkeley and Albany. It is because it is a bit farther from the university campus. However, those who are okay with traveling a bit from the area to the campus can choose to live here at low rental prices.

Housing type: house and apartments

Commute time: 25-30 min drive, 40 min bike, 10 min El Cerrito Plaza BART, 20 min Del North BART

  • Rockridge 

The Rockridge is located where Berkeley’s Elmwood district meets the Oakland border. This neighborhood begins along College Avenue and continues with the upscale flavor of Elmwood, offering even more in the way of restaurants, shops, and cafes. 

The Rockridge BART station is the major hub for all lines in San Francisco and the East Bay Area. Due to its proximity to the university campus and Berkeley’s pleasant, tree-lined side streets, property rents tend to be higher than in other parts of Oakland. 

Regardless of the rent, the area receives an average three safety rating, making it the best option for owning a rental property.

Housing type: house, apartment 

Commute time: 10-15 min drive, 20 min bike and 10-15 min bus

Best Locations for Recreational Activities in Berkeley 

Looking for things to do outside in Berkeley? Then the following neighborhoods are just right for you to own a rental property

  • Berkeley Hills 

It is one of the most excellent neighborhoods to own a property in Berkeley, especially if you like the outdoors. The adjacent East Bay Regional Park system in the Oakland hills (Berkeley) offers excellent areas for hiking, jogging and mountain biking. South of campus, the Berkeley Hills are residential, and most homes here are single-family properties. 

Many of these properties have great Bay views and can be expensive depending on the house’s size, view and condition. The Rental prices range from the low $600s to $1,000 per person. 

But, there is little in the way of nearby shopping, so a car is almost a must unless you are a bicyclist and can handle steep streets. Depending on how far away you live, you can expect a 10 to 15-minute drive to campus.

Housing type: House, In-law, room

Commute time: 10-15 min drive

  • West Berkeley

West Berkeley is the downtown area located several blocks west of the campus near the BART station of Berkeley. Depending on the neighborhood, you are close to services, such as restaurants, laundromats, supermarkets and other retail establishments. 

Since University Avenue is primarily commercial, buses frequently run up the street to the campus and take 10-15 minutes in traffic. The location also offers proximity to the famous “Ocean View” district that starts at the northwestern edge along 4th street and University Avenue. 

You can also check out several places to shop alongside decades-old establishments. 

Those interested in trying different cuisines can witness a thriving collection of Indian restaurants and Indian-related businesses in this area. Along with these factors, the area has safety scores primarily in the average 3 to low 4 range, with some streets ranked even 5.

Best Berkeley Neighborhoods for Families

The image of Berkeley that comes to your mind is a historical city or sidewalk bustling with students or free-spirited hippies. But the place is also ideal for families or couples looking to raise children and settle here. Here are a few neighborhoods you can consider 

  • Piedmont Avenue and the Lake Merritt Districts

Located in the south of Rockridge, Piedmont Avenue and the Lake Merritt Districts are the areas worth exploring, particularly if you are searching for a rental during a peak time, like in August. Approximately four to five miles from campus, these areas offer pleasant shopping and urban amenities. 

The location offers a combination of large apartment complexes and residential areas featuring duplexes and houses. Since there is more urban density, housing is much more plentiful here for families and couples and less expensive than the other areas closer to campus. 

Housing type: House, duplex and apartment

Commute time: varies accordingly to neighborhoods

  • San Francisco

The city of San Francisco is the best place for those who love city living. As experienced property managers in Berkeley, we highly recommend the area because of its advantages. It includes great transportation, proximity to cultural events, and the entire city experience. 

The only disadvantage of living here is that it takes some time to commute, which ranges from 45-60 minutes by car to 30-40 minutes by BART. And if you depend on BART, you may want to avoid staying around for late-night study sessions or parties. Prices vary by neighborhood ranging from very inexpensive to out of sight.

Best Berkeley Neighborhood For Employees 

Relocating to Berkeley for a job purpose? That has a lot more offers for non-students, employees and workers. Here are the top neighborhoods employees can consider living in.

  • Downtown Berkeley

Downtown Berkeley is the heart of Berkeley’s city and central business district. It is a hub for trendy coffee shops, global restaurants, and performing arts venues like the Berkeley Repertory Theatre. You can surely apply for a business license and renew it. 

If you want resources and assistance from business professionals, you can conduct research and approach experts to ensure growth for your business. Apart from the business factor, other cultural standouts include Berkeley Art Museum, with a diverse film program and rotating contemporary art shows. 

The Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center attractions include a farmer’s market and an illuminated fountain.

Other Locations

Other LocationsApart from all the above neighborhoods, you can consider other communities and Oakland neighborhoods, like Temescal and Lake Merritt or other communities within 3+ miles of campus, like Emeryville, Kensington, Lafayette, and Walnut Creek.

There is a neighborhood for each of you in this bustling city. All these neighborhoods feel as comfortable and safe as your native place. If you are considering moving to Berkeley and owning a rental property, we can help pave the way for exploring, visiting and living in Berkeley. 

We at California Pacific Realty can make it for investors, owners and even renters to plant roots in wealthy cities like Berkeley, California. 

Contact us at California Pacific Realty to learn more about the Berkeley real estate market and make a profitable investment in Berkeley.