6.9 out of 10

El Cerrito Hills

37.9216893978764 -122.297348339287
Great for
  • Parks & Recreation
  • Clean & Green
  • Lack of Traffic
  • Neighborly Spirit
  • Peace & Quiet
Not great for
  • Cost of Living
  • Gym & Fitness
  • Nightlife
  • Pest Free
  • Public Transport
Who lives here?
  • Professionals
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Country Lovers
  • Trendy & Stylish
  •  

Reviews

4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"Bay Views and Foreclosures"

El Cerrito Hills is definitely where the upper crust of El Cerrito live. (Kind of a funny name really, given that “El Cerrito” means “little hill” in Spanish, making this the “Little Hill Hills” neighborhood.) This is a pretty large neighborhood. Generally speaking it gets more expensive and ritzier the farther south towards Kensington that you get.

Homes here offer pretty awe-inspiring views of the north San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge. The streets are windy like in the Berkeley Hills, but with fewer trees. The vast majority of homes here were built during the 40’s and 50’s, so you will find a fair share of Ranch style homes with diamonds on the garage doors and that sort of thing. Most homes here make good use of the Bay views by having long west facing windows and decks.

The two main arteries into the neighborhood are Moeser (an steep 2-lane road) and Arlington which runs north south on the upper elevations of El Cerrito Hills. Of the two lanes, Arlington is by far the more appealing. You will find long tree-lined straightaways here and well-maintained front yards with occasional breathtaking glimpses of the glassy bay.

Some of my favorite streets in this neighborhood are way up by the crest of El Cerrito Hills where the neighborhood gives way to the undeveloped lands of Wildcat Canyon Regional Park. You will find some cozier streets here with somewhat newer architecture and attractive, though narrow front lawns.

The median home price is $575K with prices ranging from $215 K to $1.4 M. That is a pretty wide range. What is the reason for it? Foreclosures have let many homes go for much lower than the prices at which they are valued—often half of the estimated current price. Three out of four homes here are on the market due to foreclosure.

Because of the hills, absence of sidewalks, and lack of public transportation, El Cerrito hills is definitely a car necessary neighborhood. Just to get groceries you have to drive down to El Cerrito Plaza where there is a Lucky’s—a good mile from most places in the neighborhood.

Unfortunately, El Cerrito public schools are middling at best (both Portola Middle School and El Cerrito High have mid range test scores), so families who move here will probably want to consider some of the private options in the area. (This is, in effect, an added cost of living in El Cerrito Hills.)

El Cerrito Hills is a residential neighborhood, but it is close enough to Berkeley and Oakland to offer weekend entertainment and to the wild areas of the East Bay to offer outdoorsy types recreational as well. Overall a pretty good value—especially right now.
Pros
  • Great Bay Views
  • Good Deals on Foreclosures
  • Attractive Homes
Cons
  • Average Schools
  • Car Culture
  • Too Many Foreclosures
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Country Lovers
  • Trendy & Stylish

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