Prices climb in Woodlands, among hottest house markets in Bay Area

Walnut Creek neighborhood sees home values jump 40% to $1.46M in four years

Coldwell Banker Realty's Sharon Vanni (Woodlands Association, Coldwell Banker Realty, Getty)
Coldwell Banker Realty's Sharon Vanni (Woodlands Association, Coldwell Banker Realty, Getty)

What Bay Area neighborhood has large homes, wide streets, good schools and lots of room for kids to play?

That would be the Woodlands in Walnut Creek, in Contra Costa County — now among the hottest real estate markets in the Bay Area, the San Francisco Chronicle reported, citing figures from Zillow.

The value of a  typical home in Woodlands rose 40 percent to $1.46 million in February, from $1.04 million in February 2020.

The jump is one of the biggest of any neighborhood in the greater San Francisco market, catering to an influx of buyers seeking suburban communities close to shopping centers and quality schools.

Over the same four-year period, home values in Walnut Creek rose by 30 percent, while home values in the San Francisco metro area overall increased by 19 percent.

The initial spike in home values across Woodlands came during the first two years of the pandemic, when remote work policies caused many home buyers to emphasize school quality and home size over short commute times.

Higher mortgage rates have slowed overall home value increases over the past year.

But the value of a typical Woodlands home still rose 4 percent in February from the year before, about the same uptick as Walnut Creek overall.

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Valle Verde Elementary School rests near the center of the neighborhood, and there are middle and high schools just outside Woodlands’ boundaries. The Cabana Club, a community pool, serves as a space for families to meet each other, according to the Chronicle.

Homes in Woodlands tend to range from 1,800 to 2,300 square feet. Children can ride their bikes down wide streets such as Road Oak Road and Peachwillow Lane, named after trees.

The neighborhood is also walking distance from numerous shopping centers, with large grocery chains such as Safeway and Whole Foods opening in the past 10 years.

Sharon Vanni, an agent with Coldwell Banker Realty who lived in Woodlands for 17 years, described it as a “‘Leave it to Beaver’ neighborhood.” 

“There’s never not been an interest in the Woodlands,” Vanni said, adding that buyers quickly snatch up listed homes.

In the Bay Area, the movement away from downtowns has also resulted in soaring home prices in cities such as Fremont in Alameda County. Its 28 Palms neighborhood, a suburban community near schools and shopping centers, had a 48 percent jump in home values this year compared to 2020.

It was the biggest jump of any neighborhood in the San Francisco metro area, followed by several other Fremont neighborhoods. Also on the list of hot suburban markets were Hayward Highland in Hayward, Atchison Village in Richmond and Valley High in Pleasant Hill.

— Dana Bartholomew

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