Strong employment figures in Berkeley

Very few things improve a metro's housing market more quickly than a strengthening economy. A growing number of high-paying jobs helps encourage new residents to buy homes and plant roots in a region. With this in mind, there may be more people considering the homes for sale in Berkeley, as recent reports suggest that the economy is improving significantly.

Unemployment declining
According to California's Employment Development Department, September was another strong month for Berkeley employment. The city's jobless rate came in at 8.2 percent, lower than many other cities in California, a state hit especially hard by the recession of the late 2000s. Indeed, Alameda County as a whole had an especially strong month, as the county's unemployment rate dropped from 9.3 percent to 8.6 percent.

Construction shows gains
There are other positive signs regarding the Bay Area's economy. According to the source, the start of the school year helped Alameda county add a significant number of jobs in September. However, more surprising is the fact that construction also saw big gains in the month, a rarity for a time when construction employment typically tapers off.

Rising home values
This strong economic performance could help raise the value of homes in the area as more people begin to move to the region to find employment. In fact, recent data suggests that this might already be underway. According to real estate analytics firm DataQuick, the median price for homes in the Bay Area is at its highest level in four years. In September, the median price for new and resale homes rose to $429,000 - 17.5 percent higher than it was a year ago.

In Alameda County, the year-over-year increase was slightly lower at 8.9 percent, but this is to be expected for a county that was not hit nearly as hard as many of its neighboring counties. Indeed, in a city like Berkeley - which has the second-highest median price in the county - the real concern may be declining inventory. In September, there were only 49 homes sold in Berkeley, which is fewer than were sold last year and suggests that competition may be growing for the remaining homes for sale.

Due to Berkeley's improving economy and a declining stock of for-sale homes, now might be an ideal time to find a home in this desirable California city.