Can you afford a house in ALAMEDA, CA? ($1,000,000)

What do you actually get for a million dollars in a house in Alameda? Let’s find out.

A New Three-part Series—What The Money Bought?

So, what does a million dollars get you in 2021? Let’s get into this new series that I’m launching with this video called “What the Money Bought,” starting with the city of Alameda, where I live, do a lot of my business, and enjoy spending a lot of time.

Whenever I work with a client, whether they’re a seller or a buyer, I always send them a list of things the money bought for them at their purchase price or what they hope to sell. This helps them compare their hopes and dreams to their budget, or their goals, if they’re a seller.

And what I’ve noticed is that the trend line has moved pretty drastically in some key areas. In addition to that, I also have a lot of conversations with people at open houses where I get some questions like, “How do I interpret the pricing?” “What does my budget actually get me?” “Is this going to fall into my budget?” “I have no idea if we use teaser pricing,” yadda yadda. I get it; it’s really confusing. Therefore, what I’m hoping to do in this series is break this down for you. And hopefully, it may help you understand what’s really going on.

Also, in this series, we will start with a million dollars, then $1.5 million, and finally, $2 million. We’ll discuss what those amounts can get you in a house in Alameda in 2018, 2019, 2020, and now 2021. We will compare trends, see what we can glean from this, and see what we can understand. 

What did $1,000,000 buy?

Let’s begin this three-part series with the million-dollar price point. But before we proceed, just a little note. I took all this data from the MLS, put it into a spreadsheet, and used total averages over the entire year, so you will be looking at the very average of this data. Moreover, some of it will not be perfectly applicable to the house you’re looking at today. However, note that this is the annual trend we’re looking at. In addition, I think it tells a story of where we’ve been and, potentially, where we’re going, so hopefully, this will give you something to work with when considering making an offer or when listing your property. 

Number of Houses Sold and Days on Market

So far, in Alameda in 2021, we’ve had seven houses sell at that $1,000,000 price point. The average days-on-market (DOM) for these houses is 14 days. The DOM has been pretty consistent in the past, except for 2019, which had an average of 37 days. But that is due to some outliers, so nothing crazy there. In other words, it is just some outliers that are driving that average up. 

Beds and Baths

The next thing I find interesting which we should consider is the beds and baths. As you can see from the table, the bedroom count has stayed pretty much the same for those four years. There is an average of 2.4 beds per house in Alameda in 2018 and 2021. In 2019 and 2020, there are 2.6 and 2.3 beds per house, respectively. This shows that the average number of bedrooms you get per house is pretty much the same in those four years.

On the other hand, based on the table, the bathroom count has trended downwards. From an average of 2 bathrooms per house in Alameda in 2018, it dropped to 1.7 bathrooms in 2021. You’ve almost lost half a bathroom for a home with that same price of a million dollars.

Square Footage and Dollars per Square Foot

The trend in square footage is one of the most interesting ones. From $625 per square foot in 2018, the average price increased to $777 per square foot in 2021. It even increased in 2020, reaching as high as $822, which is $200 more than in 2018.

Therefore, if you’re going to spend $1,000,000 today on a home in Alameda, expect to pay an average of $777/ft2. In other words, on average, the square footage of houses that cost exactly a million dollars in Alameda has decreased. So, although you’re getting a similar bed-bath configuration, you’re definitely getting a lot less area for the same price at that $1,000,000 price point. So that’s definitely something to be aware of when shopping here in Alameda, specifically.

Number of properties sold for more than $1 million

In 2018, 42.7%, or 272 out of 637, properties sold that year cost over a million dollars. So that means having a million dollars puts you well above half of the pack of the market back then. 

The following year in 2019, almost 50% of the 619 properties sold cost over a million dollars. Then, in 2020, it increased even more, to 56.25%, or 351 out of 624 units sold. And if you look at this year’s numbers, 67.13% of the 505 properties have sold for over a million dollars. So just in these 3.5, almost four short years, the price of the average unit in Alameda has gone up. It is also interesting to see that the number of houses sold over that $1,000,000 price point has increased significantly. So looking at these numbers, there’s no doubt that the entire market has elevated over that million-dollar price point.

Types of Homes

For the types of houses sold, you’re starting to get a lot more single-family and condo/townhouse duet mixes in there. Before, it was primarily single-family homes. So, a lot of these condos and townhouses are now breaching that million-dollar mark as well. So that’s something to really pay attention to.

List Price vs. Sales Price

Now, I get asked all the time about the difference between the list price and the sales price. So, how do you figure that difference out? How do you know? Before anything else, though, you definitely have to understand that there are these so-called teaser prices at play. They’re kind of artificial, and you have to be able to read through that. But, there is a rule of thumb I give people a lot of the time. I tell them that houses will sell for probably around 20% over the asking price. Obviously, sometimes it can be 10% more than the asking price, or 25%, or even 30% occasionally. But that 20% more than the asking price is pretty much the magic number.

However, according to the data, in 2018, on average, houses were sold for 10% more than the asking price. Meanwhile, in 2021, it was 12% more. And last year, in 2020, it went as high as 18%. Remember, though, that these numbers are the average for all properties over a year. So, this is what I think you really need to pull or take from that. That is, when you look at multiple properties over a year, those are the numbers you get. Thus, make sure that when looking at one particular property, you’re not applying an overall average to that particular property.

In addition, make sure to also look at the influence of the market, demand, and all of that for that property only. Needless to say, some properties sell at their asking price, while some sell for way more. Again, these numbers in the table are the average across an entire year, so keep that in mind, but also, use them as a starting point.


So there you have it. That is the average of what a million dollars gets you in a house in Alameda. It’s really amazing to see how the average size of homes has shrunk as it costs $150 more per square foot. And how the market itself—the number of units that have been sold above $1,000,000—has grown.

It appears, homes worth seven figures are the norm now. Hopefully, that gives you an understanding of what you should be focused on if you have that $1,000,000 to spend. Also, hopefully, it gives you what you can potentially expect both from a pricing strategy and from the perspective of what your money can buy you here in this city.

I hope my blog on what a million dollars can get you in a house in Alameda has helped you.

If I can give you more context on the process of buying or selling your home, please do not hesitate to reach out. My information is below. 

Here’s to all your success!


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