Memorial Glade and Sather Tower on the campus ...A city that would seem immune from price shocks and real estate market crashes because of its high level of affluent residents and its world-famous higher education institutions, the Berkeley real estate market  has nonetheless suffered some of the aftershocks that the U.S. and world financial crisis have had on housing markets around the world.

According to the Daily Californian, in September, home prices in Berkeley were down 12% from the prices a year earlier. But that decline was much less than those seen in other areas in California. Data showed that prices in southern Berkeley had, in fact, risen by 31% percent, while prices in the other portion of the city fell by 32%.

According to data from the California Association of Realtors, October's median price this year for homes for sale in Berkeley was $621,500, down from $675,000 in October of last year, a 7.9% decline. However, that single-digit decline bests most other cities in Alameda County. Contrast it with Dublin or Hayward, where prices were off by 15%, or Union City, where price declines surpassed 20%.

The San Francisco Chronicle recently noted that higher-priced real estate in Berkeley is beginning to heat up again as bidding wars escalate, with more buyers in the market looking to take advantage of government-stimulus money tax rebates. One two-bedroom house was said to have had eight bids in mid-October and sold for $136,000 more than its asking price. The Chronicle quoted local realtor Tracy Sichterman as saying 31% of Berkeley homes sold worth more than $1 million were given all-cash offers.

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