Waterfront Bay Area homes for under $300K

We all know the Bay Area is one of the most expensive places to live in the country.

As of June, the median price for a  Bay Area home was more than $700,000.

So, how would you like to buy one, on the Bay, for about half that amount?

We found a hidden gem of a neighborhood, in an unlikely place, and it does not even come with a horrendous, long commute

Joe and Nancy raised their family in Minnesota, so when their daughters settled here in California, they never thought they could afford a place to be near their grandkids.

"At first we weren't sure, and we looked for a number of years, whenever we came out to visit with them. We took the leap."

They landed at the 'Shores at Marina Bay' in Richmond.

The homes are not big; one and two bedroom condos, but they have newly remodeled kitchens, and bathrooms, and buyers can choose to put in some upgrades, such as wood flooring.

They're surrounded by a park-like setting, resort-style amenities, like a pool, and gym and, perhaps the best part: They start at $275,000.

So, what's the hitch?

"What's the hitch?" laughs Josh Nasvik, the development's project manager, "You do have to buy and live in it; we're not selling to investors.  There really isn't one.  You have to get over negative 'Richmond' and that's really too bad. The people are really pigeon-holing it because it's Richmond, but Richmond is really a great, vibrant community."

He admits,  it isn't much of a walking community. You have to drive to the grocery store.

But, the homes are just a short drive from Point Richmond, and  the Craneway Pavilion, which is a performance space that offers special concerts, craft fairs and other festivals including the Oakland Symphony.

Its also right off 580, so an easy commute to the Richmond-San Rafael bridge, the Bay Bridge, BART and Amtrak.

Richmond is not an area known for its great schools, but the project manager says that will change, as more families move in.

"You've seen it in the last couple of years in El Cerrito, and how the El Cerrito schools have come up, and we're the next exit.  There are only so many places where families can live and still be near San Francisco," Nasvik said.

That's what Michelle Pitcher and her husband are hoping for.  They were excited to find a nice, safe place to raise their 11-month old daughter

"We love the security here; it was safe for her, i felt safe and its pretty affordable." Pitcher said.

The property manager has a financing agreement, so you only have to put 5% down, which is very low here in the Bay Area.

The most expensive condo they have is $567,000 but it's right on the water