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It’s no secret that California is not a cheap place to live and it’s especially not cheap when you’re living off of student loans or a part-time job at the mall. Hayward is about as good as it’s going to get as far as student economy, however, and sadly it’s still not very good. California State U East Bay is on the southeast side of town and sundry apartment complexes can be found here, as well as some older single-family homes. Newer two bedroom apartments or townhomes can run from around $1200 to $1800 for more luxurious varieties, and unfortunately, one-bedroom apartments rarely dip below $1000. A nicer four-bedroom home in the area will run around $2500. Having the campus nearby should save money on gas, though, right?
Like a multitude of other cities in the U.S. that have fallen into disrepair, Hayward is slowly attempting to revitalize its small downtown area. There are few more shops and bars now, and a small number of the spaces above them have been renovated into apartments or lofts. Several art galleries showcase the work of a supportive, developing community of craftspeople, and the large public library now hosts writers' groups, poetry slams, and author events for books that reflect the cultural and linguistic diversity of the area. This isn't San Francisco, but in Hayward people tend to be relaxed and approachable, not hipstery and cliqueish – and you're more likely to be able to live near where your art is displayed!
It must be admitted that the revitalization effort has not progressed as quickly as Hayward's leadership would have liked, and plenty of downtown areas have what realtors diplomatically refer to as “questionable desirability”. Don't let those guys put you off, however. Renting in Hayward's downtown area can be slightly cheaper than elsewhere in town, offers a bit more of a walkable community feel, and it's only about a ten minute bike ride from campus. Besides, isn’t your middle name Danger anyway? A decent two-bedroom apartment here will go for around $1200, but one-bedrooms still don’t get much below $1000.
If school, work, or family is drawing you to Hayward but apartments and townhouses aren’t your style, nicer single family homes are available in the Fairview and Santa Clara areas. While substantially swankier than most of the rest Hayward, these homes are newer and larger, but will run around $2500-$3000 for a four bedroom. Hayward Hills also boasts nicer homes and is moderately close to the university. Small two-bedroom homes on a relatively safe street will start around $1500.
One of the primary reasons typically listed for living in Hayward, besides its lower real estate costs, is its location. Hayward is centrally located at the intersection of highways 238 and 92 which makes commuting to work in the surrounding environs relatively easy. There is also a BART station on Western Avenue that serves as conveyance to San Francisco. The city is about a half hour trip away for those looking for excitement outside of their city walls.
Hayward is one of the most choicest choices when looking for a centrally located rental in an area renowned for its sky-high real estate. There are more than a few interesting Hayward attractions – the Shoreline Center on Winton, a wetlands hiking area and nature museum, the PhotoCentral gallery downtown dedicated to the technical arts of photography, and Garin Park, a former cattle ranch now frequented by high school cross country teams and barbecuers. Given a little love and a few more years, expect Hayward develop both culturally and population wise. Welcome to Hayward & happy hunting!
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