Some of the world’s great cities were born out of trade, or war, or natural resources, but not Hayward, California. This towering megalopolis of 120,000 was born out of the need to escape California’s insanely high real estate market. Hayward’s appeal, besides its envy-inducing California weather and scenery, is its prime location between San Jose, San Francisco, Silicon Valley and Oakland, allowing the workaday masses to commute in to their place of employment and come home to a house that doesn't break the bank. It’s a convenient arrangement.
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. Renting in Hayward's downtown area can be slightly cheaper than elsewhere in town, offers a bit more of a walkable community feel. A decent two-bedroom apartment here will go for around $1200, but one-bedrooms still don’t get much below $1000.
If 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. Small two-bedroom homes 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 barbecuers. Given a little love and a few more years, expect Hayward develop both culturally and population wise. Welcome to Hayward & happy hunting!