Explore these three neighborhoods that have remained the best-kept secrets of Northern California’s East Bay.
Across the Bay Bridge from San Francisco, you’ll find the East Bay, known for its culture, climate, and mix of an urban-suburban lifestyle that’s hard to top. It has become one of the most sought-after places to live. As Thomas James Homes expands into the East Bay, we’ve had the opportunity to learn more about these communities and partner with local realtors, each with their accounts of what makes these neighborhoods stand out. So we turned to the Dudum Real Estate Group and the Dana Green Team to share their take on the area known as Lamorinda and why it’s such a special place that so many want to call home.
If you’re not from the East Bay, you may give up trying to find Lamorinda on a map because it isn’t an official city. It’s an area made up of the three cities, Lafayette, Moraga, and Orinda, that together establish the area known as Lamorinda
Tucked east of the Berkeley Hills between the Caldecott Tunnel and Walnut Creek, the area is a trailhead to outdoor recreation, friendly small-town charm, exceptional schools, signature dining, entertainment, and shopping. And then there’s the ease of commuting to San Francisco (or “The City” as the locals say), South Bay, Walnut Creek, and even Sacramento. Lamorinda’s superpower: it takes the best traits of the Bay Area and adds its own warm, community-centric feel.
“This area is still the best-kept secret of the bay, especially with all it offers,” says Julie Del Santo. Julie is a born-and-raised Bay Area resident and the founder of Dudum Real Estate Group, one of the fastest organically grown real estate companies in the East Bay that TJH is partnering with.
“Living in the East Bay and especially Lamorinda has everything you could want. Whether it’s more space, access to nature, great weather or top-rated schools, to live music and entertainment or job opportunities, there’s something for everyone here,” Julie tells us. “Lamorinda feels like one big family and the level of support from everyone in the community and friendships formed is unlike anywhere else I’ve seen.”
Lafayette has all bases covered with both a vibrant downtown and picturesque neighborhoods. You’ll find some of the best shopping and dining with a mix of boutiques, restaurants, and cafes that line the streets of downtown. Just outside of the city center, tree-lined residential streets weave through large open parks and more than 40 miles of dedicated trails. Like Briones Regional Park, which has more than 6,000 acres of rolling hills and wilderness. Or Lafayette Reservoir, a 550-acre undisturbed oak woodland that sits a few blocks from downtown and offers hiking, cycling, fishing, boating, a children’s playground, and live music in the summer.
Dana Green, the CEO and Lead Realtor of the Dana Green Real Estate Team is a Lafayette native and has watched the homebuyer demand increase for this area. “People move to Lafayette for the quality of life it provides,” Dana says. “To have TJH expand and build new, single-family homes in these neighborhoods with low inventory will be good for homebuyers and the area. We recently partnered with them on a couple of projects, and their team is extremely knowledgeable, professional, and resourceful.”
Tucked into the hillsides of the East Bay, between Orinda and Lafayette, is the town of Moraga. It’s home to the renowned Moraga Country Club, St. Mary’s College of California, and The Commons, a multi-use park with play structures, skate domes, an outdoor theater, a frisbee golf course and bocce ball pit, plenty of walking paths, and bike paths. It’s also the go-to summer spot for concerts in the park. With less city buzz than neighboring towns, Moraga has the coveted qualities of a serene hillside town while still offering plenty of amenities, shopping, and activities for families, college students, and professionals.
“I grew up here not realizing at the time what a special place it was,” says Kaaren Brickman of Dudum Real Estate Group. After she moved away for college and launched a business, she realized she had to get back to Lamorinda. Now, she’s a “Lamorindan” for life.
“This area is special for so many reasons,” Kaaren continues. “It has access to so much nature and outdoor activities. Our proximity to other city centers is ideal, and with BART, it’s easy to commute to Berkeley or San Francisco. Families have access to top-rated schools and safe, residential neighborhoods. There are so many wonderful opportunities this community offers.”
Come for the trails and outdoor recreation; stay for the close-knit community and beautiful neighborhoods surrounding the historic downtown. Orinda is the closest of the Lamorinda cities to Berkely, Oakland, and San Francisco, yet it feels worlds away with its panoramic views of Mt. Diablo and ancient oak woodlands. The American Hiking Association named it “Trail Town U.S.A.” for its abundant parks and trails. Forbes listed it as the second friendliest city in the nation. And a financial news site recognized it as “America’s 50 Best Cities to Live.”
Kelly Wood, a Lamorinda native and realtor with Dudum Real Estate Group, has worked with countless families looking for a home in this region. “Orinda is famous for being such a family-friendly place,” says Kelly. “Whether you’re looking for a neighborhood with space and access to the outdoors, or you want quick and easy access to a BART station for commuting to and from the city, Orinda has it all. ”
The Lamorinda region and its sister cities throughout the East Bay have become one of the most attractive destinations for homebuyers for its spacious lots, outdoor activities, and quick vicinity to San Francisco. However, the low inventory and high demand have left many homebuyers frustrated by their options. In January 2022, the Lamorinda area had just nine homes for sale, less than a quarter of last year’s total, while Central Contra Costa County, including Concord, Pleasant Hill, and Walnut Creek, had 35 listings, a little more than half of last year’s supply.
Our recent East Bay expansion aims to bring long-awaited opportunities with new construction and flexible home plans for potential buyers. Current residents will also be able to benefit by building a new home or even, building more on their existing homesite with California’s new SB-9—a recently passed housing act that enables homeowners to build two new homes on their single-family residential lot, or subdivide their lot into two homesites.
“We’re excited to work more with TJH. They bring a unique approach to homebuilding and home plans that we haven’t seen from other developers.”
— Kelly Wood, Dudum Group realtor
Explore new TJH listings coming to Lamorinda and other desirable East Bay neighborhoods.
Dudum Real Estate Group
Formed by Julie Dudum Del Santo, Dudum Real Estate Group is one of the preeminent and finest real estate brokerages in the East Bay. With offices in Walnut Creek, Lamorinda, Danville, Brentwood, and Sierra Tahoe, Dudum Real Estate Group agents work collectively to give their clients the best possible real estate buying and selling experience in the East Bay. Read more about the Dudum Real Estate Group.
Julie Del Santo
Founder, Dudum Group
Realtor, Dudum Group, Lafayette
Realtor, Dudum Group, Lafayette
Dana Green Team
CEO + Lead Realtor
The Dana Green Team is a leading real estate team in the East Bay. Founded by Lafayette native Dana Green, her accolades are numerous and range from being named the MVP of Bay Area Real Estate by LuxeSF and REAL Trends to Business Person of the Year by the City of Lafayette. Dana was also recognized for her ethics by being awarded the 2021 Torch Award for Ethics by the Better Business Bureau. She proudly leads her accomplished team ranked #2 in Northern California and #7 in the U.S. by REAL Trends on the 2021 “The Thousand” list (for a mid-size team).