Small-town feel draws homeowners to Clayton

Small-town feel draws homeowners to Clayton
Downtown Clayton, CA. (Photos by Pete Cruz)

CLAYTON, CA (Dec. 14, 2021) — I am launching a new column format, highlighting one of our wonderful neighborhoods each month.

Don’t be surprised if you receive a call from me or my illustrious “client partner” Morgan Boneberg with a short survey about your neighborhood. I am excited to dig a little deeper into what makes each of our neighborhoods unique.

I want to start by looking at the entire town of Clayton, founded in 1857 by Joel Henry Clayton. He and his two younger brothers laid out the town. Clayton (1812-1872) was born in Bugsworth, now Buxworth, in the United Kingdom and emigrated to the United States in 1837. He prospered during the coal mining boom in Eastern Contra Costa County. The Clayton Post Office opened in 1861, and Clayton incorporated in 1964.

I was surprised to learn that Clayton is considered a suburb of Oakland. It has a population of 12,083. Public schools in Clayton are above average, and the median income is $157,768 a year. Clayton is No. 17 in the Best Places to Raise a Family in Contra Costa County.

One thing that I find unique is that there are no apartments here. The only rentals are when homeowners rent out their homes. So, Clayton isn’t a transient place.

Here are some excerpts from reviews of what residents like and don’t like about Clayton. These are composites of the number of comments in each category.

25 excellent and very good. “An amazing town of very nice people. Clean streets and many good places to dine. As an Asian-American, though there could be more diversity, I feel a sense of calm, peace and acceptance. The friendliest town in the Bay Area. People know each other, familiar faces, old-town feel. Cutest little town with character where you can ride up to the Clayton Club and tie up your horse.

Greatest pizza. Very safe with practically no crime. Friendly police. A mix of young families and retired seniors. The hiking and outdoor activities are the best I have seen. An old-town style with a young family vibe.”

Three average. “Beautiful, small and quiet. Tucked away under Mount Diablo and has very nice views of the hills. The houses, while nice, are also quite expensive. It is quite far from the freeway, and you have to go elsewhere for most shopping. Very little diversity.”

Only one terrible. “It used to be a family-oriented, middle-class community. Since 1990, it’s become overrun with predominantly yuppie snobs who have transformed it into a wannabe Danville.”

For the most part, people love and are very proud of this wonderful little town. Next month, I will highlight Easley Estates.

Lynne French is a Realtor with Compass Real Estate and captain of the Lynne French Team. Send your real estate questions to or 925-672-8787.

Lynne French
Lynne French
Realtor at Compass Real Estate | 925-672-8787 | | Website

Lynne French is a Realtor with Compass Real Estate and captain of the Lynne French Team. Originally from Chicago, Lynne French came to San Francisco at the height of the 1960 and started a boutique at age 21. She went on to open two other shops. As industries shifted, Lynne took off on an adventure as a truck driver. For 10 years Lynne owned, operated and drove her big rig throughout the 48 states. One day, her truck broke down for the last time, and it was time to move on. In 1993 an ad for real estate training caught her eye and she began her real estate career as an assistant. Eventually she struck out on her own and had to hire her assistant to handle the volume of work. Lynne's decision to become an office in 2005 came from a sincere alignment with three basic principles: hire the best people, give them the best tools, create thriving communities. When not helping her clients, Lynne and her husband Danny enjoy country living within the foothills of Mt. Diablo.