They come for the schools but stay for this small community. Neighboring Berkeley, Albany has the characteristics of Berkeley but is separate from it. With a population of around 20,000, it is largely in the “flats” to the north of Marin Avenue, has its own school system and government. It is populated by small 2 to 3-bedroom California bungalows. And many parents are willing to pay top dollar for them because Albany’s schools are among the best in the state. In fact, the average price for a 3-bedroom house in Albany is over $1.3 million.