During the pandemic, the Bay Area housing market exploded as people exited big cities in search of more space.

But just which Bay Area neighborhoods saw the biggest growth during the pandemic?

The Chronicle analyzed home value data from real estate listings company Zillow to find the neighborhood in each of the Bay Area’s nine counties with the fastest average growth in home values from Dec. 2019 to Dec. 2021.

What we found was major growth in neighborhoods outside of city centers, often with more space, nice views and proximity to outdoor amenities including trails, parks and bodies of water.

But many of these areas are still close enough to retail and restaurants, and offer convenient access to major thoroughfares. Growth is also concentrated in areas that are still considered affordable by Bay Area standards..

Matt Kreamer, a data spokesperson for Zillow, said home values are exploding across the country as home buyers bid on “a historically low number of homes for sale.” He said their research at the neighborhood level shows certain factors driving demand including more indoor space, private yards, access to amenities or transit.

Affordability is a key factor. Before the pandemic, many buyers were looking for reasonable commutes to San Francisco or the South Bay. But remote work has changed that.

“What we’ve seen in the Bay Area the past two years is absolutely a move toward affordability, and the desire to get more space for your money,” he wrote in an email. “Instead of deciding to rent and keep saving or buy a small condo in the city, they could consider homes in Marin, Alameda or Napa counties instead. That’s especially true of the large swatch of millennials in their mid-30s – the age when people typically buy their first home and start a family.”

Some of the Bay Area neighborhoods that have seen home values skyrocket during the pandemic were already expensive, and have gotten even more so as there are more buyers than there are sellers right now. Kreamer noted that some smaller geographic areas may only have a few hundred homes, so “price jumps are more likely to be influenced by just a few transactions.”

Kreamer also explained that Zillow only estimates growth for neighborhoods for which they have enough sales data to make a reasonable guess. Solano County has only two neighborhoods included in Zillow’s data, so we did not include it in our analysis — though one of those two neighborhoods, Vallejo Heights, had a striking 34% increase in home values over the last two years.