By Andria Borba

VALLEJO (KPIX) — An unexpected Bay Area city has become one of the hottest real estate markets in the country, despite the economic challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic.

A California waterfront city with a median home price right near half a million bucks? It isn’t fantasy land. The third hottest housing market in the nation can be found in Vallejo.

READ MORE: Farms, Ranches In Southern Santa Clara County Grapple With Worsening Drought

“Vallejo used to be an unknown gem. Now it’s a known gem,” said resident Jay Kobuvec.

Once infamous for filing for bankruptcy, the city of 120,000 residents with a median income of just over $30,000 a year has emerged as a new home base for home buyers during the pandemic.

“I’ve never experienced anything like this. I can’t keep up with all of the buyers reaching out to me,” said Tim Hiemstra, owner and broker of Napa River Realty. “People are getting in and seeing it and the open space and the fact that they that they’re not restricted to being in their office in Silicon Valley, San Francisco.”

READ MORE: 5 Boats Burn, 4 Destroyed in the Delta Near Bethel Island

The bayside city just 15 minutes from Napa Valley currently has an average listing price of $550,000 for a home with a backyard. And that is with a massive tech expansion coming to nearby Mare Island and available ferry service to many still-shuttered offices in San Francisco.

Where rampant prostitution once reigned, there’s now a Tesla dealership and only 58 single family homes on the market.

Jay Kobuvec just sold his home in Vallejo. He bought it after the ’08 crash and when the city itself filed for bankruptcy. In 2021, Kobuvec got multiple offers all over the asking price.

MORE NEWS: COVID: Service Industry Employers Lament Lack of People Willing to Fill Open Jobs

“I put $100,000 into it and I got more than that out of it. It’s nice,” he told KPIX.