If you’ve been reading the news lately, you’ve seen a lot of bullish press about the Oakland real estate market. According to Trulia, Oakland is now the 4th most expensive rental market in the United States. Zillow is predicting that Oakland will be the hottest real estate market in the Bay Area in 2016. Tech companies like Uber, Pandora and others are investing in Oakland office space. (If you missed any of these articles, check out my Facebook page). “Oakland is the new Brooklyn,” so the saying goes, and everyone from tech companies to tech workers to the Flax Art and Design store are heading over the bridge.
I’ve seen the same shift in my own business. Over the past few years, the amount of home sales I do in the Oakland area has increased year-over-year, and there’s been a definite uptick in both buyers and home prices. The overall numbers bear this out as well. From October 15th to January 16th the median sales price for homes in Oakland increased more than 22% compared to the same period one year ago. That’s a $100,000 increase!! (Trulia) And while yes, that is an enormous jump, when one considers that the median home price in San Francisco is over $1.1 million, the median Oakland home price of $550,000 can seem like a downright deal. Add to that the typically warmer climate, a great restaurant and shopping scene, and easy access to downtown San Francisco and it’s clear that a move to Oakland can seem like a no-brainer. So if you’re thinking of buying a home in the next year, does looking at Oakland make sense for you? Here are a few examples of clients I have worked with who recently purchased there. (Note: I’m using their initials to ensure their privacy).
Consider my clients L & M. When the landlord of their non-rent-controlled building in the Outer Richmond told them that he’d be raising the rent to market rates, they decided it was time for a change. With the help of family members for the down payment, off we went to buy their new home in Oakland. After just a month of very dedicated searching, they found a darling 3 bedroom – 1 bath home with a backyard that has inspired their inner-gardener and griller. They love their new home, their new neighbors and just got a dog. Best of all their monthly mortgage payment is less than the rent that they had been paying in San Francisco, and their commute to work in downtown San Francisco is actually faster!
My clients R and S are a newly married couple. They both work at tech companies in downtown San Francisco, but with plans to start a family they were ready to buy. While they had great credentials for the lender in terms of income and credit they lacked a significant down payment . They were pre-approved for an FHA loan, which limits how much a buyer can borrow that makes it virtually impossible to buy in San Francisco. Also, they were excited about getting a home with upside potential so they could remodel it themselves as they had done before in the Midwest. West Oakland was calling for them. After a long search to find just the right place (and getting out-bid on a few), we finally found them a great single family home on a beautiful tree-lined street in West Oakland that had the upside that they wanted as well as the close proximity to BART and downtown San Francisco.
S & A had already made the move from San Francisco to Oakland. After their son was born they left their condo in San Francisco for a house in NOBE (North Oakland Berkeley Emeryville). But they are also investors, so they wanted to capitalize on the growing popularity of West Oakland by purchasing an investment property. We quickly found them a newer construction two-bedroom townhome close to the shops in Emeryville, the Bay Bridge and the Macarthur BART station. Though it was the holiday season, we were able to rent it out pretty quickly for a good amount. Interestingly, their new tenant is also a transplant from San Francisco who was looking for more space for his money.
Do any of these scenarios resonate with you? If so, you may want to take a look at the Oakland area. If I can help in any way, don’t hesitate to reach out!
Image courtesy of Daniel Ramirez