Oakland real estate keeps heating up

If you want cold, hard numbers illustrating Oakland’s economic revival, look no further than the city’s sizzling real estate market.

Oakland has 11,000 housing units in the works, Mayor-Elect Libby Schaaf told Bloomberg News last week. Most of those proposed homes are in the early stages of City Hall’s permitting and approval process, but Schaaf said she expects they will be built and that Oakland has space for even more in the coming years.

Oakland also has more than $2.5 billion in commercial projects in the works, which are expected to add thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in tax revenue, the Chronicle’s Carolyn Jones reports. As Jones reports, all the economic growth, coupled with San Francisco’s tech explosion have given Oakland some of the Bay Area’s steepest housing price increases. Since 2010, rents have risen 45 percent and home prices have soared 76 percent. Also, Oakland’s median housing sale price is up 121 percent from four years ago.

What parts of Oakland are set to enjoy all this future growth? Well, judging from recent media reports, the majority of it.

For instance, the Brooklyn Basin waterfront development, set to build south of Jack London Square, has broken ground on a 3,100 unit development that also will have about 30 acres of park space, and 200,000 square feet of retail outlets, 200 boat slips and related marina structures

Also in the works is the Lake Merritt Station Area plan, which would add nearly 5,000 housing units and more than a million square feet of office space over the next 25 years in the neighborhood next to Chinatown and Laney College.

Proposals to build in and near Jack London Square include two residential towers.

Meanwhile, Shorenstein Partners wants to build a housing tower downtown, next to the Ask.com building. Other hi-rise developments are being discussed, including one on the empty lot between the Fox Theater and the Uptown apartments. Also, another residential tower has been proposed next to Lake Merritt and the Kaiser Convention Center.

A developer next year will begin building 235 apartments on Wood Street in West Oakland. It’s one of several projects planned in West Oakland, as developer City Ventures plans to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in the area, according to the San Francisco Business Times.

In the grand scheme of things, there are potential down sides to a hot real estate market, as first-time home buyers and struggling artists probably aren’t too enthused that experts say that Oakland is now among the nation’s least affordable cities to rent or buy housing.

But for the fight to keep Oakland’s sports teams in town, these countless articles and statistics show that the city’s doubters are wrong. The real estate market is further proof that Oakland’s economy is more than strong enough to be a viable, 21st-century sports town. It’s pretty simple: If there are hundreds of thousands of East Bay residents who can afford a $1 million home, they very likely can afford A’s season tickets. And many of them would buy A’s tickets now if they were properly courted and marketed to by the A’s ownership.

In spite of what you may have heard, Oakland has always had the economic strength of a major league city. But Oakland’s fast-rising real estate market and its plans to add more than 10,000 new units in coming years remove all doubt.



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