Hot demand for new luxury condominium units is reshaping San Francisco
Could home buyers in San Francisco Bay Area catch a break soon?
Have you noticed? Oakland has become an urban hot spot for housing, arts, food and, of course, tech. Today, more than 16,000 new residents call Oakland home. Businesses from Uber to Sunset Magazine are moving their headquarters here, and there are more than 300 new restaurants, bars and cafes.
A view of San Francisco’s famed Painted Ladies victorian houses on February 18, 2014 in San Francisco, California. According to a report by mortgage resource site HSH.com, an annual salary of $115,510 is needed to purchase a house in San Francisco where the median home price is $682,410. The report included 25 of the nations largest metropolitan cities with Cleveland, Ohio being the cheapest with a needed salary of $19,435 to purchase a home. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
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So what happened? People and businesses are crossing the bridge from San Francisco’s high prices in search of more affordable solutions. Buyer’s housing priorities are increasingly less defined by borders and more by price, neighborhoods and proximity to work. Businesses are also looking at affordability, as well as access to transportation. “Why not Oakland?” is the new buzz. The whole market is undergoing a ‘spreading out’ phenomenon, and the search for affordability is driving it.
When Zillow announced this years’ predictions for the hottest neighborhoods in the nine-county San Francisco metro area, it came as no surprise to Realtors working in the East Bay that all five of the projected hottest neighborhoods for 2016 are in Oakland.
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“The neighborhoods on our list of the hottest neighborhoods for 2016 are the places we think home values will rise fastest over the next year,” said Svenja Gudell, Zillow’s chief economist. The five Oakland neighborhoods that made the fastest growing list are: Jefferson, Fairfax, Arroyo Viejo, Oak Knoll-Golf Links and Havenscourt.
Business expansion is making headlines
With San Francisco becoming super-crowded and super-expensive, Oakland is now a real alternative. The most significant move by far is the decision by Uber to bring a major part of its operations to Oakland. Uber joins several smaller tech firms that have moved into Oakland this past year, including 99designs, Fluid and VSCO. Their move will not only change the employment picture of the downtown, which is now dominated by government and health workers, but also the general vibrancy of the area.
One of the region’s key issues is growing the number of jobs in the East Bay to help balance out transit and traffic that’s clogged with office workers going to San Francisco and Silicon Valley. Businesses used to worry that Oakland was a liability for recruiting. Now, many are finding it’s a plus — workers can live in more affordable areas nearby and in many cases take BART, the Bay Area Transit System, to work.
The restaurant scene is making headlines
USA Today named Oakland as one of the 10 Best Local Food Scenes of 2016. Ranked seventh, Oakland was the only city on the West Coast to make the cut. Winning factors included the rise of new restaurants along with incredible new culinary talent.
Rental housing is hot too
Zumper’s National Rent Report confirms that rent in major cities is climbing. Rents in Oakland surged 20% this past year, more than any other major city studied, according to this report. Renters face steep hikes all over the nation, but Oakland’s jump has been the most dramatic, according to Zumper. Oakland and the surrounding areas are not cheap, but they are less expensive than San Francisco and Silicon Valley, and they are served by public transportation.
The search for affordability is serving Oakland well. Bottom line, Oakland offers great value. It is a hot urban alternative for buyers and businesses who can no longer afford San Francisco.