What’s happening with Oakland commercial real estate downtown and uptown? Oakland Real Estate Watch is a new column tracking real estate–if you have ideas, tips, or news to share, email susanm@liveworkoakland.com.

Demand for office space has doubled from last year

Demand –and prices– for residential real estate and for commercial office space in Oakland have been going up over the past three months. According to local commercial real estate firm Cassidy Turley, active demand for Oakland office space is double what demand was at the end of 2013.

Home prices are rising

At the same time, prices for Oakland housing (homes or houses) are soaring, and inventory is tight in the most popular neighborhoods.  Many feel that both the commercial real estate surge and the residential boom are driven by spillover demand from San Francisco, where the average asking rent for office space is $4.25 a square foot (compared to $2.30 a square foot in Oakland), and where the median home price  for a 3-bedroom home has risen to  $1.25 MM million, 36% more than it cost a year ago.  

Trulia tracks the median housing price for a three-bedroom house in Oakland, in comparison, at $459,500, up 11% from the previous year a year ago but a fraction of the San Francisco median cost.  (Of course, in neighborhoods like  North Oakland, the Laurel and the Dimond, prices are rising much more quickly).

Prices in the Bay area overall are going up so fast that many people are being pushed out, and affordability is becoming a problem; Zillow.com’s  Krishna Rao recently published a study of residential housing prices and mortgage affordability  that reports that–in the Bay area, where housing costs have always been high–an average buyer today would need to spend 39% of her income on mortgage payments.

Displacement’s a concern

And of course the recent–and much discussedDevelopment Without Displacement: Resisting Gentrification in the Bay Area report by Causa Justa that maps the gentrification of San Francisco and Oakland by zip code and stage suggests that poor people–and people of color–are being pushed out of their homes and neighborhoods in Oakland at an alarming rate.

What’s Brooklyn Basin going to look like?

 Zarsion Holdings Group, a Beijing-based real estate and investment firm, and Oakland-based Signature Development Group  broke ground in March 2014 to to build a new development with 3,100 homes, 200,000 square feet of shops, 30 acres of park space and a marina with 200 boat slips. What do the drawings for the new project look like?

Other real-estate related reads worth a look:

  • How will Safeway’s acquisition by Cerberus Capital Management, a private equity firm, who plans to merge the chain with Albertsons, affect Oakland Development projects? East Bay Express’ Sam Levin asks the right questions. 
  • Looks like local developer Alan Dones is not going to get the Sears Building this time–maybe later?–see SF BizTimes story entitled “Plans crumble for overhaul of Sears Building in Oakland.
  • In his essay, The Search for Affordable Housing Is Pushing the Middle Class to the Exurbs in  The Atlantic Cities, writer/editor Richard Florida says that affordable living areas are clustered outside of the core of the tech boom–like, in Oakland.

Real estate and food news

  • New Japanese place opens in Old Oakland: Kasago Sushii, 388 9th St, Oakland, CA 94607  (510) 788-0168 |
  • A new brewery–Concord’s Ale Industries–is going to set up in the Fruitvale with a new (biodiesel) brewery and a soon to open jazz club  at 3096 East 10th St., Oakland, CA 956015311 Fairfax Ave., Oakland.
  •  Kitchener Oakland signed a lease for Kitchener Collective, a food new spot in Corte Madera–and got written up in Food and Wine for their Oakland crowd-funding campaign for the snack bar.
  • Old Oakland’s Umamimart has made its SF location permanent-so now they have two retail spots.

What would you like to see covered here?

We’re eager for news of new retail,  new construction, new leases and whatever else you’d like to share- Oakland Real Estate Watch is a new column tracking real estate–so if you have ideas, tips, or news to share, email susanm@liveworkoakland.com.