Oakland's real estate market heats up

May 23, 2013 7:57:42 PM PDT
Those tracking trends say Oakland is getting hot. It may have started with Oakland's emerging restaurant scene or perhaps it was the buzz created by those First Friday gatherings. Now Oakland is on a list of most attractive cities for tech startups.

In the shadow of Oakland's Occupy riots and violent crime, the city has been quietly gaining accolades as the place to be.

"The attraction is the diversity of culture," said Albert Rowe, a new Oakland resident.

The National Venture Capital Association ranks it the 11th most attractive city for tech startups like Power Hive. The solar startup is electrifying remote villages in Africa with micro-grids.

"I don't think we would be able to be in Silicon Valley in an office space that we are in today and afford the kind of space that we have here today. So we'd probably be working out of our garages," said Jane Oyugi, the Power Hive vice president.

Also this month, online real estate company Movoto named Oakland "The Most Exciting City in America." Home sales are thriving and young professionals are flocking there.

"Oakland has changed a lot since the last time I was out here. Even Uptown is changed. There's new bars and restaurants down here. It's real nice," said Zachary Gostlin, a new Oakland resident.

The Bond, a modern/classic condominium in Jack London Square reflects the fast selling pace of homes in Oakland. They started selling five days ago and they've already sold four condos.

The New York Times calls Oakland the fifth most desirable travel destination, and Forbes Magazine ranked the Uptown District ninth among the top hipster neighborhoods.

"There's a tremendous shift going on right now in the Bay Area. Oakland is the hot market and we see a large number of people moving from the Oakland Hills and San Francisco into Downtown Oakland to take advantage of all the cultural diversity and excitement that's going on here," said Paul Zeger, president of the Polaris Pacific Real Estate Company.

But what about crime?

"As far as it goes, if you have a little bit of street smarts and you stay away from bad people, bad things don't happen," said Gostlin.

These people believe the pros outweigh the cons, which explains the recognition for Oakland's economic boom.


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