Oakland housing market heats up

OAKLAND (KTVU) -- Rent and home prices are rising faster in Oakland than any other U.S. city, according to a recent report in Bloomberg News.

Oakland has crime, an embattled police department involved in a sex worker scandal and is the site of frequent social protests, but people are fighting to live in the East Bay city, according to emerging trends.

"There are bidding wars going on depending on the property, the location, the condition is very important,” said Better Homes & Gardens Homes realtor Ernest Villafranca.

"What I'm seeing is a 5-to-10 percent (premium) over asking price, depending on the property," Villafranca said.

Visit Oakland said the city’s appeal is obvious because homeowners can get more bang for their buck when looking to purchase real estate and there is better weather than San Francisco.

"As we're standing out in the beautiful sunshine, that's the key,” said Visit Oakland’s CEO Mark Everton.

“That's nothing new, but the restaurants, the art scene, the live music events, and we have the urban wine trail in Oakland."

Oakland realtors say at any given time there are no more than 300 homes on the market. So homes that are available don't last very long.

That’s also making the market rough for renters. Archie Wilkins has spent his summer trying to find an apartment in Oakland’s Temescal neighborhood before his fall semester begins at UC Berkeley.

"I still don’t have a place. Me and my roommate are on Craigslist every day,” Wilkins said. "I'm just living at my parents' place."

Bloomberg reported Oakland’s rental prices increased 15 percent in June from the same time last year. Wilkins can’t seem to catch rentals in his budget fast enough.

"They're there for an hour and then they're gone,” said Wilkins.

Visit Oakland said high housing costs come with the city’s Renaissance, but unlike San Francisco, Oakland has a plan for more housing.

"Oakland has area specific plans,” Everton said. “Impact fees that have been set, so developers looking to Oakland to build new projects, know exactly what the price tag is, so they can make long term plans to build new housing."

by KTVU reporter Leigh Martinez.