Buying in downtown oakland

13 Replies

Hi everyone,

First post here and also quite new to the real estate investment scene. I currently live in Adam's Point in Oakland and am looking to buy my first investment property. I'll be living in it for about 2 years until my fiance finishes her dental residency, then we'll be hoping to rent it out and move on to a SFH.

My question is - what are your thoughts on the downtown Oakland market? Some not-so-nice places are popping up on the market for an affordable price, but in less desirable parts of downtown (14th and Madison was one I was looking at). I do know that the downtown Oakland area is primed for the potential of a bunch of new residential and commercial buildings (, a new wave of companies ( and just general growth from the spilling out of San Francisco.

My gut says that this area will be hot in 3-5 years time, maybe less. I really want to jump in on an investment property here so that I can park my cash in something for the next 3 or so years and start building up equity. Would love everyone's thoughts on their general perspective of downtown Oakland, buying rental properties in downtown areas, or anything else! Thanks!

I like Oakland downtown area.

14th st and Madison is next to the library and the lake. I used to live 5 minutes from the library many years ago. I liked the area a lot when I lived there.

Hello Andrew, 

This is my first post on BP, I'm also new to the real estate investment scene. I think there is a lot of potential in the area given the reasons you've already listed, location (close to the freeway and SF), millennial's rental preference, proximity to public transportation, etc.    

Something I've been thinking about regarding the new development is how will it change the dynamics of the downtown area in terms of supply/demand (more new units = more competition) and what that will do to rental rates and home prices. 

I'm not sure what the outcome will be but can only hope for one that favors us new guys. Great first post, hoping to learn more about the market!

Any building in Oakland pre-selling units right now at a discount? I've heard one strategy of putting a deposit on these units and then selling them when it's time actually purchase or selling them after purchase. I know some buildings build in clauses so that you can't sell them within a few years of purchasing but might be worth it or renting it out then selling for a nice little gain. 

Friends of mine ate at Oakland downtown at night. 

Their car was parked next to the restaurant and was broken in. 

There were also a few cars getting breaking in too next to their car. 

Good luck.

@Andrew Kasbari I work in the area on weekends and think that anywhere near/bordering the lake (Grand/Harrison/Lakeshore perimeter) will pay off in the long run. 

Whenever I see references to "downtown" Oakland, I'm always curious what area is intended, as I think "downtown" (read: roughly Webster to Clay between 10th and 19th) is garbage for the most part, but "Uptown" is absolutely gentrifying and on an upswing. And then there's all of the development going on in West Oakland/"East San Francisco" (Station House and Brooklyn Basin being most visible).

14th and Madison certainly isn't a terrible area. I'd think a deal there could pay off if the numbers look good.

Originally posted by @John J. :

Friends of mine ate at Oakland downtown at night. 

Their car was parked next to the restaurant and was broken in. 

There were also a few cars getting breaking in too next to their car. 

Good luck.

 My friend lived in the West Village in New York.  His car was stolen.  Same week a person was shot and killed.  Then I saw in the news the other day in some sleepy Texas town that some psycho killed people.  Things happen.

Lived in Oakland for a long time.  Favorite city in America.  Downtown has it's issues, especially off China town, etc, but I think if you're close to the BART, near Laney, there's real value.  Obviously some real rough spots, in and out, but I still think it's going to come around.  Not sure I'd live there with my kid right now, but I'd live there single.  

Guess it really depends on the street.  

I had a gun pulled on me turning right onto Grand by the overpass right past MLK.  It was weird.  I didn't think "Man, downtown is bad!"  I thought, "There's an A$$hole American with a gun..." 

I currently have clients looking in Oakland and surrounding areas. My family has owned Multifamily units in Oakland for over 50 years. I think Oakland is undervalued at the moment compared to similar cities in the bay area. If you look in the areas between Lake shore and Fruitvale ave you can still find good value. Also there are plans for major development near the airport. Oakland is a city of many different neighborhoods. If you understand the neighborhoods you can find a very diverse and great city unlike any other. Or end up in the wrong part of town. Oakland is no different than any other major city. That is why having a local expert helps you to avoid the hurdles every city has to offer.

Hey Andrew. I'm in contract on a property in east Oakland so possibly more or less dangerous than what you're looking at (probably more). The neighborhoods really can be a street by street scene when it comes to violence and crime. The street I am in has multiple properties that are run down and dilapidated however there are quite a few that are renovated and look very nice with nice yards and backyards. These ones tend to have fences that go around the property however. I can go 2 streets down and find garbage everywhere with houses that look as though they haven't seen work in decades and then 2 streets the other direction find a nice homey street with remodels and yards.

It's really up to your preference as all of Oakland will probably become a lot closer to the SF market in the coming years as companies move out and prices go up all around town. 

Is anyone here interested in development? I have an opportunity for developers in DT Oakland, 2 blocks to 12th St. Bart and Broadway. Please kindly let me know. Thanks. 

Oakland is my favorite place to hold, except I cannot afford to invest downtown. Haven’t been able to make the number work as far as cash flow. However, if you are looking for some nice appreciation values. Get at it. Some many high rises are going to be build within the next 5 years. The scene is changing by the day.

Adding my two cents here - I think Oakland will be the next (or already is) place for younger professionals in the Bay Area to live and socialize in. As the area gets safer and more cleaned up, the reluctance to move to Oakland will be minimized and a lot of people will come out here seeking cheaper rents and getting out of the crowded city. While I'm not saying that Oakland will overtake San Francisco anytime soon, I believe the population growth is big enough where Oakland is also seeing a portion of this growth.

I am long bullish on Oakland and barring some crazy event where tech collapse and all tech professionals move out of the Bay Area, I think this will become a prime location.

Feel free to PM me if you like to chat. I'm always looking to meet investors who are interested in the Oakland markets

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