Oakland posts steep gains in home prices, jobs

Although some of the areas in and around the Bay Area began their recovery from the downturn of the late 2000s a year ago or more, Oakland has been a bit slower to rebound. Recently, however, the gains that spread throughout metros like San Francisco and Berkeley have made their way to Oakland, and the city appears to be making up for lost time. According to the Phoenix Business Journal, home prices in the metro have climbed a full three percent since the second quarter of this year, an uptick matched only by Phoenix. This is encouraging news for people considering buying one of the homes for sale in Oakland, as these rapid gains could continue in the coming months.

Jobs come to Oakland
While many metros experienced home-value increases over the summer and fall of 2012, few were as steep as Oakland's. Although a strengthening national market and improving optimism among buyers and experts likely contributed to these upticks, much of the success can also be chalked up to Oakland's improving economy.

After a rough spell between 2008 and 2011, Oakland's economy has shown significant signs of improvement. Improving jobs figures and revenue have created funds that the city can use to prevent against financial insecurity in the future.

"We're getting stable, and they're making plans for worst case scenarios and really setting aside money in a pretty cautious and conservative fashion, to make sure that we are prepared for any future surprises," Councilwoman Patricia Kernighan said recently, according to National Public Radio.

Kernighan's statement came on the heels of an updated budget for the city, which is in considerably better shape than it has been. According to the source, the city added 5,200 jobs over the past year, which has helped bring the unemployment rate down from an unhealthy 16 percent.

Effect on the housing market
Unsurprisingly, the diminishing unemployment rate has helped attract new residents to the city and convinced many of the area's renters to enter the housing market. According to the Home Buying Institute, homes in Oakland have begun selling at a pace not witnessed since before the recession. Listing prices in the metro have risen 17.49 percent in the last year, a total unmatched by all except a handful of American cities.

As a result, the inventory of for-sale homes in the region has been falling sharply. According to the source, for-sale inventory declined by nearly two-thirds between October 2011 and October 2012, which represents the third-largest decline in the 146 metro areas that were measured. Oakland seemed unable to rid itself of for-sale houses, but this news suggests that confidence has been restored and property values are rising. Indeed, home values in Oakland are 4.6 percent higher than they were last year.

"We're seeing houses selling faster," a local real estate professional told the source. "And the number of days on market is really low."

Consider buying
With rising property values, diminishing inventory and a strengthening economy, Oakland presents a strong option for people considering a home purchase in the area. Other metros in the Bay Area and throughout California have posted similar gains over the last year or so, but Oakland's steep climb in recent months suggest that this city might be home to some of the best bargains. Of course, with inventory shrinking by the day, you may want to act sooner rather than later, especially if you want to take advantage of some of the lowest mortgage rates in history.