Oakland's emerging real estate renaissance

In many ways, Oakland has lived in the shadow of the city just across the bay. For decades, San Francisco has been one of the most desirable places in the country to live, and rents and home prices have reflected this reputation. Oakland has sometimes struggled to keep up, as home prices and employment levels in the East Bay are traditionally lower than they are just a few miles to the west. However, recent data suggests that this gap may be narrowing, and homes for sale in Oakland could see their values rise in the near future.

Shrinking supply
Part of what is leading some real estate professionals to predict rising home values is Oakland's high sales volumes. According to the Home Building Institute, the sales in the summer and fall of 2012 have resulted in a much smaller supply of for-sale homes than in previous years. In fact, the supply of homes for sale plummeted nearly 60 percent between June 2011 and June 2012, and it has continued to decline since then.

One result of this has been investors and landlords pouring money into homes in neighborhoods that even a few years ago would have seemed untouchable. According to KALW, the rapidly improving housing market has inspired some plucky professionals to start preparing new homes for the market.

"Everyone's basically gobbling up materials and property wherever they can," a local real estate agent told the source.

Some of these people are planning to sell their homes outright, while others are converting them into rental units, which could further drain the local inventory of for-sale homes. Either way, these renovation projects indicate that local real estate professionals are becoming more optimistic in terms of the Oakland housing market's future.

In fact, some people engaged in this Oakland real estate renaissance believe that by transforming local homes, they could help the city become safer and more economically stable.

"Our goal is to completely improve [properties in the area] beyond what anybody would expect," Alex Miller-Cole, a local real estate investor, told the news source.

On its way
Whether spurred by the work of these adventurous investors or simply mirroring the nation's improvement as a whole, Oakland's housing market has shown strong gains. According to the National Association of Realtor's Monthly Housing Summary, the median price of a home in Oakland rose nearly 20 percent between October 2011 and October 2012.

Although it may lag behind its western neighbor for the at times, Oakland could still provide great bargains for people looking to move to an improving city.