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The Market for Expensive Homes is Exploding in Oakland

Scott Lucas | December 4, 2014 | Story Real Estate

Recently released real estate data from Redfin about sales of million-plus-dollar homes show that Oakland is leading the Bay Area’s major cities in growth of its high-end housing market. But before you freak out, that doesn't necessarily mean whoelsale gentrification.

First, the raw numbers: In 2014, San Francisco led the country in total home sales with prices over one million, with 792 such sales—a 16 percent jump since last year. Among major cities, it was followed by San Jose, at 378 (a 44 percent increase year-over-year), and Oakland, with 104. Oakland’s growth—68 percent over the last year—outpaced not only those two cities, but almost every other city in the region.

Among the top 25 cities, only Orinda (85 percent growth) and Alamo (71 percent) topped Oakland’s numbers. Since 2011, the number of high-end homes sold in Oakland has grown by 352 percent.

Numbers like those make it tempting to conclude that Oakland—or at least its wealthiest neighborhoods—is feeling the spillover of the overheated markets in San Francisco and the South Bay. That’s true—but when you consider its population, Oakland's concentration of expensive homes doesn't look so bad. Last year, Oakland had 0.26 high-end home sales for every 1,000 residents—the lowest ratio in the Bay Area. (San Jose had the second-lowest ratio, with 0.38 for every 1,000 residents). The Bay Area cities with the most expensive homes per capita were Mill Valley (5.1 sales for every 1,000 people), Alamo (5.0), Orinda (4.1), Danville (3.1), and Menlo Park (2.9). Conclusion: Not shockingly, Oakland might be growing—but it still has denser pockets of poverty than the Bay's more well-heeled suburbs.

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