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A comprehensive overview of Oakland, California's housing market for homeowners and renters in 2023

Real estate
Neighborhood insights
A comprehensive overview of Oakland, California's housing market for homeowners and renters in 2023
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As of 2023, Oakland's housing market is experiencing challenges and opportunities for homeowners, rental property landlords, renters, and real estate investors.

The city's strong economy and desirable location make it an attractive place to live and invest. However, Oakland is also facing a housing affordability crisis that has led to high demand for housing and rising costs.

In this comprehensive overview, we will explore the current state of Oakland's housing market, including home price trends and rental and vacancy rates. You’ll get valuable insights on the Oakland housing market whether you are a homeowner, rental property landlord, renter, or real estate investor.

For our detailed breakdown of specific neighborhoods in Oakland, head over to our neighborhood guide.

Oakland’s culture and lifestyle

Oakland, California, has a rich and diverse culture shaped by its history, people, and location.

The city is known for its vibrant arts scene, delicious cuisine, and beautiful outdoor spaces.

Oakland has a long social activism and political engagement history, reflected in its vibrant community organizations and events.


The city has many festivals and events, such as the Art and Soul Festival, the Oakland Chinatown StreetFest, and the Black Joy Parade, which celebrate the city's diversity and unites the community.

Food and dining

Food is a big part of Oakland's culture, and the city is known for its diverse and delicious cuisine. From Ethiopian to Vietnamese, Mexican to Italian, Oakland has it all.

The city has many food festivals and events, such as the Eat Real Festival and the Oakland Cocktail Week, which celebrates the city's culinary scene.

Outdoors and nature

Outdoor enthusiasts will also find plenty to enjoy in Oakland. Beautiful parks and outdoor spaces, such as Redwood Regional Park and Lake Merritt, surround the city. These areas offer hiking trails, boating, dog parks, community events, and other outdoor activities, making Oakland an ideal place for nature lovers.

Fun facts about Oakland, California:

  • The term "hella" (meaning "very" or "a lot") originated in Oakland and is now widely used throughout the Bay Area and beyond.
  • Oakland has more artists per capita than any other city in the United States.
  • Oakland is home to the largest saltwater lake within a city's limits in the United States - Lake Merritt.
  • The iconic rapper and producer MC Hammer grew up in Oakland and named his debut album after his hometown: "Please Hammer, Don't Hurt 'Em."
  • The Oakland Zoo is home to North America's largest collection of Sun Bears.

These fun facts and quotes show only a glimpse ofOakland's unique culture and history.  The city is known for its thriving arts scene, world-class cuisine, and beautiful parks and outdoor spaces.

Population demographics of Oakland, California

According to World Population Review, Oakland has around 423,000 people as of 2023.

With a population of over 420,000 people, Oakland is the eighth-largest city in California and the third-largest in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Here are additional statistics in 2023 about Oakland according to World Population Review:

  • Oakland is the 4th most diverse major city in the U.S., with a diversity score of 91.4.
  • The white population decreased from 95.3% in 1940 to 32.5% in 1990, and the city has become a hub for the African American community in Northern California.
  • However, the black population has declined by almost 25% since 2000, with many leaving for the Southern U.S. or the Bay Area suburbs.
  • Oakland is also the third highest-ranked city among the 50 largest cities in the U.S. for its concentration of gay and lesbian people, ranking after San Francisco and Seattle.

According to the most recent U.S. Census Bureau Study in 2022, the racial makeup of Oakland is: 33.4% White

27.2% Hispanic or Latino

22.0% Black or African American

15.7% Asian alone

1.0% American Indian and Alaska Native alone

9.4% Two or more races

0.5% Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander

Oakland has a higher percentage of residents with bachelor's degrees (47.3%) than the national average (37.5%). However, the city also has a relatively high poverty rate, with 13.5% of the population living below the poverty line. This is data collected from 2017-2021 by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The housing market in Oakland is also diverse, with a mix of single-family homes, multi-family housing, and apartments. However, the cost of living in Oakland is relatively high, making it difficult for some residents to afford.

Overall, Oakland's population demographics reflect a diverse and dynamic city with various cultures, ages, and backgrounds. The city's demographics constantly evolve as more people move to Oakland for opportunities and a better quality of life.

Oakland’s housing stock and rental market

According to recent RocketHomes data from March 2023, Oakland's housing market continues to favor sellers, with homes selling quickly and prices remaining high. In the last 12 months, the median sold price of all homes was $922,270, or $648/sqft. This represents a 2.4% increase in prices compared to the previous year. In addition, nearly 70% of homes sold above their asking price last month. However, the average sale time has increased significantly from 18 days in March 2022 to 32 days in March 2023, a 71.7% increase.

Redfin Data shows that the median sale price for a home in Oakland was $905,000, up 1.2% year-over-year. The median days on the market are 17 days. Redfin rates homes in Oakland as very competitive; many get multiple offers.

According to Redfin, sales of high-end luxury homes in Oakland decreased by 63.9% year-over-year for the three months ending on August 31, 2022. In comparison, sales of non-luxury homes in the US only decreased by 19.5%.

According to World Population Review, Oakland has the 5th highest concentration of "elite zip codes" in the U.S., with almost 38% of the population aged 25 and over holding a bachelor's degree or higher. The average family size is 3.4 people, while the average household size is 2.6. The rate of home ownership in the city stands at 40.9%.

Affordable housing in Oakland:

Rent control laws in Oakland help protect tenants from excessive rent increases, although they do not apply to newer buildings and certain rental units. You can read more specifics about rent control in the City of Oakland’s website.

  • Oakland has a shortage of affordable housing, with many residents struggling to find housing they can afford.
  • The city has implemented several initiatives to increase the supply of affordable housing, including creating new low-income housing units and preserving existing affordable housing.
  • The Oakland Housing Authority provides rental assistance and other services to low-income residents in the city.

Oakland provides some resources for finding affordable housing opportunities across Alameda County.

The ADULP, or Accessory Dwelling Unit Loan Program, offers low-interest loans to low-income homeowners in specific Oakland areas to create a legal ADU or JADU by transforming their nearly second unit on a single-family plot. The program intends to identify and secure financing for up to 25 projects by February 2023, with construction scheduled for Spring 2024. For further information, please visit the website.

For our detailed breakdown of specific neighborhoods in Oakland, head over to our neighborhood guide.

Oakland’s housing stock

Most housing units in Oakland were built before 1980, with some dating back to the early 1900s.

Beautifully restored Victorian-era homes are one of the most iconic features of Oakland's housing stock. These homes can be found in neighborhoods like West Oakland, Adams Point, and Rockridge. Many of these homes have been carefully restored to their original grandeur, with ornate details like stained-glass windows, intricate woodwork, and spacious porches.

In addition to Victorian-era homes, Oakland has various other housing options. The city has seen an increase in the construction of modern apartment buildings, particularly in areas like downtown and the Jack London Square neighborhood.

These buildings often offer luxury amenities like rooftop pools, fitness centers, and convenient access to shops and restaurants.

In recent years, Oakland has experienced significant gentrification and redevelopment, leading to new luxury construction and the conversion of older buildings into high-end condos.

Oakland is served by Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), which connects the city to other parts of the San Francisco Bay Area, including San Francisco, Berkeley, and Silicon Valley. Proximity to BART stations can be a significant factor in determining home and rental prices in Oakland, with properties close to these stations often commanding a premium due to the convenience and accessibility they offer.

Another unique aspect is the city's focus on sustainable development and green initiatives. Many new constructions and renovations in Oakland incorporate eco-friendly features, such as solar panels, green roofs, and energy-efficient appliances, which can impact property values and rental rates. These sustainable features may attract environmentally conscious residents and investors looking to future-proof their properties.

Oakland’s rental market

The rental market in Oakland is competitive, with a relatively low vacancy rate and high demand for housing. The cost of living in Oakland is relatively high compared to other cities in the country, making it difficult for some renters to afford.

  • The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Oakland is an average of $2,813 per month, according to RentCafe. Renter-occupied households make up 59% of Oakland’s housing stock, while owner-occupied households make up 41%.

With a diverse population, vibrant culture, and strong economy, Oakland offers many opportunities for those looking to own or rent a property.

Oakland seasonal renting trends and housing demand

Oakland's rental market experiences seasonal fluctuations in demand, with certain times of the year being more popular for renters than others. Here's an overview of Oakland's seasonal renting trends and housing demand:

Summer Season:

  • The summer months are generally the busiest time for the rental market in Oakland, with many renters looking for new housing between June and August. This can be attributed to factors such as the end of the school year and warmer weather, which make it a popular time for moving.

Winter Season:

  • The winter months are generally a slower time for the rental market in Oakland, with fewer renters looking for housing between December and February. This can be attributed to colder weather and the holiday season, making moving less desirable for many renters.

Housing demand

Overall, the demand for housing in Oakland is high, with a growing population and limited supply of affordable housing.

The city's housing market has experienced significant growth and development in recent years, with many new luxury apartments and high-end condos being built to meet the demand for housing.

While there are seasonal fluctuations in the rental market in Oakland throughout the year, it remains a competitive market with relatively high demand, particularly in popular neighborhoods such as Downtown Oakland, Uptown, and Temescal.

Oakland economy and employment demographics

Oakland has a thriving economy that provides employment opportunities in various industries.

The largest industries in Oakland include healthcare and social assistance, professional, scientific, and technical services, education services, retail trade, and accommodation and food services.

The Port of Oakland is one of the busiest ports in the country, contributing significantly to the local economy by providing job opportunities and attracting businesses to the area.

Kaiser Permanente, Sutter Health, Southwest Airlines, Pandora Media, and UPS are some notable and large employers in Oakland. You can view an extended list of Oakland’s largest companies by employees here.

Oakland also has a thriving arts and culture sector, which includes various museums, galleries, theaters, and music venues.

Employment in Oakland

World Population Review estimates that the average household income in Oakland is $108,297, and the poverty rate is 17.36%. Additionally, Oakland ranks in the top 20 cities in the country for median household income.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau data collected from 2017-2021, the median household income in Oakland is slightly lower, at $85,628.

The unemployment rate in Oakland was 4.2% as of February, according to the YCharts.

The city's population is relatively young and diverse, with a high percentage of residents who are working age (between 18 and 64 years old) and people of color.

Small businesses in Oakland

Oakland's economy and employment demographics are diverse and growing, with various industries driving employment and economic growth.

Oakland property management trends and statistics

Property management is an important aspect of the rental market in Oakland, California, and there are several trends and statistics that property managers and landlords should be aware of.

Here's an overview of some of the key trends and statistics in the Oakland regional market:

Vacancy rates

  • As of the first quarter of 2022, the vacancy rate for rental units in the Oakland-Hayward-Berkeley metropolitan area was 5.6%, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • This is lower than the national average vacancy rate of 6.2%, indicating that Oakland's demand for rental housing is relatively high.

Rent prices

  • Rent prices in Oakland have increased over the past year and are projected to continue to rise in the coming year.
  • High-end rental properties and luxury apartments tend to have the highest rent prices in Oakland, while more affordable options are in high demand.

Property management trends

  • Property management companies in Oakland are increasingly using technology to streamline their operations and improve the tenant experience.
  • This includes online portals for rent payments, maintenance requests, and software for tracking maintenance and repairs.
  • Property management companies in Oakland are also investing in sustainable and eco-friendly practices, such as installing energy-efficient appliances and using eco-friendly cleaning products.

Tenant screening:

  • Tenant screening is an important part of property management in Oakland, as landlords and property managers seek to find reliable and trustworthy tenants.
  • Common tenant screening practices include background checks, credit checks, and rental history verification.
  • In Oakland, landlords must comply with local and state laws regarding tenant screening, including the Fair Housing Act and California's Tenant Protection Act.

Oakland’s rental market is characterized by a high demand for housing and rising rent prices, which can present challenges and opportunities for property managers and landlords.

Doorstead is a trusted full-service property management company that operates locally in Oakland. See what our customer Cher in Oakland says about Doorstead property management.

Our team of experienced property managers uses data-driven insights and innovative technology to provide a seamless and hassle-free experience for both landlords and tenants. We aim to help landlords maximize their rental income and minimize stress while providing tenants with high-quality housing and excellent customer service.

Oakland's housing market offers various opportunities and challenges for homeowners, rental property landlords, renters, and real estate investors. With its vibrant culture, strong economy, and beautiful outdoor spaces, Oakland continues to attract a diverse and dynamic population. As the city experiences high demand for housing and rising costs, renters and property owners must navigate a competitive market. Staying informed about local market trends, demographics, and unique aspects of Oakland's real estate landscape is essential for making sound investment and housing decisions.

Did you find this article helpful or interesting? If so, please share it with your friends or family! Is there anything we should have included or remembered to mention? Have ideas for collaborating on an article? Please email [email protected], and we'd love to discuss this.

And if you're looking for more helpful tips on San Francisco property management, visit our blog.

Ally Gong
Ally Gong
Content Specialist

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